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Oct 2, 2010 05:06 PM

Manna Korean BBQ coming to San Diego?

At least that's what the sign says. Location is on Convoy, in the same building as Office Depot, but facing the street. I'm not a big fan of Manna in LA, and am not sure if this place is affiliated with the LA restaurants. At least there's some activity in the area.

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  1. Is this the one in LA w/ the ACYE panchan bar?

    2 Replies
    1. re: daantaat

      Oooh, AYCE panchan bar. If it's the same Manna, then I'm in.

      1. re: geekyfoodie

        I think the Manna in LA is AYCE, but have never been. What's the deal with the panchan bar? Don't most Korean places give you more panchan if you ask?

    2. Drove by yesterday and it appears Manna is open for business. Didn't seem too crowded based on what I could see through the window but perhaps this is just a soft opening. I'm not exactly too inclined to try it though as there are already way too many Korean BBQ places on Convoy as it is and this one seems to be more about the quantity over the quality.

      6 Replies
      1. re: mliew

        never been to Manna, but from their website I think their style of korean bbq is the duk bo saam style where you can wrap the meat (usually shabu shabu cut beef (I think it's called chow-da) in either rice or daikon wrappers.

        I don't think manna is particularly good, but a good duk bo saam korean bbq restaurant is something that san diego lacks. If you want an example of a good duk bo saam AYCE place, search for Cham Sut Gol

        1. re: karaethon

          Interesting. I wasn't aware that there were different styles of Korean BBQ. What exactly is unique about Duk Bo Sam vs. other styles? Is it only the rice/daikon wrappers or is there something different about the meat as well? Seems most places will provide rice/daikon wrappers if you ask for them.

          1. re: mliew

            I'm not korean so I'm not positive, but bo saam I think means that you wrap the meat in something. Basically the bbq will be marinated in such a way that you expect to wrap it in something else. (And then you dip it in a sauce also).

            Regular korean bbq just assumes you eat it straight up.

            1. re: karaethon

              So I'm assuming you don't care for Buga, which is Bossam style. It's not quite up to the level of places in Koreatown in LA, but I think it's pretty good.

              Manna is AYCE, and while I'm not a big fan, having been to the LA locations. I do think you get what you pay for.

              1. re: KirkK

                I've been to buga (specifically after reading about it on your blog) and I didn't care for it. The meat wasn't very flavorful and when I asked for the rice wrappers, they looked at me like I was crazy (read: bad service)

                1. re: karaethon

                  Buga is pretty good but I prefer Dae Jung Keum since they use real charcoal and it makes a big difference in the flavor of the meat.

                  Kirk: Can you explain the differences in the Korean BBQ styles?

      2. Went to Manna last night. Still no standout KBBQ in the area IMO. It's AYCE- not something that I usually enjoy, and seems unnecessary to me considering the amount of food you usually get at normal BBQ places.

        Here's the deal-

        Two menu choices: A1 and A2 (that's the end of the alpha-numerics), at 24.99 and 19.95 or something each. A1 gives you the choice of seafood and some pricier cuts of meat, A2 has no seafood and a smaller, yet still large, selection of meats. I opted for A2 and enjoyed spicy pork belly, galbi, bulgogi, spicy chicken, brisket, and beef tongue. They also offer beef large intestine, veal small intestine, between-the-rib meat and a few others that slip my mind. The A1 offers these in addition to some other cuts, squid, and baby octopus. Panchan limited and just ok, must ask for the other free items on the menu, including soybean paste for the meat, radish slices, rice, egg custard and soybean-veggie soup (last two were pretty good).

        I recommend not eating more than a bite of rice (their secret weapon against the AYCE customer), or better yet , no rice at all and asking for small portions of the meat so you can actually manage to try what's available without eating too much.

        Surly waitstaff (can't imagine how annoying it is to work tables at AYCE with everybody demanding more of this or that all the time, so kinda sympathize with them), must ask for refills of everything including beer, and a pretty tacky decor. You will leave smelling like a pit master, so they got that right.

        Only worth it if you're in a group, have been stranded at sea for a year, or are into pestering your waitresses. Makes me miss Soot Bull Jeep.


        1. Manna is open in San Marcos, right by Costco. I was amazed and pleased to have a Korean BBQ way up here in the far reaches. As noted below it is AYCE, which with Korean BBQ is a blessing and a curse (a blurse); eating a lot of KBBQ is good, but often the quality less so.

          On entering, first impressions gave me hope; the place was packed with a wait, probably 70% Asian, and it wasn't cheap, around $30/person. In my experience cheap Korean BBQ is bad Korean BBQ.

          The food was actually quite good, better than most of the KBBQ I've had in San Diego. A good selection, good quality meat, good pan chan etc. Service was friendly and helpful, if a little frantic with the full restaurant.

          Definitely going to be a regular here.