Looking for good Korean Restaurants in YYC
I heard about the closure of Korean Village late last year to make way for the Mustard Seed. I'm wondering if anyone knows whether the owners of KV plan to set up shop at a new location. One of my favourite dishes at KV in the summer used to be the cold noodles with sliced apples.
Secondly, with the remaining korean restaurants in Calgary, I'm wondering if you have any recommendations. I know there is Dae Jang Geum, Seoul Korean BBQ on MacLeod, Koreana BBQ on MacLeod, Hangkang up in the NW by Northland Mall, Bow Bulgogi, Clubhouse Restaurant in Montgomery area (behind sushi bar miki) and Sura.
Over the years, I've been to KV, Bow Bulgogi, Clubhouse, Dae Jang Geum and DJG's predecessor (Royal Seoul) many times. I'm just wondering how some of the other places compare and which places are good lately. I am looking for a place that is very authentic and where you can BBQ at the table and also order dishes like stonepot bimbimbap, etc. The downside with Bow Bulgogi is that you can't do your own grilling at the table. And I found DJG to be a bit pricey for the kalbi.
I've been to Bow Bulgogi and DJG... my fav is Seoul. I found Bow Bulgogi consistently poor service which is too bad because it's so close to my place. The owner (this was a fw years ago) reminded me of the Soup Nazi on Seinfield only he was the bulgogi nazi. The last straw came when we ordered two orders Bulgogi and received the same portion lettuce as we would if we'd ordered one. When we pointed that out, the owner charged us an additional $3 for the lettuce. That was a number of years and I've heard there are new owners now so I should give it another go.
DJG is fine for taste and very authentic. The reason why I stopped going was also service related - I find their service highly inconsistent.
We go to Seoul because it's the most consistent place we've found. My bf is Korean and we find their flavours very authentic. We tend to order same things over and over: Yookgaejang, Japchae, Bibimbap, Seafood Hot Pot, and the Kalbi.
The only thing I can't comment too much on is bbq-ing at the table. I've done this only twice at Seoul but prefer to have them bbq for us because I hate the stench that lasts on our clothing afterwards. I will say Seoul has a couple all you can bbq nights each week. I think it's Tues and Thurs?
Thanks for your recommendation for Seoul. My instinct was to pick Seoul out of the list that I had mentioned but I wanted to see what others thought/experienced. The all you can eat bbq nights is good information to know as it might come in handy if I'm with a group of big eaters. I'm not a big eater myself and would always prefer quality over quantity if I had a choice.
As for Bow Bulgogi, my last visit was about a year ago (I think by then it was already under new ownership). In any case, the beef bulgogi was tasty but I found it really strange that we didn't get any lettuce with our order. I'm not sure if I had to order it in a certain way in order to get the lettuce (i.e. I'm not sure if there are multiple beef bulgogi's on the menu and some come with lettuce and others not or it had to be a set dinner or something). Likewise, we didn't get any of the semi-sweet spicy red sauce with the bulgogi either. I didn't know what the red sauce was called so I asked the server to bring me hot sauce. She brought me sriracha hot sauce. It totally didn't go with the bulgogi. What I was really craving was the semi-sweet spicy red sauce so I was disappointed. I really wish I knew what that sauce was called as I found it hard to believe that they didn't have any and that all they had was sriracha. Later on, I saw another table of Koreans eating there and they got both the lettuce and the spicy red sauce with their bulgogi. It made me feel like because I'm not Korean that they think I don't know anything about how korean food should be eaten and they could get away with it. So I haven't been back since...
I'm not adamant about bbq-ing at the table. I'd be happy if they did it for us as long as it still tasted just as good. I can't remember where it was but one time when I asked them to cook it for us, when it came it out, it didn't taste grilled at all... it tasted like somebody just stir-fried it or cooked it on the flat top. It had no bbq taste whatsoever or any charred bits. So if your experience at Seoul is that it still tastes just as good if they bbq'ed it for you as if you did it yourself, I'd be more than happy to have them bbq it for us. I can certainly do without the stench on the clothing.
Hmmm I can see where you're coming from with stir fry versus grill taste. We haven't had any issues with the Kalbi flavours at Seoul... I did try their all you can eat once and again didn't notice any difference in grill/stir fry flavours (this was awhile ago though). I will say though that our favourite at Seoul is their Yookgaejang (spicy beef stew) and the bbq is only secondary for us so perhaps we're not paying too much attention.
The sauce you're looking for is probably gochujang or sometimes called kochujang. It's a fermented soybean paste mixed with a variety of spices including red pepper powder. Very popular over bibimbap or on rice cake (ddeokbokki). You can find a ton of gochujang at any korean or asian store. Arirang or T&T both carry it.
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Dae Jang Geum Korean Restaurant
1324 10 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T3C 0Z2, CA
Bow Bulgogi House
3515 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T3E 0B7, CA
Seoul Korean BBQ
4336 MacLeod Trail SW, Calgary, AB T2G 0A4, CA
Koreana BBQ Restaurant
7400 #17 MacLeod Trail SE, Calgary, AB T2H 0L9, CA
Hankang Korean Restaurant
3616 52 Ave NW #35, Calgary, AB T2L 1V9, CA
Clubhouse Family Restaurant & Lounge
5012 16 Ave NW, Calgary, AB T3B 0N3, CA
Sura Korean Restaurant
2320 4 St NW, Calgary, AB T2M 2Z6, CA
935 7 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1A5, CA
I'll vouch for Sura and Clubhouse.
There's also a less well known place called San Don Banjeom at 37th Ave and 26th St. SW. It serves Chinese style Korean, which is a specific kind of cuisine.. no bibimbap or kalbi served. They have Jajangmeon, a dish I find a tad strange but Koreans looove it. In Korea, there is a day in the calendar devoted to eating it. They have really nice Chap Chae. In the summer they also have the cold naengmyon dishes miss.foodie referred to.. not on the menu but written on the wall in Korean, so you have to ask for them. Fantastic on a hot day.