There is no doubt that Japan has some of the world’s best cuisine, but I have to say, the first time I visited Korea, I thought to myself that perhaps in moving here, I had made something of a mistake. From bibimbap to samgyeopsal, from chijimi to kimchi, Korea has some of the tastiest dishes going.
Right here in Nagoya, there are quite a few Korean restaurants, and below are my picks from the bunch.
While Seoul Table in the Yanagibashi area is the original and perhaps more convenient for access, with its Korean street food vendor decor, I feel that the second incarnation gives a more authentic experience.
Their specialties include the popular cheese dakgalbi, with lashings of melted cheese poured over sumptuous chicken and soft sweet potato, and samgyeopsal, featuring thick slices of Andean plateau pork, 200 grams worth, prepared on a sizzling skillet at your table. Can’t decide? Then take advantage of their all-you-can-eat and drink menu.
Punmikan also has two locations, and it also has a more convenient store near Nagoya Station; however, the spot near Kanayama is where I have seen the most actual Korean diners, and for me, that speaks volumes.
With its jazzy interior and K-Pop blaring out from the TV screens, Punmikan is a lively restaurant that is ideal for parties or even casual dating. I usually go for the beef bulgogi (which literary means fire meat) and the pork bone and potato hotpot, which has umami flavors for days. And is it authentic? Well, one lunchtime (a great time to visit as the lunch deals are very reasonable) the spice was so heavy in the air that I couldn’t stop crying. Couldn’t tear myself away from my chijimi either, though!
Regular JIS readers should know of Korean Riyori Hana, as I have mentioned it previously. Still, it is too good not to be brought up again – in fact, in the opinion of my wife and I, it is the best Korean restaurant in town.
As such, there are far too many specials to list here, but a visit is not complete without trying the fried octopus chukumi or the ribs topped with cheese and pumpkin. Furthermore, should you swing by on a Friday, their amazing Korean fried chicken is almost half price. A word of warning for those of you with sensitive tastebuds: some of the dishes are authentically spicy… Which is one reason why it’s so good!
A stone’s throw from Nagoya Station, Korean Bar Ultra Seoul makes this list for many reasons, but mostly for its seating, as it is possible to dine outside and watch the nightlife go by (my favorite dining pastime). The upstairs is perfect for parties and looks just like a restaurant I went to once in Busan.
That’s not to say that the food isn’t excellent, however, with the cheese dakgalbi (again) an instant winner and a choice of seven different types. But my real weakness at Ultra Seoul is the fried chicken, which I cannot stop ordering, much to my wife’s continued amusement.
Where: 3 Chome-9-24 Meieki, Nakamura Ward (map)