Are you a foodie looking to explore new tastes and flavors? Look no further than Korean cuisine. With its bold, spicy flavors and unique ingredients, Korean food has taken London by storm in recent years. In this article, we’ll explore the best Korean restaurants in London and what makes them stand out from the rest.
Introduction to Korean Cuisine in London
Korean cuisine is known for its emphasis on fresh ingredients, bold flavors, and unique spice blends. From traditional fermented dishes like kimchi to sizzling Korean BBQ, there’s something for every taste bud. In London, the Korean food scene has exploded in recent years, with restaurants popping up all over the city. With so many options, it can be overwhelming to choose where to go. But, fear not, we’ve got you covered.
The Rise of Korean food in the UK
So, why has Korean food become so popular in the UK? It’s partly thanks to the rise of K-pop and Korean culture in the Western world. But, it’s also due to the fact that Korean food is simply delicious. With its complex and rich flavors, it’s a true feast for the senses. Plus, it’s incredibly diverse, with options for meat-lovers and vegetarians alike.
Traditional vs contemporary Korean dining experiences
When it comes to Korean dining in London, you’ll find a range of options. Some restaurants stick to traditional Korean dishes, while others offer a more modern twist. You can opt for a casual dining experience, or go for something more upscale. Whatever your preference, there’s something to suit your taste.
Criteria for selecting the best Korean restaurants in London
So, what makes a great Korean restaurant? We looked at a few key factors in making our selections, including the quality of the food, the overall dining experience, and reviews from other diners. We also considered the variety of dishes on offer, and whether there are options for vegetarians and vegans.
Top 10 Korean restaurants in London
Without further ado, here are our top picks for the best Korean restaurants in London:
- Superstar BBQ
- On the Bab
- Bibimbap Soho
- The Kimchi Project
Reviews and ratings of each restaurant
Let’s take a closer look at each of these restaurants, starting with our number one pick, Jinjuu.
Jinjuu is a contemporary Korean restaurant in Soho, and it’s easily one of the best in the city. The restaurant boasts a modern and chic interior, with a menu that’s both traditional and innovative. The standout dishes here include the Korean fried chicken and the spicy pork belly. But, really, everything on the menu is delicious. The cocktails here are also worth mentioning – they’re expertly crafted and pair perfectly with the bold flavors of the food.
Asadal is a bit of a hidden gem, tucked away in Holborn. It may not have the same buzz as some of the other restaurants on this list, but it certainly delivers in terms of food quality. The restaurant is spacious and airy, with plenty of options for vegetarians. Standout dishes here include the seafood pancake and the Bulgogi beef.
Koba has been around for a while now, and it’s consistently one of the best Korean restaurants in London. The restaurant has a cozy and intimate atmosphere, with traditional Korean decor. The menu is full of classic dishes, like the bibimbap and hot pots. But, the real star here is the Korean BBQ – it’s some of the best in the city.
If you’re looking for a fun and lively dining experience, Superstar BBQ is the place to go. The restaurant has a funky and vibrant interior, with K-pop music videos playing on the TV screens. The focus here is on Korean BBQ, with plenty of options for meat-lovers and vegetarians. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, and they’re more than happy to guide you through the menu.
If you’re in the mood for a quick and casual bite, On the Bab is the perfect spot. The restaurant specializes in Korean street food, with options like Korean-style tacos and bibimbap bowls. The portions are generous and the prices are reasonable, making it a great choice for a lunchtime meal or a quick dinner.
Bibimbap Soho is a small and cozy restaurant tucked away in, you guessed it, Soho. The restaurant has a minimalist decor, with the focus fully on the food. The bibimbap here is a standout dish – it’s served sizzling on a hotstone, and comes with all sorts of flavorful toppings. The staff are friendly and attentive, and the prices are reasonable.
Kimchee is a chain of Korean restaurants with locations in both London and the rest of the UK. While the chain may not have the same charm as some of the smaller, independently-owned restaurants on this list, it’s still worth mentioning for the quality of the food. The menu here is expansive, with something for every taste. The bulgogi beef and the kimchi pancakes are both standout dishes.
