We finally make it to Bibigo near Yeouido today by pure accident. Being that it’s Chuseok (Korea’s largest holiday) with traffic at its peak (imagine endless rows of cars at a standstill), we (or I) can’t wait any longer while trying to head to our next eatery so we just roam around Seoul….that is until I remember that Bibigo is on my list of restaurants to visit and it happens to be in our vicinity (yah!). I can’t believe I almost drove to LA from San Francisco when living in the States just to try out this restaurant…..better late than never right!? If the pictures on the website are any indication of how good the food tastes, this will be one Chuseok lunch to remember.
For more information about Bibigo, visit http://us.bibigo.com/index.
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Food: ★★★ out of 5 stars
We ordered the chef recommended dish composed of chicken teriyaki, black rice, and veggies in a citron soy sauce. I picked it based on presentation and wanting to try something different, but sadly the taste was off, way off. The citron sauce made the dish entirely watery (despite using it sparingly) and didn’t add any real flavor or taste to the ingredients. I much prefer gochujang (red pepper paste), which definitely packs a bigger punch in flavor and spice. The other dish we ordered was the Jangjorim Dolsot Bibimbab (Soy Beef Strips n Vegetable Hot Pot). Although better than my dish, it also lacked much flavor and punch you would expect from a place like this. And again, it begins with the sauce. The waitress gave us the citron soy sauce and, well, it didn’t do anything for us. At this point, we were getting a little desperate so I just got a packet of gochujang sauce (they call it kohot sauce here) and ended up mixing our dishes together for the real thing—spicy bibimbab. On a positive note, the extra side dishes that we ordered—dakkangjung (sweet n sticky fried chicken) and goon mandu (pan fried dumplings)—were absolutely delicious. Definitely add them to your set menu and you won’t be disappointed.
Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Bibigo has two different restaurant types—casual dining and fast casual. We ate at the latter and ordered our dishes without any issues, despite it being our first visit and not knowing exactly how to order. It had the feel of a fast food dining experience (a la the States), which is slightly strange since we were accustomed to yelling for waiter service whenever eating Korean. All that aside, the ordering process was easy and convenient while the staff members were very courteous and helpful.
Ambiance: ★★★★★ out of 5 stars
Clean, modern, bright, and semi-sophisticated are just a few adjectives to describe this Bibigo location. I especially liked the color scheme of the restaurant, primarily green and brown, giving the ambiance a natural and homey feel. Not bad for a so-called fast casual dining venue. Now I’m curious to check out their upscale, casual dining restaurant.
Value: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
One of the great things about this place is the fact they use seasonal, fresh ingredients so you know you’re getting healthy food. On top of that, their take on modern Korean food interpretation is exquisite and inspiring. They really let the ingredients shine while at the same time presenting them as Korean cuisine should be—healthy, harmonious, balanced, and refined. As for the value (sorry for the slight digression), we ordered two set menus that totaled about 23,000 won ($23 dollars), which is a reasonable price considering the portion size, presentation, and decor. You definitely won’t be burning holes through your wallet here!
Overall rating: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Bibigo (Yeouido branch)
Jinmi Paragon Building 1st Floor
13 Yeouido-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul