Best Korean BBQ in Houston [2019]

Last updated: Aug 10, 2019 @ 4:10 pm

Sticking true to our Restaurant Delight Index (RDI), the 3 best Korean BBQ in Houston has to offer in ranking order are: Lucky Palace Korean Restaurant, Korea Garden Restaurant, and Kot Dae Ji - Flower Piggy Korean BBQ.

Houston, we have a problem. I'm hungry, we've uncovered the best Korean BBQ in Houston, and I'm currently freezing my ass off in Minneapolis. The Korean population is nowhere near as strong as in Atlanta, Chicago, or LA, but they do have a strong enough community to warrant an H-Mart. Where there's an H-Mart, there's Korean BBQ. If your hunger can only be sated with meat and veggies grilled over a fire head over to Spring Branch or Chinatown. For a national comparison, Houston's Korean BBQ game is a step above Chicago's but below front runner Los Angeles. Now, let's get started!

The Best Korean BBQ in Houston:

lucky palace korean restaurant best korean bbq in houston

#1 Lucky Palace Korean Restaurant 🏆

8508 Bellaire Blvd Houston, TX 77036

Restaurant Delight Index: 64/100

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) 229 reviews

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Lucky Palace Korean Restaurant earned the crown of best Korean BBQ in Houston. They were able to delight their customers with high quality meat, generous portions, and excellent customer service. What holds them back from hanging with the big dogs in LA is the quality of their banchan (side dishes). They definitely make up for it with quantity with generous refills. Some Korean BBQ restaurants really skimp out on those side dishes and it's like pulling teeth when asking for more. No worries here.

You won't find higher quality Korean BBQ meat in Houston that's also light on the wallet (relatively). Customers raved about their marinated short ribs and Kobe style beef, fortunately included in each of their Korean BBQ combos. What isn't included is rice, which is a big miss for me so you'll have to order that separately. You can still make all the lettuce wraps you want, but it personally leaves the experience a little incomplete. A nice little customer service feature they employ is the server call button; a trend we're still waiting to catch on nationwide. Cold cinnamon tea is a great way to cap off a huge, meat heavy meal, but if that's not your thing you can request a hot tea instead.

What to order: Combo A for first-timers, Combo C for large groups

Runner ups:

korea garden restaurant best korean bbq in houston

#2 Korea Garden Restaurant 🥈

9501 Long Point Rd Houston, TX 77055

Restaurant Delight Index: 59/100

3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5) 243 reviews

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Sitting at #2 for best Korean BBQ in Houston, Korea Garden Restaurant holds its own with their beautiful ambiance, warm customer service, deliciously tender meat, and great variety of side dishes. This is the epitome of "don't judge a book by its cover". You would never expect the elegant and beautiful decor that lives inside based on their storefront. Their full bar definitely doesn't hurt either. Similar to Lucky Palace, Korea Garden puts in the effort to provide friendly customer service, unlike a lot of Korean restaurants around the United States I can think of (looking at you Cho Sun Ok). Whether you're Korean or not, they try to provide the same great experience and are super open and generous in sharing their Korean food knowledge. What sets Korea Garden apart is the quality of their pork options, especially their pork belly, but you can't go wrong with their tender marinated short ribs either. Their side dish game is also a little better than Lucky Palace's, and they provide rice with their meats.

The reason they're not #1 is the price. This is not where you would bring your trencher friends hoping to spend all night eating embarrassing amounts of sizzling meat. If you're looking for a more elegant Korean BBQ experience, Korea Garden is the place for you in Houston.

What to order:  Pork Bulgogi, Pork Belly

kot dae ji best korean bbq in houston

#3 Kot Dae Ji 🥉

1411 Gessner Rd Ste A Houston, TX 77080

Restaurant Delight Index: 52/100

3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5) 216 reviews

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Kot Dae Ji finishes with the bronze, falling behind Korea Garden by 7 points in our Restaurant Delight Index. The sides and meat quality are all top notch for Houston. Their pork belly is thick and fresh without being too fatty. The marinade on the short ribs and bulgogi isn't overpowering. If you order the combo, you'll get a steamed egg and choice between their kimchi jjigae or doenjang jjigae. Surprisingly, they include a corn cheese side that people rave about. Not the most typical Korean banchan but we definitely wouldn't shy away from it.

Just like Korea Garden, you might leave thinking there wasn't enough meat for the price. It's on the pricier side and service can be slow at times, the call button helps so don't hesitate to use it. When you do get their attention, the servers are extremely nice and offer great recommendations. One thing I really don't support is the 20% tip included automatically included on the bill. As a standard practice, I highly disagree with assumed gratuity.

Kot Dae Ji is located in a shopping center and area where it can be pretty sketchy at night. Anytime an establishment has a picture of a surveillance camera, you should make sure your doors are locked. Once you walk in though you'll feel at home. The decor is more traditional and dated, but welcoming.

What to order: Hyeo gui (beef tongue), Pork Belly, Pork Jowl

Competition

A total of twelve Korean BBQ restaurants in Houston were reviewed and of those, six met our criteria of having more than 200 reviews while passing the Fakespot fake reviews test.

best korean bbq in houston by rdi

Based on this distribution, the top three have confidently secured their position and unless something drastic happens they won't be losing it. Looking at the larger picture, Lucky Palace would be 17th best in Los Angeles for Korean BBQ, 4th best in New York City and 2nd best in Chicago. That's pretty impressive for how relatively small the Korean food scene is in Houston.

There are about twelve Korean BBQ restaurants in Houston, which is just as big as Chicago's Korean BBQ scene and a quarter of the LA Korean BBQ scene.

What's Next?

We'll be updating this post regularly over the year to give the Korean BBQ restaurants in Houston some time to accumulate reviews. That will only increase our confidence in these scores. Until then try out these Korean BBQ spots and pro tip: it's always better with friends. 🙂

Best Korean BBQ in Chicago [2019]

Last updated: Aug 10, 2019 @ 4:12 pm

If you're in Chicago looking for a great, satisfying Korean BBQ experience look no further than Gogi and Cho Sun Ok. Although Chicago's stable of Korean BBQ restaurants may not match up with LA or New York City the distinct experiences that both Gogi and Cho Sun Ok provide should be enough to satisfy any Chicago dweller looking for that irreplaceable Korean BBQ fix. With Gogi's push to bring Korean BBQ into the ages old, tradition laden, meat eating culture that's been a part of the city of Chicago since its conception and Cho Sun Ok's stubborn commitment to staying true to what they are, an old school, traditional Korean BBQ joint there's something here for everyone.

Leading up to the early 2000's there was a growing Korean population in Chicago with stores and restaurants propped up on Lawrence Ave (Jinwoo's family lived on Lawrence Ave above a BBQ joint... maybe this explains something). Since then, many Koreans have moved out of the city and into the suburbs, leaving historic Korea Town looking significantly... unKorean. Consequently, the city is missing an established K-Town, especially compared to LA where several Korean BBQ spots sit mere blocks away from each other. That doesn't mean you won't find good Korean food in Chicago, it's just more scattered across the city. From our research, there are roughly eleven Korean BBQ joints in Chicago but only five have enough reviews to be considered on this list. We were surprised by how low most of these places scored; did your favorite Chicago Korean BBQ restaurant make the list?

The Best Korean BBQ in Chicago:

gogi best korean bbq in chicago

#1 Gogi 🏆

6240 N California Ave Chicago, IL 60659

Restaurant Delight Index: 63/100

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) 250 reviews

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Gogi topped our list for the best Korean BBQ restaurant in Chicago with an RDI score of 63, which means you have a pretty good chance of having a delightful Korean BBQ experience. Are they on par with Korean BBQ in LA? Not even close. There was also an owner change recently, which according to trends may explain the slight decline in the quality of customers' Korean BBQ experience. However, Gogi is your best shot of leaving pretty happy if you're in need of some sizzling kalbi on a grill (their claim to fame). Gogi is big enough to seat large groups, while being half the size of San Soo Gab San (a long time go to for Chicago Koreans). For larger parties they offer zashiki style seating, where you take off your shoes and sit on cushions at a low floor table (give it a little thought as it might not be the most comfortable for your parents to sit like that for an hour or so). Portion sizes are generous at Gogi, when your name is 'meat' they better be. Another underrated aspect is that the meat is grilled over charcoal, which adds a depth in flavor that can't be replicated with gas. At the end of your meal, you get a bonus kimchi fried rice grilled and mixed with the leftovers from your grill. Delicious!

Their banchan game is good, but not great. It may be hit or miss, but leans slightly more towards the hits. There's a lack of consistency in their quality and portions, which goes the same goes for their service. They do a decent job in serving you, but it wouldn't be totally surprising if things are a little off during your visit. They do have a buzzer at the table, so that helps. Unfortunately, their grilling system doesn't prevent you from smelling like the food. Bring out those clothes buried in the corner of your closet or plan on making a stop at home before going out again.

What to order: Marinated Kalbi, Kimchi Pajeon

Runner ups:

cho sun ok best korean bbq in chicago

#2 Cho Sun Ok Restaurant 🥈

4200 N Lincoln Ave Chicago, IL 60618

Restaurant Delight Index: 50/100

3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5) 686 reviews

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Cho Sun Ok Restaurant is one of the more if not most authentic Korean BBQ experiences you can get in Chicago. Does that translate into a great experience? Not always. If it's your first time, I highly suggest trying somewhere else, unless you have a grizzled Korean BBQ veteran with the Korean language skills to match. The waitresses are old school Korean, they appear grumpy, and their English leaves a lot to be desired so miscommunication is to be expected unless you bring the aforementioned vet. It takes some getting used to; it's also crowded most times, which doesn't help that the space is pretty small to begin with. Every time I've been there it's felt a little overwhelming, but not enough for me to leave unsatisfied.

On the plus side, you get a lot for what you pay for. The meat quality is a little better than the average. It's also more affordable than most Korean BBQ restaurants and, most importantly, is BYOB! You'll see a lot of people walking in with beer or soju from the liquor store nearby. Cho Sun Ok is the perfect place if you're looking for value. You'll get a no-frills traditional Korean BBQ experience, and to top it off they'll cook all the leftovers on the grill with fried rice. (FYI whenever the three of us are in Chicago together, which happens a couple times a year, we always make sure to get dinner here at least once).

What to order:  Chadol-gui (thinly sliced beef)

Competition

A total of eleven Korean BBQ restaurants in Chicago were reviewed and of those, five met our criteria of having more than 264 reviews and passed the Fakespot fake reviews test.

korean bbq restaurants in chicago by rdi

From this distribution of Chicago Korean BBQ restaurants sorted by RDI, there is a much steeper slope than other cities we've plotted. The quality of the experience drops steadily, so you really can only trust in a couple of these restaurants. That's actually why we only chose two to put on our list. What's also interesting to note is the highest rated Chicago Korean BBQ, Gogi, would have ranked in the top 5 in New York City, but on the bottom half in Los Angeles. Korean barbecue in Chicago has a long way to go in closing that gap to be considered one of the best cities for Korean BBQ.

What's Next?

We'll be updating this post regularly over the year to give the Korean BBQ restaurants in Chicago some time to accumulate reviews. That will only increase our confidence in these scores. Until then try out these Korean BBQ spots, or others, and leave a review! The more good data we have the stronger the results will be. Pro tip: it's always better with friends. 🙂

Best Black Friday Deals 2017 – Kitchen Edition

Hide your children, board up the windows, brace the gates… Black Friday is upon us. While many people would never dream of venturing out into the wild on this day, for the brave few willing to risk life and limb in search of the elusive, holy deal it’s best to go prepared. For the more culinary minded folks out there (if you’ve been to Goghism before you most definitely are) I’ve got our favorite Black Friday deals for the kitchen ready for you. All my picks are catered towards helping you enjoy cooking, eating, or sharing Korean food a little bit better. Don’t miss out! We’ll be constantly updating this page as we see new deals pop up, and make sure to think of us throughout the Holidays when you bust out that amazing meal ;).

