taegukgi korean bbq / kearny mesa – san diego, ca

Let me admit right away that I don’t know a lot about Korean food. But that doesn’t deter me from trying new things. I picked Taegukgi Korean BBQ House as a lunch outing for my co-workers and I. Funny thing though, we didn’t get the all you can eat bbq! We just ordered off the lunch menu.

I saw this place next to the new Zion market on Clairemont Mesa Blvd. This used to be the Sears Auto Center and I could totally see the garage in this large, open space since I had my old car serviced here before.


When you walk up, there’s a big open space and then there’s a little seating area away from the entrance and they play loud club music. When you get inside, it’s a wide open space with lights and lasers pointed at the ceiling.

I think maybe this place really wanted to be a nightclub and instead decided to do half nightclub/half Korean food. I think it was kind of having an identity crisis.


A few things aren’t available yet – but that was fine as we were mostly interested in the BBQ’d items.


This is the salad that was included with our meal. Simply dressed lettuce with a light dressing.


Banchan. I don’t know what all of this stuff was, but I tried all of it.


This was one of my favorites. It was cold zucchini and it had a sweet kind of marinade/sauce lingering over it with sesame seeds. David teased me saying this was sort of like eating pickles, but I relented saying they weren’t sour – which is the thing I don’t like about pickles! These were very non-pickly and were zucchini anyway. So my non-pickle love still stands quite strong.


I thought this was potato salad – and there are potatoes in it and it has a creamy like texture like potatoes – but it also has apples and other veggies in it. I was surprised to eat something sweet (apple) on my first try. It kind of weirded me out but then I got over it. It was pretty tasty!


This is the steamed egg. One per table folks.

It arrived steaming and almost bubbling hot. It reminded me of a witch’s cauldron, but instead it had hot steamy egg instead of hot steamy potions. 

The egg was very soft but it didn’t really have a lot of flavor to me. Just tasted like hot, soft, unseasoned egg.


Lauren ordered the Beef Ribs Soup ($8.99). This totally reminds me of a dish that my mom makes and looks almost exactly like it… except, well, less green onion stalks and more veggies.


David and Matt both ordered the Beef Bulgogi ($10.99). This dish I have had before! It was a sweet and pretty tasty dish from the little bit that I tried, though David and Matt both lamented that it was a bit of a small serving for the price.


As for me, I ordered the Beef Short Ribs ($13.99). They had a really excellent marinade and seasoning on them and were grilled just right. They were a little hard to pull off the bone, but very flavorful. There was a mess of onions at the bottom of my dish and I liked to eat the beef, onions and rice all together for a nice bite of food. I would agree this is kind of on the smaller side portion wise when you consider the price. It seemed a little expensive, but I still really liked it.

Overall I thought it was just okay. It’s probably more worth it to come and actually have the all you can eat bbq since it’s just a few dollars more than the dish that I had for lunch. We just weren’t sure if we’d be able to swing this on our lunch hour and may revisit for dinner sometime.

Got any Korean BBQ tips for me? Places to try? I’m totally a novice with Korean food but I would really like to try the DIY bbq one of these days!

Taegukgi Korean BBQ House
7655 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 277-1554

Taegukgi Korean BBQ House on Urbanspoon

12 thoughts on “taegukgi korean bbq / kearny mesa – san diego, ca

  1. Hi you

    I would highly recommend Jeong Won (if you haven’t been yet). It’s buffet style so you go up to meat/veggie section and get as much as you want. And they have a decent amount of variety too so you can sample a little bit of everything without feeling like you’re wasting food. They don’t have the egg souffle thing though. But I really like JW. You can also try Mapo Korean BBQ (also AYCE).

    Good luck 🙂

    1. Hi Faye! Thank you for the tip! The buffet-style sounds more suited to someone like me who’s totally a newbie. I would probably just want to try a little bit of everything. I read on Taegukgi’s “fine print” that if you don’t finish the meat, then charge you for it. What if I didn’t like it?! Goodness. Anyway, thanks for the recommendations!

      1. Yeah all the AYCE have that ‘fine print’ of what happens when you don’t finish. But Jeong has ALWAYS been super cool about it – and trust me, there were times when I didn’t like something and couldn’t finish and they never charged me. So that’s another reason I like them. Also – i forgot to tell you – they have free vanilla soft serve ice cream for dessert afterwards 🙂

  2. Jeong Won is probably my favorite AYCE Korean BBQ, mainly because you can pick out just how much you want to eat (like, if you only want one piece of squid, you don’t have to order a whole plate) AND they have soft serve ice cream. They don’t have the egg custard, but they do serve you the tasty korean pancake thing (and will bring you more, if you want). There’s also a self-serve panchan bar.

    We tried Taegukgi for dinner right after they opened, but I found it to be just okay. I’d be curious to go back in a few weeks and see if they’ve gotten any better. The nice thing about it is that there’s a ton of parking!

    1. Hi Leanne – Oh, two recommendations for Jeong Won! Yes, that sounds like it would be a better fit for me to be able just grab a little of this and that. It is nice that this place has lots of parking space though. A lot of places on Convoy I avoid just because of that! Thanks for the tips 🙂

  3. Hi Mary, I haven’t been to Jeong Won (although I’ve been meaning to go!) but Manna is my favorite for all-you-can-eat. Friend’s House also has a couple of good bbq items – their dinner combos are a good deal because you get a tofu soup and a choice of bbq from their menu, and it’s good for sharing with a dining buddy! I also like the pork bulgogi at DoReMi house. I haven’t tried Taegukgi though – will add it to my list! 😀

    1. Hi Jinxi – I see/hear Manna mentioned by other folks on Yelp or what not. I think I saw something about DoReMi house having beef bulgogi served in a cow shaped dish and it made me want to go (haha, silly things make me want to go places). Pretty much the only other Korean place I have been is Fuze in MM and I thought it was just okay there.

  4. I haven’t tried an AYCE Korean bbq place yet, but for a “regular” non AYCE meal, we like going to Buga. It’s right off the 805 exit on Clairemont Mesa Blvd. I like that Korean potato salad has apples (or sometimes Asian pear) in it. I dont’ think I would like that steamed egg dish. I’m not really into “soft” or steamed/mushy foods. I have to have some kind of textue. Interesting decor at that place. Ha ha, nightclub.

    They are supposed to open up another Manna AYCE bbq place down in Chula Vista. It will be in the Ralph’s shopping center, next to Chipotle. Funny thing is, the space it’s taking over was a Filipino take out joint a year ago. It’s been empty since. That space is so very small. I’m surprised they are putting a Korean AYCE place there.

    1. Hi CC – Oh, another place I have never heard of! So many things to try! Yeah, I don’t think you’d like the steamed egg dish either. It was just soft mush with no flavor. I know where you mean for the new Manna in CV, we drive by that shopping center to get Jake’s kids! Don’t think I’ve eaten at any of the places in there though.

  5. The clubbing atmosphere at lunch time was pretty amusing with the strobing lights and everything. Kind of funny for a place you’re going to on your work lunch break. 🙂 But it was fun to try, as always!!

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