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Reviews

***** Soban Korean Eatery is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars, based on 77 reviews!

  • *****

    I prefer Soban over Den Den because it feels more local.

    Service can be buggy sometimes because there are only two people running the place.

    Still, a lot of options along with good side dishes.

  • *****

    Food is great! Atlhough small and not much to look at.

  • *****

    Delicious food with amazing service. Not only was the food beyond expectations (of which were high), but the service was exemplary. Highly recommend.

  • *****

    Best Asian restaurant around Brown. Go here instead of the cafeteria. It's good fast cheap.

  • *****

    The food is delicious and consistent. There's a really big menu so you've got lots of great Asian (mostly Korean) dishes to choose from. (Get the spicy pork bibimbap with a fried egg, and mix LOTS of the hot sauce in!) The only thing this restaurant doesn't have is an atmosphere. Inside is pretty spartan and like a cafeteria, but I don't think it's trying to be anything else. It's no frills, and one of my favorite spots on Thayer.

  • *****

    Soban is by far one of the best places to eat on Thayer! They have an extensive menu with a variety of Korean food along with several other popular Asian dishes (I.e. Pad Thai, ramen, etc.). They have a serve yourself buffet of sides which hangs daily and the portions are generous! I highly suggest that you overlook the hole in the wall aesthetic and venture here for a meal over Shanghai. My personal favorites here are the stone hot pots and the japchae! Also, if they have the been sprout based sides, I highly recommend them! Also be patient with the staff, for, while they're very kind, the couple who often works there do not speak great English.

  • *****

    Soban is by far one of the best places to eat on Thayer! They have an extensive menu with a variety of Korean food along with several other popular Asian dishes (I.e. Pas Thai, ramen, etc.). They have a serve yourself buffet of sides which hangs daily and the portions are generous! I highly suggest that you overlook the hole in the wall aesthetic and venture here for a meal over Shanghai. My personal favorites here are the stone hot pots and the japchae! Also, if they have the been sprout based sides, I highly recommend them! Also be patient with the staff, for, while they're very kind, the couple who often works there do not speak great English.

  • *****

    Stumbled upon this establishment. Plenty of vegan options. Ordered a veggie stew with tofu to share with my friend. The stew was boiling when it reached the table, both exciting and intimidating. My main course was the hot, sizzling bowl of tofu bibimbam, no egg. Delicious! Spice levels were on point. Heat creeps up on you. My friend ordered the spicy chicken bowl. He said it had great flavor and heat. They have a side item bar, water fountain, and miso soup. Staff was very friendly! The place isn't fancy. Its simple and comfortable. I'll be returning

  • *****

    Went there on Saturday. I had the Kimbap and the Bibimbap. The price was moderate, it wasn't dirt cheap and I wasn't expecting it to be. I'm not Korean so I'm just rating what's tastes good to me and the food was GOOD. Totally reminds me of Woorijip in K-town in NYC. When I was going to RISD, I often went to Solomon's Market (on Benefit St. now closed) for my Korean food fix, and this is better in my opinion.

    I would go there again to try the other stuff.

  • *****

    I had dinner here when they had just opened in July 2011, and was happily surprised to find a place like this in Providence (I just moved from Los Angeles, where the K-town food scene is insane). I lived in Korea for about 1.5 years, and LOVE real-deal Korean food, so....

    I had the stone pot bibimbap, which was great. The gochujang was somewhat different than the kind typically served in korea, but very, very good. I wondered why they served miso soup instead of the very similar tasting, but more "Korean" doenjang chigae; I was glad it was free, of course, but why not just serve doenjang? Tastes similar, goes better with Korean food, and I think anyone going there to eat would be able to handle it.

    The best things were the homemade kimchi and other pickled vegetables--this always defines a good Korean joint, and they've got the goods.

    The place is family run, with the parents (from Korea) cooking, and the charming and friendly daughters taking food orders, serving, etc. All were very friendly and welcoming.

    I'd like to see things a bit more affordable for a casual place like this (maybe they'll get some lunch specials for the college budget?), but the food itself and overall experience was great. I'll definitely go back soon, and look forward to watching this cool new restaurant grow!

  • *****

    It's not fancy, but the food is great and the portions are insane ... easily large enough either to share or take half home for lunch the next day.