Editor’s Favorites:

$100 $62
38% off
Instant Pot DUO60 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker

This is one of the best deals you’re going to see for a great pressure cooker. I used a crockpot for a few years, but once I bought this there was no going back. A lot of people are afraid of pressure cookers (with good reason), but with the proper know how and the right automatic features a good pressure cooker can unlock a ton of tough meats and recipes for the time conscious cook. A lot of great Korean recipes use cheap cuts/bones but take forever to cook, so a pressure cooker is a must have for modern day Korean cooking.



$429 $225
48% off
KitchenAid Artisan 5qt Stand Mixer

KitchenAids last forever, $225 might look like a lot for a kitchen appliance, but half price for a great, all-purpose, solid, standby of a beautiful beast is a no-brainer. If you ever want to make your own noodles (kalguksu anyone?) a standing mixer will save you a ton of elbow grease (make sure to get a dough hook).



$569 $280
51% off
KitchenAid Pro 600 6-Qt Stand Mixer

If you need a larger stand mixer for just $55 more, this is a solid upgrade, which you likely won’t find a lower price than this.



$199 $119
40% off
All-Clad Stainless Steel 12-Inch Covered Fry Pan

Having a reliable, durable pan you can trust is a great feeling for any chef, and having one that you can safely throw into the oven to finish off a steak you just seared, or a duck breast is even better. A heavy bottomed, full steel pan and lid open up practically every cooking technique you can think of. You could even set this atop a portable burner and have yourself a little budae jjigae party.



$210 $111
47% off
Chef’s Choice Trizor XV

This is pretty much a no brainer for your average home cook, a sharper knife is a safer knife. Unless you’re Hattori Hanzo you probably aren’t an expert knife sharpener… let alone want to go through the trouble of getting out your stones every time you’re feeling like you’re losing your edge. So take advantage of a good deal, sit back, and stress no longer about your knife cutting prowess.



$143 $103
28% off
Victorinox 4-Piece Knife Set

These might not be the best knives ever made, but let’s be honest, do you really need to drop $150 plus on a Shun? For $103 this set covers all your knife cutting needs. Pair it with the Chef’s Choice Trizor XV and you’re good to go.



$25 $20
20% off
OXO Cutting Board

The non-slip edges are underrated. It’s also easier to clean and unlike many cutting boards, it won’t warp. Chopping on a wobbly board might seem minor, but it truly does get annoying if you cook often.



$120 $77
36% off
KitchenAid KSB1570ER 5-Speed Blender

KitchenAid is standard for a reason, if they’re good enough for a professional kitchen you know that they’ll be there for your every home kitchen need. Whether it’s to mix up your favorite soju cocktail, mince some garlic (throw some sesame seed oil in there), or get that silky, velvety texture on your jjigae you can’t beat that price for a great blender.



$65 $25
62% off
Cuisinart CSB-75BC Smart Stick 200 Watt 2 Speed Hand Blender

In my opinion, you can’t beat a great standard blender, but stick blenders are a great alternative for the space conscious home chef while also providing a convenient alternative. While not as versatile or powerful, being able to blend your soups/stews within the pot as its cooking is a great time saver (also not having to clean the pitcher of a blender is a nice consolation prize).



$100 $80
20% off
Echo 2nd Generation

Originally, I would have scoffed at the idea of paying $100 for something that your phone could already do (if you’re mainly looking to use this while cooking). But with the reduced price and handsfree ability to set timers, shopping lists, double check recipes, what have you, the Echo opens up a whole new world for your average, busy home cook.



$50 $30
40% off
Echo Dot 2nd Generation

Maybe not as versatile or powerful as the Echo 2nd, but at $29.99 the Dot moves dangerously close to costing the same as a cookbook. So you can feel a little less guilty paying for the ability to talk to your timer and recipes.



$27 $10
63% off
Lodge L8SK3 10-1/4-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet

Jinwoo swears by cast iron skillets, and Lodge is definitely one of the most trusted in America. $10.00 for a piece of kitchen equipment that will outlast your grandchildren AND give you that perfect crust on your steak is a steal in any book.



$27 $17
37% off
Rubbermaid FreshWorks Produce Saver Food Storage Containers, Set of 3

I love green onions, and you don’t want to run to the grocery store every time you want to buy a bunch. Given how prevalent it is in Korean cooking it would be much more convenient to buy a few bunches whenever you find yourself in the produce aisle. Problem with green onions, in my experience at least, is that you always end up throwing away a few bunches because they wilted just a little too fast. Buy yourselves a few more days of breathing room with your produce with Rubbermaid’s Produce Savers.



$27 $22
19% off
Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids Food Storage Container, 60-piece Set

With the holidays coming up everyone’s thinking about that Christmas roast, but take a second to think about what comes after. No matter how much your uncle thinks he can put away you’re going to end up with leftovers and bagging everything up in Ziploc doesn’t really scream ‘adult’ anymore. A 60-piece set may seem excessive, but you’ll thank yourself later come Christmas time.



$385 $201
48% off
Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH Induction Heating System Rice Cooker and Warmer

We’ve covered Zojirushi a bunch already in our rice cooker post, and we may not have been the most generous to their product line. But the majority of our criticism hinged on how high of a price point Zojirushi had, at practically 1/2 of the original price you can’t beat this deal for an appliance that can handle all your rice needs. With all the holiday chaos about to descend on you and your family it’s a godsend being able to set and forget your rice… you know you’re going to be out right when you need some.

Best Korean BBQ in San Francisco [2019]

Last updated: Aug 10, 2019 @ 4:17 pm

With the power of the RDI we have confidently determined that the best Korean BBQ in San Francisco today is Han Il Kwan (and it wasn't even close). Han Il Kwan scored a 64 on our restaurant delight index with Jang Soo BBQ coming in second with a score of 55.

San Francisco Korean BBQ Scene:

Maybe not to native San Franciscoans (San Franciscans?) but it was definitely surprising to us how vastly different the Korean BBQ scene in San Francisco is compared to that in Los Angeles. Especially considering how San Francisco is the second most densely populated city in the US (behind the Big Apple), I assumed it would have a relatively strong Korean BBQ scene. By comparison, Los Angeles has roughly 48 Korean BBQ restaurants with San Francisco limping in with a lowly eight. So if you are in the Bay Area and need to satisfy your Korean BBQ fix, lower your expectations. Not all is lost as there are a couple spots worth feasting on some pork belly or kalbi. Head west on Geary Blvd away from the financial district, once past Japantown you'll begin to see the signs for Korean BBQ. It might be a good idea to burn off some calories in Golden Gate Park, which is only a few blocks away.

The Best Korean BBQ in San Francisco:

han il kwan best korean bbq in san francisco

#1 Han Il Kwan 🏆

1802 Balboa St San Francisco, CA 94121

Restaurant Delight Index: 64

3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5) 1340 reviews

Yelp
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Your best bet for Korean BBQ in San Francisco is Han Il Kwan. They do several things well resulting in a memorable Korean BBQ experience. The meat quality is more often than not fantastic with generous portion sizes to match. The marinade on the kalbi (beef short ribs) is better than most in SF and their bulgogi is delicious, explains why it's ordered so frequently. One burgeoning, somewhat controversial trend at some Korean BBQ places is not serving complimentary rice; Korean BBQ without rice is alright, but who orders a hot dog and bun separately. Thankfully, Han Il Kwan still goes traditional, bringing out white rice, a massive steamed egg souffle, or tofu soup all complimentary. To top it off, they have sikhye (a sweet rice drink), which clears your palette and balances out all the meat you just ate. Their banchan (side dish) game is on point here too. They normally come out fresh and plentiful, resulting in a beautiful spread, if that's your kind of thing.

What they don't get right is the smell control. It's a double-edged sword; you walk in and are immediately enveloped by the goodness that Korean BBQ brings, but you also take it with you on your walk out. Parking in San Francisco is generally terrible, with Han Il Kwan not being an exception -- Uber or Lyft if you can. During peak times you'll be waiting at least 45 minutes. As great as it is for Han Il Kwan's business to have a steady stream of Korean tourists coming in droves from tour buses, it's not great for you if it happens during your wait. Finally, don't expect service to cater to your every need, it can get chaotic and service takes a hit when it does.

Overall, Han Il Kwan's pros heavily outweigh their cons, and you'll be hard pressed to find better in San Francisco. Otherwise, it wouldn't have scored a 64 on our RDI.

What to order: Japchae, Bulgogi, Seafood Pancake, Kalbi

Runner up:

jang soo bbq best korean bbq in san francisco

#2 Jang Soo BBQ 🥈

6314 Geary Blvd San Francisco, CA 94121

Restaurant Delight Index: 55

3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5) 430 reviews

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Jang Soo BBQ comes in as the second best Korean BBQ joint in San Francisco. One unique aspect that differentiates them from the rest of the Korean BBQ restaurants in the pack is that a lot of their vegetables for their pastes, kimchi, and soups are grown themselves. A lot of their recipes and techniques were also passed down from the owners' grandmother, preserving the authenticity of their Korean BBQ experience. They also utilize an increasingly rare grilling set up. Similar to more traditional Korean and Japanese grilling they use charcoal open flames, imbuing a much smokier and deeper flavor. It may present some different challenges throughout the grilling process, but if you enjoy that earthier flavor profile come check them out. The quality of the meat is good, with marinades that shy away from the oftentimes too sickly sweet that many other Korean BBQ spots use.

One aspect weighing down Jang Soo BBQ's score is their side dish game. You won't be wowed by their banchan as they serve an average number of side dishes with smaller portion sizes. Just like many other popular Korean BBQ restaurants in San Franciso, it'll be hit or miss on the service and parking. I recommend getting a ride and lowering your expectations on service. When the food is good, but the reviews still suffer, it's generally the service and waiting times that are the culprits. Lastly, be warned that the Korean BBQ smell will haunt you on your way out; unless you opt for the more pedestrian asking them to cook your meat in the kitchen.

What to order: Kalbi, Beef Brisket, Spicy Pork

Competition

A total of eight Korean BBQ restaurants in SF were reviewed, and of those six met our criteria of having more than 264 reviews and passed the Fakespot fake reviews test.

Korean BBQ Restaurants in SF by RDI

Based on this distribution, you can see how far ahead of the pack Han Il Kwan is. As I've iterated in other posts, it takes a lot to influence these scores as negative reviews will cancel out the positive ones. You truly have to create a positive, memorable experience. Because of how far Han Il Kwan is above the rest of the Korean BBQ restaurants in San Francisco, we can be confident it will be your best bet for 2017.

Korean BBQ Restaurants in SFRDI
Han Il Kwan64
Jang Soo BBQ55
K-Elements BBQ53
Dancing Bull51
Brothers Restaurant45
Wooden Charcoal Korean Village Barbecue House45
Carbon Grill43
New Korea House41

What's Next?

We'll be updating this post regularly over the year give these Korean BBQ restaurants some time to accumulate more reviews. That will only increase our confidence in these scores. Until then try out these Korean BBQ spots and pro tip: it's always better with friends. 🙂

Best Korean BBQ in Los Angeles [2019]

Last updated: Aug 10, 2019 @ 4:19 pm

Sticking true to our Restaurant Delight Index (RDI), the 3 best Korean BBQ spots Los Angeles has to offer in ranking order are: Ssam Korean BBQ, Genwa Korean BBQ, and Eight Korean BBQ.

Whether you're a Korean BBQ grilling pro or a first-timer you'll be hard-pressed to find a better city for Korean BBQ than Los Angeles. LA is home to the highest population of Korean Americans so naturally they throw down Korean BBQ better than anyone. In the "capital of Korean America", you'll find the infamous and sprawling Koreatown dotted with bars, clubs, stores, and restaurants across Wilshire and Western Ave. When the sun sets and the lights illuminate the  emerging tourists and natives the town comes uniquely alive. The eclectic culture built over 60 years sucks you in, to the point where you'll forget you're in America. We found close to 47 Korean BBQ restaurants and are sure we missed a few that failed to meet our criteria. Although LA sits at the top of the Korean barbecue food chain not every Korean BBQ spot is a winner. Thanks to our Restaurant Delight Index (RDI) score we can tell you with the utmost confidence that we found the best Korean BBQ Los Angeles has to offer. The RDI is a deliberately unforgiving, unfeeling monster. If customers aren't raving about the restaurant, their score drops and it's a tough climb to get back up to the top. So let's get to it!

