Gom Ba Woo
7133 Columbia Pike
Annandale, VA 22003
Open Monday through Friday 7 AM to 11 PM and Sunday 7 AM to 10 PM.
Nearby Metro Stops: Van Dorn St., Dunn Loring-Merrifield
Price Range: Moderate
Noise Level: Intimate
Steamed dumplings (mandu); seafood pancake; oxtail with green onions; pork-belly barbecue; soondubu; sul leung tang; grilled short ribs; pork with red-pepper sauce.
Appetizers $8.95 to $12.95; entrées $7.95 to $27.95.
Special Features: Kid Friendly
Why go: Many of the area’s Korean restaurants trade on a specialty: barbecue, fried chicken, noodles, tofu soup. This one wins our favor for its versatility—it does a number of things well—and for its staff, one of the warmest around.
What to get: Soondubu, a spicy red-pepper broth with custardy cubes of tofu and plump oysters; the area’s best seafood pancake; luscious barbecue pork belly to be spooned onto a broad leaf of lettuce and topped with soy paste; seul lung tang, a soup made from long-cooked beef bones that teems with rice cakes, strips of egg and green onion, and slices of meat.
Best for: Diners seeking an introduction to the world of Little Korea.
Insider tip: The menu lists no desserts, which is typical of Korean restaurants. But you can walk across Columbia Pike to Napoleon bakery for lightly sweetened cookies, pastries, and bingsoo—shaved ice topped with ice cream and ripe fruit.
Open daily for lunch and dinner.