    My perennial date and I are big fans of the bibimbap served in the clay pot. He gets the bulgogi variation, while my favorite is the spicy pork, which is tender and moist with a great kick.

  • *****

    Definitely the best Asian food on College Hill.

  • *****

    Soban is slightly underrated, in my opinion. Of course, I am not as familiar with Korean food as I wish I would be, so keep that in mind.

    I've ordered take-out from here twice. The chicken bibimbap (not the stone pot, just regular) is amazing. The ingredients go together very well, and the spiciness of the chicken is pretty evident. I don't love one of the types of spinach they put into it, and they go a bit rice-heavy, but there's still plenty of chicken and veggies to go around. The supposedly spicy red sauce (on the side) isn't really that spicy, but maybe that's just me. :)

    Soban definitely lives in the shadow of Mama Kim's, a local and beloved Korean food truck, but Soban is still good in its own right.

  • *****

    For the food targeted towards college students in providence, this place is good. They are a little bit pricey (my meals are around 12$) I've been here 4 times for dinner and each time has been great. Possibly my favorite Asian restaurant in the college hill area, next to Chinese Iron Wok.

    FYI: I'm a white guy, and my only comparison for Korean food is Mama Kim's food truck.

  • *****

    I think yelp has been a bit unfair to this place. Sure, it's a little more expensive than many of the other Thayer Street offerings, but it's also a lot better. I've been several times with different people, and nothing we've ordered has ever disappointed. I'm especially partial to the stone bowl bibimbap.

    Overall, the menu is very standard korean fare, executed well. You receive traditional condiments/ accompaniments depending on what you order, as well as complimentary miso soup (although it's the most mediocre thing I've had here). Unlike some other reviewers, I've always received kimchi...

    True, there is no atmosphere, but the place clean, the food is tasty, the service is fast, and the portions are big. Also very vegetarian and vegan friendly, which is a plus. Maybe not the best korean place ever, but totally solid, better than Mama Kim's, and it's really nice to have something other than pizza and lackluster burritos on the hill.

  • *****

    I had the bulgogi bibimbap & the kimchijeon (kim chi pancake) and both were really tasty & great! I would definitely go back to order either. While atmosphere may be lacking a little as it's in the basement area, I'll eat anywhere as long as the food is tasty. Free miso soup is a plus, although I'm a bit confused why miso is in a korean restaurant, but it's free, so I'm not complaining. Kimchi options were solid & service was smooth. Like.

  • *****

    Check out the Katsu picture i posted! :)

    Yep -- Becca is definitely right; yelp HAS been unfair to this place. So ppl are trippin over 12 bucks for a full entree, accompanied with sides, that is right around double the size of 2 orders of Mama Kim's rice set. Now, I'm not trying to stir up inter-ethnic food sale conflict on Thayer, I'm just saying -- hype... man, I'll never get it. I've had several items and most items are solid and everything also looks good. I haven't tried the soondubu, but my friend who said she didn't like it also raved about the one I had at Teriyaki Korea House on westminster and that was definitely not good, so I'm not really sure if I trust these cats' judgment. Check out the pic I post of the Katsu. where you gonna find that on Thayer? Seems like the bibimbap is the hit. One thing about ALL the orders are that they are abundant.

  • *****

    We went to visit my daughter at Brown U and we found this little Korean eatery on Thayer.
    We've had the best Korean food here at the Bay Area and this one compares to most of them, except they don't have the chicken wings Soban serves.
    I could not believe how reasonable their prices were.
    We ordered the kimchi fried rice, hot stone beef bibimbap, miso soup (complimentary), chicken wings, and bulgogi. They were all delcious and servings were pretty reasonable. We had some kimchi fried rice left for my daughter to take home and we were all stuffed, all four of us!!!

    The chicken wings!!! ahhhh!! I want more! it was crunchy and the sauce, oh my, the sauce - sweet, spicy and a little salty - it was PERFECT!
    My daughter and her friend will definitely be a regular at this place.

  • *****

    A great variety of Korean food with both authentic dishes and American favorites. I really appreciate that they serve Banchan before all dishes for a really authentic Korean dining experience.

  • *****

    Great service and unlimited sides. Owners are very friendly. The food tastes very authentic and reminds me of home.

  • *****

    Really good food and service. The owners are so nice and explain each dish to newcomers very patiently.

