Try a taste of Korea in the heart of downtown

December 22, 2008

By Jon Savelle

Should you decide to go to Sa Rang Chae for the lunch special, bring a good appetite. This Korean restaurant doesn’t hold back on the portions.

On a recent snowy day that evidently kept all other customers away, the lunch menu promised some adventuresome eating. It’s not a long list, compared to the extensive dinner menu of traditional Korean and Chinese establishments, but for someone not familiar with Korean fare, it all sounded exotic.

I ordered the bulgogi, a barbecued beef and soup special for $11.95, and expected a modest plate of food, a bowl of rice, soup and tea.

A lot more was delivered to the table. No fewer than nine dishes appeared, starting with soup, rice and a sizzling platter of beef. With them were bowls of various vegetable dishes, ranging from spicy to mild, each a small quantity but adding up to a lot of food. It would have been plenty for two people. 

The fun part is mixing and matching ingredients. Starting with rice, you can add a bit of beef, some spicy bean sprouts or onions or greens. Each mouthful can have a unique combination of flavors and your little steel bowl never seems to empty. 

While you are eating, you can read the Northwest Asian Weekly or perhaps admire the decor, a fairly generic example of the Asian restaurant school of design. The Sa Rang Chae does have a bar and lounge, however, and karaoke is popular in the evenings. 

A visit to the restaurant won’t cost much, with most menu items in the $8 to $12 range. The dinner offerings are extensive. But there is no take-out menu. Instead, Sa Rang Chae has a menu online. The site has pictures of some of the dishes, with brief descriptions, but no prices. 

Still, if something a little different is what suits your mood, the restaurant offers a flavorful variety and fast, friendly service. It is right in the heart of downtown Issaquah. There is plenty of parking, and theaters, shops and galleries are just steps away. 


Sa Rang Chae

Korean restaurant

20 Front St. S.


11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Monday through 4Saturday, Noon – 9 p.m. Sunday

$8 to $14

Bar: seven days a week 

9:30 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Karaoke: after 9 p.m. 

Monday through Friday


Reach Reporter Jon Savelle at 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment on this story at

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One Response to “Try a taste of Korea in the heart of downtown”

  1. John Williams on March 4th, 2009 12:24 pm

    I am constantly surprised at how many of my Issaquah friends and neighbors don’t know about Sa Rang Chae, and I delight in taking people for their first taste of Korean food.

    The food is wonderful and plentiful and the owners and staff are so friendly and eager to help newcomers have a good first experience. The “interactive” nature of the table cooking makes it fun for everyone.

    Thanks for writing this restaurant up. They really are a hidden treat.

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