From casual bulgogi bowls to high-end fusion fare, there's never been a better time to enjoy Korean food in San Francisco. If you're looking to sample the freshest Seoul food in town, check out these three new spots.
HoM Korean Kitchen
154 McAllister St., Civic Center
Fast-casual HoM Korean Kitchen serves up build-your-own banchan bowls, a Korean twist on the Chipotle model. This new location is HoM's fourth, and its first in San Francisco; the others are in San Jose, Santa Cruz and Redwood City.
Diners start by selecting a base of either rice or salad, accompanied by a protein like braised beef, barbecue chicken or organic tofu. Each bowl is topped off with a choice of three banchan (Korean-style marinated and pickled vegetables), including kimchi, green beans and cucumber. Soup and nori chips are offered on the side.
HoM's current Yelp rating of four stars out of 18 reviews indicates the newcomer has received a warm welcome so far.
Yelper Nate W., who reviewed the eatery on July 27, wrote, "For the price, quality of food and service, this place is great."
Lily C. noted, "The menu has an abundance of options for you to choose from, and I had to ask an employee what they recommended. They even let me sample different things! I ended up going with the braised beef, and wow is all I can say. So flavorful, juicy and tender."
HoM Korean Kitchen is open from 10 a.m.–8 p.m. daily.
2226 Polk St., Russian Hill
Owned by Hyunyoung and Junsoo Bae, Ssal is a restaurant offering a contemporary take on Korean cuisine. According to Eater SF, the couple was inspired by Mister Jiu’s and Liholiho Yacht Club — "pedigreed establishments that take cues from Californian cuisine as much as Chinese and Hawaiian traditions, respectively."
The selection of small and large plates includes grilled and smoked oysters with kimchi and bacon, a scallion pancake with squid, grilled beef short ribs with pickled radishes, and a smoked roast duck, served in either a half or whole portion. Ssal also serves beer and wine.
Ssal's current Yelp rating of 4.5 stars out of 62 reviews indicates positive attention from users.
Yelper Seong L., who reviewed the restaurant on July 27, wrote, "Really amazing. Their short ribs and duck are out of this world."
Ella O. noted, "The food was great and portions ample. No disappointments."
SSAL is open from 5–9:30 p.m. on Wednesday-Sunday. (It's closed on Monday and Tuesday.)
1220 Ninth Ave., Inner Sunset
Taking its name from the Korean word for "mom," Um.ma specializes in comfort-food favorites like kimchi fried rice, bibimbap, Korean-style fried chicken and barbecue bulgogi. To drink, there's beer, soju and Korean raspberry wine.
According to the restaurant's website, "The um.ma team’s goal is to further promote Korean food and its culture, while giving diners the nostalgic feeling of being back at mom’s house enjoying a hot, home-cooked meal."
Yelpers are generally positive about the new spot, which currently holds four stars out of 80 reviews on the site.
Roman L., who visited um.ma on July 29, wrote, "It's a cute, modern restaurant that serves elevated Korean food, yet still gives you the sense of mom's home-cooked meals."
Um.ma is open for lunch from 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and for dinner from 5–10 p.m. on Tuesday-Friday, and from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on weekends. (It's closed on Monday.)
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