  • *****

    one of my favorite places on thayer! really friendly owners and traditional korean food

  • *****

    After watching the incisive and thought provoking Bio-Pic social commentary doc "I'm not Your Negro" at the Cable Car, we opted for this Thayer St establishment.
    Very reliably good Korean chow. Diego had the Chicken Udon Noodle bowl. He gave it a 3.5/5. Miyako Eel Stone bowl Bibimbap She gave it a 4/5. Isabela Spicy Pork Stone Bowl Bibimbap she gave it a 4/5. I had the Beef Stone Bowl Bibimbap. I gave it a 4.25/5.
    The noise level with the place packed with presumably Brown undergrads debating, and flexing their late teen, 20something intellectual range and recently acquired knowledge about sociopolitical perspectives on a range of 20 century history. At one point we all wished Calgon would whisk us away! It rivaled a runway with jumbo jets taking off from every direction.
    All and all we will likely avoid the 7-8pm time slot to avoid testing our nervous system.
    That said the chow was certainly worthy of future visits.
    Salud!

  • *****

    Interesting little Korean eatery. Not as high-style as others in the area, but it gets the job done when you're craving some hot-pot bibimbop. Nice little area to serve yourself miso soup, steamed veggies, kimchee, etc.

  • *****

    Excellent experience, definitely try the kimchi soban wok out. Good stuff!

  • *****

    Korean owned. Authentic Korean food.

  • *****

    Came here with my mom for yummy Korean food and was very satisfied. The food came out fast and tasted great! The hot stone bibimbap with egg is a must. The man working suggested the pork dumplings and I'm so glad we listened. I left full and satisfied :D

  • *****

    Amazing food, free side dishes

  • *****

    I absolutely love this place the bimbimbap is my favorite portions are huge and fairly priced with a literally low key vibe

  • *****

    The wings are amazing. Bimbibap is very authentic. Can't wait to go back!

  • *****

    Seems many Asians enjoyed the food here and owners are Koreans. Loved the food here. Bibimbap is great in hot stone and enjoyed the side dishes.

  • *****

    good food and great service i go to soban every week

  • *****

    Who knew we had such an authentic Korean eatery right here in Providence? Everything from the appetizer to the main course was delicately prepared, fresh and Delicious!

  • *****

    Got the dukbokki(sp?) appetizer and some chicken that was overall really tasty and just what I was looking for - only drawback is it cost $30...

    Good food and I love dukbokki but it's kind of hard for me to justify going here more regularly (which I'd love to do) when $10 or less can buy you a filling and delicious meal almost anywhere else on Thayer St... here it just gets you a small appetizer.

    I'd definitely rate this place higher if it were either more reasonably priced or had bigger portions

  • *****

    Delicious

  • *****

    Great if you're stuck in the area. Not the first place I'd go but nothing on Thayer really wows me anyway. I've been back a few times. I think every time the food has been better than before. Highly recommend the curry chicken katsu. It's more expensive but you get enough to have more than one meal or to feed two people easily.

  • *****

    As an Asian, I enjoy this little place. The place reminds me of a Korean cafeteria and its tidy and quaint. I liked their stone pot bibimbap very much but their jajangmyun was saltier than I liked. The food's a bit more on the expensive side, but that's to be expected. The customer service is good, if a little terse. I love how they actually have authentic Korean drinks and offer side dishes for free. I would come again if I can!

  • *****

    Great find for a quick dinner! The prices were very reasonable and you get pretty good sized portions. The food was great and tasted really legit! Would definitely pop by again if in the area

  • *****

    I ordered the beef dolsot bibimbap and it was perfect, made just the way I like it. There is also a banchan bar where you can get as little or as much of the side dishes as you want. The place is quite small though.

  • *****

    Went here for the first time and ordered a veggie bowl with tofu. Loved it so much that I came back the next day and got the salmon bim bop in a stone pot. It was so delicious. You could hear the rice sizzling and getting crispy. One of the best things was the salad bar that provides great free sides. Only negative is that decor and atmosphere is like a rundown cafe. I'm totally cool with that but they charge a pretty high price for what they are giving their customers.

  • *****

    Very tasty. Clean and quiet. Attentive staff. Has a bar for side dishes like pickled bean sprouts, seaweed, and kimchi.

