Craving for Korean food, we purchased a dinner voucher for 2 at Korea Garden from Deal Grocer. According to the deal’s description, Korea Garden offers their bestselling feast of signature dishes for 2 at a discount. It’s because they are celebrating their 41st anniversary (that’s admirable!). We sort of have high expectations from this restaurant since it was a recipient of Philippine Tatler’s Best Restaurant award and “Manila’s Best Korean Restaurant” award in Manila’s Best 2014 (which was dubbed as “the Oscar’s of Manila’s restaurant industry”).
Upon entering, we were greeted by their accommodating staff and was escorted to our reserved table. We didn’t have to wait long as our dishes were quickly served in order. That was great, by the way, since we were already starving that time. Anyway, the following are Korea Garden’s signature dishes that we ate along with our comments:
Korea Garden Side Dishes (or “Banchan“)
The side dishes which are shown above are kimchi (“spicy pickled napa cabbage/ 배추 김치), stir-fried anchovies (“myeolchi bokkeum/ 멸치볶음”), seasoned radish (“musengchae/ 무생채”), soybean sprouts (“kong namul/ 콩나물 무침”), braised tofu (“dubu-jorim/ 두부조림”) and spinach (“sigeumchi namul/ 시금치 나물”). It is pretty the usual set for a Korean restaurant and the taste is ordinary as well. However, it’s still a nice complement to a meal. We just finished ours as soon as it was placed in our table though since, as mentioned, we’re hungry. The downside to their side dishes is that they don’t refill it (maybe because we got a discount for our dinner?), so no second serving for us.
These meat dumplings are both steamed and fried served with soy sauce. For us, it looks and tastes like Japanese gyoza.
Japchae (Sweet Potato Noodles)
Their take on Japchae is different from most Korean restaurants we’ve tried so far. This is because Korea Garden’s version doesn’t have that sweet taste in it. Otherwise, it still has all the things that make up the famous Korean dish specifically the sweet potato glass noodle and the veggies.
Nakji Bokkeum (Stir-Fried Spicy Octopus)
The octopus here is surprisingly tender, but not too chewy which is great to nibble. It is served in a lovely sweet and spicy seasoning that is truly delicious and the heat of the spice is tolerable.
Bulgogi (Grilled Marinated Beef)
The presentation is kind of interesting as they’ve used a concave stove plate. As for the taste however, I would say that it was average because there is a possibility that it was just re-heated for us based on what we’ve eaten. The sauce on the side however tastes really nice.
Kalbi Chim (Beef Ribs Stew)
If we have to pick one dish from everything we ordered that night, it would have to be the Kalbi Chim (Beef Ribs Stew). The “orangey”/ spicy look of the stew might look daunting, but it really tastes great when paired with rice. The beef was perfectly tender that it feels like it melts in one’s mouth with every bite. Meanwhile, the stew was full of flavor that will make you not care about cholesterol and all those fats. P.S. Sorry for the blurred photo. We were so excited to eat already.
KOREA GARDEN RESTAURANT IS REASONABLE
With the Deal Grocer coupon, Korea Garden is truly reasonable and worth it. We just paid $17.42 (based on our Deal Grocer official receipt) equivalent to PhP 850 instead of paying the original cost which was PhP 1350. The feast came with two plain rice, soup and fresh, sliced pineapple for dessert for what it’s worth.
Korea Garden is simply “okay” for us because their Korean dishes are already tailored to the Filipino’s palate. Meanwhile, their non-refillable side dishes are very tasty, but it would have been better if they’ll allow refills like a typical Korean restaurant. Overall, we’ll still want to go back because of their excellent Kalbi Chim and affordable priced Korean dishes based on their menu.
This is us again. We look fat, but happy :))
Korea Garden Restaurant
128 Jupiter Street, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines.
Operating Hours: Open daily from 11:30AM to 2:30PM and 5:00PM to 10:00PM.