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Hansang
Photograph: Graham Denholm

The best Korean restaurants in Melbourne

From barbecue to bibimbap, plus all the kimchi you can handle

Written by
Rushani Epa
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There are some hungers that only the fermented acidity of kimchi, the soft bubble of boiling tofu, tender marinated beef and a whole lot of deep-fried chicken can sate. Luckily, we're blessed here in Melbourne to have a selection of killer Korean restaurants at our fingertips. So prime your taste buds for coal-fuelled Korean barbecue or bibimbap cooked in a hot stone dish, tables crammed with every banchan imaginable and hot soups to warm your cockles on a chilly evening in the city. 

Want more? Check out our guide to Melbourne's best restaurants and best cheap eats.

Korean restaurants in Melbourne

  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • Richmond
  • price 2 of 4

Jan Chi means ‘to feast’ in Korean, and there’s truth in advertising when the jewel of the menu is a 530 gram plate of braised Angus short rib. Korean may be the flavour of the moment, but owners Steven Ryu (chef) and SJ Min (venue manager) aren’t jumping on the bandwagon - they’re dishing up flavours from home with their own personal twist. 

  • Restaurants
  • Brunswick

Koreans have a word for food that’s consumed with alcohol – anju – and while a lot of the anju we see here in Melbourne looks like sticky soy garlic-glazed fried chicken wings or thin strips of beef sizzling away on a Korean barbecue, tiny Brunswick eatery Chae is here to highlight a different side to Korean cuisine with herbal, homestyle Korean dishes. Sign us up!

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  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • Melbourne
  • price 1 of 4

South Korean chef Paik Jong-won is a man who needs no introduction in the K-food scene. He leads a Korean food empire, with more than 2,000 restaurants, 5 million YouTube subscribers and several TV shows under his belt. Melburnians have already been treated to a taste of Korean barbecue at Paik's BBQ, but now punters can slurp up saucy and comforting Korean noodle dishes at Paik's Noodle. The menu, which features just nine dishes priced as low as $11, highlights fermented Korean flavours and Paik's famed sauces. Yum!

  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • Melbourne
  • price 1 of 4

The secret's out. This once low-key Korean restaurant overrun by displaced students wanting a taste of home is now being infiltrated by locals. Blame the internet. Blame Instagram. Blame Facebook. They’ve hit social media pretty aggressively and now everyone is lining up for all the banchan (side dishes) you can handle. Hansang means ‘table full of food’ in Korean, and that’s exactly what you get.  

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Seven Star Pocha
  • Restaurants
  • Global
  • Melbourne
  • price 1 of 4

Famed for its hot take on contemporary Korean food culture and its legendary kimchi masterclasses with the restaurant's matriach, Seven Star Pocha is your go-to for all your fave Korean classics. Make a night of it with hotpot, noodles, barbecue and plenty of butter beers to wash it all down.

  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • Ringwood East
  • price 1 of 4

When a 20-seater restaurant in the heart of suburbia that only offers three dishes, with no bookings, no website and no advertising is never with an empty seat, you know it has to be good. Mr Lee’s Foods is well worth the trip to Ringwood East if you’re a fan of pork; all dishes are derived from this succulent meat. The upshot is you get interestings insights into the economical traditions of Korean dining and an innately cultural nose-to-tail philosophy. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Barbecue
  • Melbourne

Everyone knows that meat grilled over charcoal is exponentially more flavoursome than other forms of cooking. Yes, a gas barbecue will get the job done, but there’s an extra smoky depth that can only be achieved when charcoal is your fire-power. Hwaro, the Korean barbecue joint on Little Bourke Street, gets it right every time.

  • 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. 

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Spicy Korea
Photograph: Supplied

Spicy Korea

This is one of the few places that offers yukgaejang in Melbourne, a hearty, spicy crimson soup filled with slow-cooked, shredded beef, glass noodles and spring onions, served with red rice and kimchi. It's well worth trying along with the venue's Korean fried chicken, bulgogi and bibimbap. Takeaway and delivery are also on offer here too. 

  • Restaurants
  • Melbourne

Gami Chicken is at its cheap best when you take a lot of people – that way you can get a keg of beer to share ($64 for 4 litres) and a whole chook for $35 (original, soy-garlic or sweet chilli coated), which will feed three to four depending on gluttony levels. Move over Colonel Sanders, Gami's taking over.

Grab a scoop for dessert afterwards

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