If you enjoy Korean food you're in luck — we've found the freshest San Francisco eateries to quell your cravings.
And if you've never tried cuisine from the peninsula—typically spicy dishes with protein-vegetable combinations that dial up the umami— here's your chance to try four spots that come well recommended.
Here are the newest places to check out the next time you're in the mood for Korean food.
1 Market St., (near Steuart Street), SoMa
First on the list is Matko — a new spot offering fast and casual Korean fare downtown, specializing in customizable Korean-style lunch boxes known as dosirak.
At Matko, customers choose a base like soba noodles, mixed greens, or purple rice to start building their own meal — then top it off with a choice of small side dishes like seasoned cucumber, kimchi, or sweet corn. To finish, add in one of the many proteins available, like beef bulgogi, spicy pork or soy chicken.
Matko's current Yelp rating of 4.5 stars out of 24 reviews indicates positive attention from users.
"Matko is a new lunch spot inside One Market and it was delicious. It's a whole Korean-style meal in a bowl," wrote Yelper Yi Z. "Matko is located in a modern, bright, and comfortable dining court area, [and] it's a good spot to go with a group since everyone can get what they want."
Mona Z. noted, "Delish! Love the banchans (Korean side dishes) that come along with the entrée. We're definitely coming back and making it a lunch date with Blue Bottle Coffee in the Ferry Building after."
Matko is open from 10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. on weekdays. (It's closed on weekends.)
1740 Church St., Noe Valley
Next up is a new Korean and Japanese spot in Noe Valley offering tapas and more called Seokyo.
On the menu, look for plates to share like kimchi gyoza, okra tempura, and grilled corn with cheese. Or treat yourself to other notable items such as hamachi carpaccio, grilled squid with garlic, tuna tataki, seafood pancakes, oysters on the half shell, kalbi short ribs and more.
With a four-star rating out of 60 reviews on Yelp, Seokyo has been getting positive attention.
"A new place in SF suitable for hanging out with friends! I like that they provide Japanese food and Korean food at the same time," wrote Yelper Anny L. "The sashimi is super fresh. I love their Korean spicy chicken wings."
Jac L. noted, "I love the ambiance of the restaurant, staff is very attentive and friendly. Everything is delicious."
Seokyo is open from 5 p.m.–10 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and 5 p.m.–11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
1200 Vermont St., Mission
Located near San Francisco General Hospital in the former Uni's Deli space between 23rd and 24th streets, VBowls is a Korean and Asian fusion spot, offering poke and more, and features customizable bowls.
Begin by choosing from organic mixed greens, white rice, or brown rice to lay the foundation for your meal. Then top it off by selecting a protien like salmon, unagi, tofu or tuna. Add the finishing touch with toppings like seaweed salad, avocado, or cucumber — and don't forget the spicy mayo and kimchi.
Yelp users are generally positive about VBowls, which currently holds four stars out of 20 reviews.
Yelper Emily T. noted, "Small place right across the street from the hospital. This place is a great grab-and-go kind of spot as there is little seating, service is really friendly, and the establishment is clean."
"Simply put — the best. Everything is fresh and delicious," Yelper Patty M. said. "The staff is very welcoming and friendly. My fave combo is brown rice, spicy crab, edaname and seaweed salad. Everything I have tried is excellent."
VBowls is open from 11 a.m.–7 p.m. on weekdays, 11:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m. on Saturday, and 11:30 a.m.–6 p.m. on Sunday.
5524 Geary Blvd. (between 19th and 20th avenues), Outer Richmond
JIJIME is a new Korean and Asian fusion spot in the Outer Richmond offering everything from small plates to rice bowls, potstickers and more.
Tapas items include popcorn potstickers ($5), curry croquettes ($5), deep fried oysters ($6) and mini pork nuggets ($8) — while larger dishes include saba shioyaki, grilled mackerel served with rice ($13.95); and mixed seafood curry with deep-fried soft-shell crab served with rice ($13.50).
With a 4.5-star rating out of 74 reviews, JIJIME has been getting positive attention.
"The food was very good, too. And everything came out in less than 15 minutes! I was very impressed," wrote Yelper Annie S. "While everything was delicious, my top two favorite dishes of the night were the grilled pork belly and monkey brains."
Janessa noted, "[I] was truly impressed by the vast menu, and excellent service. The interior was cool, and love the string lights on the bar. [I] would definitely eat everything I ordered again, and can't wait to try more tapas."
JIJIME is open from 11:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m. on Monday–Saturday. (It's closed on Sunday.)
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