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Cooking meat at Guhng
Photograph: Graham Denholm

The best Korean barbecue in Melbourne

Korea's most popular culinary export since kimchi will leave you satisfied with smoky, charred meaty deliciousness.

Written by
Emily Lloyd-Tait
,
Delima Shanti
&
Kelly Eng
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Forget the deep south, turns out Korea is the king of the grill. A champion of communal dining, the Korean barbecue is all about gathering around a flaming hot grill and passing smoky cuts of barbecued beef between friends. As with most Korean cuisines, the sides are part of the main event, and the best barbecue restaurants are the ones dishing out the best banchan dishes. 

RECOMMENDED: These are 60 of the best restaurants to try in Melbourne.

Melbourne's best Korean BBQ restaurants

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Barbecue
  • Melbourne

Everyone knows that meat grilled over charcoal is exponentially more flavoursome than other forms of cooking. And this is why we love Hwaro, the Korean barbecue joint on Little Collins Street. It’s not Korean barbecue without beef ribs (gal-bi), and here you can order them thin and bony, standard cut, premium marble or top grade. If you’re new to Korean barbecue this is a great place to start because here they’ll pop your meats on the grill, flip it and slice it when it’s ready if you prefer being a passenger. If you want to captain your own dinner cruise, you go right ahead.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • Melbourne
Korean barbecue, at its core, is a communal dining experience and Guhng makes sure groups are well catered for with their barbecue sets. The Angus set is enough to comfortably feed four moderately hungry meat eaters. You get a mix of lean and fatty cuts, starting with an evenly marbled Angus cube roll, which is cut into pieces over a cast iron pot of glowing hot charcoal. Break up the meat-fest with mixed vegetables and king brown mushrooms, and then it's time for the bulgogi to hit the grill once the charcoal has gotten extra smoky.
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  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • South Melbourne
  • price 2 of 4
Experience the thrill of the grill at Mrs Kim's barbecue joint. You can order à la carte or choose a meal deal, like the two-person $45 ‘Cluck Cluck’. Chicken thigh, marinated in soy sauce, is sweet and succulent with properly caramelised edges. Neat rectangles of tender scotch fillet ordered from the beef menu are threaded with just enough fat to keep things juicy, and a veggie package with broccoli, carrot and potato is topped with grated cheese and cooked on the ring. It looks pedestrian, but one mouthful of its molten magnificence will change your tune.
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • Melbourne
At G2 Korean BBQ, the young Angus beef ribs are marbled little girders that cook quickly over the hot coals and stay juicy. The thinly sliced pork belly is the smart choice for two reasons: it helps temper the richness of your meal and cooks in record time.  The staff are very hands-on with the cooking here, helping to turn your basket of mixed mushrooms, cut your marinated bulgogi beef into portions and rearrange your grill to get some proper heat on your wide, flat slices of zucchini and potato. If the whole process of cooking for yourself is why you like Korean barbecue you’re going to have to hold onto the tongs firmly.
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Yeong translates to 'smoky house' and this Korean barbecue joint promises fresh meat that isn't frozen (aside from beef brisket and ox tongue that are frozen for precision slicing). The venue also promises charcoal which lends meat that ideal smoky flavour. Wagyu is the name of the game here, but there's also pork on offer. Don't miss out on the pork belly dripping in the venue's housemade chilli paste.

ChangGo Korean BBQ
Photograph: Supplied

6. ChangGo Korean BBQ

ChangGo is a pretty popular Korean restaurant and barbecue haunt. Our tip: Try the Palsaik BBQ Set, which comes with eight cuts of pork belly marinated in eight different ways. Complete with banchan (think your usual suspects like kimchi, pickled daikon, pickled veg and spring onion salad) and piping hot white rice – what more could one ask for?

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Soko Korean Charcoal BBQ
Photograph: Supplied

7. Soko Korean Charcoal BBQ

Situated in Box Hill, this is where to come if you're looking for Korean barbecue with all the trimmings. Not only can you get just about any type of beef or pork here, you can also sample whole squid, king prawns, hot pot and more. What's special about this particular venue is that the grills here contain a special outer ring that stays hot and allows you to cook (and keep warm) your side dishes. 

 

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