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3
  • Food3.5
  • Service2.5
  • Value3.5
  • Ambiance2.5
  • Reviews18

Nor Boo Korean Restaurant

1536 Robson St.
Vancouver, BC V6G1C2
Tel: (604) 806-0369
Neighbourhood: West End
  • Cuisine: Korean
  • Price: $$ ($15 - $30)
  • Meals: Lunch, Dinner
  • If you are missing your mother's home Korean cooking, then look no further. This little gem of a resturaunt in the heart of downtown Vancouver serves up mouth watering authentic homestyle Korean cooking. And it won't break your bank account either. The portions are large but the prices are reasonable. Service is excellent and the friendly staff are always at the call. If you are planning on eating here, bring your appetite and go early. The restaraunt fills up really quickly.

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Good enough food, but appalling service
By Bonka of Vancouver (464 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - 6:50pm [Dine in]

Our entourage of 6 entered here for, what we were expecting, good eats. Place was busy but they were able to get us seated immediately. The ambience is bustling and borderline chaotic but that's about given at any Korean place I've been to.

We ordered both the spicy pork and beef soup in addition to a few sides including water dumplings and the seafood pancake. Good broth in the soup though all around us, all the dishes were smaller than expected and some were scant on ingredients. The somewhat lower prices I suppose reflect the portion sizes.

They are understaffed severely, with what looked like 2 main floor people and 1 or 2 people that appear from the kitchen to drop off dishes. Unfortunately, flagging them down is not enough to get their attention since we were balked at several times before we even were able to order. Expectations here with the service require utmost patience.

Considering the area is plagued with Korean outfits, I am in no hurry to come back here, despite the decent enough food.

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Decent food
By EatsFats of Vancouver (317 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, May 21, 2007 - 10:32pm [Dine in]

This is the second time we've been there and both were pretty consistent.
The place is like some place in Seoul where the younger crowd might drop in to grab some food. That's not saying it isn't "family", but it's blaring with (too?) loud pop music and young waitresses who aren't always on the ball.

Service isn't exactly bad, but it's not great, not when it's busy. The waitresses barely have enough time and will probably miss most of your requests.

Most people seem to go there for the Korean style hotpot, which is a pretty good deal. Even the smallest pot (anywhere from $20-30) will serve between 2-4 people easily, so it won't be an expensive proposition.

The food is pretty good and I would say leaning more on the home or street style. Definitely not fine dining. Having grown up with Chinese food, I don't see anything that is amazing or surprising. They're all very familiar flavours, and I'm pretty sure I could replicate most of the shabu dishes easily in my own kitchen, at similar quality.
If you want a hearty meal with a bunch of friends, it's a good place to drop by when you're in the area. But unless you've been hiding underneath rocks recently, I wouldn't expect to get bowled over.

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First experience with korean cuisine
By curmudgeon of Downtown Vancouver (100 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, August 13, 2007 - 9:01am [Dine in]

Being by first experience with korean cuisine, it's hard to judge the food. That said, I did enjoy the food, and had a pretty good meal.

(Apologies in advance, for any butchered spelling).

Ordered the

jap che (massive plate of thread noodles) which was very tasty

ghal bee (bbq short ribs) which was good, but I have had this else where before, and the taste was a little different... there seemed to be a sweet bean paste in the sauce. Not bad, but not sure that I like the flavor

be bim boop (rice dish prepared in a stoneware pot) which was spicy and delicious.

I'll be interested in trying some of the other dishes sometime soon.

