Korean food of the highest quality in the heart of Fitzrovia, with polished and efficient service.
Koba remains one of the strongest players on the West End Korean scene since opening in 2005 – we’ve yet to have a disappointing meal here.
Barbecue meats such as beef kalbi or bulgogi are well marinated, and grilled at the table by efficient staff. Barbecued squid was fresh as a daisy, with just the right amount of tongue-tingling heat in the vibrant red sauce. Stews make a sound choice too, with umami-rich stocks and accompanying bowls of pearly rice. The spicy, slow-simmered short rib hotpot comes with chinese cabbage and sweet potato noodles as well as chunky pieces of beef, while the soft tofu stew is packed with seafood slivers.
As this is Fitzrovia rather than K-town (New Malden), there’s no free panch’an, and the namul is a little pricy at £5.90. This is our only quibble, however.
Service is polished but not too formal, and the dark, modern-East-Asian-meets-industrial interior is slick, making Koba an ideal spot for anything from a business lunch (set meals start at £6.50) to a casual dinner. Drinks include Korean beers, soju and a short wine list.
Check out more great Korean restaurants in London
A new menu focuses as before on traditional Korean table barbecue. Guests can order items to barbecue on table-top burners and to accompany the barbecue a wide range of kimchi, Bibimbab rice dishes, jjigaes (Korean stews) and noodles are available, as well as soups and salads. Traditional favourites such as Kanpoonggi (fried chicken in sweet chilli sauce) and Yook Hwei (a very tender, sesame-seasoned beef tartare served with pear and egg yolk) are available alongside new items, such as Patterned rice cake (an unusual sweet starter served with jochung, Korean honey, topped with bean powder) and Shinsunro (traditional Korean Imperial hotpot served in a flaming copper pan).
Renowned Korean design agency Elephant has given Koba’s two floors a fresh, bright new look, rooted in Korea’s rich design heritage with contemporary touches. Entering through a welcoming bar area, guests are greeted by trompe-l’œil doors leading into the skylit main dining room, where the focal point is a display of exquisite craftworks including pieces by Kwangjuyo, a prominent pottery specialising in traditional Korean ceramics, and potters from Woong Gallery. Downstairs meanwhile, a room hung with artworks offers larger tables ideally suited to groups and communal dining.
11 Rathbone Street
|Opening hours:||Lunch served noon-2.30pm. Dinner served 5.30-10.30pm daily|
|Transport:||Tube: Goodge Street or Tottenham Court Road tube|
|Price:||Main courses £9.50-£15. Set lunch £7.50-£12.90. Set meal £25-£35|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
3.4 / 5
- 5 star:16
- 4 star:8
- 3 star:4
- 2 star:8
- 1 star:8
I hardly ever post but felt the need to warn people DO NOT GO HERE. The service was appalling, it's massively overpriced and I am now ill as a result of my meal there. First off the waitress burnt all our vegetables and completely neglected us so we were left dealing with the overpriced burnt remains. Secondly I'd asked about gluten free options and was told by the manager emphatically the entire menu was gluten free. You can guess what happened. At the end of the meal the waitress almost as an aside tells me that three of the dishes I'd eaten had gluten in them. The manager hid downstairs and they were appalling in their response. I am now ill, my health is compromised and all because of this horrific restaurant's service and overpriced, burnt, mediocre food. Avoid like the plague. Awful.
Wow, love the new look! Plus the exceptionally good Korean food remains the same - the BBQ meats are particularly good.
A table barbecue was one of the experience I would remember and back for more.
Appetizers were delicious especially seafood pancake.
I would highly recommend to my friends and return soon.
One of the restaurant I would go back to have a good night out again. We reserved a table to have dinner with my partner after work on Wednesday night. When we got there it was already busy we had to wait about 10mins for the table but we were not bothered.
As soon as we sat down we ordered Korean spirit made with raspberry, and ended up having two bottles by the time we left. The BBQ was the must. It was cooked on the grill on the table which was the highlight of the night. All of the food was tasty and had a good texture with it.
We will be back soon for more with friends who have not tried this place yet. I am sure they will enjoy as much as I did.
We went here on my daughters bday and it was disappointing. My BBQ beef was burnt It took a long time for the food to arrive and they're all tasteless and very bland. Will not be back in this restaurant again.
After having read good reviews, my boyfriend and I had a meal here for our 4th anniversary, and Koba certainly didn't disappoint us. The service was brilliant. All the staff were attentive without without being intrusive. One of the staff recommended deep fried chicken for a starter, and it was indeed delicious! For main, we shared the assorted BBQ with lettuce leaves and spring onions on the side. I am not a massive fan of pork, but the sweet and spicy pork belly was actually very tasty. Overall, wonderful service, and excellent food.I have to say it is not a place for everyday dining as it is quite pricey, but as people say, you get what you pay for! I'll definitely be back again.
One of the worst Korean Restaurants I've been to. Expensive (for what I got) and not authentic at all.