The Best Korean BBQ in Los Angeles:

ssam korean bbq best korean bbq los angeles

#1 Ssam Korean BBQ 🏆

1040 S Western Ave Los Angeles, CA 90006 Harvard Heights

Restaurant Delight Index: 82/100

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 636 reviews

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Ssam Korean BBQ takes the prestigious LA crown for best Korean BBQ. Get ready to feast like a king and be treated as such. Customers raved about how quick and attentive their servers are regardless of how busy they get. The first crucial seconds after being seated can set the tone for the rest of the night; at Ssam the banchan (side dishes) come out immediately so you have something to hold you over before the meat takes over. Thankfully, Ssam hasn't quite hit the mainstream yet so wait times are relatively shorter but with a top shelf experience.

But atmosphere and service alone don't get you the top spot in LA, when everything boils down all that matters with Korean BBQ is the meat. Ssam delivers, their pork belly is one of the best in town. The cuts are so thick they come off the grill crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside --pork belly heaven. Doesn't hurt that Ssam's unlimited fresh veggies to wrap your thick cuts of grilled meat is on point. Their cilantro that comes with is a pleasant surprise, rare for Korean BBQ but to tell you the truth, it shouldn't be.

What to order: Pork Belly, Cold Noodle Soup (Naengmyeon), Beef and Pork Combo

Runner ups:

genwa korean bbq best korean bbq los angeles

#2 Genwa Korean BBQ 🥈

5115 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90036 Hancock Park

Restaurant Delight Index: 81/100

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 2381 reviews

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Genwa Korean BBQ on Wilshire might have the second best Korean BBQ in LA but the Queen got all the moves. Compared to Ssam Korean BBQ, Genwa is 10x better known so you're more likely to wait. Make a reservation if you've got a group larger than six especially for those prime time hours. We'll throw out a fist bump when that badass feeling of skipping past the long line comes your way, plus your friends and family will love you that much more. Even if you don't, it's still well worth the wait.

Genwa is on the pricier side for Korean BBQ (think Fogo), but you can see why the moment you walk in. They've designed the interior to promote an upscale Korean BBQ dining experience. It's clean and modern without being too stiff. The small portions but wide varieties of side dishes are brilliant, which helps Genwa stand out from other KBBQ places in LA. To top the meal off Genwa serves complimentary desserts, soju, and fun lollipops.

If you're looking for a special occasion, fine dining Korean BBQ experience in LA with friends and family, Genwa Korean BBQ is your best bet.

What to order:  Prime Galbi, Japchae

eight korean bbq best korean bbq la 2

#3 Eight Korean BBQ 🥉

863 S Western Ave Los Angeles, CA 90005 Koreatown

Restaurant Delight Index: 80/100

4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5) 1282 reviews

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Eight Korean BBQ takes the final spot on the list of best Korean BBQ Los Angeles spots in 2017. 💪 If you're craving thick, juicy, and crispy cuts of pork belly you can't go anywhere else (Ssam notwithstanding). Eight specializes in pork belly, which is a rarity among Korean BBQ restaurants nationwide. I mean pork belly is important across the country but when we say they specialize in pork belly you gotta know, that shit runs deep with them. Order Combo A and say hello to eight flavors of pork belly. You read that right: creme de la creme of pork belly Korean BBQ.

I personally enjoy grilling the meat, but here they help you grill it to perfection and I don't mind it one bit. Let the pork belly masters show you why they're the masters. They're a little lighter on the side dishes compared to Genwa, but they serve pickled radish and ggaenip (perilla leaves) for your wrap which is surprisingly homey and country but not the most typical in Korean BBQ restaurants.

Included in the Eight Korean BBQ experience is a bowl of seafood soup and kimchi fried rice made from the same pot to soak in all the flavors. And wait for it... they top it off with cheese 😍 so save a little room in your stomach for the end.

What to order:  8 Flavors of Pork Belly Set (Combo A) - Original, Miso, Garlic, Wine

Competition

A total of 47 Korean BBQ restaurants in LA were reviewed and of those 35 met our criteria of having more than 264 reviews and passed the Fakespot fake reviews test.

Best Korean BBQ LA Restaurant Delight Index Scores

Based on this distribution, you can see there are only a few Korean BBQ spots in LA vying for that third spot but have to make considerable progress in delighting their customers. The rest are unlikely to challenge Ssam, Genwa, and Eight so we can be confident these are your best bets for months to come. Interestingly, our winners were the only Korean BBQ restaurants in Los Angeles that earned an RDI score of 80. What does that mean? 80% of customers were delighted by the Korean BBQ experience, which is impressive. In other words, 4 out of every 5 customers loved their time there. What surprised me about the Korean BBQ LA scene is the fact that it would be a coin flip for nearly half the restaurants. If you were trying Korean BBQ for the first time and randomly picked a popular Korean BBQ spot you have a high chance of leaving either unimpressed or dissatisfied.

What's Next?

We'll be updating this post regularly over the year to give the Korean BBQ restaurants in Los Angeles some time to accumulate reviews. That will only increase our confidence in these scores. Until then try out these Korean BBQ spots and pro tip: it's always better with friends. 🙂

Best Korean BBQ in New York City [2019]

Based on our Restaurant Delight Index (RDI), the three best Korean BBQ restaurants in New York City in ranking order are: Jongro BBQ, Dons Bogam BBQ Wine & Bar, and Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong.

The Best Korean BBQ Restaurant in New York City:

jongro bbq best korean bbq restaurant in new york city

#1 Jongro BBQ 🏆

22 W 32nd St Fl 2 New York, NY 10001 b/t Broadway & 5th Ave Koreatown, Midtown West

Restaurant Delight Index: 75/100

4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5) 924 reviews

Before I begin, I want to applaud 👏 Jongro BBQ for delivering the most delightful Korean BBQ experience in New York City. That ain't easy! First of all, the rent is too damn high. Renting a restaurant space in NYC can be nearly double that of LA or San Francisco. Second, it's frighteningly competitive. If your food isn't up to New Yorkers' high standards, good luck making it. However, not only does Jongro make the cut, it's the king of our list. I'm personally a fan of authentic designs and atmosphere when trying new ethnic cuisine compared to modern clean interiors. Eating at Jongro transports you back to that old-timey Korean feel that provides a more traditional experience.

The most consistent positive review of Jongro BBQ is the the top notch quality of the meat. I'm confident that the overwhelming majority of Korean BBQ restaurants in the US use average quality meat and honestly who can blame them given the cost of everything nowadays. However, Jongro BBQ does it right which is clearly apparent when looking at the marbling on their beef. Something I've also never witnessed before Jongro is the stove adjacent to the grill. Often times when I'm at a Korean BBQ restaurant, I'm so focused on grilling the meats and veggies that I forget about the Korean stews and steamed eggs (계란찜) until they get cold. No worries here because the additional stove lets you keep these side dishes piping hot. Game changer!

Customers noticed that they don't serve as many side dishes as you would expect compared to other Korean BBQ restaurants, but you're really coming here for the meat, a little less banchan won't change that. Servers can also help you with grilling especially if you're a first timer. However, customers pointed out that it can get extremely busy causing service to suffer a bit. It might be better to go during off peak hours if you want to avoid potentially slower service and a long wait. Even if you get stuck with a wait, be patient and stay, it's worth it. When a disproportionate number of customers come out happy even after a long wait, you know you've got something irresistible.

What to order: Beef Platter, Kimchi Pancake

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Runner ups:

don bogams bbq wine bar new york city best korean bbq restaurants

#2 Dons Bogam BBQ & Wine Bar 🥈

17 E 32nd St New York, NY 10016 b/t 5th Ave & Madison Ave Midtown East

Restaurant Delight Index: 68/100

3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5) 831 reviews

Give it up to Don's for providing the second best Korean BBQ experience in New York City! You get what you pay for here. It's a bit pricier than average but you get better quality meat in return. One reason they scored lower than Jongro on the RDI was that most reviewers commented that they enjoy grilling meat on their own, which is not an option at Don's. I'm personally more biased towards grilling it myself as well as there's this sense of reward when you can control the experience and perfectly cook to meat to your table's taste. In addition, the seating can be pretty awkward, especially for people in the US not accustomed to sitting on the floor. Although it's a traditional way of eating Korean food, not everyone enjoys sitting cross-legged. What makes this awkward is you're seated a lot lower than the servers giving the impression that they're standing over you as they grill the Korean BBQ.

With that being said, you're eating here to satisfy your meat cravings! Customers frequently commented on how great the cuts of meat were and described them as tender and juicy with very little fat. It's an all-around high-quality Korean BBQ restaurant not just because of their decor like some restaurants but because of the meat and their service. Their atmosphere is a bonus. Although it gets busy, it doesn't feel overcrowded. Oh and you won't smell of smoke and meat when you leave because their ventilation game is on point.

Dons Bogam BBQ & Wine Bar is truly a delicious and unique experience for first-timers and will thrill KBBQ veterans.

What to order:  Marinated Beef Platter, Galbi

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kang ho dong baekjeong flushing new york best korean bbq restaurants nyc

#3 Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong 🥉

152-12 Northern Blvd Flushing, NY 11354

Restaurant Delight Index: 68/100

4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5) 695 reviews

Coming in at #3, Kang Ho Dong takes the last remaining spot for best Korean BBQ restaurants in NYC. I absolutely love grill tops that have compartments for other ingredients like cheese! That's such an underutilized and underrated ingredient for Korean BBQ. It's a shame really! The quality of meat is high, but not on par as the first two reviewed. However, you'll still enjoy it :). Their marinade game is strong and they don't cut corners with their pork belly bringing out thick, juicy slabs; no paper thin sangyupsal here. What's nice is the attention they pay to the overall Korean BBQ experience; they will bring out the different cuts of meat in a certain order aimed at providing the most flavorful meal they can (think of a great omakase but with slabs of meat instead of fish).

The service is not consistently good, but it won't ruin your time. Some customers mentioned how the service varied each time they went. However, what makes this spot better than those downtown is the shorter wait and more space for parking. If you want, there's a bus stop that will drop you off right in front of the restaurant. Just like Dons Bogam, the servers cook the food for you, which again I'm not partial to but you may enjoy it.

If you're craving Korean BBQ and in the Queens area or don't want to deal with the craziness of NYC, come here. You'll get your fix and more.

What to order:  Pork Belly, Beef Tartare, Galbi

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How We Rank Korean BBQ NYC Restaurants

The main goal of this post is to cut through all the noise and give you the most likely answer to the question, "Where can I get the best Korean BBQ in New York City?".

We all know "best" is highly subjective. Tastes vary, what we look for in a dining experience differ, rating scales are all over the place. You would also be hard-pressed to find someone that's actually been to every Korean BBQ restaurant, let alone be able to compare and contrast them all objectively.

So -- I have spent hours in my underground lab, playing with algorithms and Tony Stark tech and created the Restaraunt Delight Index (RDI) to arrive at a more confident answer for us all.

Two principles behind the RDI: Delight and the Law of Large Numbers.

Delight

Nobody wants to walk out of a restaurant and think "meh". Who wants a mediocre experience? You want to feel as though you've made the right, no, the best choice available to you. That's the feeling we, at Goghism, are striving to help provide through our research.

Let me introduce you to our metric: The Restaurant Delight Index (RDI). The formula is:

(((Very Satisfied + Extremely Satisfied) - (Not Satisfied + Extremely Not Satisfied))/ # of Responses) * 100.

Applying it to Yelp, it looks like this:

(((# of 4 ratings + # of 5 ratings) - (# of 2 ratings + # of 1 ratings)) / # of reviews) * 100.

You probably noticed there are no 3 ratings. A restaurant should not be rewarded for "meh" experiences. Come on! I'm not wasting my time there and I don't want you to either.

