The best Korean restaurants in Sydney

From barbecue to bibimbap and all the banchan in between
Food at The Mandoo
Photograph: Anna Kucera
By Time Out editors |
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Korean food in Sydney has come a long way from fried chicken alone. Because it is so much more than that icy cold soups served in the depths of winter, steamed dumplings stuffed with kimchi and chewy, peanut-crusted tteokbokki and of course Korean barbecue. Here’s our list of where to eat Korean in Sydney. (Don’t worry, there’s fried chicken in here too.)

Because variety is the spice of life, we've rounded up the best Thai and Japanese restaurants, plus the best places for pizza in Sydney

The best Korean restaurants in Sydney

1
Food spread at Sang by Mabasa
Restaurants, Korean

Sáng by Mabasa

icon-location-pin Surry Hills

Sang by Mabasa is the second venue for Chef Son and his family, who are all involved in the business. The original Mabasa clocked up eight years in Balmain before they moved to Surry Hills. The aim was to modernise a lot of traditional Korean fare, but not by fusing it with other culinary traditions. It’s still authentically Korean, but presentation is styled with the Instagram generation in mind.

2
Person eating food at Paper Bird
Restaurants, Korean

Paper Bird

icon-location-pin Elizabeth Bay

Smart casual may be a confusing dress code, but we know it when we eat it. It’s in a bowl of pippis that have opened their little pearlescent shells in order to be anointed with a juicy, umami-bomb of XO sauce and a litter of green onion with a burn-your-fingerprints-off hot puck of fried bread to soak up the broth that remains. A wedge of soft, sweet Chinese cabbage, cooked until it’s almost translucent and bathed in a rich, chickeny schmaltz, also adheres to the theme. That's what makes eating at this mod-Korean diner so much fun.

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3
Madang
Restaurants

Madang

icon-location-pin Sydney

Korean food is taking over the world. Well Pitt Street, at least. The fried dumplings with rice vinegar are a must-order but the little sides of pickle, fish cake and tofu will you feeling virtuous from the inside out. Come for the barbecue and stay for the kim chi pancake.

4
A bowl of red soup with tofu
Photograph: Helen Yee
Restaurants, Korean

BCD Tofu House

icon-location-pin Epping

Soondubu jjigae. If you've never heard of it, you just may end up best friends with it this winter. This Korean favourite is more than just a soft tofu soup. You get a quivering wobble of soft set tofu - like a savoury version of pannacotta - simmered in a mini cauldron of bubbling spiced soup. The broth is guaranteed to warm you up from the tips of your fingers right down to your toes, and don’t freak out about the angry red tinge – it’s not half as spicy as it looks. At BCD Tofu House, they’re all about soft tofu soup.

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5
Anna_Kucera_The_Mandoo_11.jpg
Restaurants

The Mandoo

icon-location-pin Strathfield

Order the cold kimchi soup. It comes in a massive bowl piled high with long, thin, chewy noodles surrounded by neon toned, bright red broth – which is so icy-cold that the texture is verging on slushie territory. There’s a half boiled egg, a hefty dollop of spicy gochujang (chilli sauce) and a big heap of housemade kimchi crowning the top. You won’t find a more refreshing dish in Sydney.

6
678 Korean BBQ
Restaurants

678 Korean BBQ

icon-location-pin Haymarket

For the ultimate Korean barbeque in the CBD, head to 678. Sit down amongst the chaos and enjoy the seemingly endless supply of banchan (side-dishes) like aged kimchi, soft sweet potato and pickled radish. Order the marinated wagyu short rib and pork belly and cook them yourself over the table barbeque, with a bottle of Hite Korean beer at your side. 

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7
Danjee
Restaurants

Danjee

icon-location-pin Sydney

Cool off with the Korean-style tartare which translates to something akin to a meat popsicle: frozen strips of beef come to the table elaborately dressed with matchsticks of nashi pear and cucumber, a raw egg yolk nests in the middle of the beef, wearing a deft scattering of raw pine nuts and a dressing of soy sauce and sesame oil. 

8
A plate of fried chicken
Photograph: Jordan Kretchmer
Restaurants, Korean

PBS Chicken

icon-location-pin Chatswood

In the corner of the stark neon-lit Lemon Grove food court is this Korean fast food joint. While the bibimbap and kimchi pancakes are tempting, you need to order the fried chicken. The special is $9.90 and comes with a hearty serving of black and white rice, salad, potato noodles and kongnamul (sesame seasoned mung bean salad). On the sauce front, our pick is the sweet and spicy (the Gochujang-spiked, bright red spicy sauce is just on the right side of hot and not too sweet), but you can get hot spicy, soy or honey butter mustard too. 

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9
O Bal Tan
Restaurants

O Bal Tan

icon-location-pin Sydney

There are mixed platters of straight beef cuts and pork belly, or a beef, pork, chicken and prawn mega combo of land and sea. If you’ve also been eyeing off a bibimbap in a hot stone dolsot, a serve of chewy dduk-bukgi or the excellent, crisp-skinned, peppery pork dumplings, consider ordering your barbecue meats individually. This here is a lot of food. 

10
Arisun
Restaurants

Arisun

icon-location-pin Haymarket

Arrive early in the evening to get a place out in the courtyard. Order a basket of soy flavoured fried chicken, some shoju and Korean beers and baske in your best life.

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11
Jang Tur
Restaurants

Jang Tur

icon-location-pin Canterbury

Let’s talk about the egg soup at this place. This Korean favourite is made by steaming eggs with seasoned stock so the egg puffs up like a mattress. As it rises, the egg soaks up the stock resulting in a kind of soupy soufflé deliciousness with every spoonful. What’s even more amazing about the egg soup here? It’s free.

12
kogi bbq
Photograph: Noel McLaughlin
Restaurants, Korean

Kogi Korean BBQ

icon-location-pin Haymarket

This fiery Korean barbecue spot is the next in the line-up of casual restaurants to join Market City's third level dining precinct. Kogi delivers and authentic hands-on cooking experience, with each of the table kitted out with hot charcoal grills and rose gold exhausts. The searing hot charcoals imbue the meat (which include more than 15 premium cuts of wagyu beef and pork) with a smokier flavour than a gas flame does.

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13
O Se Yo
Restaurants

O Se Yo

icon-location-pin Lidcombe

Jeongol is what every second table is having at Oseyo. You can put anything in this big pot of simmering broth: meat, seafood, tofu, vegetables, dumplings and even whole cakes of instant noodles. Go hard on the chilli with the spicy beef stew, trawl for squid and mussels in the spicy seafood, or hit up the dumpling stew, resplendent with enoki mushrooms and quivering pillows of tofu.

After Japanese?

A close up shot of an okonomiyaki in an iron pan at Ju Ge Mu Shi
Photograph: Daniel Boud
Restaurants, Japanese

The best Japanese restaurants in Sydney

Japanese food fits into the Sydney climate like soybeans fit into their little pods. And so it’s good that, thanks to all of the incredible Japanese chefs gracing our shores, we know how to do it right. From the sushi roll lunch-run to the full sashimi-laden dego, here’s where to do Japanese in Sydney.

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