If your idea of Korean cuisine is the bi bim bap listed at the bottom of your local sushi joint’s menu, then these restaurants will blow your mind
For fans of Korean comfort food willing to pay extra for slick, downtown decor, Swish by Han is a revelation. The seafood soon dubu is a spicy broth of tofu, shrimp, scallops, mussels and calamari. A raw quail’s egg adds buttery richness. 38 Wellington St. E., 647-343-0268.
The north Toronto grilled-eel specialist Jang Uh Plus offers subtle tastes rather than Korean cuisine’s usual boldness. Its chili-zinged eel is crispy and fatty, and completely fun to eat when rolled in a perilla leaf with raw garlic and jalapeños. 9625 Yonge St., 647-258-1000.
The cooks at Cho Dang Soon Tofu, a ridiculously cheap, homely mom-and-pop shop, make custardy tofu with unparalleled expertise. Stone-bowl stews are made with sweet kimchee broth and come with a raw egg you crack and stir in at the table. 5130 Dundas St. W., 416-234-1161.
Tofu Village in Bloor Street’s Koreatown serves crisp, golden, glorious pajung (seafood pancakes) with bits of shrimp, octopus and scallion for bite. The chap chae, sesame oil–doused sweet-potato noodles, are perfect cold-weather sustenance. 681 Bloor St. W., 647-345-3836.
Loungey Koko Share Bar is a pricier people-watching place with quality Japanese-inflected dishes. The roasted pork bossam—a lettuce wrap of meat in kimchee with tangy-salty condiments—pairs beautifully with a soju cocktail. 81 Yorkville Ave., 416-850-6135.
(Image: The soon dubu at Swish by Han, by John Cullen)