To summarize, here's our ranking methodology:

  • Must have a minimum of 264 reviews.
  • Ranked by Restaurant Delight Index.
  • Fakespot applied to verify the quality of reviews.
  • Must be tagged as serving Korean food.
  • Does have a grill your own component.

The Law of Large Numbers

You can read more about the Law of Large Numbers here and a shorter description in my best Korean restaurants in every state post but the tl;dr as it relates to restaurants is that the more opinions there are, the more likely the average of those opinions are true. Therefore, we decided to use Yelp as it undeniably has the largest activity and available data set of crowd-sourced reviews. It's also the ubiquitous resource for researching a restaurant. Google and Tripadvisor simply don't have enough reviews; bigger is better.

Results may have changed slightly by the time you read this (research takes time, we don't have a team of monkeys churning all this out).

That's it! Now, let's get started!

What's Next?

We'll be updating this post several times over the year to give the Korean BBQ restaurants in New York City some time to accumulate reviews. That will only increase the confidence in these scores. Until then try out these Korean BBQ spots and let us know what you think. Friendly advice: it's always better with friends. 🙂

The 5 Best Korean Fusion Restaurants in ALL of New York [2019]

Last Updated: Aug 10, 2019 @ 4:31 pm

After scoring 60+ restaurants with our metric, the Restaurant Delight Index (RDI), we have concluded that the five best Korean fusion restaurants in the great state of New York in ranking order are: Thursday Kitchen, Jungsik, Bistro Petit, Takashi, and Take31.

The Best Korean Fusion Restaurant in New York:

jungsik wagyu steak best korean fusion restaurant new york

#1 Jungsik

2 Harrison St New York, NY 10013

Restaurant Delight Index: 84/100

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 366 reviews

"Korean food with a French twist." Jungsik, a two Michelin star establishment not only took the cake for best Korean fusion in New York, it beat out all types of Korean restaurants period in the Empire State. It's not every day that you can dine at a Korean restaurant with a Michelin star, let alone two. Michelin defines two stars as "worth a detour", but chefs nowadays consider two stars to be worth an entire trip to that city, just for the experience of sitting at their tables. If you grew up on Korean food or are in search of the the bold and pure flavors of traditional Korean, you'll need to combat those ingrained memories. Come with an open mind.

Jungsik Yim, the chef owner, slices a new Korean taste; subtle compared to traditional Korean dishes but deep and complex. Each bite you take reveals the underlying story beneath each and every dish, the presentation of which deserves a gallery all of its own.

I avoided recommending any menu items skewing more towards the traditional due to my home-cooked Korean food bias. The wagyu steak is beautifully marbled, inconceivably tender, and served with a unique kimchi sauce that cuts through the steak's richness beautifully. Definitely not your run of the mill beef, based on the reviews it looks like a sure thing.

Jungsik does have a popular five-course tasting menu if you're interested in trying a host of different flavors.  Considering the high ratings and the disproportionate number of reviewers who ordered this, this is likely the best representation of Chef Yim's skill and creativity. The menu changes with the seasons so don't worry too much about trying them all.

Unlike many Michelin starred restaurants in New York City, reservations here are relativity easy giving you more of a reason to try this place out. Let them know in advance if you're going for a special occasion. They add a personalized touch to the menus awaiting at your table.

Lastly, I'm allergic to extremely dark restaurants. If I want to take a nap I'll stay at home, thankfully this place has perfect lighting infused, the restaurant is veritably awash in photons. (^)

What to order:  Wagyu Steak, Foie Gras, Octopus, Tasting Menu

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Runner Ups:

kimchi paella thursday kitchen ny

#2 Thursday Kitchen

424 E 9th St New York, NY 10009

Restaurant Delight Index: 83/100

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 435 reviews

Thursday Kitchen magically combines Korean cuisine with Spanish tapas so I'd recommend ordering about two plates per person (although I really want four or five).

They've got paella. PAELLA! If you can't tell right now, I friggin' love them. The kimchi and seafood paella has more of a risotto-like texture. Very creamy but not overwhelmingly so. If this was a letter you'd see my drool dribbling down the sides. The truffle mac and cheese is deliciously gooey and cheesy, their steak comes medium rare marinated in a soy garlic glaze with a tasty side of kale. Yup, they even managed to make me want to eat kale. If you plan on getting a drink be aware that it's cash only at the bar.

Thursday Kitchen wouldn't score so high on our RDI metric if their service was average. Great establishments pay so much attention to detail that even how often a waiter checks in on you is tightly managed. Attentiveness can be disruptive and possibly gives the impression that they want you to get your butt out for more tips. Here, no need to worry. They're incredibly nice, prompt yet courteous, clearly a lot of thought and care was put into establishing an identity with their wait staff. Not having to worry about your glass being empty seems minor, but it does really allow you to enjoy your experience.

All of this is wrapped within a small, eclectic, whimsical, log cabin ambiance. If you find yourself roaming the East Village or if you're just plain hungry, Thursday Kitchen matches up to their hype.

What to order: Kimchi Paella, Lychee Reach Rich, Chicharron, Truffle Mac & Cheese, Steak

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kimchi bouillabaise bistro petite

#3 Bistro Petit

170 S 3rd St Brooklyn, NY 11211

Restaurant Delight Index: 76/100

4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5) 256 reviews

The third best Korean Fusion restaurant is another French and Korean inspired spot named Bistro Petit. Bistro, as advertised in its name, is rather petite, but their food definitely walks tall with their flavor.

Your best bets here are the Kimchi Bouillabaisse and the Korean Beef Bourguignon.

Bouillabaisse is a traditional fish stew from France cooked by Marseille fishermen, makes a lot of sense to combine it with Korean ingredients. Seafood broth is fairly common in traditional Korean dishes. Bistro's take, the Kimchi Bouillabaisse, strikes the perfect balance between French and Korean flavors with little mochis swimming around waiting to be eaten. If you're familiar with Korean food, it draws a lot of similarities to kimchi jjigae.

Bistro's Korean Beef Bourguignon is "to die for" according to reviewers. Beef Bourguignon is another traditional French stew, but with beef braised in red wine. The beef is cooked so tender, you'd be doing it a disservice to use a knife. With each bite, you can taste the rich flavor similar to Galbi Jjim. This is the kind of beef you dream about.

If you're planning to visit with a group of four or more good luck! Bistro Petite is a very small space with a seating capacity of about 13 people. It is cozy though and you have the option of sitting at the counter, looking into the open kitchen, and chatting with the chef. A perfect place to take your date.

There are some outdated Yelp comments about their payment options, reservations, and if they serve water. Well, to clear the confusion they take credit cards, reservations, and opened up that sweet  sweet waterfall. They're also BYOB!

What to order:  Kimchi Bouillabaisse, Korean Beef Bourguignon

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niku uni takashi

#4 Takashi

456 Hudson St New York, NY 10014

Restaurant Delight Index: 74/100

4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5) 780 reviews

Of all the Korean inspired restaurants I've researched, Takashi is the first and only to serve raw meat right. It's a Japanese-Korean style BBQ located in West Village with a price point so high you might as well hand over your wallet. Anthony Bourdain in the Layover, christened this place as one of his favorites in NYC. Don't be surprised if you catch him there devouring the Niku-Uni.

Instagram favorite, Niku-Uni, backs up all the talk. A super fatty wagyu style chuck flap topped with fluffy sea urchin uni and fresh wasabi resting on top of a high test seaweed. Bourdain even called this his favorite in New York City at one point.

Takashi specializes in all different cuts of meat and lightly marinades them with their special take on the classic marinade. When you fire up the grill order their beef tongue and belly. It's not something you normally get at traditional Korean BBQ restaurants. Come with an open mind to take in their unique BBQ experience.

Tip. They don't take reservations for two, but they do for four. Round up the troops.

What to order:  Niku-Uni, Beef Tongue, Beef Belly

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braised pork belly take31

#5 Take 31

15 E 31st St New York, NY 10016

Restaurant Delight Index: 72/100

4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5) 319 reviews

Take 31 is a Korean gastropub at its best inspired by traditional Korean cuisine distilled with an American flair. It's taken the last spot, which is still very impressive in the highly competitive and crowded New York City. If you find yourself in Midtown, check out Take 31.

Their Braised Pork Belly (Bossam) is served with green scallions and "white kimchi" instead of lettuce wraps. It's insane how differently the flavors meld and come out when eating a lettuce wrap as opposed to stuffing them loosely into your mouth. You'll fall in love and fortunately, the serving size is more than enough. It's a LOT of pork. Fatty and delicious just like it should be.

You really don't have to worry about leaving hungry here, the same goes for their Garlic Crusts & Spicy Crispy Chicken. If you order, plan to share. It's not as spicy and can be garlicky at times, but it's one of your best bets here especially if you enjoy Korean fried chicken.

What else is game changing is they serve unlimited tteokbokki, which I highly recommend you take advantage of. It's not the best, but complements the meal nicely.

What to order:  Braised Pork Belly, Garlic Crusts & Spicy Crispy Chicken, Seasoned Rice Balls with Spam & Mayo, Lychee Peach Cocktail

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How We Ranked Korean Fusion Restaurants in New York

The main goal of this post is to best answer, "where can I get the best Korean fusion food in New York?". This was inspired by my first post where I attempted the same, but for each state across the US.

We all know "best" is highly subjective, especially when it comes to restaurants. Tastes vary, what people look for in a dining experience differ, rating scales are all over the place. You would be hard pressed to find someone that's actually been to every Korean restaurant in New York, let alone be able to compare and contrast them all objectively.

So -- I have spent hours in my underground lab, playing with algorithms and Tony Stark tech and created the following methodology to arrive at a more confident answer for us all.

Two principles: the Law of Large Numbers and Delight.

The Law of Large Numbers

You can read more about the Law of Large Numbers here, but the tl;dr as it relates to restaurants is that the more opinions there are, the more likely the average of those opinions is true. So now, "what's the minimum number of opinions needed?" Thanks to Survey Monkey's sample size calculator, I was able to calculate that: 264 reviews with 90% confidence and a 5% margin of error.

I am aware Yelp, to some degree, has a bad rep for the integrity of their reviews. There are ways to purchase reviews and manipulate your overall evaluation (Yelp is not the only site susceptible to this). Yelpers can be schmoozed, friends and family can be enlisted, there can be special offers in exchange for reviews, all dig away at the integrity of the data.

Despite all of the discrepancies Yelp undeniably has the largest activity and available data set of crowd-sourced reviews. It's also the ubiquitous resource for researching a restaurant. Google and Tripadvisor simply don't have enough reviews; in this case, bigger is better.

Delight

Nobody wants to walk out of a restaurant and think "meh". Who wants a mediocre experience? You want to feel as though you've made the right, no, the best choice available to you. That's the feeling we, at Goghism, are striving to help provide through our research.

Let me introduce you to our metric: The Restaurant Delight Index (RDI). The formula is:

(((Very Satisfied + Extremely Satisfied) - (Not Satisfied + Extremely Not Satisfied))/ # of Responses) * 100.

Applying it to Yelp, it looks like this:

(((# of 4 ratings + # of 5 ratings) - (# of 2 ratings + # of 1 ratings)) / # of reviews) * 100.

You probably noticed there are no 3 ratings. A restaurant should not be rewarded for "meh" experiences. Come on! I'm not wasting my time there and I don't want you to either.

To summarize, here's our ranking methodology:

  • Must have a minimum of 264 reviews.
  • Ranked by Restaurant Delight Index.
  • Fakespot applied to verify the quality of reviews.
  • Must incorporate Korean cuisine across most of the dishes.

Results may have changed slightly by the time you read this (research takes time, we don't have a team of monkeys churning all this out).

That's it! Now, let's get started!

What's Next?

I started with best Korean fusion restaurants primarily because of how well they performed under RDI compared to its peers. What's next in this series is to uncover the best Korean BBQ and best Korean non-KBBQ restaurants in New York. In the meantime, if you're curious, check out which Korean restaurants in California delighted their customers best.

