Last Sunday was one of those fine days when we just wanted to explore and indulge in Korean cuisine some more while not traveling far. MARU Korean Restaurant happened to be the perfect spot as it’s very accessible from our place — outside through the exit of Midtown Wing, Robinsons Place, Manila.

A treat for your senses awaits at this restaurant specializing in both authentic and inventive lick-the-plate-delicious and mostly spicy food. In Maru, Korean food staples are done expertly. Customers are given the option to sit on the floor and dine the “Korean-way,” essentially just how Maru stands by its name; in Korean, it means “living room floor” and the literal translation pretty much sums up the experience.

Review of Maru Korean Restaurant (Robinsons Place, Manila)

Ambiance: ★★★★★

The Korean ambiance was definitely felt through the theme, with minimal accents and monochromatic design. Half of the restaurant had grills on the tables for BBQ. So if you want to grill meat, be sure to tell the staff that you have to get the BBQ table.

Service: ★★★★★

Staff composed of the guard, waitresses and waiters and the restaurant manager were exceptionally courteous, responsive and helpful. All the names of dishes on the menu were in Korean and we couldn’t understand any of them except for the common ones like bulgogi and japchae. The wait staff gave us ample time to decide which to order according to the pictures, and they gave their recommendations off of the menu when asked.

Maru has this cute button that functions like a “nurse call button” that allows patients customers to alert nurses waiters of their requests. I pressed it three times in our entire stay and the wait staff came quickly each time upon hearing the buzz. Cool! 😀

Food: ★★★★★

Before the arrival of the actual entrees, we were served with banchan that included Korean potato marbles, fried banana balls, slices of eggplant, diced tofu, kimchi, picked vegetables, etc. Since these side dishes can be refilled until our stomachs tell us to stop, Mom joked that we can dine in here one day, order only their premium sticky rice and be satisfied with as much banchans as we can have. 😛

Amidst the laughter, Doinjang Jjige (PHp 250), a hot pot stone of traditional Korean dish—soy bean soup boiled with clams, vegetables and other extraordinary spices came gushing next through our delight. The soup tasted so salty and spicy that I couldn’t take it without galloping water and adding rice to each mouthful.

Next we had the Doenjang Jjigae (PHp 250), regarded as one of the representative dishes of food in Korea. This fermented soybean paste stew was super concentrated, flavorful, and pretty salty (expect to drink lots of water or eat spoonfuls of rice in between). As much as it was salty, the soup was numbing and screaming hot (pain = yum). I’m guessing primary ingredients used were: braised beef, tofu and kimchi. We should not have ordered this because it tasted almost the same as the Doinjang Jjige but less sour.

Chadolbaegi or simply grilled beef brisket helped to tame the spiciness of the previous two. This entree came with thin slices of premium fat beef similar to that of a bacon, a bowl of lettuce, special sauce and sesame oil. Normally I hate to eat meat because of the chewy texture and just because I find it eww. But this one I had to try and I had no regrets! 🙂 We liked it a lot and we even have plans now of going back to Maru just to have our second round of chadolbaegi.

Served hot, Jabchae Bab (Korean glassy noodles) (PHp 200) is a must-try in any Korean restaurant. It consisted of stir fried noodles in sesame oil, various garnished vegetables, cooked with flavored soy sauce and sweetened with sugar. A bed of rice and side dishes accompanied the sweet potato noodles and completed the feast.

Finally, we had the Bulgogi Kimbab (PHp 120) which was fresh and succulent. Of good quality, each slice in the seaweed and rice roll was crave-inducing.

This is not the meal to have if you’re in a rush. Korean meals, I suggest, have to be taken in a leisurely, social affair. There are unlimited refills of side dishes anyway. So you can take your time appreciating the different flavors infused to your taste buds and enjoy.

Price for Value: ★★★★☆

We were truly happy with everything in MARU! With generous servings and wonderful standards, the price for value is spot on reasonable. We’ll definitely continue to come to Maru and keep this restaurant in our rotation.

❗ Maru Korean Restaurant is also able to cater to customized private parties and gatherings for more than 30 people. No need to worry about balloon decors and photo booths for your events. For your catering needs, please contact Merchant directly. They now have an ongoing deal (via Ensogo), a treat for 2 or 4 people which you can view here.

