Dotori, Finsbury Park, London
So… Dotori in Finsbury Park has always been a bit of a mixed bag for me. I agree it’s the best Japanese-Korean restaurant in London. And I’m not sure if I mean that as an aggregate, or that it is the best Japanese restaurant AND the best Korean restaurant. But. And a big but; I always find the service lacking. It’s a ridiculously popular eatery and the both times Ive been there’s also a serious waiting time. Luckily, there’s a pub nearby to nurse a pint until you get the bell.
Awkward first dates
My first encounter with Dotori was solo, and I had such high hopes when I went in. It’s one of the highest places rated on Zomato London, but that itself can be kinda of a faff. The food at Dotori is actually excellent. I went almost all vegetarian on my first go. But there was a massive delay with the food and errors on my order, so I stopped wanting to return for a while after that time. I didn’t find the food enough to compensate for the poor (and actually rude) service at the time, so my initial review wasn’t great and I was not a fan. The tempura (above, and below in the bento) is yum, but I do find myself feeling a bit sickly after having so much fried things. Best to vary, no doubt.
Second time lucky
Eventually my grudges dissipated and I was ready for more. So this time we had four in tow and we found a table downstairs after the aforementioned drink. It’s a kind of a place that you can share in, but then again you can order your own bento/ donburi/ bibimbap and be done with that. Agedashi tofu sets the tone – a lot of fried option, but there’s all sing good things to me.
Big fan of the chicken karage, one of the best in town although stingy on the mayo. Potato-starch coated, they are crunchy and tender morsels.
Dotori is a restaurant that’s 50% Japanese and 50% Korean I mainly am a sucker for all the Jap options though. One of the Korean dishes that I have tried is the spicy pork which is plentiful and scrumptious.
The bento boxes are about the £10 mark and provide a perfect square meal. As well as your main dish you get sides including the fried chicken, gyoza and some salad. I was so full after this. Anyway! I found my second act with Dotori filled with redemption, the food is fantastic and it’s worth clawing your way in for a table. Try and book if you can to avoid the chaos, but I will inevitably come back as it’s simply too good to resist.