Hot new Korean restaurant/pub alert!
I got to purchase and try some dishes from Seoul Pocha during their soft launch and was blown away by how delicious everything was!
Seoul Pocha is serving up many kinds of Korean dishes, from popular street foods like Soondae (Korean sausage) and fish cake soup, to dishes you don’t normally find in restaurants in the U.S. such as mulhoe, or spicy raw fish soup.
Pocha is short for pojang macha, tents that sell food on the streets of South Korea. These tents are quite popular especially at night, when people share drinks with friends after a long day of work. I miss these casual eateries, so I was really excited to see Seoul Pocha bringing Korean food and drink culture to Gainesville. I could see Seoul Pocha being a fun hang out spot for college students and older adults who are looking to enjoy delicious food and drinks!
They are located on SW 13th Street, in the building where Twisted Peacock used to be. You will see a bright yellow sign with their hours. They have plenty of parking and a spacious interior. They have lots of indoor seating but no outdoor seating.
We were greeted at the door with festive K-pop and several friendly servers. The interior was sleek with red accents and warm yellow lights.
I like how the booths were separated, creating more privacy and social distance, and there are separate rooms for larger groups as well.
Our server kindly explained the dishes they had for that day and answered any questions we had.
The Okonomiyaki, ($16) which is a Japanese style seafood pancake, was filled with lots of assorted seafood including squid and shrimp, and coated in batter. It was topped with a mix of creamy and savory sauce, scallions, and katsuobushi (or bonito flakes), which I always find mesmerizing to look at! The texture of the seafood created a chewiness, which went well with a slight crunch of the batter and crispy flakes on top. Since the pancake is pretty big, this dish would be great to share as an appetizer.
The Jjol Sam Myeon, ($22) which is a combination of Jjol Myeon (spicy Korean noodles) and samgyupsal, pork belly slices, was delicious! It was plated beautifully, with separate three piles of noodles, sliced cabbage, lettuce, bean sprouts, and perilla leaves in the middle, and thin slices of pork belly on the side. They initially forgot the boiled egg on top, but brought it out to us a few minutes later! I really liked how the pork belly was not too fatty, and the meaty flavor complemented the spicy sauce really well. The sauce tasted like a combination of gochujang (Korean pepper paste), vinegar, and sugar. The spice does build up so make sure to ask for less sauce if you want it less spicy!
Our server offered to mix up our noodles with the veggie and meat, which really heightened the flavors and textures of the dish!
I was very excited to try the Mulhoe, or cold seafood soup, ($20) since I always make sure to have this dish whenever I go to Korea. You can usually find it in the coastal areas in the South (I usually have it in Pohang!). The portion of this dish was massive, with lots of fresh fish and shrimp piled on top of thinly sliced cucumbers, carrots, radish, and scallions. I’m used to having it with noodles in the soup as well, but this version is healthier, so I can’t complain! The soup also had ice cubes to keep it cold. The soup is so refreshing, vinegary, slightly sweet, and spicy! It would be perfect to cool you down on a warm day.
They did not have alcohol yet for the soft opening, but you can purchase alcohol to pair with the food as well, since these food items would go very well with beer, rice wine, or soju!
For those looking to party it up, Seoul Pocha also has two karaoke rooms! Their smaller room is priced at $30 per hour, and the larger room is $40 per hour. Both rooms were equipped with seating and disco ball lights to set the mood. It would be perfect for a night out with friends!
They are open til 12 or 1 AM on most nights, which is great for a college town with surprisingly few restaurants that are open past 10pm.
Be sure to check out Seoul Pocha for their grand opening on Tuesday!
Address: 3610 SW 13th St, Gainesville, FL 32608