When you think of Korean food in Sydney, no doubt soju-fuelled dinners at Korean barbecue joints or tucking into a late-night feast of KFC (Korean fried chicken) comes to mind.
In recent years, a new wave of Korean restaurants has lifted the game in Sydney. From upscale contemporary Korean diners to humble Blue Mountains cafes and Sydney's first Wagyu omakase, there are plenty of Korean restaurants challenging Sydney's idea of Korean food.
Here are the best Korean restaurants in Sydney right now. Looking for Korean BBQ specifically? Check out Sydney's best Korean BBQ spots here.
Coming Soon: Funda
Funda is a CBD Korean restaurant combining Seoul’s vibrant energy with formal European kitchen techniques.
Expect innovative dishes like fried seaweed rolls filled with prawn and scallop mousse with perilla and yuzu kosho, grilled leeks on stracciatella with pistachio and Korean soy sauce, and a take on the beloved ramyun with bulgogi crumble, fried egg and spring onion salad.
From the bar, signature cocktails like a house martini with pickled kombu Tanqueray, white miso sherry, Tasmanian mountain pepper leaf and kimchi oil is joined by soju, beers including Yulli’s Brews Karaoke Kingu Japanese rice lager, and wine.
Funda will open on Tuesday 29 August—learn more here.
Sáng By Mabasa
Sáng By Mabasa has been winning the hearts of Sydneysiders since it opened back in 2018. The pint-sized contemporary diner is run by one family, with the kitchen helmed by husband and wife Seung-kee Son and Jin-sun, and the front of house run by their son Kenny Yong-soo and his wife Youmee Jeon.
Sáng serves up Korean fare centred on son-mat cooking, which translates to "hand taste"—so expect handmade, wholesome dishes here.
Must-orders include yookhwe, a raw Wagyu dish with Asian pear, cucumber, perilla leaves and egg yolk; jjim mandu (steamed dumplings); bossam with seasoned radish and salted shrimp; and jogae tang, a clam soup with salted cod roe, tofu, and radish.
For dinner, there's a minimum spend of $55 per person (excluding drinks) or you can opt for the $85 set menu. If you're popping in for lunch, pick from the concise offering of go-to lunchtime feeds like bulgogi, kimchi jjigae, and bibimbap.
Korean BBQ, but make it fancy. That is the essential idea behind Woo Wol, a Korean restaurant in the Kensington Street dining precinct that offers both a sleek Korean BBQ joint and a Wagyu-filled omakase experience.
For lunch and dinner, Woo Wol's Korean BBQ is fired up over true charcoal grills—think barbecue sets packed with soy-marinated beef or pork rib or Wagyu beef, Japanese-inspired bento boxes, loads of rice and noodle dishes, and classic Korean bibimbap served two ways—with sashimi or stone pot Wagyu.
Pu Ji Mi
Family-owned Pu Ji Mi, hidden away in an unassuming Eastwood mall, serves up one of the best bulgogi in Sydney. It dishes up home-style food, or jibbab, in a no-frills restaurant reminiscent of a cafeteria—think exposed utility kitchen, simple timber tables, and chipped dining chairs—that's always jam-packed with those in the know.
On top of the excellent bulgogi, there's pork and kimchi stew, beautifully presented bossam with all the trimmings, deep-fried octopus, short rib soup, seafood pancake, and bibimbap.
Run by husband-and-wife duo Daero Lee and Illa Kim (also behind SOUL Dining), SOUL Deli is Sydney’s answer to scoring easy Korean goods, produce, and feeds. Since opening in 2020, the cafe-meets-deli-meets-homewares store has become a Surry Hills staple.
Its cafe arm is open for breakfast and lunch, dishing up Aussie staples with a delicious Korean twist—think bacon and egg rolls with spicy Korean mayo, buttermilk hotcakes topped with Korean fried chicken, and rice and noodle bowls topped with sashimi or galbi beef. It also serves top-notch coffee, plus popular South Korean drinks like black sesame lattes and hallabong tea.
Strathfield and Haymarket
Another spot where you can expect to join the queue, Hansang is a Korean restaurant known best for its sizable soups and abundant hot pot spreads.
