Judging Restaurants – Mandu


I once wondered what a Korean brunch was and since then having been hearing really good things about the restaurant that inspired that query. Mandu is located at 1805 18th Street, NW. You can see the menu here. So any fans out there? If memory serves the atmosphere was pretty nice. How’s the food?

Their Web site says:

Mandu is the family dream of Yesoon Lee, and her daughter Jean and son Danny. Raising her family in Northern Virginia, Mrs. Lee would prepare home cooked Korean meals for her children and friends, and would occasionally take them to one of the multitude of Korean restaurants in the area. As the children grew older and when both moved into the Dupont area, they both questioned why there were vast amounts of Korean restaurants that could be found in the suburbs, but hardly any in the District of Columbia. They saw plenty of Asian restaurants that combined elements of all types of Asian cuisine, but not a single restaurant that strictly served Korean food. This thought sparked the idea of Mandu, a traditional Korean restaurant that would be located in one of the most popular areas in DC.

17 Comment

  • Good restaurant. Great happy hour prices. Will definitely be back at some point.

  • I agree. Its very good Korean food, and a very good happy hour.

  • I’ve posted several times about their brunch. It is amazing and price effective. Go.

  • Best Korean restaurant I know of that is easily accessable to those without a car.

  • Second nathaniel. Mandu is probably the best Korean sitdown place in DC. Much better than the overpriced and undperforming Yeehwa on 21st. Dan the Man’s Teriyaki on 9th has some pretty decent bulgogi, but they’re more of a carryout. There’s an extensive list of Korean restaurants in and around DC here.

  • order the Dolsot Bibim Bop – yeah it is $2 more for a hot stone bowl, but it makes a huge difference. I found the food here to be terrific.

  • is it vegetarian friendly? i see they will make dolsot bibim bop w/ tofu instead of beef, is that worth checking out?

  • mmm Mandu is so yummy!!!

  • I haven’t been there in a really long while, but from what I remember, the menu is too short. They skimped on panchan for a party of 10 I took there. There were three sets of the same four served, which, to me, is terrible service. Any other Korean place would have served at least 8 different ones. I hope that’s changed because that’s one of the best things about eating Korean.

    Other than that, the food was well-executed if watered down. It wasn’t pushing the edges of hot of the things that should have been hot, etc. If you like really ooky Korean food with tripe, raw fish entrails, etc, this is not the place to go.

    I prefer YeeHwa because they will do things like bring a free soup when I have forgotten to order one when showing a non-Korean friend what an authentic meal is like. I’m Korean and I’d rather eat at a dive than someplace with fancy lighting as long as the food is good. If anyone remembers, Jinga at the Park Hyatt had the best honey marinaded mussels back in the day.

    But yeah, if you want sit-down Korean food in DC, this is one of the few places to go. I’ll take mid-town NYC or places Philly any day over any place I’ve eaten in DC/VA. (Except maybe the noodle bar places in the back of Lotte in Fairfax. Always happy with that food when I have it.)

  • My dinners here have been good — I have particularly enjoyed the grilled beef and pork offerings. My partner has been satisfied with the various veggie selections. We have found the pan chan selection satisfactory. Can’t compare this to the Korean places in Annandale, as I’ve never been to those.

    The one consistently strange thing about this restaurant: none of the servers are Korean (although I believe the hostess is). One almost universally sees Korean service personnel at dry cleaners and convenience stores in this neighborhood, but not at the one Korean restaurant!

  • I just had dolsot bibimbap for the first time a few weeks ago, and it was DELICIOUS. I’m glad to know there’s another place nearby to have some more.

  • Why is it that every time a subject comes up, they’re pretentious and said they’ve had a “better ___ in ____” So what, you want a cookie, because you’ve had better Mexican food in Tijuana than Bethesda?

  • Great Korean food. There’s a number of authentic Korean that Americans invariably like, and Mandu has them all: Bulgogi, Bi Bim Bap, and Chap Chae.

    Yum. I think I might go tonight.

  • this place is alright but doesn’t compare to the korean food i had when my band’s jet broke down on our asian tour and we got stuck at the Four Seasons Seoul for a weekend.

  • The only time I ate there it made me sick and I rarely ever get sick from eating, Iron stomach stylee.

  • I find it to be overpriced for OK Korean food – it doesn’t help that my mom is Korean, so I have super high standards. I always get overcooked meat, their soups are pretty uninspired, and their spicy pork is just plain weird (they put kimchee in it, not cool). The brunch is an interesting concept though, and I like the idea of the Soju-tini. I would never take my mom to eat there though, which means it must not be too good.

    Does anyone else find it weird that there are tons of Korean owned businesses in the area, yet no really good restaurants in the city??

  • good if you need a korean-food fix. if you can, i’d head to annandale for a nice hot steaming bowl of dolsot bimbimbop…mmm so good especially in the winter…now i’m thinking about hot pot (huo guo)!

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