Don't let the fact that Tofu House is a franchise put you off: This string of restaurants stretches to central Seoul, where multiple locations of a restaurant are an indicator of excellence. True to its name, the restaurant specializes in tofu, a custardy version of which is tucked into a dozen or so stews, mixing with oyster and clam plus mushrooms, kimchi, pork or Spam. The classic version blends the bean curd with shellfish in a spicy broth (add an egg if you'd like); the power move here is to order it as part of a combination so that you can also sample some of Tofu House's barbecued bulgogi, spicy pork or squid. Combination meals are built for a group, and they include a small collection of barchan — the kimchi here is exceptional — plus a small fried fish, which you can order bone-in or bone-out. Spoon your soup over japgokbap (Korean multigrain rice), and pair your meal with a bottle of makgeolli, a semi-sweet, tart, fizzy rice wine that goes nicely with spicy food. When you inevitably return to Tofu House, consider also exploring the heady oxtail soup or the cauldrons filled with rice, meat, kimchi and seaweed; they may not get marquee billing, but they're superb offerings nonetheless.
Readers' Choice: Dae Gee