The 5 Best Korean Restaurants in California [2019]

Last updated: Aug 10, 2019 @ 4:30 pm

After scoring over 150 restaurants with our own metric, the Restaurant Delight Index (RDI), we’ve concluded that the five best Korean (non-kbbq) restaurants in California in ranking order are: Buil Samgye Tang, Bart Grocery & BBQ, Yup Dduk LA, Hangari Bajirak Kalgooksoo, and Soy Tofu.

The Best (Non-BBQ) Korean Restaurant in California:

buil samgye tang samgyetang ginseng korean chicken soup

#1 Buil Samgye Tang

4204 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90020

Restaurant Delight Index: 90/100

4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5) 270 reviews

I love specialty restaurants that cut down on all the choices in lieu of providing a few amazing, unbeatable, dishes. Buil Samgye Tang literally only has five items on the menu, all variations of samgye-tang. Samgye-tang is a warm ginseng chicken soup said to improve your health (practically everything healthy in Korea has ginseng in it). Koreans love this soup so much that restaurants like Buil are commonplace in South Korea, whereas us Americans have to pretend we’re sick in order to get our moms to make it for us.

The paradox of choice is real, which could contribute to how highly they scored in our restaurant delight index. You’ll already know what you’re going to get as you walk in, and you know it’s going to be amazingly delicious. Not only is the food delightful, I have yet to see a review fail to comment on how Buil has the kindest and warmest owner in town. No wonder Buil scored so highly on our RDI. Major props for putting out the most delightful traditional Korean food experience in California. Plan on not finding a parking spot, thankfully it’s in a residential area so alternative options should be available.

What to order: Anything on the menu, but add some abalone

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Runner ups:

bart grocery bbq kimchi fried rice

#2 Bart Grocery & BBQ

108 Los Olivos Ave
Daly City, CA 94014

Restaurant Delight Index: 86/100

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 571 reviews

You know how some moms (the best moms) when they pack a lunch it feels like they’re trying to feed you for a lifetime? Well, Bart Grocery & BBQ does just that on the cheap. You can feed a family of four off their generous portions for just $8 (don’t quote us on that with Bart). Combing their super affordable prices, generous portions, and delicious food they pulled out the second highest delightful experience. Bart is more a deli than a restaurant so expect to take it to go. Parking is also terribly limited.

What to order:  Kimchi Fried Rice, Japchae, Bulgogi

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yup dduk la tteok bokki

#3 Yup Dduk LA

3603 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Koreatown, Wilshire Center

Restaurant Delight Index: 84/100

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 732 reviews

If you love spicy Yup DDuk LA is right up your alley; if not, you should probably find another street. Self proclaimed “spiciest Korean restaurant”, they focus your entire experience around surviving the heat, if you so dare. Former victims have cautioned against not getting duped by the so called ‘mild’ as it will make your eyes water and nose run. Like toothpaste, you can’t remove heat after the fact, so I suggest ordering the extra mild and adding your heat gradually until it’s just right. They have a fresh and modern approach to Korean cuisine. You start off by ordering their take on tteokbokki, then add sides and toppings such as ramen, cheese, eggs, sausages, etc. Parking here like the others is limited and the space is small. If you’re heading there on a weekend get ready for a wait.

What to order:  Yup DDuk with Ramen and Sausage, Rice Balls,

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spicy seafood noodles kal guk su hangari bajirak kalgooksoo

#4 Hangari Bajirak Kalgooksoo

3470 W 6th St
Ste 9 & 10
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Koreatown, Wilshire Center

Restaurant Delight Index: 83/100

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 723 reviews

Coming in at #4, Hangari has made a name for itself with the best kalgooksoo (aka kal guksu) in California. Kalgooksoo, AKA “Knife Noodles”, are handcut noodles served in a large bowl with steaming seafood or chicken broth (there are tons of variations now but those two have been most prevalent). Hangari serves them piping hot enveloping you in a cloud of steam and smells you can taste before even picking up a spoon.

They don’t skimp on the add ons either, a contributing factor to their high RDI. If you visit their Yelp page you’d probably think the pictures were manufactured or staged, but according to the reviewers they look just as good or even better in person. Their handmade noodles are commonly described as perfectly chewy and homemade, which is everything I’m looking for in a kalgooksoo. Like the other restaurants on this list parking is almost impossible unless you valet (wonder if it’s a coincidence). It looks as though Hangari has perfected the art of the kalgooksoo earning them #4 on the list of California’s best Korean food.

What to order:  #4 Seafood Kalgooksoo, #5 Chicken Kalgooksoo

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mushroom tofu soup sundubu soy tofu

#5 Soy Tofu

4961 La Palma Ave
La Palma, CA 90623

Restaurant Delight Index: 83/100

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 315 reviews

Soy Tofu earned the last remaining spot on the best Korean restaurants in California! If you haven’t guessed by now, they specialize in sundubu jjigae, which is a soft tofu stew and a traditional mainstay in Korean cuisine. Soy Tofu is powered by a husband-wife duo; she serves the entire restaurant up front while he does all the cooking in the back. It’s impressive that they are still able to delight their customers with such a small team. Major props to them! Despite running around, serving bubbling soup in cast iron pots and banchan, she’s more than happy to stop and explain what everything is if you need help. People characterized her as very sweet and funny with a great vibe. One reviewer said they’d come back just for her. Another reviewed, “I’ve now been to a handful of tofu houses after my mom took me here once, and this place slays all the others.” Their soups are full of flavor, regardless of the type of sundubu you order. A common mistake in cooking sundubu is making it too salty, but here the salt ratio is on point. Great food, great service, great vibe, all of that notwithstanding they have complimentary ice cream, so they’re the best in my book.

What to order:  Mushroom Tofu Soup, Seafood Tofu Soup

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How We Ranked Korean Restaurants

The main goal of this post is to best answer, “where can I get the best Korean food in California?”. This was inspired by my first post where I attempted the same, but for each state across the US.

We all know “best” is highly subjective, especially when it comes to restaurants. Tastes vary, what people look for in a dining experience differ, rating scales are all over the place. You would be hard pressed to find someone that’s actually been to every Korean restaurant in California, let alone be able to compare and contrast them all objectively.

So — I have spent hours in my underground lab, playing with algorithms and Tony Stark tech and created the following methodology to arrive at a more confident answer for us all.

Two principles: the Law of Large Numbers and Delight.

The Law of Large Numbers

You can read more about the Law of Large Numbers here, but the tl;dr as it relates to restaurants is that the more opinions there are, the more likely the average of those opinions is true. So now, “what’s the minimum number of opinions needed?” Thanks to Survey Monkey’s sample size calculator, I was able to calculate that: 264 reviews with 90% confidence and a 5% margin of error.

I am aware Yelp, to some degree, has a bad rep for the integrity of their reviews. There are ways to purchase reviews and manipulate your overall evaluation (Yelp is not the only site susceptible to this). Yelpers can be schmoozed, friends and family can be enlisted, there can be special offers in exchange for reviews, all dig away at the integrity of the data.

Despite all of the discrepancies Yelp undeniably has the largest activity and available data set of crowd-sourced reviews. It’s also the ubiquitous resource for researching a restaurant. Google and Tripadvisor simply don’t have enough reviews; in this case, bigger is better.

Delight

Nobody wants to walk out of a restaurant and think “meh”. Who wants a mediocre experience? You want to feel as though you’ve made the right, no, the best choice available to you. That’s the feeling we, at Goghism, are striving to help provide through our research.

Let me introduce you to our metric: The Restaurant Delight Index (RDI). The formula is:

(((Very Satisfied + Extremely Satisfied) – (Not Satisfied + Extremely Not Satisfied))/ # of Responses) * 100.

Applying it to Yelp, it looks like this:

(((# of 4 ratings + # of 5 ratings) – (# of 2 ratings + # of 1 ratings)) / # of reviews) * 100.

You probably noticed there are no 3 ratings. A restaurant should not be rewarded for “meh” experiences. Come on! I’m not wasting my time there and I don’t want you to either.

To summarize, here’s our ranking methodology:

  • Must have a minimum of 264 reviews.
  • Ranked by Restaurant Delight Index.
  • Fakespot applied to verify the quality of reviews.
  • Must be tagged as serving Korean food.
  • Does not have a grill your own component.

Results may have changed slightly by the time you read this (research takes time, we don’t have a team of monkeys churning all this out).

That’s it! Now, let’s get started!

What’s Next?

This is only the beginning. We truly believe this is the most objective review out there for answering the simple question, “Where can I get the best Korean food?” The next post you’ll see from me is the Best Korean BBQ in California using the same process. With so many of them out there, I’m anxious to see who rises to the top.

The Best Korean Restaurant in Every State [2019]

TL;DR

25 hours of research later, we've discovered the 2017 best Korean restaurant in every state across the US using Yelp's ratings. Mom and pop shops impressively held their own like Peck Peck Korean Style Chicken in NJ. A Michelin rated restaurant, Jungsik, made it on the list out in NY. There were also a few restaurants taking risks and doing it well, such as Seoul Garden in MO. Finally, you can't speak of Korean food without mentioning Korean BBQ. Gangnam Asian BBQ Dining in NV received the highest rating with the most reviews in the entire US. Check to see who came out on top in your state!

Criteria for Best Korean Restaurant

Not going to lie, we haven't been to 90% of these Korean restaurants, let alone the states. You know what though? It doesn't matter. The restaurants listed here are based off pure numbers, not our personal opinions. We just did the research. If you've ever asked yourself, "Where's a good place for Korean food around here?", then proceeded to open Yelp in your handy dandy smartphone we guarantee that you'll find this list of top Korean restaurants in every state valuable: at the very least entertaining. Why? There's no other list like this out on the interwebs.

The parameters for the best Korean restaurant in each state is as follows:

  • Yelp is our sole data source. If it's not on Yelp, we won't have any data for it.
  • Each Korean restaurant needs to have a volume of reviews that sits (at the very least) within the center of the bell curve:
  • Really all this means is that you can't say your restaurant is the best Korean restaurant in [state] when the only people that have written a review are your mom and your significant other. So rough cuts based on number of reviews were made even if the ratings were higher.
  • The average rating that we present is a true average, so it will differ slightly from what's visualized by Yelp's stars.
  • It must primarily be a Korean restaurant. (Putting one Korean dish on the menu or throwing kimchi into something won't get you in)

Lastly, the research for this post took us a good amount of time. Results may have changed slightly by the time you read this.

That's it! Now, let's get started!

List of 50 States + DC

Best Korean Restaurants

Alabama

beef bulgogi shinsegae alabama

Shinsegae Oriental Restaurant

2701 Patton Rd Huntsville, AL 35805

4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5) 49 reviews When the waiter and the cook are husband and wife respectively, you can't really get any more mom and pop than that. If that plus warm comforting food is your thing, this is the place to go for your Korean fix in Alabama. #rolltide!

What to order: Dolsot Bibimbap, Beef Bulgogi

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Alaska

poke bowl top bop alaska

Top Bop

220 Muldoon Rd Anchorage, AK 99504

4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5) 95 reviews

Initially, I was surprised to see a Korean inspired fusion restaurant in Alaska, but here it makes sense. Alaska is famous for their fish so naturally it makes sense Top Bop combined the best of both worlds. On top of that, it's a fast food style Korean fusion restaurant, which you don't see very often in the US. It's also a good change that despite the varied customer experiences with the food, their customer service has been complimented frequently as "friendly and helpful".

What to order: Macaroni Salad, Poke Bop, Bibim Bop

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Arizona

koreatown arizona spicy chicken bulgogi

Koreatown

1832 W Broadway Rd Ste 100 Mesa, AZ 85202

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 168 reviews

Koreatown starts with an unassuming exterior, but boy do they open up once you get inside. As Hemingway once said, "don’t judge a restaurant by its sign" (he probably never said that). This restaurant is perfect for when you want to enjoy Korean food with a big group of your friends, families, or coworkers. Service is  minimalistic, but efficient and pretty good for the most part, despite some occasional lapses.  But when the food is described as authentic, addicting, and best of all similar to home cooking, we can overlook a couple things here and there.

