foodigatorJ’s Top 3 Korean Restaurants in the GTA

As one of very few or only Korean food bloggers out there in Toronto, I am always asked about where my favorite Korean restaurant is. Then I always ask, ‘what kind of Korean food?’ Because Korean food isn’t just pork bone soup, seafood pancake or AYCE BBQ. There is so much more than that and luckily, the Korean restaurants in Toronto do offer great food if you know where to look.

*Editor’s note: AYCE = “all you can eat”. There are several AYCE Korean BBQ places in Toronto/GTA, not all of which are actually Korean.*

The following are top 3 Korean restaurants I usually recommend to others.

MakkalChon

MakkalChon serves authentic Korean food, focusing on meat and vegetables specializing in ‘Ssam’ (쌈, lettuce wrap).

Banchan (side dishes) at MakkalChon
Banchan (side dishes) at MakkalChon

The restaurant offers several side dishes which changes daily and it feels like you are eating at home.

A lot of the times I find Korean dishes in Toronto are made way too sweet to cater to non-Koreans. However, the flavors at MakkalChon stay quite authentic.

Spicy chicken for your veggie wrap (ssam)
Spicy chicken for your veggie wrap (ssam)

Some recommended dishes would be the vegetable wrap combo which comes with your choice of meat and a basket filled with fresh vegetables for you to wrap it in. For ~$15 you get all the side dishes, a bowl of rice as well as soy bean soup (된장 찌개, doenjang jjigae) which is quite a deal.

The different lettuces for the ssam (wraps)
The different lettuces for the ssam (wraps)

If you are looking for something smaller and simple, kimchi soup (김치찌개, kimchi jjigae) and spicy stir fried squid on rice are other popular dishes at MakkalChon.

For more info and pictures from Justine on MakkalChon, please check out her review.

Piggy’s Restaurant

Piggy’s Restaurant is actually a franchise from Korea, and as name of the restaurant indicates they specialize in pork belly (삼겹살, samgyeopsal).

Sam
Samgyeopsal or pork belly in English

That doesn’t mean they only serve meat, they serve a lot of vegetarian dishes for non meat eaters. At Piggy’s restaurant, you can experience the authentic Korean pork belly table top BBQ experience which comes with a lot of side dishes. You can cook it yourself or the servers can help you out if you need assistance.

Grilled intestines
Grilled intestines

If you are adventurous enough, they also serve intestine BBQ (곱창, gopchang) which is also a popular dish in Korea. Another specialty at Piggy’s restaurant is naengmyun (냉면, cold noodles). You can get the naengmyun regular or with the spicy sauce and they make their noodles in-house. The noodles are clear and chewy and served cold which is perfect for a hot, summer day.

Mandu
Mandu

Also, another dish I would recommend is Korean steamed dumplings (만두, mandoo) made with pork which goes perfectly with your naengmyun.

For more info and pictures from Justine on Piggy’s Restaurant, please check out her review.

 Bulgogi Brothers

Bulgogi Brothers Restaurant
Bulgogi Brothers Restaurant

Bulgogi Brothers, which is located up at highway 7, is another franchise from Korea which specializes in bulgogi (불고기, sweet marinated beef; Korean BBQ).

They have lunch specials which you can take advantage of throughout the week and on weekends.

Two nice things about Bulgogi Brothers is that they will do the cooking for you and the restaurant has excellent ventilation system so you won’t smell like meat the entire day after your meal.

HaeMul GungJung Mandu - close-up
HaeMul GungJung Mandu – close-up

If you like appetizers, I would strongly recommend haemul goongjoong mandu (해물 궁중 만두, deep-fried dumplings with spicy seafood) and sogogi milssam (소고기 밀쌈, marinated meat with flat rice cake wrap).

GwangYang Style Bulgogi cooking
GwangYang Style Bulgogi cooking

Food at Bulgogi Brothers is more upscale and you will be able to find some items on their menu that can’t be found elsewhere. Also, their food is quite visually appealing and you can somewhat experience Han Jung Sik (traditional Korean style) dining experience

It’s a great way to introduce someone to Korean cuisine or Korean BBQ. They serve good quality food and provide excellent customer service.

For more info and pictures from Justine on Bulgogi Brothers, please check out her review.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]This article was written by Justine from http://www.foodigatorj.com/ who is one of our favourite Toronto food bloggers. She does restaurant reviews – all kinds, not just Korean restaurants. Born in Seoul, Korea and raised in Vancouver, Canada she brings an interesting perspective to her food reviews.[/author_info] [/author]

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