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Didn't meet expectations.
By foodfanatic of South Vancouver (286 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, February 5, 2006 - 12:23am [Dine in]

Maybe because I've read so much about the greatness of the spicy pork bone soup from various review sites/forums, it brought me expectations to a level that couldn't be met. Prices, for the most part, are reasonable except for the soup hot pot orders... more specifically, the spicy pork bone soup. For a small order, it was a little over $20, and, sure, it came with a pile of bones with enough meat wrapping around for you to tear off without, hopefully, too much work. Though the meat is softened, it's still a slight workout. It also leaves a game-y aftertaste from the bones/soup that I find myself averse to. It is not worth 20-odd dollars for a pile of bones, imho. The fried chicken wings were well priced for 7 or 8 pieces at $3.50 (or thererabouts). Large and juicy though a tad strong in vinegar (shot right up my senses). Insadong in Burnaby/Coquitlam makes better deep fried chicken wings with a similar recipe/style (sprinkled seeds and all)--more crispy, soaked in a little less vinegar. The jap chae, though tasty, had way less beef and much more vermicelli/rice noodle than I'd have liked--again, in this sense, Insadong wins hands down.

Food aside, Nor Boo does provide for a nice lively atmosphere--just be prepared to be seated elbow-to-elbow with your neighbouring tables unless you manage to get a hold of one of the few booth seats available or if you go during a less busier hour, etc....

All in all, not worth the line-ups, in my opinion, but worth revisiting during slower evenings.

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Here by default.
By louielobster of Glendale (53 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, May 25, 2007 - 12:02am [Dine in]

Came to the Nor Boo Korean Restaurant via a circuitous route. Started out at the Kitanoya Guu with Garlic and left after waiting for over an hour for a seat.

Then we went to the Jang Mo Jib Korean Restaurant and ordered the Seafood Korean Pizza and BBQ Spareribs. The waiter and owner said that they don’t serve “side dishes” with their menus. This has never happen before ( checked with my Korean friends) … so we left before the food’s arrival.

We went back to Guu and we were still two reservations from the top. This is now 21:45hrs and we were starved. Why didn’t they just say “Sorry Full, next time please”?

Food at the Nor Boo restaurant is adequate for this kind of late night dining. The BBQ beef tongue was tasteless and tough: not recommended. The seafood pizza was good with lots of filling but a bit greasy. The BBQ beef short ribs were great with a generous serving and very delicious. Will go back to this restaurant for dinner and give this location a fair shake.

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Best short ribs in Vancouver!
By MBAK of Vancouver (80 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, March 19, 2007 - 7:43pm [Dine in]

I went here with my boyfriend and a few friends for the first time a few weeks ago. I didn't know what to expect because the interior of the restaurant was kind of "interesting" but there was a LOT of people inside and outside waiting to get in. We waited for about 40 minutes for a table, and when we got our food, we realized why so many people were willing to brave the winter cold waiting to get in! We ordered a 6 different plates of food, and while everything was okay, the beef short ribs definately lived up to their reputation! It's been almost 3 weeks since I've been there, and I'm still craving them now! Aside from the short ribs, the service was decent, and the ambiance was okay. I would definately go back for the short ribs :)

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Little Korea
By thecritic of Vancouver (374 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, March 15, 2005 - 11:11am [Dine in]

If you are looking to try some authentic Korean, try Nor Boo. I would describe this place as Korean diner, but not really having a firm handle on Korean food other than trying Korean BBQ a couple times, this may not be an accurate description.

The prices are very reasonable; most dishes are around 7 or 8 dollars.

I tried the beef rib soup and it was very tasty. It was served with a bunch of little side plates including rice, some sweet tasting potatoes, pickled veggies and some other things that I don't have a clue what they were. All of this was 8 dollars, a steal if you ask me.

If your name could be Whitey McWhiterson, beware. Most of the dishes on the menu do not have English translations so I had to ask the friendly waiter what a bunch of stuff was and what he recommended. It may be a little overwhelming at first, but the food is well worth the effort.

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Good food at good prices
By Trevor of Vancouver (60 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, February 5, 2007 - 2:04am [Dine in]

Friends introduced this restaurant to us a year ago and we now go periodically. They have great hotpot here, tastes great and big enough that we usually don't finish it. Awesome fried chicken appy, and I always have the seafood pancake. Beef short ribs are good too.