What to order: Spicy Chicken Bulgogi (Dak Bulgogi), Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps

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Arkansas

kj sushi and korean bbq arkansas bulgogi

KJ Sushi & Korean BBQ

3223 N College Ave Fayetteville, AR 72703

4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) 80 reviews

The Razorbacks aren't the only reason to visit Fayetteville, AR. KJ Sushi & Korean BBQ has people raving about the authenticity and quality of the food. You know they're good when people visiting from areas like SoCal and Manhattan, with much more established Korean populations, refer to this place as a hidden gem. One reviewer wrote, “KJ Sushi & Korean BBQ, you are a diamond in the rough within Arkansas. Who would have known that this place would magically get into my rotation of the very few authentic Asian restaurants in purgatory.”

What to order: Bulgogi

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California

buil samgye tang samgyetang ginseng korean chicken soup

Buil Samgye Tang

4204 W 3rd St Los Angeles, CA 90020 Koreatown, Wilshire Center

RDI: 89/100 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5) 274 reviews

California is a mecca for Korean cuisine. It seems that there are as many Korean restaurants as there are In-N-Outs, so being best Korean restaurant here is a big deal. With that, kudos to Buil Samgye Tang!

I love specialty restaurants that cut down on all the choices in lieu of providing a few amazing, unbeatable, dishes. Buil Samgye Tang literally only has five items on the menu, all variations of samgye-tang. Samgye-tang is a warm ginseng chicken soup said to improve your health (practically everything healthy in Korea has ginseng in it). Koreans love this soup so much that restaurants like Buil are commonplace in South Korea, whereas us Americans have to pretend we’re sick in order to get our moms to make it for us.

The paradox of choice is real, which could contribute to how highly they scored in our restaurant delight index. You’ll already know what you’re going to get as you walk in, and you know it’s going to be amazingly delicious. Not only is the food delightful, I have yet to see a review fail to comment on how Buil has the kindest and warmest owner in town. No wonder Buil scored so highly on our RDI. Major props for putting out the most delightful traditional Korean food experience in California. Plan on not finding a parking spot, thankfully it’s in a residential area so alternative options should be available.

What to order: Anything on the order but order with abalone

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Colorado

Bop & Gogi Korean Kitchen and Grill

10639 E Briarwood Ave Ste B 2 Centennial, CO 80112

4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5) 140 reviews

Large portions at an affordable cost, music to our ears. This is one of those gold mines. Bop & Gogi isn't open for very long, so take a look at the hours before you drive on over. They are also a mom & pop place so don't expect lightning quick food. Despite all that, a lot of Yelpers still claim this spot as their go-to, so you know it's worth it.

What to order: Bibimbap Stone Bowl With Beef, Seafood Udon

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Connecticut

angry tofu korean cuisine galbi connecticut

Angry Tofu Korean Cuisine

1030 Silas Deane Hwy Wethersfield, CT 06109

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 108 reviews

We definitely saw that the trend in reviews for Angry Tofu Korean Cuisine is the consistency in the quality of the food. Consistency builds trust, easily persuading loyal customers to drive 40+ minutes just to eat here. There aren't many Korean restaurants in Connecticut so this is definitely a rarity. They also offer a small complimentary Korean "yogurt" drink, a sweet and slightly tangy finish that bookends a good meal in a great way.

What to order: LA Kalbi

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Delaware

kahlbee galbi delaware

Kahl-Bee Korean Restaurant

2011 Kirkwood Hwy Wilmington, DE 19805

3.6 out of 5 stars (3.6 / 5) 54 reviews

If you live in Delaware and aren't willing to drive out to Baltimore or Philly, Kahl-Bee Korean restaurant is your best bet. You won't be wildly impressed, but it will satisfy your Korean food fix. Based on the reviews, Kahl-Bee fits the stereotype of Korean restaurants where the servers all seem to be paying attention to something other than your table. You'll probably need to flag a server down after being seated.

What to order: Super Kalbi

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District of Columbia

Triple B Fresh

1506 19th St NW Washington, DC 20036

4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5) 272 reviews

Triple B Fresh is a lunch hot spot for Washingtonians on the go due to their reasonable prices and fast dining experience, while also capturing delicious snapshots of Korea’s beloved snack scene staples such as kimbap and ddukboki.  Many of their options are customizable, meaning you can have your bibimbap experience as healthy or cheat day worthy as you like.  Dining establishments like Triple B Fresh demonstrates the culture immigrants can bring to the nation’s capital – serving as a tasty reminder of what makes America great.

What to order: Bibimbap, Kimbap

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Florida

gabose pocha ramen nachos florida

Gabose Pocha

4933 N University Dr Lauderhill, FL 33351

4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) 121 reviews

Right next door to Gabose, another really popular and well reviewed Korean restaurant (4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5) 536 reviews), Gabose Pocha has the same owner. So if you're waiting for a table at Gabose, you can wait at Pocha with some great mixed drinks and apps. Gabose Pocha is more a bar than a restaurant and serves Korean street food with a South Florida twist. They had us at Ramen Nachos and Watermelon Soju.

What to order: Spicy Pork Belly, Ramen Nachos, Watermelon Soju

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Georgia

korean tacos blossom tree georgia

Blossom Tree

64 Peachtree St NW Atlanta, GA 30303

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 183 reviews

Blossom Tree is pretty close to at least three different colleges in downtown Atlanta, so be prepared to wait while surrounded by hungry students.  Add to that, the restaurant is pretty small, but they make up for it with complimentary sweet tea! That's how you know you're in the South. Blossom Tree is in rare company as a fast food type Korean restaurant while not lacking on authentic flavors. There needs to be more of these in the US! If you're driving, there are limited street parking spots available, so be warned.

What to order: Kimchi Rice, Taco Platter, Sweet Potatoes

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heirloom market bbq ribs brisket kimchi cole slaw sweet potatos collard greens georgia

Heirloom Market BBQ (Honorable Mention)

2243 Akers Mill Rd SE Ste 110 Atlanta, GA 30339

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 1069 reviews

Heirloom Market BBQ wasn't selected as the winner because they do not fall within our parameters, but the force was with this one. We couldn't help but give this restaurant a proper shout out. It's Southern BBQ meets Korean cuisine. THIS IS LIFE, (at least if you've ever met Jinwoo and Michael you know it's theirs). If we ever get around to opening a restaurant, this would be the type of food we'd love to anchor our menu around. One Yelper claimed, "Heirloom Market BBQ is a perfect marriage on a Korean and Southern Texas influence. East meets West kind of BBQ. You get sweet, sassy, and smokey Texas style barbecue with a lovely Korean twist." This is not a sit down restaurant, but we don't care. When you can get people from the South to respect your BBQ even after adding some Korean twists, you know you're kickin' ass. Bucket list item added.

What to order: BBQ Brisket Sandwich, Pulled Pork Sandwich, Spicy Korean Pork

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Hawaii

spicy chicken katsu willow tree restaurant hawaii

Willow Tree Restaurant

25 Kaneohe Bay Dr Ste 104 Kailua, HI 96734

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 243 reviews

"Thick, tender, juicy cuts of beef. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it." With that kind of response, it's not surprising that Willow Tree is the best reviewed Korean restaurant in Hawaii. One drawback however is they cannot accommodate groups of more than 4. They also won't seat you until your whole party is there. As annoying as that is, maybe it'll put a little fire behind your slow friends! Once you're seated though, the decor and vibe of Willow Tree will relax you and make you feel right at home.

What to order: Spicy Chicken Katsu, Turnip Soup, Meat Jun

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Idaho

spicy pork bulgogi mr wok idaho

Mr. Wok

650 S Vista Ave Boise, ID  83705

4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5) 95 reviews

Mr. Wok impressed the locals enough to earn the best Yelp reviewed place for Korean food. These two quotes from the reviewers I think is all that needs to be written about this place. "This place is the heavyweight champions of high quality Asian cuisine in Boise." "I drive by Mr. Wok every single day and when I do my stomach screams for their orange or sweet and sour chicken. 6:00 in the morning all the way to late hours I want their food. No, I'm not pregnant, it's just that good." It sounds like this place is worth a shot if you're in the area.

What to order: Beef Bulgogi, Spicy Pork Bulgogi

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Illinois

korean bbq galbi chungkiwa restaurant illinois

Chungkiwa Restaurant

1658 W Algonquin Rd Mount Prospect, IL 60056

4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) 138 reviews

We weren't expecting the suburbs to hold their own and beat out the plethora of Korean restaurants in Chicago. Chungkiwa Restaurant is a Korean BBQ place where you can grill on your own, which is an unforgettable experience if you haven't tried it already. This place does not let something like language barriers stop them from doing whatever they can to make their customers happy. Many reviewers were left pleasantly surprised not just because of the savory Korean food, but because they brought out small stuffed animals for any children lucky enough to dine here. We can't guarantee that this happens all the time, but you can tell these people love what they do. At the end of the meal, you'll also get a Klondike bar! Not a bad deal when all you have to do for a Klondike bar is drive 30-40 minutes from Chicago and get some bomb ass Korean food.

What to order: Bibimbap, Kalbi, Pork Belly, Bulgogi

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Indiana

dolsot bibimbop cafe korea indiana

Cafe Korea

7262 Fishers Crossing Dr Fishers, IN 46038

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 137 reviews

Hidden gem alert! Cafe Korea is your best bet for authentic Korean food in Indiana. You have restaurants that are owned by people who want to make a buck and there are those who truly want to provide a quality experience. This is a three generation establishment, and all of the recipes have been preserved from the very beginning. Yelpers commonly characterized the staff as enthusiastic about their product and how quickly you feel the family owned vibes here. One Yelper wrote, "Our waitress was GENUINELY interested in our opinions of the food and, though it appeared she was the only server that evening, her service was quite attentive."

What to order: Dolsot Bibimbap

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Iowa

seoul grill bibimbop iowa

Seoul Grill

201 S Clinton St Iowa City, IA 52240

3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5) 42 reviews

We can't be confident this is indeed the best bet for Korean food in Iowa, but Seoul Grill did have the best reviews of the bunch. The food is good, but not the hours. Seoul Grill appears to have opened mainly for college students considering it's only open during lunch hours in the heart of University of Iowa's campus. One Yelper from LA did leave a gloating review about how their authenticity matches restaurants in K-Town.

What to order: Bibimbap

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Kansas

O Cafe Korean Restaurant

1530 W 6th St Ste E Lawrence, KS 66044

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 99 reviews

What O Cafe Korean Restaurant does right without a doubt is customer service. Many of the reviews complimented the owner's warm attitude and enthusiasm, which makes such a considerable difference in the experience especially when you're trying Korean food for the first time. When you eat here, get the japchae. You can order it with different meats such as spicy pork, beef, etc. That sounds delicious right about now!

What to order: Japchae

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Kentucky

hot stone beef bibimbap charim kentucky

Charim

4123 Oechsii Ave Louisville, KY 40207

4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5) 127 reviews

If it's your first time trying Korean food, Charim will leave you wanting more. There were plenty of first timers who absolutely loved Charim. TIt does however appear that they serve less side dishes (banchan) compared to the other Korean restaurants in the area. This could also pass as a casual date night according to some people so get your significant other out there! If you're single, it doesn't matter. Korean food doesn't discriminate.

What to order: Hot Stone Bibimbap, Chicken or Beef Bulgogi

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Louisiana

koreann bbq grill little korea bbq louisiana

Little Korea BBQ

2240 Magazine St New Orleans, LA 70130

3.7 out of 5 stars (3.7 / 5) 198 reviews

Your best bet for getting your Korean food fix in Louisiana is Little Korea BBQ. The reviews aren't where we'd like them to be for us to personally recommend them, but based on the numbers there's nowhere better. A part of us expected to see some good Louisiana craziness bringing fiery Korean and Cajun flavors together. (Can someone tell us how boudin compares to soondae?) Despite that, Little Korea BBQ does offer grill your own Korean BBQ, which we've mentioned countless times above that you need to try it. The meat's flavorful and it appears they have increased their portions in response to customer feedback. For the other main entrees, there's been enough people reviewing them to be on the bland side, so we can't be confident in its quality. The decor here is on the higher end, which is a step above the rest of the competition in the area, but is accompanied by higher prices. All in all, this place appears to be the best place for a large group looking to chow down on some Korean BBQ.

