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Published on December 27th, 2012 | by Andy Park


Top 5 Korean Restaurants in San Diego 2012

Here’s the countdown to the best Korean Restaurants in San Diego 2012. Brace yourselves, prepare your appetites, and get ready to dash out for a great dinner or lunch at any of these restaurants!

#5 Friend’s House Korean BBQ

Friends House Korean BBQ San Diego EatSDThe quality of food you will find at Friend’s House should not be overlooked by their somewhat limited hours on certain days and simple layout, which is a slight Hawaiian theme. Admittedly, they don’t have the highest quality or most elaborate menu in San Diego, but they do provide a very satisfying selection of Korean food to choose from and do not disappoint in providing a pleasant first experience to those whom have never tried Korean food; whether it’s the short ribs, the hot soups, or the rice dishes, you will find yourself satisfied in all of your cravings. Just don’t get the cold noodles– nowhere in San Diego will you get even a decent dose of authenticity. This goes for # 4, 3, 2, and 1 on this list. Also see our review of Friend’s House Korean.

4647 Convoy Street
San Diego, CA 92111

#4 Convoy Tofu House

Convoy Tofu House Korean San Diego EatSDNot to be confused with ‘Tofu House” next to Yogurt World, this place is notorious for being the go-to spot for Koreans and their respective parties. They can host pretty big groups, have quick and efficient service, and very tasty dishes. Dont be surprised by the cold barley tea alternative to water–it’s not a strong tea, it’s free, and it complements many Korean meals. Despite their reluctance to refill more than twice, their side dishes are unlimited and their beautiful boiling Stone-pot Tofu Stew will certainly cause you to forget that by satisfying any savory craving during these cold(?) winter days and leave you a more loyal than you were before. Their Bibimbap (mixed rice with vegetables) and BBQ short-rib options are a great choice too, however, they only rank #4 in what I would expect in a Korean restaurant in San Diego.

4229 Convoy Street
San Diego, CA 92111

#3 Manna Korean BBQ

Manna Korean BBQ San Diego EatSDIt is quite unfair to put an All You Can Eat Korean BBQ place like Manna on this list since they only serve a set course of foods, but this place serves the best option for any gluttonous beast wanting to swim in the sea of great-quality Korean food. Their wait-time during peak hours is at least 30 minutes (which sadly is every day during dinner time) but the experience is very satisfying and worth the sacrifice of your budget limit, gym efforts, and lifespan. All their meats are worth trying especially their Joo Mool Luk (short ribs), LA Galbi (marinated short ribs), and Chadolbaeki (beef brisket). Their side dishes are never ending and really well prepared, all their extras were worth trying, and their service is superb once you push the service button. Make sure you don’t wear your finest clothes or risk the amazingly glorious stench of oily meat for days, and be prepared to immerse yourself into quality Korean food to your heart’s content. You will never regret this experience…until your meat-hangover the next day.

4428 Convoy Street
San Diego, CA 92111
Manna Korean BBQ

#2 Do Re Mi House

Do Re Mi House Korean San Diego EatSDComing in a very close second to number one is Do Re Mi which by far exceeds in service and side-dish choices. These two components will blow most of the competition out of the water. With a spankin’ average of 9 delicious and fresh side dishes— which they will voluntarily refill without reservation— and an extremely courteous staff that warms your heart, this unusually small restaurant is massively growing in popularity amongst Koreans. Sadly they will have a hard time accommodating groups bigger than four at any given moment since they have less than eight tables in total and may not be a desirable option for bigger groups. However, their Tofu stews are extremely flavorful, their Stone-pot Bibimbap is made with precision and tastes amazing, their lunch specials are very decently priced and have great meat options, and you cannot go wrong with their Hot and Spicy Soup. Basically I will not be surprised if next year they trade places with the current #1, but for now I will have to give the crown to…

8199 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92111‎
Do Re Mi House

#1 Dae Jang Keum

Dae Jang Keum Korean San Diego EatSDAesthetically pleasing; delicious oriental food options; plentiful seating; decent prices; and the call button for service is what makes me very comfortable presenting Dae Jang Keum as the best Korean restaurant in San Diego. For the natives and enthusiasts, this place will open your eyes to what a very well-rounded restaurant Korean restaurant looks and tastes like. Their entree selection has a very promising array of choices, which are very tasty and deserve recognition. Their Stone-pot Bibimbap uses some of the freshest ingredients I’ve tried in San Diego and is extremely flavorful (also depends on how much pepper sauce you use, but I digress); their Tofu stews are definitely a step better than many that I have tried with a softer tofu and thicker soup base, and their Hot/Spicy Soup is not to be ignored as it leaves you craving more even after you’re exploding from an already-perfect meal. They also have a notorious Korean BBQ section of the restaurant which, even though a bit pricey, has a very coveted selection of the finest marinated meats. I can talk forever about how much this restaurant satisfies my Korean heart (and stomach), and how much pride I have in recommending them to any/all inquirers of the “Best Korean Restaurants in San Diego.” You will not be disappointed!

7905 Engineer Rd.
San Diego, CA 92111


About the Author

Andy Park

grew up in Seoul, Korea before attending UC San Diego and has been a San Diegan for the past seven years. His love for and impeccable taste regarding Asian food (especially Korean and Thai) brings an eastern flair to EatSD. He currently is studying to be a Marriage and Family Therapist and has a passion for spiritual and leadership development and personal wholeness. He graduated from UCSD with a BS in Biology and is currently working towards his Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy at Bethel University in San Diego. In his spare time he is a food writer, plays board games with friends, utilizes his deal-finding skills, snaps a few photos, dances hip-hop, and drenches himself in the hilarious family dysfunction of the show Modern Family. Facebook | Twitter | Google+

One Response to Top 5 Korean Restaurants in San Diego 2012

  1. guest says:

    SD just doesn’t have good korean food. It’s mediocre and overpriced. But the restaurants above are the better ones in SD. You got to work with what you got I guess.

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