Service can be hit and miss. Some servers are borderline rude (ignore you and don't wipe tables clean before giving it to you). Was there on Friday night and we always asked this one waitress when we needed something b/c she was very friendly and helpful.

Ambiance is fine. Boring decor, really does need an update. Have a big screen tv for visual entertainment. Playing Korean (pop)music in the restaurant rather than Hip-hop/r&b would up the Korean atmosphere.

Good place to eat & hang out w/ friends, but avoid peak hours. Often has line-ups.

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Good Korean Fare
By tastytasty02 of Burnaby (44 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, June 10, 2008 - 5:00pm [Dine in]

yum! This restaurant serves up decent home cooked style korean fare. Ordered seafood pancake, spicy pork bbq, sweet & crispy chicken. The seafood pancake was too doughy, the spicy pork bbq had great flavour but a bit greasy, the chicken was delicious! Also got the side dishes and they were really good! You get the sweet potato, bean sprouts, pasta salad, and kimchi. Prices were okay a bit high I thought. Overall a solid dining experience.

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Mama mia (or whatever that is in Korean)
By bart_weisser of Vancouver (22 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, April 7, 2006 - 11:37am [Dine in]

We have not tasted anything finer than this. The clarity of the beef broth lingering in my throat long after the meal. Take away a few grains of salt, there would be diminishment. Add a few more drops of oil, the texture would collapse. The taste is so delicate, it tickled my tongue with joy. This is definitely one of the most divine Korean meal we had since ... the dawn of humanity.

The menu was rather simple, but the range of foods was simply taxing, from strawberry salad to octopus to ox tail, to even a spring chicken in ginseng. Our taste buds, and our chefs were under the most rigorous of scrutiny.

There came the appetizers: Sweet potatoes, pickled seaweed, bean sprouts and, of course, Kim Chi. They were summarily devoured. The octopus fish cake, came as our proper (read: paid) appetizer. The freshness of the octopus meat paved the way to our main course. This is not the sweet and sour pork of Korean food. It at least makes it to the ranks of General Cho's chicken.

It is surprising to see, beyond the spiciness that makes Korean cuisine so distinctive, it was the subtleness of the flavour that defined its character. Even without the much coveted chili paste, which was served on the side as a condiment, the food was still distinctively Korean.

The beef effortlessly spread in your tongue, and the aroma quickly reached the farthest corners of your senses. The ginseng chicken was, indeed, a spring chicken stewed in a ginseng broth. The meat was so succulent and, at the same time, it melted in your mouth. The rice served in a hot rock bowl was an delightful scene. It was hot enough, that tofu served ice cold would come out scorched, and any meat served inside would have all its juice locked inside. Every bite was an explosion of wonderful flavour. It was mouth watering, and you could only think, that this was in fact much better than mum's, provided that your mum was Korean.

This place is highly recommended for any Asian cuisine enthusist.

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No One Else Really Beats Them!
By ChatterBox of Vancouver (13 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, December 2, 2007 - 3:06am [Dine in]

My bf and I eat out a lot and this is one of our favourite Korean restaurants. Anytime we're itching for a nice hot spicy hot pot, we head there and order a small, which can basically serve up to 4 people! My favourite is the random hot pot (with all the different sausages and noodles and my bf loves their seafood hot pot). Any other variations seem to be rip offs as they don't come with as many things in the pot. Our absolute things to order there are the chicken wings (about $3.50) and the Smoked Salmon Salad (about $4.50)....soooo good! The pancakes are decent, but not the best. It is a very busy restaurant so you'll have to either go before or after the rush to avoid line ups. You should at least try this place out once! Its worth it!!