MARU Korean Restaurant
G/F Adriatico Street, Ermita, Manila
For inquiries, call (02) 385 7192, (02) 353 9854 / 0917 5569854
Date Published: 07/17/2013
19 / 20 stars

Other branches:

A. Venue, Makati Branch
A Venue Mall, Makati Avenue, Poblacion, Makati
Contact nos. (02) 4039140 / 0917 8064172

HK Sun Plaza, Macapagal, San Jose, Pasay City
Contact nos. (02) 8360404 / 0917 5283034

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35 Responses

  1. Franc Ramon

    The place has a nice ambiance and good food. Just curious, how come you don’t gain weight with all your food reviews?

    Reply
  2. Cheryl Zamora

    That BBQ table is cool! 😀 The total ambiance is nice. If you don’t understand the dishes in the menu, I don’t understand the food I see in the photos. Hahaha! I’m NO Korean food fan. I haven’t tried one from them though.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Trusting foodies feel the Korean fare made at this spot tucked away in the side street of the mall is so universally fragrant and richly flavored, they don’t even look at the menu, instead asking the lovely staff to bring what they recommend.

      Reply
  3. Joy Felizardo

    The best thing about Korean dining-Ban chan. I didn’t also realize that they are priced affordably! And my…wan to try eating on the floor!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      We should have tried eating on the bbq tables but since my dad has a problem with his right leg, we couldn’t. Anyway, food was nicely enjoyed and they were all irresistibly tempting – either on the Korean bbq table or the regular one. 😀

      Reply
  4. ana karen

    Robinsons Place was my home when I was based in Manila for 10 years. wow! I wish I can visit it again when i go for vacation and try Maru. I see it has a very impressive ambiance. I’m a fanatic of Kimchi noodles and kimchi itself. 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Awww, 10 years was quite a long time huh. You can visit this place anytime when you fly back to Manila for vacation. Unlike you though, I don’t like kimchi. 😛

      Reply
  5. Algene

    Gusto kong itry ang Bulgogi Kimbab! And I can’t believe it’s so mura 🙂 Thanks for sharing this review. I discovered a new place na ivivisit ko soon.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Not that I’m promoting Robinsons Place, Manila but this mall houses tons of great restaurants to munch and punch in. 😀 Maru is one and you can be sure that you’d not regret dining here.

      Reply
  6. Anna

    Not much a fan of Korean food butI like the one with seaweed, the Kimbab or is it kimbap?

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Bulgogi kimbab? Bulgogi is beef in Korean and kimbab is seaweed rice. I would say it’s the Korean version of a ham and cheese sandwich – it’s good for lunch when eaten with other food, or as a stand alone snack. 😀

      Reply
  7. Tess

    The restaurant is beautiful inside and out. love the interiors and the food looks mouthwatering.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yes, I’m glad you agree. My boyfriend thinks otherwise. When we dropped by one day, he said he didn’t like the ambiance and most probably wouldn’t like the food here, too. Tsktsk. 😛 He missed a lot!

      Reply
  8. marri

    I’m fond of soup and I super like to try the soy bean soup with all the ingredients in… I’m sure this dish will be enough for me to enjoy.

    Reply
  9. jane

    i love korean foods too as much as I love japanese! though i must admit that kimchi is always the number one thing in my fridge i can almost eat anything with it! love all the food pics!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Oh I just don’t like kimchi because of the smell and it’s too spicy! I thought before that Korean food and Japanese food are just the same but after dining in to many restaurants, now I can tell the differences apart.

      Reply
  10. Sky

    We’re a big fan of Korean cuisine, and Japchae and Dak Bulgogi are among our favorites.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      If so then it’s a great idea to bring your family here for lunch or dinner. Each time the dish arrives, you might have to resist the urge to clap with joy. :p

      Reply
  11. lily

    I love spicy foods! I’ve never been in a korean resto though. Haha. There’s no such resto here in the province! x_X

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Oh. So what restaurants do you have? I think I can’t live in a province like that. So right now I should count myself lucky pala talaga to be living in Manila. 😀

      Reply
  12. Justin

    the place looks endearing.. and the bell idea is cool! at least, you can get their attention.. and the bulgogi kimbab is so mouthwatering! 😀

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Hehe. Actually at first I was hesitant to order this particular entree because we were already so full with all the rest, but in the end, I must declare that the bulgogi kimbab was one of the best in our meal.

      Reply

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