Along the side streets of Poblacion, Makati, you’ll find Seoul Galbi. It’s one of the oldest Korean restaurants in the area and, even to this day, it’s a favorite haunt of foodies, Chinese and Koreans looking for authentic Korean food, and ordinary people like us who are still up past midnight and craving for some late-night samgyupsal. Here’s our review of Seoul Galbi Korean restaurant in Makati!
Seoul Galbi is one of the pioneer Korean restaurants in Manila. It started way before the unli meat trend, which paved the way for the numerous samgyupsal restaurants in the country. That saying, Seoul Galbi still enjoys a dedicated group of patrons who are looking for high-quality, authentic Korean food.
Location and ambiance
Seoul Galbi is a home-styled restaurant. Inside, you can find wooden tables and electric fans. Some people might be turned off with this, but for me it feels like one of those hole-in-the-wall restaurants you see in food documentaries, a “discovery” that serves authentic cuisine. And yes, that’s what Seoul Galbi is.
The restaurant receives a constant influx of customers, including Chinese and Koreans. This is a good indication of the quality of food. It also means that it can get loud at times.
As for the location, it’s located in Poblacion so it’s fairly easy to get to. It’s also near other restaurants and cafes, which is convenient especially if you want to have coffee or drinks afterwards.
Seoul Galbi doesn’t offer unlimited meat options, but ala carte items only.
Let’s start with the side dishes. There’s regular kimchi (cabbage), cucumber kimchi, pickled radish, bean sprout, sweetened marbled potatoes and fish cake. Side dishes are refillable once. This was enough for us, although it might not be so for heavy eaters, particularly those who enjoy eating their lettuce wraps with kimchi.
I like the cabbage kimchi and cucumber kimchi. Ha! Yes I don’t normally eat kimchi, but since I’d been doing a lot of samgyupsal reviews I thought I might as well start now. The marbled potatoes were also well received and we ordered another plate of this, although the second order was still chilled. The bean sprout, although mildly spicy, was rather flavorless.
The lettuce was fresh and it came with garlic slices which you have to grill as well. It’s only the second time I’d seen garlic slices being served, or maybe I just didn’t notice it before.
We also got steamed egg, which is free if you get 2 orders of meat. I always like steamed egg, and I appreciate this one because it’s not fancy but it’s still good.
For the samgyupsal: We’re not familiar with the menu, so we asked the server for recommendations. We chose wine samgyeop (marinated pork belly with red wine and herb; 200g, P330) and jumuleok (marinated fresh beef rib finger; 180g, P650).
Initially, I was doubtful about our orders since we’re a group of 3 and I didn’t know if 2 plates of meat would be enough for us. It turned out that it is, especially since we also ordered other items in the menu.
The staff cooks the meat for you and automatically replaces the grill without you asking. I find this convenient as you can concentrate on eating and — more importantly — talking with each other. Although I do enjoy grilling the meat myself, I am frequently preoccupied and I’d forgotten how enjoyable it is to just sit back and relax.
Both the samgyeop and jumuleok were good. The samgyeop was cooked medium, with the outside caramelized. I really enjoyed this one, while my other friends preferred the beef.
We also got suntobu jiggae (soft tofu stew with pork, P280). This is one of the best tofu stews I’ve tried. It was comforting and delicious, with a medium spicy flavor. A bowl is good for 2 people.
Lastly, we had gimbap. This is one of the best gimbaps for me. Whenever I go to Korean restaurants, I usually ignore the gimbap as it’s often tasteless, but Seoul Galbi’s gimbap is well balanced and tasty. The serving is also generous.
For the drinks, they had limited option so we just opted for soju and water.
All in all, Seoul Galbi is definitely one of the best Korean restaurants in the metro. It may not offer unlimited meat option, but still nothing beats quality — and for other people, authenticity as well. This is a great restaurant to visit in Poblacion and a must for those who love Korean cuisine.
Practical info: Seoul Galbi (Poblacion, Makati)
Address: 5362 General Luna Street, Poblacion, Makati City
There is limited parking, so if you’re bringing a car it’s best to park in A Venue.
Opening hours: 11AM to 2AM
Suggested budget: P1000-1500 for 2 people
Have you been to Seoul Galbi in Poblacion, Makati? How did you find it? Let us know in the comments below!
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