Korean barbecue has made quite the splash, a cuisine dear to many Melburnians hearts and for very good reasons. The flavour-packed dining experience of K-BBQ is a sight to behold; with sizzling plates of char-grilled meats accompanied with sauces, salads, and sides, it's a hard one to pass up.
We're spoilt for choice with a slew of diners specialising in the sweet and salty tastes of Korean cuisine; here's where to find the best Korean barbecue restaurants in Melbourne for 2022:
Forget barbeque, Yeonga is on a whole other league of its own. What stands out about this place is the truly spectacular meats they use, which are some of the highest-grade, tender stuff you can get on the market. Whatever you order, you can count on being transported to meaty heaven upon taking your first bite. Our recommendation for food has to be the ‘What the Pork’ set. This includes three different cuts of the meat: pork belly, pork neck and a sweet sticky marinated pork that is the stuff of dreams. All sets come with Korean Banchan and a hot plate of mashed potatoes, rice cake, Kimchi and Korean corn cheese.
ChangGo is a fantastic place to take your pals if you’re entertaining or just in the mood for a feast. Hot tip: Get there by 5:30pm when they open, or waltz in for a fashionably late meal around 8 or 9 pm. If not, you’ll risk being stuck in the queue for quite some time. ChangGo’s most popular yet irresistibly Instagram-able item is the ‘Palsaik’ set, which translates to eight colours in Korean. This set includes, you guessed it, eight different types of pork belly marinated eight different ways. Not only is this a feast for your tastebuds, but it is as much a feast for your eyes.
Guhng offers a premium K-bbq experience that really excels in its top of the range ingredients and a wonderful warm ambience. For those of you who care about plate presentation, you’ve come to the right place. Each dish here is made with such care and attention to detail. We recommend the cheesy Tteokbokki, which is Korean rice cakes that have been mixed in a spicy red pepper paste sauce and topped with cheese. This pillowy soft dish also has excellent cheese pull. The sticky pork ribs dressed with sesame seeds also comes highly recommended. On the lighter side of things, the cucumber side dish is a nice palate cleanser.
Hwaro Korean BBQ
Hwaro is a place you go if you’re just looking for great food and nothing pretentious. Touted as one of the best Korean barbecue restaurants in Melbourne the ambience here is completely laid-back and ever so comfortable. You’re going to have to make a booking though; it can get pretty packed in peak hour. Here you’re not getting clumsy slabs of meat being chucked onto the grill; each dish is a delicate delight that uses the highest quality ingredients. The service here is also very prompt, which is what you want in a Korean barbeque spot. Try the chilli pork belly or the marinated Gal-bi beef ribs. If you’re feeling game, try the thinly cut ox tongue—it's well worth getting out of your comfort zone for.
G2 Korean BBQ
G2 is a stellar location in the heart of the city, overlooking busy Elizabeth street. In terms of the indoor ambience, G2 has it all. And by ambience, expect an intimate, smoky environment, where you’re crammed up against your neighbour—the true way Korean barbeque should be eaten. Pour up some Soju, clink glasses with your fellow diners, and eat until you regret it. Here, it’s all about the pork set, which includes two types of pork belly, pork scotch, sweet soy pork scotch and spicy pork scotch, all for a great price.
Barbeque at Woo Ga will tick all of your boxes. They’ve got intimate vibes that still give you breathing room, high-quality meats, a great price point as well as a wide range of drinks. We recommend the ‘B Combo’ which shows off a selection of Woo Ga’s finest beef and pork. It also comes with a perfectly crisp seafood pancake and a bubbly Kimchi-pork stew that boils and bubbles as your meal goes along. Woo Ga is also very generous with their Banchan servings and is proactive in making sure you’re never short of side dishes.
Bonchon is the hottest new Korean BBQ place on the scene with crispy fried chicken is their specialty. The made-to-order chicken is the hero and they've covered all bases with options from chicken wings to drumsticks and boneless wings. Bonchon’s signature double-frying method is down to a fine art and has customers hooked from the first bite.
Mrs Kim’s Grill
Mrs Kim’s Grill is serving up hot Korean BBQ with a side of nostalgia and a hint of homesickness. Mrs Kim migrated from Korea and has been sharing her recipes and dedication to marinating and barbecuing meats ever since; establishing one of the best Korean barbecue restaurants in Melbourne. All meals come with complimentary side dishes of Kimchi, pickled onion and spring onion salad. Mrs Kim’s Grill is founded on sharing all things good; food, drinks and company. We promise the famous marinated Kalbi beef ribs and chilli/soy marinated chicken are worth the visit.
If you're after a Korean barbeque banquet, this is the spot for you. Bornga’s menu has all the classic Korean BBQ dishes you could want to indulge in a mouth-watering feast. With prices that won’t break the bank, you won’t have to decide whether you’re in the mood for spicy rice cakes, crystal noodles, stone pot fried rice and pork Bulgogi. Bornga’s menu covers all the Korean BBQ bases and they certainly haven’t scrimped on the chicken options with boneless chicken dishes for days. Get down to Bornja if the thought of boneless fried chicken, sweet soy chicken and sweet chilli chicken tickles your fancy.
Consider Noda Grill your new local Korean BBQ haunt. They are taking a unique approach to traditional Korean cuisine and dining. Gorge yourself on dumplings, Bibimbap and stir fried udon noodles but be sure to save room for the Korean fried chicken. You can choose between garlic teriyaki, sweet and spicy and honey mustard. Or better yet, don’t choose and indulge in all three. You can keep yourself warm all year round with Noda Grill’s Korean BBQ.
If you’ve got a craving for beef Towoo is here to curb it with their selection of Wagyu and Angus beef dishes. With wagyu short rib and scotch fillet on the menu and the option to serve up to nine people, there will certainly be enough to go around. But if you are wanting to save a heated debate over what to order, opt into the premium wagyu beef and pork set menu, it serves two to three people for $186. If meat isn’t your style they’ve got stir-fried sweet potato noodles and Kimchi pancakes. Be sure to make a reservation so the whole gang can get a seat at one of the best Korean barbecue restaurants Melbourne has to offer.
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Image credit: Bornga | Griffin Simm