Felt hurried and didnt enjoy at all. Poor service! Food was tasteless. and bland.
Came here for my partners birthday and what a disappointment after the good review i've seen on many sites.
You can tell with the lack of keorean customers that this place is not an authentic Korean restaurant. Lots of chinese and china customers!
Best thing I ate was the Bibimbap and pancackes! although they didnt have the raw beef and raw egg bibimbap which is my favourite when visiting other restaurants.
Stay clear of this place if you wan't proper Korean food! ><
Perfect place to indulge your palate with true Korean taste.
I expecially loved pancake. Its texture of crispness and softness. Most interesting part of the dinner was definately table bbq without doubt. The meat was sweet and tender. Stone pot bibimbab made my rice crispy at the bottom with spicy sauce.
One of the restaurant I would highly recommend ! Every penny was worth it.
Extremely poor service! Waitress constantly come and touch your food, even if you ask them not to cook it for you or touch it, they still do without your permission. Waitresses were trying to rush everything, we ordered a BBQ set, which we wanted to eat slowly, but the waitress help us cook all the raw meat all at once, as if we only have 10 minutes to finish our food. It was a very unpleasant, and with the high prices for food and service charge. It is definitely not worth it. Definitely will not recommend for any customers!!
I went to Koba for Lunch. We did not book for the table but luckily we could get a table. It was full by the time we placed our order. Me and my friend ordered one seafood pancake and two lunch BBQ sets, one beef and one chicken. The meet was freshly cooked in front of us and it was delicious! Our bill was 35 pounds which was not cheap but worth it. Soon we'll be back there for another lunch BBQ.
Superb! Fantastic everything: kimchi, bulgogi. Especially liked the spicy squid and pork belly bbq dish, Highly recommended, though not on the cheap side.
I think koba is one of the tastiest korean bbqs in central london really tastes like proper korean food really worth the wait and money :)) would recommend it to a friend!
We decided to try this restaurant during our weekend in London and we were quite disappointed ! Small portions, high prices, low quality. We ordered fried dumplings which were barely fried, but quite tasty fortunately. The pajeon was the only good food we had. We had the beef barbecue too, but we couldn't eat half of the meat because of the fat. I was quite shocked to see that we had to pay extra for side dishes. I went to Korea last summer (and I often go to korean restaurants in Paris) and I NEVER paid for side dishes. Same for the rice, it's always included when you choose to eat barbecue. + The bottle of water was like, 4 pounds ! Definitely not recommending this restaurant.
It is a great restaurant with amazing food and top notch service. The food is authentic and there is a wide range of Korean food and drinks on the menu as well as other delicious Asian foods. The staff are knowledgeable and are always there to help and serve foreigners and UK residents alike. Definitely worth visiting! :)
I went to koba for the first time and i was pleasantly surprised. the food was great, as was the atmospehere and the service. the manager was very attentive and did a great job explaining the food and menu since it was my first time having korean food. it was pretty busy and noisy at one point,but i would definitely recommend anyone to come and try! booking might be necessary
I had dinner with my family and it was great Korean food experience for us, We had two assorted plates which were Koba Special and assorted beef, and some hot stone rice dishes. It was very tasty and all member of staffs were very kind. We'll be coming back definitely!!!!
Extremely dissapointing. We were aspecting something Korean, tasteful, hot, special and we finish chewing something tasteless, poor, scarce and definitely overpriced. Far below the spectations... this restaurant is rated with 5 stars????? Guys please tell me what are your standards!!! this place don't deserve them. Sorry to be honest but it sucks
Don't bother unless you can get a table upstairs. Down stairs in the cold basement there is no atmosphere, a couple of TVs and some horrible Korean music playing. Despite booking ahead, non-regulars were shifted out of the way.
both bbq dishes we ordered the beef was quite fatty :/ place was nice but 5 star rating i thought was a bit much
First time eating Korean food - glad I started here!!! Excellent service, delicious food, and well priced. (we went at lunch) What I would say is that DO NOT order starters if you're going to order a barbeque meal (DO do this - they are beyond delicious.) For 9 quid, getting a good portion of fried rice, dumplings, pickles, soup, salad and then a big plate of beef that gets cooked at the table seems incredibly worth the money. If you are going to get a starter - the spring onion and seafood pancake is delicious - its very unlike anything I've had before, as is the vegeatble noodles, which are good for those who want something plain. No MSG, and just AMAZNG food. Definately going to be a regular place for me.
After reading reviews on here about bad service, low quality of food and high prices. I was a bit unsure of what I would make of this Korean restaurant. However I was pleasantly surprised, portions are rather small for the price you pay, but the food was delicious, staff were very attentive and friendly and I didn't mind paying the 12.5% service charge. Price was about £25 per person.
Still a wonderful and solid stand-by. Starters amazing, mixed BBQ for four + lots of beers made for a great night at around £30 per head. Good value. Great fun. Part of our regular London restaurant rota.
