En Hakkore

I should begin by noting that I am by no stretch of the imagination a healthy eater. I have no interest in raw vegetables, no dietary restrictions and no self control, which is why I'm surprised to be writing a rave review of a restaurant like En Hakkore.

This casual spot, seating maybe 20 people max, is two blocks away from the famous Mindy's Hot Chocolate in Bucktown. En Hakkore's repurposed furniture, multi-patterned china hanging from the walls and exotic drink options give the restaurant a charming and pleasant atmosphere.

Courtesy of Kat

Courtesy of Kat

En Hakkore keeps it simple: they only offer two entrees and two appetizers, all for under $10. The bibim-bap bowl, my personal favorite, boasts 16 different kinds of vegetables (that's basically three entire days' worth of vegetables). It includes kimchi, pickled radishes, sauteed mushrooms, bean sprouts, zucchini, cabbage, beets and more. On top of all those healthy veggies, you can choose between spicy pork, BBQ beef or sashimi. You can customize your dish even further by choosing between white, brown or black rice and either a spicy red pepper sauce or a mild soy seasoning sauce. The vegetables are crunchy and fresh, the meat is tender and the red pepper sauce packs the perfect punch. For those of us who crave a carby component in their meal, En Hakkore has partha tacos with vegetables and your choice of beef or spicy pork atop an Indian-style flatbread and signature En Hakkore sauce.

Courtesy of Mike

Courtesy of Mike

Whatever dish or combination you order, En Hakkore consistently delivers a balanced and impressively colorful meal.  For these meals to be as health-oriented as they are, they are also surprisingly filling. Another bonus: your food is brought out quickly, and you're never left waiting more than 5 or 10 minutes.

I will admit that I walked past En Hakkore dozens of times before I finally gave it a shot. The advertisements hanging in the window with the many photographs of vegetables instilled a stubborn reluctance in me to venture inside. Now, I am a loyal customer of En Hakkore, picking up a spicy pork bibim-bap bowl with black rice and mild sauce two or three times a week. If you're up in Bucktown or Wicker Park, this spot is worth checking out.

Hours of operation: 11:00 am – 9:30 pm, closed Sunday

Address: 1840 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

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