  • *****

    Very good food and so nice service with big plate.

  • *****

    My first trip to Soban left me with an extremely satisfied experience. There was so many Korean dishes that I loved there that they cook. Kimbab. Ramyun. Dukbokki. I ordered my favorite Korean dish, the Jajangmyun and my boyfriend got an Eel Stone Pot Bimbimbap. We got veggie dumplings as an appetizer and helped ourselves to the open Bon Chon: kimchi, miso soup, and radishes (I loved that they had this!) The portions are huge and I loved that they had even more different types of protein/meat options than most other Korean restaurants. My boyfriend was excited that he could get a Bimbimbap with Eel. Everything was delicious and I would come here over and over again (despite hating Thayer Street parking).

  • *****

    Family style restaurant. The guy and lady feel like and old korean ver of my parents and i feel love. The food is good, not the best, but pretty good. There are also a lot of nice sides to eat.

  • *****

    The food's alright and the space is meh. I'm amused anyway.

    One interaction:
    Bf: can I have this less spicy? (gesturing toward a picture of a bright red chili soaked fiery concoction)
    Owner Lady: ?????
    Bf: less spicy. I don't like it so hot.
    OL: (Answers to me, sotto voce, shaking her head disappovingly) nooooooooooooo....
    Me: (what do I have to do w/ this?!) he doesn't like it too spicy.
    OL: (sad face) ... a little spicy?
    Bf: (eye roll) fine, whatever.

    Food comes in. MOLTEN LAVA, just the way the Owner Lady intended.
    Lesson Learned: You're gonna eat the food, and you, little one, are gonna like the food. That. Is. All.

    Culture.

  • *****

    I grew up in Korea and lived around Korean communities all my life, and the way they cook their food here is exactly how all Korean moms make it. If you want authentic Korean food, go here. Absolutely perfect.

  • *****

    A very nice Korean place near the Brown University campus. It is half-self-service - you order and pay at the counter, pick your pickles yourself, and get the dish you have ordered to your table. The tables were not very clean. There was quite a long queue to order, even though it was spring break. The food was great - a wonderful dish of Jap Chae [Korean glass noodles] with tofu. The kimchi was also very good. There are many vegan options. The portions are very large, and a moderately-hungry couple can actually share one dish. Keeping that in mind, the prices are totally fair. To conclude, it is a most rcommended spot in Thayer Street.

  • *****

    After eating here several times, and reading the reviews, I'm compelled to chip in my two cents on Soban. This place is great, one would mainly come here for Korean fare, I come here for the dolsat bibimbap.

    You need to calibrate you expectations, as this place is not fine dining. Soban is an eatery - Just like Asian Food Courts and Hawker Centres frequented and showcased by celebrity chefs such as Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern. With that expectation set, you soon come to love the value and great food that is to be expected from a quality eatery.

    I love the fact that there is a self service bar/buffet for bancha (Korean Side Dishes). You will always have kimchi on the line. But you can expect two or three other side dishes depending on the day.

    Stone pot dishes and soups are perfect for New England winters. Every table also has the house red chili sauce - gochujang. Which is excellent, no required, for bibimbap. The gochujang sauce has a fermented red chili paste base mix with a custom blend of other juices, chili powders, and ground aromatics. Thus resulting in a sauce that is complex with just the right balance spicy, sweet, sour, little bitter, salty, and umami. I keep the squeeze bottle at the "ready" to hit a dash of it on every spoonful.

    Go here to appreciate the food, bang for your buck and convenience. If you are looking for ambiance or fine dining try downtown.

  • *****

    I've been back a few times. I think every time the food has been better than before. Highly recommend the curry chicken katsu. It's more expensive but you get enough to have more than one meal or to feed two people easily.

  • *****

    If I could eat here every night I would :-D

  • *****

    HOW NICE! It is Thanksgiving tonight and they share a plate of delicious turkey with me while they are having their happy family dinner I feel so honered and welcomed. The Bibimbap I ordered is very good!

  • *****

    So impressed with this place! Yum!! I got the mushroom bimbimbap and it was my first time ever having Korean food. It was delicious and stayed hot until the last bite. They offer free water, soup and sides as well. This is a hidden gem!

