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best korean restaurants in london, koba

London’s best Korean restaurants

Chow down on kimchi and bulk up on bibimbap at the best Korean restaurants London has to offer

By Time Out London Food & Drink
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If you’ve got that kimchi craving, then you’ve come to the right place. Korean restaurants can be found dotted all over town these days, as well as positioned in New Malden and Tottenham Court Road hotspots. Here’s where to find the best of bulgogi, bibimbap and barbecue – it’s the best Korean restaurants in London.

The best Korean restaurants in London

Asadal

Restaurants Korean Holborn

With a discreet entrance just by Holborn station, Asadal’s basement dining room has been the go-to for fans of Korean in central London for many years. Expect classic barbecue dishes cooked on table-top grills (beef bulgogi, pork belly, ox tongue, squid etc), as well as affordable set-lunch options with sides of kimchi and pickles.

Bi Bim Bap

Restaurants Korean Soho

A regular favourite for cheap, rib-sticking renditions of (you guessed it) bibimbap, this likeable joint is all bright colours, happy snaps and Ikea-style furniture. Ten varieties of the hot stone-bowl rice classic are on offer (including five for veggies) – all you need to do is stir in the fiery gochujang sauce and soya bean paste.

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Daebak

Restaurants Korean Vauxhall

Just over the road from fellow Korean restaurant Jihwaja, Daebak is worth a punt if you don’t want a side order of karaoke with your kimchi. Occupying what was a greasy spoon, it still feels like caff, but prices are low, portions large and flavours are bang-on. ‘Daebak’ is Korean for ‘awesome’. It’s getting there.

Dotori

Restaurants Korean Finsbury Park

It’s still nigh on impossible to get a table without booking at this Korean/Japanese hybrid, but – luckily – Dotori also does a life-saving line in takeaways. Well-prepared and well-priced dishes include buchu jeon (chive pancakes), bokkeumbap (stir-fried rice with toppings), yukgejang (a spicy beef ‘stewpot’) and specialities from the Korean barbecue.

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Jihwaja

Restaurants Korean Vauxhall

It’s hard to know where the restaurant starts and the karaoke stops at this warren-like Korean joint on Kennington Lane – still, the food’s pretty decent. Massive steaming bowls of sticky lip-smacking fried chicken (a whole bird) vie with delicate dumplings and a killer crossover dish of cheese ramen – utterly filthy.

Kimchee

Restaurants Korean King’s Cross

Capacious, low-lit and sleek without being imposing, Kimchee flaunts its poshed-up wood-latticed Korean charms on newly developed Pancras Square. Food-wise, we particularly like the ugeoji galbitang (beef rib and cabbage soup), the stir-fried pork with tofu, and the thick udon noodles topped with fried chicken. Similar fare is available at the Holborn original.

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Koba

Restaurants Korean Fitzrovia

Launched back in 2005, Koba remains one of the stronger players on the West End Korean scene. Barbecue meats are well marinated and grilled at the table – choose from beef kalbi, bulgogi and more besides. Stews make a sound choice too, with umami-rich stocks and accompanying bowls of pearly rice.

Google Maps
Google Maps
Google Maps

Korean House

Restaurants Korean Borough of Merton

It may be plonked on a busy stretch of Burlington Road, but don’t let that put you off.  KH’s extensive menu covers the usual barbecues, stews and variations on bibimbap (plus Japanese sushi), although we suggest homing in on dishes that are slightly less familiar – offal and blood sausage stew should do it.

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best korean restaurants in london, naru
best korean restaurants in london, naru
© Ed Marshall

Naru

Restaurants Korean Shaftesbury Avenue

Although Naru offers some cheffy presentational flourishes, it’s not a matter of style over substance – this is a solid venue for quality Korean classics, with a few innovative touches. Instead of table-top grills, meats such as marinated short rib or beef bulgogi are barbecued in the kitchen and brought sizzling to the table.

Olle

Restaurants Korean Shaftesbury Avenue

Don’t be fooled by the dull decor and hotel lounge muzak: this Korean barbecue restaurant is the real deal, with bulgogi and other meaty items grilled on hotplates built into each table. Fancy something raw? Try the classic yukhoe (Korea’s answer to steak tartare infused with fresh pear). Go on, make your own fun.

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Seoul Bakery

Restaurants Korean Bloomsbury

Now holed up not far from the British Museum, the Seoul Bakery is a destination for all things Korean – from K-pop music and memorabilia to some of the cheapest bibimbap in central London. Fans also pile in for their filling seafood pajeon pancakes. Expect to get well-fed for under a fiver.

best korean restaurants in london, wellbeing kitchen
best korean restaurants in london, wellbeing kitchen
© Ben Rowe

Wellbeing Kitchen

Restaurants Shaftesbury Avenue

Given its sandwich bar set-up, you’ll be surprised by the vats of punchy kimchi flying out to hungry workers who come here for lunch ‘to go’. Wellbeing’s spicy Korean soups have real depth of flavour, but everything is carefully prepared here. Best of all, prices are really affordable - wellbeing for your wallet too.

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Find more fiery food in London

Brixton Village
Tricia de Courcy Ling / Time Out

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