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Restaurant Korea

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Heiliggeiststraße 3 69117 Heidelberg

So with the recent closure of Mr.Whang Restaurant along the Hauptstraße, Heidelberg is down one respectable Korean restaurant.  Fortunately, however, there is still a traditional Korean restaurant hidden behind Heidelberg City Hall (Rathaus), duly named Restaurant Korea.  Even though the restaurant’s name isn’t exactly a creative one, the food is authentic and certainly does not cater to westerners’ taste buds.

Restaurant Korea is not exactly the most visible of restaurants.  It is situated next to a hotel, concealed out of sight by the large governmental building at market square.  The only indication of its location is a minute sign jutting out from the building, tagged with the restaurant name and Korean characters.  The menu covers a good deal of popular and traditional dishes, as well as price ranges.  For a great value, the weekday lunch menu offers a handful of Korean dishes all less than ten euros.  Not only are they easy on the pocket, but all of them will surely fill you up for a good part of the day, while also appealing to your taste buds.

 

Although the food served is Korean, the interior of the restaurant is anything but.  Every nook and cranny is practically decorated with some unique antique – decorative plates, wooden figurines, a model ship, and old sliver spoons.  The bar area is impressively stocked with a plethora of shiny glasses and beer steins.  There are ornamental Asian paper fans, along with traditional artwork adorning the walls.  In all, there are 9 polished, wooden tables with plenty of seats at each one.  Seating consists of cushioned wooden chairs or seats lined along the wooden walls.   The place can get quiet at times as there is no music playing at all.  You may hear the occasional Korean being spoken from the workers, but aside from that it makes for a pleasant, meditating dining atmosphere.

 

The menu doesn’t exactly reveal everything in its descriptions, which is shockingly a good thing.  Although the lunch menu describes the Bulgogi as being marinated beef served with rice and kimchi, the order was surprisingly accompanied by five other small dishes containing various items – small cubes of daikon in a spicy sauce, served cold, cold boiled bean sprouts with sliced carrots and chopped green onions, thin slices of tofu in a red chili sauce, lightly battered and fried seaweed with sesame seeds, and slices of cucumbers soaked in the red sauce.  In Korean cuisine, these small dishes are referred to as ‘Banchan.’  Collectively, the banchan are delicious side dishes to the main course of the meal.

Bulgogi is thin slices of beef, marinated in soy sauce and other ingredients and grilled.  At Restaurant Korea, the beef is flavored extremely well and tastes expensive.  At times, however, the meat can be slightly chewy and tough, but other parts are tender and simply melt in your mouth.  Personally, I would have liked the meat to be browned even more to get the nice bits of caramelization, but the beef is good nonetheless. The sesame seeds garnished on top provide additional aroma and texture.  Together with the small bowl of rice, which is slightly sticky and easy to scoop, the beef is marvelous and a meal in itself.

The banchan, however, adds wonders to the Bulgogi and rice.  Kimchi (pickled cabbage), the most common and most popular type of banchan, is particularly flavorful and spicy, maybe too fiery for the average eater.  It is crunchy and cold, spicy and sensational.  Other highlights are the spicy tofu (though not as spicy as the kimchi) and the fried seaweed.  Both are exceptional and enjoyable with the rice or simply by itself.  The sliced cucumbers are fresh and a good palate cleanser at the end of the meal.  They are only lightly tossed in the red chili sauce and thus only a slight tickle on your tongue.

To drink, there is Korean beer (OB) and Japanese alcoholic beverages, including sake.  In addition to the normal soft drinks and such, there are some spirits and wines.  For a healthy alternative, there are also hot drinks like Japanese and Korean Ginseng teas.

Restaurant Korea is open everyday from 11:30 P.M. to 3 P.M., and again from 5:30 P.M. to 10:30 P.M.  Definitely worth paying a visit.  It’s as close to Korean as you can get.  Annyeong haseyo!

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Summary:

Restaurant Korea is a cozy Korean establishment next to the Rathaus in Heidelberg at Marktplatz.  Traditional, genuine Korean dishes as well as sushi offered.  Friendly service.

Overall – 5 stars

  • Bulgogi – 4.5/5
  • Banchan (Kimchi, Daikon, Bean Sprouts, Seaweed, Cucumbers, and Tofu) – 5/5
  • Service – 5/5

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Written by geschmack

March 12th, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Mr. Whang Restaurant

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Mr Whang Restaurant 

Hauptstraße 136 69117 Heidelberg            [OUT OF BUSINESS]

If you are hungering for some Japanese or Korean food while in Heidelberg, and you’re near the Universitätsplatz, this is the right place for you! (Although the storefront says it is also a Chinese place, they don’t have many traditional offerings).  When you enter the restaurant, you are instantly met with elegant tables covered by white table cloths.  The waitresses are also friendly and nice.

I visited this place on a Sunday afternoon with my uncle and aunt and we were the only ones there.  We were immediately seated at a table next to the door, a great place to just sit and watch people pass by.  I ordered the green tea for my drink.  What can I say?  Green tea is green tea!

As far as food is concerned, my aunt ordered the Kim chi, which was pretty tasty!  It wasn’t too spicy or anything, maybe not exactly ancient traditional style, but quite good.  She also ordered the Sushi Gemischt-Maki (mixed sushi), which also comes with miso soup.  The mixed sushi comes in an elegant wooden platter that makes the dining experience so much better.  It makes you feel really special!  There is a large assortment of sushi on the wooden boat, with tuna, cucumbers, salmon, and traditional styles.  I didn’t sample the sushi, but it looked really attractive.

Mixed Sushi Platter_M

My uncle and I ordered the Bulgogi.  He ordered the pork (Schwein) and I got the beef (Rind).  This restaurant uses portable burners, the kind that requires a tray to cook the meats on.  The waitress brought the raw meats to our table, where she grilled them right in front of us.  Unfortunately, the pork comes with a lot of fat (think bacon), which my uncle just could not eat.  Each order comes with a very small bowl of rice.  It totally wasn’t enough for me!  Also, they only give a few pieces of vegetables – some onions, a few bell peppers, and mushrooms.  Really made me sad.  What’s more is that they didn’t sever Banchan with the meal!  I was eagerly anticipating a variety of small plates to come out with noodles, potatoes, bean sprouts, cucumbers, and other sweet goodness (like they have in Los Angeles).  But the waitress said you have to order it extra!

  

The pork was extremely tasty.  I was gobbling it down with the rice until my entire bowl my completely spotless.   I bet they barely had to wash my bowls and plates because it was so good.  The pork fat really makes everything so delicious.  As far as the beef is concerned, it really wasn’t the best.  The marinade didn’t penetrate the meat well (maybe they just did it today?).  I definitely preferred the pork.  The rice was also a bit sticky and yummy.

At the end, I was completely full.  The price, however, was a tad on the expensive side.  Each Bulgogi costs 14,50 EUR, while the sushi mix costs 22,10 EUR.  The Kim chi also was 3,60 EUR for each bowl.  Would I come back?  Sure, but only for a special occasion.

 

Summary:

Great Korean and Japanese food.  A bit expensive.  Dogs allowed inside.  Bathrooms are inside, upstairs.  No outdoor seating.

Overall – 4 Stars

  • Kimchi – 4/5
  • Bulgogi Pork – 4.5/5
  • Bulgogi Beef – 3/5
  • Service – 4/5

 

http://www.misterwhang.com/en/

Written by geschmack

September 13th, 2009 at 6:14 pm