  • *****

    Soban's quality has varied over time. As it's the only Korean sit-down restaurant on Thayer, I inevitably land here once in awhile. The management changed a couple years ago, and since then the quality of the food has as well. When I came back this fall, I was disappointed to find that their serving sizes have shrunk a fair bit. Nevertheless, their offerings still hit the spot.

    A variety of side dishes including kimchi, sprouts, pickled seaweed, and potatoes, as well as miso soup, are always complimentary and delicious. My go-to order is seafood jjampong, chewy noodles and seafood swimming in a spicy, savory broth. The jjampong is sometimes delicious and sometimes just okay. It comes with a lot of squid and a whole prawn. The broth is addictive and tasty, though the salt and spice levels have varied for me with each iteration. My favorite part of the dish is the noodles, which have a wonder, chewy, elastic texture.

    The service is a little brusque, and you have to be really, really clear about your order, as I've gotten the wrong dish before. The food also takes quite a long time to come sometimes. Nevertheless, the food is good enough to keep me coming back.

  • *****

    I really like Soban. I've been back a few times. I think every time the food has been better than before. Highly recommend the curry chicken katsu. It's more expensive but you get enough to have more than one meal or to feed two people easily.

  • *****

    I've been back several times since my previous visits because I just can't resist Korean food, and the service here is so nice. Since then, I haven't had to ask for kim chi (thank you!) and the food is consistently tasty and satisfying.

    I have the day off today - maybe I'll be stopping by for lunch!

    ps One reviewer said the prices here were half of Sun & Moon's - that's not accurate, at least for the stone pot bi bim baps. The prices here are on par with most other Korean places I've been to up and down the East Coast. The difference, though, is that my points of comparison are restaurants where a server comes to your table and takes your order.

  • *****

    This place is amazing! Everything on the menu tastes so authentic without any nasty preservatives. Hands down the best Korean food I've had in providence and that's coming from a Korean. You can tell the kimchi along with all the other side dishes are hand-made and the prices were very reasonable especially considering how generous the portions were.

    I've gone back and ordered several different items and I have yet to be disappointed by a single one. I strongly recommend ordering a side of chicken wings to a meal because it is to die for!

    I leave completely satisfied every time so THANKS! :)

  • *****

    I love to try new foods. Korean food always intrigued me, I've heard of bulgogi and bimbimbap and other traditional Korean foods, but never tried them. Soban is located in my favorite street in Providence, Thayer, so I thought I'd try there.
    I had the hot stone bimbimbap? I'm not sure anymore how that's spelled, but it was delicious! The meal came in a hot bowl and a steaming fried egg on the top. I love fried eggs and letting the gooey yolk run through my food, so of course I was going to love this! The bottom of the bowl crisped up the rice to a delicious, nutty, chewy, crunchy ricey awesomeness!
    I cannot wait to try this again. They have complimentary soup!

    So best Korean food in town? I dont know (I've only had Korean food now twice since I've eaten here) but it was definitely yummy. and I'll definitely be going again :)

  • *****

    The taste of food is really good. I'm from China and my roommate is from South Korea. Both of us are regulars here. And he told me the taste here is similar to the taste in restaurant in Korea, compared to those Korean restaurants in downtown. My recommendation is soondubu with seafood. I usually have once a week. The only star I deducted is for the enviroment in this restaurant. It is clean but just too simple, looks like a delivery restaurant, although they never deliver.

  • *****

    amazing. what a great place. they have styrofoam take out boxes and free miso and tin glasses. very good meat/bowls. very good service. very good at spicy sauce. best place lflourescent too.

  • *****

    Love the soondubu! And the complimentary miso soup. Standard korean fare with typical prices on par with Sura and Teriyaki. The taste is awesome though! :) And the owners are friendly and welcoming.

  • *****

    So. Good. The sundubu is to die for.

  • *****

    I don't understand how Soban has under 4 stars. Maybe the food seems expensive but in New York the prices usually run higher and the quality is not as good. I've only tried the Yook Gae Jang, but it was absolutely delicious, well-portioned, and filling. It's safe to assume that most people (that aren't Korean) don't choose this since it's so spicy you'll probably choke the first time you eat it, but Soban got it just right which is hard to do. I'll definitely be back to try the BBQ.

  • *****

    Been here so many times. Soban offers comfort Asian food in Providence, which is often seriously lacking, although prices are quite high. Delicious steaming soft tofu stew in a cold New England winter.

