Portal da Coreia: getting your kimchi fix in São Paulo
A couple weeks ago I decided to finally take my mom to a Korean restaurant for lunch. She loves spicy food, so I knew she was going to like all those rich flavours and I was pretty much dying to eat some kimchi ‘cause it’s been ages since I last had it. There are quite a few options to choose from, but I decided to try Portal da Coreia, situated in São Paulo’s Japanese neighbourhood. This restaurant is actually a bit known around here, since it’s been featured on quite a few newspaper/magazine/internet articles dealing with Korean or Asian food and it’s an easier place to reach from where we live, so that’s where we headed to.
The doors closed as soon as we left; we really were the last customers!
It was a Friday and the restaurant, fortunately, was almost empty. Apparently, most people had already eaten and we were the last ones to arrive. According to the lady cashier, that just doesn’t happen on Friday nights and Saturdays, so booking is highly recommended.
Looking from the street, the place is not impressive at all. When you go inside, things change a bit. It’s certainly not super sophisticated, but it looks nice and feels cosy. As I do tend to prefer very solid furniture, the place’s heavy tables and chairs pleased me to no end.
As it was my mom’s first time, I thought we should order some basic and well-known dishes: I ordered bulgogi and she chose daeji galbi. The portions were quite big and, even though they weren’t officially suggested for two, were more than enough for the two of us to share both, which was great. The sidedishes were pretty good and as we ran out of kimchi, one of the waiters even offered to bring more.
One really important thing was that they taught us how to use the grill. All tables had one, but I had never used it before, so I was a bit baffled. The waiter, then, was more than helpful and explained in detail what I was supposed to do. The lady to whom we paid was also super nice and made the whole experience even more agreeable.
It looked better in person, I swear!
From what I could see of the menu, they offer all known dishes (known to me, that is, haha), so I believe it’s a pretty good alternative to people who want to try Korean food for the first time. The above mentioned friendly staff is one other positive point (am I crazy for taking waiters’ dispositions into account when recommending a restaurant?).
Unimpressive-looking menu; thank God the food was delicious! ;)
Oh, and the end reserved a little surprise: the check was delivered in the case below, with a lovely little doll wearing a hanbok. A bit dirty, yes, but still quite cute!
So, to sum it all up: good food, good environment, good service. I’m definitely coming back for more!
Portal da Coreia
Rua da Glória, 729 - Liberdade
(11) 3271 0924