Start with a crispy seafood pancake and kimchi dumplings before slurping down ox tail soup, spicy beef soup, or a spicy marinated beef and octopus hot pot set, and don't forget to try a chamsul, chestnut rice wine, or refreshing winter melon tea—or you can BYO wine.
SOUL Deli's sophisticated sister, SOUL Dining, is an intimate, rule-breaking Korean restaurant that's unlike anything else you'll find in Sydney, doing contemporary Korean cuisine with modern Australian techniques.
Snacks include devilled eggs with whipped salted cod roe and caviar, kingfish swimming in "kimchi water" and larger dishes like triple-cooked octopus, Korean spicy charcoal chicken and, of course, Wagyu steak.
Myeong Dong Korean Restaurant
If you're trying to get into Myeong Dong at a peak time, prepare to queue. This buzzing Korean restaurant covers all the usual bases, with nourishing soups and stews (start with the ox bone and potato noodle soup if you're not sure), pan-fried proteins, bubbling customisable hot pots, and loads of main dishes absolutely packed with punchy Korean flavours.
Bonus points for the abundant banchan (the typical Korean accompaniments) that you can fill up as much as you like.
Self-described as an "intimate 'bap sang' omakase experience" and "culinary workshop", Kobo is a tiny eight-seat restaurant in the Quay Quarter Lanes precinct conceptualised by Korean chef Jacob Lee.
Kobo finely balances Lee's heritage and his culinary training in Japanese fare, and the exclusively omakase offering takes you on a journey of Korean food—from traditional surasang “table for kings” courses to contemporary Korean dishes through Lee's own lens. Kobo is open every Tuesday to Saturday, with two sittings per evening.
A long-time favourite of Sydney chefs, shift workers, and night owls, Arisun is the place to go to get your late-night KFC fix—the kitchen's open until 1am on Friday and Saturday.
The winner here is Korean fried chicken, which comes in half and full serves and in 12 different options—from honey Tabasco and salted egg yolk flavours to snow cheese and old-school fried chicken with garlic dip variations. You can also get hot pot, black bean noodles, grilled smoked duck, pork katsu and waffles, rice dishes, and an insane number of soups. Plus, it has an impressive range of sool (drinks), with everything from Korean beers and peach ciders to makgeolli (rice wine) and fruit-flavoured soju.
A low-key and casual Korean/Japanese cafe, Kood does comforting, delicious Korean food, tea and treats. Pick from heaping bowls of veggies, tofu, noodles and more, or opt for the onigiri, bento-style sets, or poke bowls. There are plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options here, too.
Celebrating unmistakable Korean flavours and dishes in a bright and leafy setting, The Evergreen is a Sydney Korean restaurant with plenty of modern flair.
Chef Jun Hwang’s childhood favourites are the main inspiration behind the menu of reinvented Korean classics, with satisfying fusion picks like kimchi arancini with gochujang mayo and parmesan, Korean-style gnocchi with spicy sauce, shallot, chives and curls of tete de moine cheese, and a take on tiramisu sprinkled with chips of Squid Game’s infamous dalgona toffee.
There’s also the much-loved Korean fried chicken and barbecued meats, both available as platters for two.
Red Pepper Bistro
Korean fried chicken served up in a sports club? Sign us up. Red Pepper Bistro has the feel of an RSL dropped into the middle of Seoul—but it's in Strathfield. It's a cheery restaurant with indoor and al fresco dining that's well worth a visit when you have a hankering for greasy feed.
The bistro serves up some regular pub grub, plus a range of Korean dishes, but the highlight has to be the finger-lickin'-good Korean fried chicken that comes in a ton of different flavours.
Sanwiye Korean Cafe
The Blue Mountains may not be an obvious destination for comforting Korean dishes but, trust us, you'll want to stop in at Sanwiye on your next day trip.
The cosy family-run cafe and restaurant is the perfect spot for a warming bowl of kimchi udon after a winter hike. Come summer, you can soak up that crisp mountain air on the streetside seating and tuck into jijim (savoury pancake) and bulgogi. They also offer vegan and gluten-free menus.
Now, check out the best Korean BBQ restaurants in Sydney.
Image credit: Funda, Funda, Sáng By Mabasa, Steven Woodburn, SOUL Deli, SOUL Dining, Arisun, The Evergreen