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Korean in Tampa Bay Area?

Are there any good Korean restaurants in the Tampa Bay area? I eat a ton of Thai and Vietnamese food (my wife is Laotian), and I have my three favorite (based on dish I want to eat) Vietnamese restaurants picked out. I have given up on finding a good Thai restaurant in the area for now. Remember, I eat homemade Thai (Laotian is basically the same with small differences) all the time and have fairly high standards.

Anyway, back to the Korean question. I believe there is one Korean place up on Hillsborough Ave, but I haven't heard anything about it. Any suggestions in Pinellas or Hillsborough counties would be great. I have very limited experience with any Korean dishes other than kimchee.

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  1. Sa Ri One on Cypress is good. Just ate there on Tuesday. I had the pork fried cutlet, better than many I had when I lived in Incheon. All their lunch boxes are a great deal. Their soups are spot on. My wife (Korean) loves the seafood soon du bu ji gae. The have descriptions for their food which helps people unfamiliar with Korean food.
    Han Il Kwan on Dale Mabry is another good Korean restaurant. They also serve sushi.
    There is another Korean restaurant on Waters, but I have not eaten there yet. Please search for other posts.
    Good luck.

    1. Sushi Zen in Saint Petersburg. The owners are Korean and offer a Korean / Japanese menu and have pretty good sushi too . . .

      Sushi Zen
      11024 4th Street North

      1. Also, has anyone been to Rice Restaurant & Lounge ? Their menu looks interesting:


        1 Reply
        1. re: Little T.

          Rice is within walking distance from me, and I used to go there more often when they were doing their lunch & dinner buffets...
          It was by far the most interesting & favorite buffet I've been to...

          I found that most all dishes were perfected...
          Chunky braised beef ribs melted in your mouth in delicious and balanced sauces...
          Eel, fish, beef, seafood, squid, cold delicacies, soups, stews, were everywhere you looked!

          The place is big and beautiful, with professional, courteous, servers--- and most important of all, I always got the impression that there were gifted chefs in that kitchen---- that I watched in admiration...
          They used to be in view, I don't know if they still are...

          It's been about a year, but I've been in a few times and ordered off the menu and have been real happy...
          I just miss that buffet so much that when I do go, if feels like somewhere I used to go with an old girlfriend...
          Don't let that ridiculousness deter anybody---- If they're as good as they were, they deserve to be busy...
          ----and after looking at that online menu, maybe I'll pop in there soon...

          Lately I've been going to Ginza (Han Il Kwan) on Waters Ave. for Korean...
          Good stuff...

        2. Thanks for the suggestions. I'll have to try at least a couple of them. Like I said, I have almost no experience with Korean food so it will all be new to me.

          1. Hey Kempshark, I'd like to know which are your favorite Vietnamese spots in Tampa? I've got a few myself and would love to know if there's others I should check out

            1 Reply
            1. re: austinjh

              Austin, check out Pho Quyen on Hillsborough and Memorial and also Saigon Deli (killer Bahn Mi) on Waters just east of Dale Mabry. Also I love the food at Bamboozle downtown, and the ladies that own it are absolute sweethearts! Their style is more simple & contemporary though.

            2. FYI. If you want to bring home various kim chee in bulk, Korean seasonings like gochu jang, so you can assemble your own bi bim bap, try JANG IL Oriental Food Market, 2705 54th Avenue North, St Petersburg, FL 33714-1994(727) 528-9010‎.
              It took me two years to find this little beauty. Now I've got pickled radish, won bok, cucumber kim chee, korean bean sprouts, etc, any time I want.

              Good eats.

              1. I agree with G8R Dan, Sa Ri One has some excellent Korean food. I have been to many Korean restaurants in Tampa and Sa Ri One is still my favorite. I also like Pine Tree Karaoke Cafe, it's on Hillsborough as well. Soul of Korea on 56th Street has some good Galbi for when I'm looking to spend less but still have some Korean. You wouldn't expect it but Matoi Sushi on S. Dale Mabry is actually a Korean restaurant in disguise and their Galbi is excellent, they have a bunch of Korean choices on their menu too in addition to their sushi.

                3 Replies
                1. re: blitzchamp

                  hmmm. if you liked Pine Tree Karaoke Cafe's food before they turned into Han ga jok, you should like Rice on Hillsborough. Pine Tree was forced to buy Seoul restaurant because of the Korean 'Geh war with the Grocery store owner/landlord. so the Pine tree owner bought Seoul and renamed it Rice along with remodeling the whole place. Lots of Drama between the old Han il gwan from cypress, Seoul, new Han il gwan (waters) or Ginza and The owner of the Old oriental market on Hilsborough and Pine Tree.... very interesting story anyone want to hear? it will put things in perspective.

                  1. re: jin jja

                    I'd love to hear! The restaurant drama is always fun to be privvied to

                    1. re: jin jja

                      I'm interested in hearing about this as well.

                  2. you must have missed a thread where we discussed the same food and places as here a couple weeks ago.