There is nothing like a genuine, traditional Korean meal that includes a bowl of rice and an array of banchan (side dishes), including kimchi. TOZI opened up late 2011 in the Wicker Park area and offers a vast selection of customary dishes including rice bowls (e.g. dolsot bibimbop), noodles (e.g. japchae and gooksu), soups, stews (e.g. kimchi jigae), casseroles (e.g. haemool jeongol), and raw meat to cook at your table.
Today my friend Joan and I ordered soondubu, a spicy tofu soup, and daegu-maewoontang, a codfish stew. Joan is a Korean food expert and excellent cook and gave her thumbs up to the codfish stew. My spicy, seafood, soft tofu soup really hit the spot, especially accompanied by the banchan. The generous amount of tofu made it seem like a porridge, which was fine with me. [FYI: At some Korean restaurants a whole raw egg is given alongside the soondubu for the patron to crack into the bowl himself, but at TOZI, the egg is cracked into the bowl in the kitchen, right before serving it to the customer.]
I've been to TOZI more than ten times, which is the most I've visited any restaurant in Chicago, considering that there are so many eccentric, acclaimed, and new places on my "list." I always feel that I'm nourishing my body without all the fat, butter, and sugar packed into dishes at the most hyped-up places in the city. TOZI is the most authentic place for Korean cuisine closest to the heart of downtown Chicago and is easily accessible by public transportation. Other traditional Korean restaurants such as Cho Sun Ok, Da Rae Jung, and San Soo Gab San are located in far northern parts of the city.