Bowl’d BBQ Brings Bibimbop to Alameda

Bowl’d BBQ, which opened this spring in Alameda’s South Shore Center, is the newest in a group of family-owned Korean restaurants whose locations are in Albany, Berkeley, and Oakland specializes in bibimbop, the hearty rice combo that some call Korea’s national dish.


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Bowl'd specializes in the Korean dish bibimbop.

Photo by Lori Eanes

Imagine striding straight into the future—minimalistic furnishings evoking bisected cubes; an abstractly, asymmetrically crosshatched wall; sand-on-steel color palette—and sitting down to eat earthy, smoky, served-in-stone-bowls fare evoking the distant past.

That’s what happens at Bowl’d BBQ, which opened this spring in Alameda’s South Shore Center. This newest in a group of family-owned Korean restaurants whose locations are in Albany, Berkeley, and Oakland specializes in bibimbop, the hearty rice combo that some call Korea’s national dish. Bowl’d BBQ’s menu also features jap chae, kimbop, ramen, fried chicken, slushies, and rarely-seen-stateside traditional items such as acorn gelée and pork hocks.

“We chose Alameda because it is a beautiful city that has a lot of developments going on, and we wanted to be a part of the community’s growth,” said co-owner Irene Kim. “We are learning how tightly knit the community is. The support from the locals has been so positive.”

While all four Bowl’ds are attractive, the Alameda branch—in the space formerly occupied by Best Lil’ Porkhouse—brings that artistic element to new heights.

“We definitely put a lot of thought into how we wanted the space to be inviting yet very modern and eye-catching,” Kim said.

Bowl’d BBQ’s bibimbop is gratifyingly customizable: Along with 12 vegetables, the customer’s choice of protein ranges from various types of meat to vegetarian options.

“Our vision is to open more restaurants and not only serve good food but also share our Korean culture through the traditional dishes that we offer,” Kim said. “We’ve been blessed to have had so much success with all of our other restaurants. The customer response has been great. This drives us to be passionate and motivated to open more locations.”

Kim’s favorite part of the Alameda restaurant “is the people.” Ever since opening day, “many customers have shared their excitement and described their anticipation awaiting our arrival.

“They are excited about us being here and it really drives us to work hard to continue to provide food and service. We are glad to be a part of Alameda.”

Bowl’d BBQ, 2201D South Shore Center Drive, Alameda, 510-263-8717, www.BowldBBQ.com.

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