What to order: Korean BBQ Grill, Cheese Corn

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Maine

lobster roll y u takeout maine

Y.U. Take Out

674 US Highway 1 Hancock, ME 04640

4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5) 13 reviews

Maine probably has the smallest sample size that we've come across. The reviews for Y.U. Take Out were scant, but most had glowing things to say, especially about their crab and lobster rolls. One thing we love to hear about restaurants is when they don't skimp on the meat. Some Yelpers mentioned "good chunks" of lobster, along with the cheapest price you're going to find in the area. We can't be confident that they're a sure bet, but I'd be willing to try!

What to order: Bulgogi, Lobster Roll

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Maryland

bibimbap seoul food maryland

Seoul Food

2514 University Blvd W Silver Spring, MD 20902

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 292 reviews

Seoul Food started out as a food truck with Chef Anna at the helm, now they are a "gas station quicky mart". You can tell that this won't be your standard traditional Korean restaurant by the fact that they started out as a food truck. They naturally and intuitively blends Korean and Japanese flavors while cooking with sustainability in mind, inspired by Chef Anna's husband J.P. They also offer homemade kimchi for sale, which apparently brings a steady stream of customers. Parking may be an issue as they're located next inside the same building as the Exxon gas station.

What to order: Bibimbap

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Massachusetts

pajeon scallion pancake woo jung restaurant massachusetts

Woo Jung Restaurant

174 W Main St Ayer, MA 01432

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 146 reviews

Woo Jung Restaurant beat out their peers in big time Boston! They are located in the middle of nowhere if you're a city dweller, but you will be surprised with their quality. When a Korean American compares them to his or her mom's kitchen, you know it's gotta be good. Make reservations because Woo Jung is a hot spot with limited seating. The menu has been molded to fit a broader audience without sacrificing the intensity of flavor. Although they are out in the suburbs, the prices are big city so be prepared for that as well.

What to order: Bibimbap, Scallion Pancakes (Pajeon)

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Michigan

korean bbq grill tomukun korean barbecue michigan

Tomukun Korean Barbeque

505 E Liberty St Ste 200 Ann Arbor, MI 48104

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) 183 reviews

Cheers to another Korean BBQ place taking the crown for best Korean restaurant! In the heart of the University of Michigan, the student body has claimed Tomukun to be the best option for your Korean food craving or if you're wanting a special dinner. Grilling your own food never gets old and this place does it the best in Michigan. They may not be the best Korean BBQ in the country but at least you won't need to worry about a language barrier, most of the wait staff speaks English fluently and are apparantly very attentive.

What to order: Korean BBQ, Marinated Beef Short Ribs (Kalbi), Bulgogi

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Minnesota

spicy chicken wings hoban minnesota

Hoban Korean Restaurant

1989 Silver Bell Rd Eagan, MN 55122

3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5) 243 reviews

I was waiting impatiently to get to Minnesota and see which Korean restaurant would receive the best reviews because... I live here. Well, I wasn't surprised when it turned out that Hoban had earned the best ratings. I've frequented here a number of times despite them being the furthest (20-25 min) from Minneapolis. For what you ask? Their spicy chicken wings! Literally the only reason why I come here. Not to be confused with their Korean BBQ location in Uptown, Hoban is located in a strip mall in the 'burbs. This happens to be the go-to spot for Samsung executives visiting from Korea. I can't comment on whether Hoban is their favorite place or they have a relationship with the owner, but that kind of social proof doesn't hurt. On top of that, they've been packed every time I've gone, so you know they're doing something right.

What to order: Spicy Chicken Wings, Soondubu Chigae (Seafood Stew)

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Mississippi

mandu rc korean restaurant mississippi

RC Korean Restaurant

1670 Pass Rd Biloxi, MS 39531

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) 69 reviews

In an area without very many Korean restaurants it's nice to see a place such as RC Korean Restaurant be embraced by the community. They are located near an Air Force Base and they've prepared for it. Portions are big, lunch specials are affordable, and the owner does too many things to count. That comes at a cost sometimes, such as the occasional wait for your food, but most of the customers had only nice things to say about the owner. Not only will you likely leave with leftovers, you can swing by the Korean grocery store next door.

What to order: Beef Bulgogi, Mandu (Steamed Dumplings)

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Missouri

bulgogi gogi bowl seoul taco missouri

Seoul Taco

6665 Delmar Blvd St Louis, MO 63130

4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5) 435 reviews

Seoul Taco originally started out as a food truck back in 2011, but have expanded across multiple cities since then. The brick and mortar location is in the heart of St. Louis (let us know if you still see the truck rolling around), and matches the energetic vibe of the city with their flavor packed menu and colorful decor. Seoul Taco definitely leans more fusion, but by the customers' reviews it's not gimmicky and they do a great job of blending Korean and Mexican flavors in intuitive ways. Something to keep in mind is the food can be greasy, so get a lot of napkins.

What to order: Gogi Bowl, Bulgogi Burrito

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Montana

bibimbop bulgogi stone bowl whistle pig restaurant montana

Whistle Pig Korean

25 N Willson Ave Bozeman, MT 59715

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 65 reviews

Whistle Pig Korean was a very pleasant surprise that came out of our research. I've never been to Montana and didn't really expect to find a lot of Korean restaurants there; the name alone caught my eye and is as trendy as the space it occupies. Rather than going fusion as I would've expected by the name, they veer more to traditional Korean cuisine and do it well. Customers claimed this place to be perfect for a quick lunch. The banchan, especially the pickled cucumbers, are well liked, which is a must that they get right when serving traditional Korean food.

What to order: Bulgogi Bibimbap in Stone Bowl

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Nebraska

korean grill nebraska

Korean Grill

1408 Harlan Dr Bellevue, NE 68005

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 102 reviews

Korean food served cafeteria style, not something you hear every day. Lo and behold, Korean Grill. You do have the option to order off the menu as well, but the quality of the food is surprisingly very good. There's a military base nearby so there's generally a constant stream of customers, but you won't have to wait long. One of the things I love hearing: "The menu is not large, but they excel in the authentic items that they do sell." I'm a huge fan of restaurants that do this -- keep it simple and do it right. What's also great is the owner has a lot of spunk and is completely invested in making your visit a memorable one. There were so many reviews complimenting how helpful and caring she is, apparently she's eager to educate you on Korean cuisine if you have any questions. Oh and you can't forget that all the orders come with crab rangoon and an egg roll!

What to order: Beef Bulgogi, but because this is cafeteria style it'll be easier for you to pick something you haven't tried before.

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Nevada

grill gangnam asian bbq dining nevada

Gangnam Asian BBQ Dining

4480 Paradise Rd Las Vegas, NV 89169

4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5) 3463 reviews

Gangnam Asian BBQ Dining touts the most frequently well reviewed Korean restaurant in the United States. Given the sheer number of positive reviews, we can be extremely confident you won't be disappointed here. It's a la carte, not AYCE, which I prefer because meat quality is typically higher. According to Yelpers, the meat is flavorful, juicy, and some claim it to be the best they've ever had. One knock I have is you get charged for rice, which although negligible in terms of the final bill, can still be annoying. With that aside the quality of the food outweighs having to pay for everything. I've been told that I've eaten here before, but it was during a friend's bachelor party.... so I definitely need to stop by next time I'm in Vegas.

What to order: Harami Miso, Toro

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New Hampshire

Shira Kiku New Hampshire Salmon Bibimbap

Shira Kiku

13 Broad St Nashua, NH 03064

4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5) 126 reviews

Throughout my research I found myself saying, "there's good Korean food here?" more often than I thought. Well, here's another gem hidden in New Hampshire, Shira Kiku. The name may be Japanese but they've got the best Korean food in the state. Nia, the owner, is so engaging and welcoming that customers can't help but feel at home the moment they walk in the door. Talk about service! They can be understaffed but there were countless reviews raving about not letting the occasional wait stop you. If you do find yourself waiting order their Kimchi Bloody Mary, that's what I would do.

What to order: Stone Pot Bibimbap, Kimchi Jjigae, Kimchi Bloody Mary

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New Jersey

soy garlic korean style wings peck peck korean style chicken new jersey

Peck Peck Korean Style Chicken

250 Degraw Ave Teaneck, NJ 07666

4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) 303 reviews

Unlike their more nationally known brethren, Boom Boom and Bonchon, Peck Peck Korean Style Chicken is a hole in the wall mom and pop chicken joint. That paired with a modest storefront makes their climbing to the top of the ratings all the more impressive. Throughout all our research I haven't seen so many people describing a restaurant as "the best", "absolutely amazing", "salivating", and more so frequently. They literally have customers dreaming about their wings, and have former patrons driving from all over the place just to get their fix. We recommend calling in your order because of how popular their food is and their limited seating.

What to order: Salt and Pepper Wings, Soy Garlic Wings, Sweet Chili Wings

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New Mexico

Spicy Pork Bowl Asian Pear Albuquerque New Mexico

Asian Pear

508 Central Ave SW Albuquerque, NM 87102

4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) 99 reviews

Don't be scared off by Asian Pear's "vegetarian" claim, they have plenty of meat to go around, it just means that they put some honest effort into providing for our leaf eating brethren. They have actual vegetarian options as opposed to the "just take off the meat and call it a salad" approach. Glad to see that in an area without much competition there's an establishment with owners that don't give a damn about whether they're safe or not, they just want you have a good experience at their place. (Take a chance and order something for takeout, they'll occasionally slide you a free appetizer to munch on while you wait). Take out ahead of time is your best bet if you want some good Korean food in the evening, they're not open for dinner.

What to order: Spicy Pork Bowl, Pork Spare Ribs

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New York

octopus ssamjang aioli jungsik new york

Jungsik

2 Harrison St New York, NY 10013

RDI: 84/100 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 366 reviews

Our very first fine dining Korean restaurant on the list! Jungsik beat out an insanely competitive field of Korean restaurants in arguably the most difficult area to do well in, The Big Apple, The City that Never Sleeps, Empire City, New York. Jungsik is in rare enough company as they are a two star Michelin restaurant. Given that fact, it's pretty safe to say that Chef Jungsik Yim and his team are breaking down boundaries and pushing Korean cuisine to new and exciting places. Jungsik translates to "formal dinner" and Chef Yim has taken his experience cooking all over the world to bring Michelin level quality to what he has coined as "New Korean." Call it whatever you want Jungsik, keep doing you.

What to order: Octopus in Ssamjang Aioli

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North Carolina

Soo Cafe SOGA Chicken Wings Raleigh North Carolina

Soo Cafe

2815 Brentwood Rd Raleigh, NC 27604

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 167 reviews

I remember arguing with a friend about there not being such a things as "bad" wings. Even the worst wings in the world are preferable to no wings. Up the ante with Korean Fried Chicken wings (not the original KFC but definitely the best) and you can't go wrong. Still, if you're going to eat something unhealthy might as well make sure they're the best tasting too. If you're in North Carolina, these are by far the best bang for your cluck (sorry but I had to). Service seems to be spotty depending on who's there but it ranges from great to subpar.  Really though, I have no problem with subpar service if it comes with a side of amazing wings.

What to order: Chicken Wings with Soga sauce (soy garlic), Chicken Tenders with Original Sauce

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North Dakota

101 Sushi Bar lamb Fargo North Dakota

101 Sushi Bar

4480 23rd Ave S Fargo, ND 58104

3.6 out of 5 stars (3.6 / 5) 32 reviews

I don't want it to seem like our standards are lower for smaller markets, or that I'm ragging on Fargo, ND (loved your movie by the way), but like the majority of the reviews for 101 Sushi Bar claim this place is great... for North Dakota. They might be better off dumping their sushi menu and focusing strictly on Korean BBQ (which is what their customers come back for). One highlight is definitely their buffet set up for the Korean BBQ (sometimes they even have lamb), which does not bode well for the overall quality of the meat but adds a nice change of pace in terms of customer engagement. Also is helpful when their service gets spotty.

