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“A great food but terrible service staff”
Review of Balwoo Gongyang

Balwoo Gongyang
Ranked #98 of 122,727 Restaurants in Seoul
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Korean
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Neighborhood: Insadong
Level 5 Contributor
92 reviews
48 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
“A great food but terrible service staff”
Reviewed December 30, 2013

We went there as a group of five for lunch. We ordered the 70 dollar set. It was fantastic with all kind of exotic but healthful ingredients. The serving women were terrible, really unfit for a Buddhist temple food: they were arrogant, curt, and rushing. If the Buddhist restaurant would like to make a good impression of the Buddhism, these servers do the exactly opposite. In most Seoul restaurants, the servers are cheerful and kind. But this restaurant was the not the case, and in that aspect, it stands out just as much as the excellent food does. It is a shame, The manager should seriously reflect on this point.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank KorCan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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90 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    47
    26
    13
    3
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Level 3 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“A tasty treat for vegetarians and health food lovers at”
Reviewed November 23, 2013

I had been wanting to try this place for a few months since I had heard so many good things about it and it turns out it was well worth the visit.

Walked in and saw that they offer a vegetarian Donkatsu (cleverly named Kongkatsu as in Kong=Soya Bean; pictured below) and almost lost it I was so happy. I haven't had it in years since I started eating healthier. We also ordered the Handcut Noodles (Kalgooksoo) and a brown rice Kimbap (Korean Sushirolls).

The Donkatsu was amazing, I can barely believe it is health food it tasted so good. It was so delicious I am seriously happy I now have a place I can get this craving taken care of. The noodles had a pure and mild taste, adding the spicy peppers gave it a nice clean kick. The Kimbap is one of best I've had in Seoul. We were there for lunch and were lucky the place wasn't super crowded, I've heard they typically are, and for good reason. The staff was very welcoming and friendly.

We paid overall 22,000won for a ton of food. They also offer an all you can eat buffet for 10,000won but we just weren't that hungry.

Now, I must clarify, reviews here that are misleading others that this place is expensive are simply incorrect. They have 2 premium 10 course bento style meals that are 20-25,000won but that's it. The rest of the menu is in between 7,000-17,000won which are average prices in Seoul, and a fine price for the quality of food and ingredients you get here.

Also, those complaining about service failed to realize that this is a self serve type of place. Because of the buffet being the main offering, everything else is also self serve including drinks. Also, because this is temple food, soft drinks/alcohol are simply not offered. The options are water and tea, and I will again note that this is also average in Korea. Soft drinks are found most everywhere yes but not the norm in a lot Korean cuisine restaurants, where they only serve water and tea along with beer and rice wine/soju.

I thought it was important to clarify these points and set the record straight. This is a great place but it is temple food which means it's healthy and they avoid using certain ingredients that are considered harmful to the body by buddhist traditions, therefore it's not going to have that strong salty/MSG or fatty/greasy flavor some people are looking for. Hope this helps, enjoy!

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
7 Thank Regina B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Good food for health!”
Reviewed October 23, 2013

I’m not vegetarian but I was attracted by the food in this restaurant. I was impressed by their beautiful food decorate. I love the flavor of their food, so fresh and pure. The prices of their food were not expensive but they are very good for health. I will come back to this restaurant with my husband if we have a chance to visit Korean. I think he will love this restaurant because he’s vegetarian.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Lucia H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Really love the food here!”
Reviewed July 31, 2013

I'm a vegetarian, so I really appreciate it when I find good vegetarian food. Baru-Gongyang (sometimes known as Balwoo) serves really delicious and refreshing temple food. I went for the 10-course meal for lunch. It was 25,000 won (27,500 after adding tax). It was really worth it. Of the 3 restaurants which serve temple food in Seoul that I have been to, I must say they do serve one of the better temple food. Would really recommend it! One thing to note though, they are extremely popular hence it would be advisable to call before visiting!

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Jenzy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Pretty vegetarian food in Seoul”
Reviewed June 25, 2013 via mobile

The restaurant is located in templestay building just a 2min walk away from Insadong, really easy to get to.

Had the 15 course lunch, which costs KRW50k-ish per pax, excluding 10% taxes. For the type of food they serve, I think it's well worth the money. You get 4 year old ginseng root, an enzyme drink & cordycep flower soup amongst others.

Flavors of the food are really delicate as they go light on seasoning. Presentation is very pretty too. They have a dish or two with robust flavor though, like the bean bulgogi which looks and tastes sinfully like the real deal.

Service is quick and polite, but be warned - the service staff here don't speak a word of English. There's an English menu though, so be sure to ask for one.

Just a note to non-Korean speakers - we wanted to order a 10-course and a 15-course set fearing that 15 courses for each of us is too much food, but this is not allowed. Everyone has to order the same number of courses.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank jinzy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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