  • *****

    This place is great and i strongly recommend their bimbimbap. It comes with spicy chicken or spicy pork. Favorite place to hang out here:)

  • *****

    So this is the 3rd Korean food place that I have found in the Providence area. At first I thought the city was a Korean desert but as I started branching out to new places, I have found that all these great food areas are actually hiding from me. To list them all out here, you'll find Sun and Moon (which is a longerish drive to get to from Providence ... 10 min or so) and then there's Mama Kim's which is only by the Brown campus for dinners on week days and on Saturday lunch. Soban is the closest and by far the most reliable in terms of being open.

    The restaurant itself is located on Thayer street just a block north of the Brown Bookstore. You'll probably miss it because it's actually a level down from the street and you'll be misdirected by all the other dazzling signs swinging in front of you. Look closely enough and you'll see that secret doorway taking you down to the lower levels and you'll find this restaurant that is open every day of the week.

    The best thing here I have had is the Bibimbap. Get the spicy pork. I like it better than Sun and Moon to be honest so I have turned to this place as my go to for that. Mama Kim's still offers other dishes that I can't get here (mainly the barbecue stuff) so I turn to the truck for my fill.

    It's great for take out and there's also a lot of places to sit there as well. They are generally not very busy which puzzles me because the food is actually quite good. Maybe people don't know about it?

  • *****

    Most of the food are good (even though not as good as before according to my friends' words.The seafood noodles went bad now)
    For me, I like kimchi and potato a lot. The free dishes in the restaurant attract me. You can even get full without ordering anything if you keep eating the pickles! Most of the food are real Korean dishes with a large amount. Much better than MAMA KIM!
    (Be carefulA KIND OF EXPENSIVE THOUGH!)

  • *****

    Best korean food in the area. Great service. Get the garlic wings or the bibimbap!

  • *****

    I love the all-you-can-eat side dishes bar that comes with every meal- different veggies and miso soup! Great for my low-carb diet. I order bulgogi and fill up on the cabbage, seasoned seaweed, bean sprouts, kim chi, and miso. Most Korean places give you only little dishes of each.

  • *****

    Soban has great stone pot bibimbap (sauteed rice and vegetables with a fried egg), and their staff is incredibly nice. I would recommend it for a low-key night out on Thayer.

  • *****

    Great food. The hot stone bibimbap is very tasty. The restaurant feels like a cafeteria inside but the good is good and the prices are reasonable. Definitely worth a visit if you're in the mood for Korean.

  • *****

    I've been here only once, had one of their steaming noodle bowls with mushrooms and beef korean BBQ. The bowl was good, and I'd have loved to try it with meat, and the beef bbq was tasty but perhaps a bit overpriced for the quantity on the plate.
    I'll try it again and see if more or less stars come out.

  • *****

    I think I ordered the right thing at this place cause my entree was definitely tastier than what my friend got. I don't really go out for Korean much, especially out here on the east coast, but usually when I do go out for Korean I order the Bibimbap.

    The last time I had Bibimbap I was in SoCal so it's a little hard for anything to compete with that and this really didn't but it was definitely good enough to make me happy!

    The restaurant itself was pretty much abandoned but the food came quick and the kimchi was self-serve and I therefore took a lot.

    Knowing me, I'll most likely be back. Simple. No frills. Quick food. Got what I wanted/ordered.

  • *****

    Good Korean food for great prices. Food comes up quickly and it's very tasty. I love that they leave tea and topping like kimchi at a small bar and you can help yourself.

  • *****

    Awesome bibimbop. The boy at the counter is wonderful! Only bad thing- a little too much rice but I'll take it! Tasty. Delish!

  • *****

    Good value, great flavor, great sides, cafeteria feel. This place is not fancy but it's quite tasty and most entrees are good value considering you can eat a lot of food for 10$.

  • *****

    Small, simple cafe style restaurant with unlimited seaweed salad and miso soup. Excellent. Order and pay at the counter on a tablet (15% tip already selected), fill up on free sides, and your order is brought to the table. One criticism was steaming hot tofu stew (very tasty) was served in a plastic bowl; That really needs a metal bowl. Soban fried chicken was delicious. Definitely will return for seconds.

  • *****

    Best Korean restaurant in ri