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yum
By charmmy of Vancouver (26 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, October 19, 2007 - 10:52am [Dine in]

love their dol sot bibimbap, my favourite korean restaurant ever. I also love the non traditional pasta salad appetizer that they give, one which i haven't been able to find in any of the other korean restaurants that I've ever gone to

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Excellent Mandu Soup and Dolsot Bibimbap.
By matchalatte of San Fran, CA (34 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, July 7, 2006 - 5:27pm [Dine in]

There is always quite a line-up at Nor Boo, but the food is worth the wait. I ordered the Dokmanduguk (Mandu and rice cake soup) and my friend got the Dolsot bibimbap. Both were very delicious. The soup was satisifying; there were a ton of rice cakes in there. The side dishes were flavourful (especially the potato and the kim chi). The most interesting side dish was pasta with mayonnaise -- the mix might sound weird, but it wasn't too bad. Water refills might have to wait because the servers are so busy, but you get a lot of entertainment in both the restaurant and by people-watching on Robson.

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If you don't mind lining up
By eatmore of Vancouver (7 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, March 4, 2005 - 10:31am [Dine in]

Nor Boo is a favorite of me and my friends and has been since they opened last year.
Service I rated decent but as long as you do a lot of waving and make eye contact with the servers, that should not be a problem.
It's the food everyone comes here for and you will not be disappointed. The portions are large and the prices are reasonable.
A personal favorite is the Bibimbap in stone pot. Of course the Pork Bone soup is a great dish to sober up to after a night of drinking along the many bars and lounges on Robson.
They are open for lunch too but I believe the menu is the same as for dinner.

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2.5/5 overall
By tgx78 of vancouver (12 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, November 27, 2005 - 12:36am [Dine in]

look out! this place is very popular among Koreans (mostly language students) expect very long line up and painfully SLOW services.

However I admit this restaurant brought out better tasting Korean food than any other ones I tried on Robson St. If you are looking for better tasting Korean food than NorBoo, you should go Burnaby or Coquitlam.

Try out if you have lots of time in your hand..

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Very Satisfied!!!
By foodpro of Vancouver, BC (9 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, September 5, 2009 - 4:15pm [Dine in]

Had the Dol Pot & Beef Rib soup. Rice with beef slices in the stone pot was very good, beef portion was very generous and well-flavoured. The soup was also very good, not over-powering, just smooth and soothing, and the ribs were so tender. Soup also came with a bowl of steam rice, bean sprout, potatoes and kimchi. For just over $20 with tax, excellent value for down-to-earth, simple Korean's fare. Definitely go back and try the other stuffs in the fairly extensive menu.

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Smashing Soft Veggie Tofu Soup!
By Bahtman of Mount Pleasant (4 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 11:35am [Dine in]

Nor Boo has the best soft Tofu Soup I've ever had - including when I lived in Korea. Their Dol Sot Bibim bap is great as well, I find I normally get one or the other so I can't comment on the other dishes. The service leaves a little to be desired, but I think its more of a cultural difference than anything else. You're expected to flag down the waiter which isn't the custom in North America, yet in a strange way adds a feeling of authenticity to the experience. Water is served in large plastic containers, much as it often is in Korea as well. Tea is fabulous. Their late night hours is always a bonus as well.

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Pork Bone Soup - WOW !!!
By kelso of Maple Ridge (3 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 10:52am [Dine in]

Some friends took me to this restrauant in October 2004 for dinner. We all shared this huge pot of GAM-JA-TANG. (spicy pork bone soup) The waittress brought to our table, this huge wok of the soup, which easily feed all 4 of us, with enough left to feed another 1.5 people.

From the first bite, I could not stop eating. It has a lovely spicy taste, but not overly hot. Huge chunks of meat which just easily fell away from the bones. There was also lots of potatoes and vetables in the savoury broth. An excellent night was hed by all.

In January 2005, I went back to this restrauant and was dieing to try the pork bone soup. It was just as good at the first time I had it. The quailty of the food is constant and excellent. I also tried some bulgugi on this visit! EXCELLENT !!!

I will recommend this place to anyone !!

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