What to order: Pork Belly, Lamb (from buffet)

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Ohio

ddeokbbokki spicy rice cake seoul garden ohio

Seoul Garden

5270 Pearl Rd Parma, OH 44129

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 176 reviews

Practically all of the reviews said the same four things: great Korean food, great service, a little over priced, don't worry about the price. That's all I need. Everything in Seoul Garden seems pretty standard, nothing too over the top or surprising, but they execute exceptionally well. I feel like there's a Seoul Garden in every city in the US, nice to see one stand out. Apparently one of their servers looks like Baekhyun from Exo... who is a person... regardless of what that means customers seem to love him.

What to order: Ddukbokki (spicy stewed rice cakes), Haemul Pajeon (seafood pancake)

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Oklahoma

Chae

1933 NW 23rd St Oklahoma City, OK 73106

4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5) 160 reviews

Alright, I've never been to Oklahoma City, but I definitely want to go now. Off the wall pork buns, Duck Jook (porridge) which is described as spicy Korean rissotto, Kalbi tacos, Kimchi Arancini?! How have I never heard of you Daniel Chae, from your menu alone you seem like a badass dude I want to get a drink with. "I would come here with my girlfriends, my family, on a date, for a birthday, for drinks or just to enjoy the most delicious meal ever." Enough said.

What to order: Soju Spritzer, Duck Jook, Iron Bulgogi (big enough for four!)

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Oregon

Dolsot Bibimbap Happy Bibimbap House Salem Oregon

Happy Bibim Bap House

635 Chemeketa St NE Salem, OR 97301

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 277 reviews

Definitely the first place I've seen where Yelpers love the service but not the other patrons... which they chalk up to just being Salem? Regardless, Happy Bibim Bap House does it right: quick, appropriately priced, with great flavors. They also do surprisingly well with their sushi, which is definitely impressive to someone like me who has a hard time cooking an egg and toasting bread at the same time. If you want to stop by for lunch get there before 11:45 to beat the work day lunch rush.

What to order: Spicy Chicken Wings, Soondubu Chigae (Seafood Stew)

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Pennsylvania

Oyster Soondubu Jong Ka Jib Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Jong Ka Jib

6600 N 5th St Philadelphia, PA 19126

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 292 reviews

When it comes to Philly food I think fast, comforting, and stick to your ribs. I'm going out on a limb here and claiming soondubu (tofu stew) to be the Philly Cheesesteak of the Korean food world. Flavor and make up wise they couldn't be more different, but when I'm having a bad day and want something that'll remind me of home I think of soondubu. All that is to say that Jong Ka Jib does their soondubu right, they have plenty of other offerings and I'm sure their Korean BBQ is legit, but when you have kalbi and bulgogi on the menu but everyone talks about your soondubu, it's probably pretty damn good. Their service seems to be really good as well but apparently a couple of the servers have trouble speaking English so best keep your order as simple as possible.

What to order: Soondubu (they have a large variety of add ons)

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Rhode Island

Dolsot Bibimbap Den Den Cafe Asiana Providence, Rhode Island

Den Den Cafe Asiana

161 Benefit St Unit C2-C3 Providence, RI 02903

4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5) 390 reviews

Den Den Café Asiana took a risk by going with a slightly fast casual set up with a menu that's generally not considered fast casual. When you order at a counter and receive a number on one of those little metal stands so servers can see where to drop off plates I immediately think of Jason's Deli or the like. That may be surprising to some as fast casual Korean places are generally fusion or chicken joints, but Den Den's food is on point with their execution of Korean staples and their willingness to get adventurous. I actually like the less frou frou and more comfortable set up as long as the restaurant doesn't approach their food with the same casual nature. Den Den does have a few problems with their limited parking and their tendency to get pretty busy pretty quick, but I'm sure they're not really too concerned with the latter.

What to order: Dolsot Bibimbap (hot stone bowl mixed rice), Monkey Balls (deep fried mushrooms stuffed with spicy tuna)

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South Carolina

Spicy Nang Myun Ko Cha Asian Restaurant Charleston South Carolina

Ko Cha Asian Restaurant

3515 Mary Ader Ave Charleston, SC 29414

4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5) 89 reviews

Everyone that's been to Ko Cha Asian Restaurant says to ignore the fact that they are connected to a gas station. I love it. I love thinking of this old Asian couple not realizing that they've opened a restaurant that could be featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. They might be at risk of having a menu that's too large with Korean, Japanese, and Chinese-Korean staples all being featured (jjajangmyun and jjampong originated from Chinese immigrants in Korea). The quality across their menu is not the most consistent but their highs definitely outweigh their lows.

What to order: Japchae (stir fried glass noodles), Spicy Naengmyun (sweet potato noodles)

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South Dakota

Hana Restaurant

3550 Sturgis Rd Rapid City, SD 57702

4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5) 22 reviews

Although Hana Restaurant offers a one-stop shop for all your Asian staples their selection is a bit limited, yet popular Korean dishes delighted many Yelpers.  Usually, when a restaurant doesn't specialize in a particular cuisine it compromises the quality for the sake of diversity.  However, this is the go to place for Korean food in Rapid City.  Its interior rock walls may resemble something more of a steakhouse, but looks can be deceiving as Hana Restaurant definitely offers some of my favorite Korean comfort foods.  Make sure to check your watch and calendar before heading out as they are closed for lunch on Saturdays and all day Sunday.

What to order: Bulgogi Bento Box, Bibimbap

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Tennessee

Soy Teriyaki Bistro

5008 Maryland Way Brentwood, TN 37027

4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5) 258 reviews

An East meets West fusion, Soy Teriyaki blends different dishes infused with traditional Korean staples such as kimchi and gochujang (fermented chili paste).  Be prepared to endure some parking pains and a long, albeit quick-moving line if you come during the lunch rush hour. However, its popularity is sure to be a great sign.  So if you’re looking for a hip, casual meal, Soy Teriyaki appeals to palates that enjoy a blend of flavors. I'm also pretty confident that it's the only place in the world where you can get free books, do laundry, and enjoy Korean food all at the same time.

What to order: Korean Tacos, Bibimbap, Hot Chicken

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Texas

LA Burger

1017 E Trinity Mills Rd Ste 104 Carrollton, TX 75007

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 464 reviews

Everything just seems bigger in Texas, and portion size is thankfully no exception. LA Burger, a trendy union of Korean and Mexican flavors, mashes up iconic Korean essentials with quintessential American classics in a kimchi meets burger and fries symphony of awesomeness. They completely bought into the idea of a beautiful mess. Its fast service and reasonable prices make it a perfect feasting joint for a deliciously satisfying deal.  In case you thought it couldn’t get any better, the bar at LA Burger features a healthy selection of craft beers to help wash down all that kimchi goodness.

What to order: Kimchi Fries, Bulgogi Tacos, LA Burger, Seoul Dog

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Utah

Bumblebee's BBQ & Grill

7962 S State St Midvale, UT 84047

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 409 reviews

Growing up in the 90s and watching a lot of basketball, I considered Utah’s pantheon to consist of Jerry Sloan, Karl Malone, and John Stockton. It might be time to add Mr. Kim to that list.  Although Mr. Kim may be just one of Bumblebee’s signature menu items, it illustrates the evolution of Korean American fusion.  Don’t let its small size and unassuming exterior fool you – this family owned and operated restaurant packs a punch with their blend of flavors.  Just don’t head there on a Sunday unless you were planning to be the first in line the next day.

What to order: KPOP Fries, Mr. Kim Burger, Kimchi Rice Balls

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Vermont

Radish Kimchi Shin-La Restaurant and Sushi Bar Brattleboro Vermont

Shin-La Restaurant & Sushi Bar

57 Main St Brattleboro, VT 05301

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) 30 reviews

Reviews seemed to be all over the place on this one, it's clear that Shin-La's customer service is extremely polarizing and stands as the most consistently mentioned aspect of the establishment. It's also interesting to see how pervasively customer service influenced the rest of the dining experience as patrons lucky enough to meet the owner loved the place and the food while those who did not caution against multiple visits. So it may be up to chance but if you need Korean food and you're in Vermont Shin-La is your best bet.

What to order: Ojinguh Bokkeum (octopus stir fry), Yukgaejang (Spicy beef and vegetable soup) (Off menu)

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Virginia

Mokomandy

20789 Great Falls Plz Unit 176 Sterling, VA 20165

4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5) 521 reviews

While Korean fusion seems to be the theme among many of the listed contenders, Mokomandy offers an interesting twist on Korean with Cajun influences.  Mokomandy boasts a trendy and diverse menu of game meats such as wild boar and bison on their take on Korean classics.  Although it’s located 30 minutes away from the nation’s capital, Mokomandy has big city restaurant quality without the big city hassles. Yelpers have praised Mokomandy on their keen eye for presentation and attentive service. To no one’s surprise, reservations come highly recommended, or be prepared to have a long wait.

What to order: Wild Boar Bowl, Korean Karnivore Ssam, Bulgogi Beef

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Washington

Umma's Lunch Box

1301 5th Ave Concourse Seattle, WA 98101

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 275 reviews

Not going to lie, I expected Seattle's pick to be a swanky, hip place with all of the drinks served in mason jars. Pleasantly surprised that a lunch spot known for good customer service and generous portions wins out. Umma's Lunch Box is a popular lunch spot for the working people that operates on a pay per box system. That paired with their freely offered samples and loose definitions of "fitting" into a package this place looks like a definite go to for a work week lunch on a budget without sacrificing flavor, you might need a nap after though.

What to order: Spam Musubi, Korean Fried Chicken

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West Virginia

Fusion Teriyaki Grill

4002 Maccorkle Ave SE Charleston, WV 25304

4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5) 33 reviews

A fast casual spot that makes everything from scratch, I've never been to West Virginia but that sounds like it fits perfectly in my mind. Based on the reviews Fusion Teriyaki Grill looks like a Panda Express without "a full day's worth of sodium in one bite" taste and feel. The bowls are substantial and affordable with higher than expected quality of ingredients.

"The atmosphere is fresh, clean, bright, and modern. The staff was very helpful, nice, and quick. I will definitely be returning!"

That's enough for me to want to try it out.

What to order: Kalbi Combo, Spicy Pork Combo

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Wisconsin

Seoul Korean Restaurant

2178 N Prospect Ave Milwaukee, WI 53202

3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5) 99 reviews

This is what I think of when it comes to traditional Korean restaurants. Seoul Korean Restaurant feels authentic and their huge menu carries the classic staple soups and stews, including budaejjigae (army base stew) which is a personal favorite. They may not have as much banchan as other Korean restaurants but they make up for it with their execution. Everything comes out sizzling and bubbling and the flavors are spot on.

They get pretty busy on the weekends and space and parking are both limited so be warned.

What to order: Haemul Pajeon (Seafood Pancake), Bulgogi

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Wyoming

Korean House

3219 Snyder Ave Cheyenne, WY 82001

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 83 reviews

Reading about Korean House this sounds more like a typical lunch spot in the middle of the financial district. Cash only, open 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM, closed on weekends, good Korean food. Seating is limited and service can be a little slow so if you do go here for lunch make sure you don't have a meeting you'll need to run back to. They more than make up for the wait with the quality of their food and generally welcoming vibe. They are located close to an Air Force base and are definitely military friendly, so if you serve in our friendly skies make sure to check them out!

What to order: Spicy Pork Bulgogi, Bibim Naengmyun (Mixed Cold Noodles)

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On Its Way:

From time to time, we'll be updating these reviews for accuracy since we know quality and experiences of these Korean restaurants can change. We also have plans of revisiting the statistical method used, depending on if we can find an efficient way to execute on it. There were some really good restaurants that didn't make the list and so we hope to cover each state in the future. Stay tuned!