Pages Navigation Menu

An online magazine about Korean culture, food and hallyu based in Toronto, Canada

Restaurant Review: Nak Won Restaurant

Last month, we introduced Pyung Won House, located in the southwest corner of Yonge and Finch. This time, we’re going to move north – oh, only about five feet or so – to the restaurant of the month: Nak Won.

Nak Won, meaning Paradise, has been around for awhile now. It’s a staple in the Willowdale neighborhood. In addition to this location, there are 3 more locations within the GTA. The Yonge and Finch location is the original restaurant.

My Latest Experience

Nak Won has an extensive menu, ranging from the usual tofu soups to tabletop cooking to Chinese-inspired dishes. Craving for something simple and homey, we ordered the dolsot bibimbap (돌솥비빔밥, rice mixed with beef, veggies and spicy sauce, served in a hot stone pot) and gamjatang (감자탕, pork bone and potatoes soup).

Banchans from Nak Won

Banchan from Nak Won

The banchan came together with the main dishes. The portions were small, which was great because the portions of the mains were quite generous! There were 7 side dishes in total. Feel free to ask for seconds!

Gamjattang from Nak Won

Gamjattang from Nak Won

The gamjatang came in a big bowl. The soup itself was flavourful, a tad on the salty side but with a spicy kick. What I’ve noticed about Nak Won’s gamjatang was that it didn’t have lots of peppercorn and spices in the soup. The lack of visible spices changed the taste of the soup and lowers the heat level. The chewy texture of the rice cake was a welcoming addition to the soup. The potatoes, on the other hand, was such a disappointment. It wasn’t fully cooked and was rock hard.

Nak Won was very generous with their meat. There were probably 3 or 4 large pieces of pork bones in the bowl. The bowl looked like it was overflowing with meat! However, for a pork bone soup, the meat wasn’t as tender and as fall-off-the-bones as we liked it to be.

Bibimbap from Nak Won

Bibimbap from Nak Won

You can never really go wrong with bibimbap! Served in a sizzling hot stone bowl, the dish has a good portion of veggies and beef. Trust me, it’s all there hidden behind the giant sunny side up egg. My favourite way to eat bibimbap is to get in on the mixing action as soon as possible. I like mine to be spicy, so I go a bit excessive with the Korean hot sauce. Remember to mix it well! Use your chopsticks to separate the greens, as they’re usually clustered together. After mixing it, I try to spread the rice evenly around the inside walls of the stone bowl. The heat from the stone pot usually burns the rice at just the right amount, leaving me with a wall of delicious crispy rice! I’m salivating just thinking about it!

Bibimbap is a great choice for the vegetarians out there, as most restaurants are able to leave out the meat.

Service/Atmosphere

The service is pretty slow for a small restaurant. Since there were only two ahjummas working the night we went, they were constantly juggling between the front and back sections of the restaurant. There were a lot of waiting around for them to come back around. I can’t even imagine getting any service if you were sitting in the booths.

Parking

Street parking is available along Yonge St. There’s a Green P parking lot behind the restaurant as well. For those who are keen on public transportation, Nak Won is minutes away from the Finch subway station.

Overall

Overall, Nak Won had been a very mediocre experience. I don’t find the food to be particularly exciting nor the atmosphere to be particularly inviting. There are many restaurants within the immediate area that provides much better food and service. Nak Won would probably be a second choice, more so than a first choice.

Just the Facts

  • What: Nak Won (nakwon.ca)
  • Where: 5594 Yonge Street, North York (SW corner of Yonge/Finch)

We want to hear what you think!