Galbi is a small and cozy restaurant in Fitzrovia, with a menu that focuses on Korean BBQ. The meat here is top-notch, with generous portions and plenty of marinade options. The staff are friendly and welcoming, and the prices are reasonable.
Okay, so Kanada-Ya isn’t strictly a Korean restaurant. But, it’s worth mentioning on this list for its delicious Korean-style ramen. The restaurant is always busy, with long lines on weekends. But, it’s worth the wait for a steaming bowl of noodles in a rich, spicy broth.
The Kimchi Project is a small and cozy restaurant in Fulham, with a menu that focuses on Korean fusion. The owners are passionate about using fresh and locally-sourced ingredients, and it shows in the quality of the food. The Korean fried chicken and the kimchi jeon are both must-try dishes.
Signature dishes to try at each restaurant
Each of the restaurants on our list has its own standout dishes. Here’s a quick overview of what to try at each spot:
- Jinjuu: Korean fried chicken, spicy pork belly
- Asadal: Seafood pancake, Bulgogi beef
- Koba: Korean BBQ
- Superstar BBQ: Kimchi pancake, LA galbi
- On the Bab: Kimchi and pork buns, spicy rice cakes
- Bibimbap Soho: Sizzling bibimbap
- Kimchee: Bulgogi beef, kimchi pancakes
- Galbi: Korean BBQ
- Kanada-Ya: Spicy ramen
- The Kimchi Project: Korean fried chicken, kimchi jeon
Vegetarian and vegan options at Korean restaurants in London
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, fear not – there are plenty of options for you at Korean restaurants in London. Many of the restaurants on our list offer vegetarian and vegan versions of classic Korean dishes. For example, at Jinjuu, you can try the tofu bibimbap or the mushroom japchae. At Asadal, the vegetable pancake and the spicy tofu stir-fry are both great options. And, at Bibimbap Soho, you can opt for a meatless version of the sizzling bibimbap.
Best Korean BBQ spots in London
If you’re looking for a Korean BBQ experience in London, head to Koba or Galbi. Both restaurants specialize in BBQ, with plenty of options for meat-lovers and vegetarians. Koba is a bit more upscale, with a cozy and intimate atmosphere. Galbi is more casual, with a no-frills decor. But, both deliver on the quality of the food.
Best Korean fried chicken joints in London
For a taste of Korean fried chicken, head to Jinjuu or The Kimchi Project. Jinjuu’s fried chicken is crispy and perfectly seasoned, while The Kimchi Project’s version is both spicy and sweet.
Hidden gems for authentic Korean cuisine
If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path Korean restaurant, try The Fat Bear in Bermondsey or Po Cha in Camden. The Fat Bear is a casual spot with an emphasis on traditional Korean dishes. The dumplings and the kimchi stew are must-try dishes. Po Cha is a small and cozy cafe with homemade Korean food, including bibimbap and spicy tofu stew.
Tips for ordering and dining at a Korean restaurant
When dining at a Korean restaurant, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, don’t be afraid to ask the staff for recommendations – they’re usually more than happy to guide you through the menu. Also, share dishes with your dining companions – Korean cuisine is meant to be enjoyed family-style. And, finally, be prepared for some spicy dishes – Korean food is known for its bold and flavorful spice blends.
So, there you have it – our picks for the best Korean restaurants in London. But, how do you choose the best one for you? It all comes down to your taste and budget. If you’re on a shoestring budget, head to On the Bab or The Kimchi Project. If you’re looking for an upscale dining experience, try Jinjuu or Koba. And, of course, consider your dietary restrictions when making your choice. Whatever your preference, there’s a Korean restaurant in London that’s sure to satisfy your cravings.
Charlotte is a London girl through and through. She sweats through spin and puffs through Pilates to justify trying the latest restaurants and devouring copious amounts of sweet potato fries, burrata and bread – preferably on holiday. Her favourite destinations include Italy, the Maldives and anywhere where the sun’s shining and there’s a strong breakfast buffet. She’s obsessed with walking, visiting farmers’ markets and reading. She’s also learning to cook. Wish her (and her husband) luck.