Visited in April 2012, two people. Service was very friendly and the place looks lovely. Portions were quite small though, especially kimchi, I would have liked more. Dishes were presented nicely although took a little while to come out. I had the bulgogi and it was delicious. Prices weren't bad, seeing as we are on a student budget too we paid £12 each including tea.
It used to be good before prices went up and quality plummeted. It's ridiculous to charge so much for 5 lettuce leaves!
Very small portions. Very high prices. Very low quality of food. Beef chewy, could not even eat. No spice, no flavor, nothing. Would not come again ever again. Total ripoff.
We went to Koba today as we wanted to eat really great meal. We go to korean restaurant at least once a week. I have never had something so poor. Meet was chewy , and portions were really small and not tasty at all. From this tiny portion I had to leave half as it was a chewy part. I never was so unhappy in a restaurant. Wine was low quality and one of the letuce salad was not even fresh but defrosted. If I could recognise that , than everyone could. Im not a fussy eater but this was just so bad. The biggest surprice was, when I asked my beef to be spicy they said that thay dont do that. Korean and they dont make spicy food ?!?!?!?!?!?! very very dissapointing and quite expensive.
The food is very good quality, especially the kimchi, the veggies and the spring onions were excellent service is helpful and attentive (especially if you've never done korean bbq before). The interior design is nice. Portions are small: 6 small slices of duck, 5 strips of beef .. each for 9 £ is very steep. then the lettuce to roll your bbq up another 5 £, the sauces couldn't be smaller... good that we were not starving ! at the end, 75 £ for the meal including shoju (no beers or wine) is not too bad, but if you are really hungry, you wil leave disappointed.
I haven't had dinner here for over a year so can't comment on quality or prices on that side, but even though all items on the special lunch menu have been increased in price by around £1 per dish (approx. £7-8 each rather than £6-7 each), I still find them to be delicious and good value. My favourite is the Yookwhei Dolsot Bibimbap which comes with side dishes (usually sesame braised greens, beansprouts and kimchi) and Miso soup. Warming and filling. These days you usually need to book for lunch as it's become a lot busier, but you can also order for collection. Service is always polite, but sometimes slow.
Been to Koba last Sunday. I felt almost insulted when I was there. The food is okay. There are some dishes that are very tasty but mostly they are mediocre. The atmosphere is good and the staff were attentive. However, there are few things that need to be pointed out 1. PORTION - the portion is very very small for its price. We had to order a lot of food to feel sufficiently full. 2. YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR LETTUCE - which is fair enough. We are not in Korea so I understand that they might charge for kimchi and lettuce which are considered to be complimentary dishes by any Koreans. BUT it was the portion of those dishes that actually made me quite angry. Paid 5 pounds for tiny bit of kimchi and they gave us 5 lettuce leaves, 2 carrot sticks, 2 cucumbers and tiny portion of spring onion salad. It's extortionate that they charge 5 pounds for such a small quantity. Anyway, Koba needs to do serious re-evaluation of their business. Non-koreans may think its okay but all koreans I have spoken to were very unhappy about this.
Food was pretty good, but pretty pricey - definitely should not be the '£' rating. Was rather bemused at the prices for extras that normally come for free. And the drinks ain't cheap either!
I went there for dinner with friends and it was great. The food was amazing, I can particularly recommend the marinated beef with flour. The portions are quite small so I don't think this restaurant deserves the "£" rating, I spent £30 for dinner with some beer and I didn't eat too much.
My friend and I went there for lunch today, the taste was good and their set lunch meal price was reasonable. I'll definitely go there again.
I wonder who wrote this review on Time Out and did he/she actually go to Koba?! I took my boyfriend there to celebrate his 30th birthday after seeing this 5 star review rated by Time Out. It is NOT cheap at all compared to other Korean restaurants. The food is NOT that good either. When we ordered the Korean BBQ I was expecting all the usual sauces that come with the BBQ (you usually get 2 or 3 dips per person when you order BBQ). But no, there was only ONE little plate of dip for both of us and a VERY small portion of spring onions to go with the BBQ. The side dishes such as Kimchi and cucumber were not on the house unlike other Korean restaurants where they would come complimentary when you order BBQ. The quality of the food wasn't that great either. Not much taste to the glass noodle and again a portion for 1 person. Quality of the beef for BBQ was rather chewy. There are MUCH MUCH better Korean restaurants in London that are cheaper and better! I've never been to a korean place like this in my life. In conclusion, most of the dishes come at smaller portions compared to other korean restaurants but more expensive. Well, I think it's popular coz it's packed with tourists who probably don't know much about korean food.
KOBA is a CHEATING Korea store. I sincerely suggest everyone to STRONGLY AGAINST this cheating store. The waitress PREJUDICE Asian people who are not able to speak fluent English. Because the waitress always cheat and guide customers to choose more expensive dishes, this cheating behavior is like "SumSung". For example, she deliberates to guide me to choose chargeable water, but I want free water only. I sincerely suggest everyone to STRONGLY AGAINST this CHEATING store.