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87 Very Good

At HanGawi, the Narnia of Koreatown, carnivores envy vegetarians.

12 E. 32nd St., New York, NY, 10016



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The lowdown

HanGawi is the farthest you can travel from anywhere on 32nd Street, including Penn Station. From the moment you’re asked to leave your shoes at the door, you’re whisked away to a completely transporting experience and one of the only vegetarian restaurants where meat eaters won’t feel deprived. The six-course emperor’s meal for dinner — or the four-course mini version served at lunch — treats you to an avalanche of banchan (Korean side dishes) both unexpected and delightful. To go all out, get the lavish seasonal tasting menu, a tribute that sends you deep down the rabbit hole of, say, matsutake mushrooms. There’s also a special “events menu” for groups of 10 to 14 people. Once you settle into the chair-free environs — sunken booths! — surrounded by calming music and an even more calming wait staff, you forget that midtown madness is only a few feet away. Indulge the great selections of teas and wines. Your palate will spend the next several days trying to decipher the flavors. Can a tongue get jet-lagged? Discuss! Not many places are great for large groups and for romantic dates, but that’s just one of the many welcome mysteries this kitchen dishes.

What you need to know

Insider Tips Wear nice socks!

Recommended DishesEmperor’s meal (minimum order of 2); seasonal highlight; Korean wine sampler.

DrinksSake/Soju, Beer & Wine Only

Noise LevelHushed