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  • Look, I know it’s a bit of an obvious suggestion for dinner, but Ben Jia is just really reliable Korean BBQ food. They probably don’t have the punchiest kimchi, or the creamiest mashed potato, or the sesame-est salad. They don’t even serve kimchi bokkeumbap. They do, however, consistently deliver consistently good, crowd-pleasing meat for the masses.

    If you’re not sure what to order from the massive menu – the kimchijeon (big vermilion pancake) and the japchae (translucent sweet potato noodles) are great. Lovely Korean comfort food. The kimchijjigae (stew involving kimchi, tofu and meaty chunks) isn’t incredible, but it isn’t bad either. The meat’s all good. Get anything – pork or beef, naked or braised. It’s all going to come off the grill in a sizzling, charred tangle, and it’s all going to get eaten, however much you order.

    They have the usual range of drinks, too: soju, makgeolli, and beer on the alcoholic side; soft drinks and free-flow tea for the virtuous. Prices are also inoffensive: we paid 600rmb for four hungry adults and a lettuce-munching four-year-old, including a couple of visits to the Haagen Dazs freezer.

    Ben Jia is a decent Korean BBQ for first timers and old timers. The food’s all of a pretty good quality, and the service is whatever you want it to be – staff will normally do the cooking if you don’t say anything, but they’ll leave you to grill your own meat if you ask. It’s always a good option for group dinners.

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SmartReviews is SmartShanghai’s crack squad of amateur reviewers, eating their way around the city and writing about it. They have been chosen from a large pool of applicants and given a set of strict guidelines to follow to make sure their reviews are honest, informed and fair to both potential customers and the restaurants themselves.