Korean food is not only becoming insanely popular, but it’s tasty, diverse and pretty healthy as well. And with the London scene always doing its utmost to keep up with consumer demand, the city benefits from having some fabulous Korean restaurants.
Below are 7 of the best (and that suit all pockets) that lovers of Asian food shouldn’t miss out on.
Some are strictly traditional, whilst others offer a wonderfully quirky twist on some of the favourite Korean staples, from the national dish, kimchi – which is a delicious pink pickled cabbage – through to the sticky, barbequed meats of gogigui. And if you’re feeling particularly hungry, be sure to try the substantial pancake dish, jeon.
On The Bab
The name, On The Bab, simply means ‘served with rice’. Located on Old Street, in the City of London, this authentic street food restaurant offers delicacies such as dumplings, noodle soups, fried chicken, bibimbap, succulent pork belly and mouthwatering beef with sweet, spicy sauces served in fluffy steamed buns.
Popular with the working city crowd, the menu is very reasonably priced and perfect for filling up at lunchtime. The restaurant has been so successful that the owners have recently opened a second branch in Covent Garden.
Considering the majority of London’s 20,000 Korean residents live in the New Malden area of the city, you’d expect a restaurant here to be pretty good. And if your looking for traditional Korean cuisine, then Su La certainly will not disappoint.
At Su La, it really is all about the food. The staff are all knowledgable too, as well as providing great service. Feast on succulent meats, vegetables and fish, all cooked in front of your eyes at your table. Great food, great prices and a truly authentic Korean experience.
Bi Bim Bap
Named after one of Korea’s most famous dishes, Bi Bim Bap has outlets in Soho and Fitzrovia. The dish from which it takes its name is rice served in a hot stone bowl, adorned with fillings of your choice. Think spicy pork, beef fillet, various veggie options, shredded veg and yummy chilli sauce.
Once again, the prices are extremely reasonable, and in common with many of the restaurants that serve the best Korean food, the interior is basic but comfortable.
It’s back to New Malden again for the delights that the Korea Garden sells. But on arrival, don’t be fooled by the basic exterior and picture food menus in the window. Once again, this is a restaurant to visit if you’re looking for the finest in Korean fare, with a chef trained in both Korean and French cuisine. And the success of his dishes is proven by the army of faithful customers (both Western and Korean) who continue to beat a path to the restaurant’s door on a regular basis.
Be sure to phone ahead to book a table to avoid disappointment. Once again, you’ll be surprised at how little dining here hurts your pocket.
A little more pricy than the rest in this list, Koba offers some of the best Korean food you could wish to find outside of the country itself.
Located in Fitzrovia, this smart restaurant is popular both at lunchtime and in the evenings. Here you can enjoy such delights as bulgogi or beef kalbi grilled right at your table, or why not try the squid for a delicious change.
Filling stews also feature on the menu, along with a great selection of fish dishes. And be sure not to miss out on the delectable home made pickles! The drinks menu won’t disappoint either, with cocktails, wine and beers all well catered for.
This means that it’s essential to book in advance as, unless you’re extremely lucky, there’s pretty much no chance of getting a table (even at lunchtime) if you simply turn up expecting to eat. The restaurant is particularly famed for its fabulous hotpot dishes, with both meat eaters and vegetarians very well catered for.
The dishes offer excellent value for money, and another great advantage is that even if you can’t get a table, the restaurant offers take away options. Try the set menu for two – a bargain at only £25 in total.
One of the best Korean restaurants in the whole of London, Cah Chi is a family run affair with two locations to choose from: Raynes Park and Earlsfield.
Your food is cooked on hot plates that are in the centre of your table – a great way of whetting your appetite as the spicy aromas get the taste buds ready.
The atmosphere within the restaurant is warm and welcoming, as are the friendly staff. The will happily talk you through the extensive menu, explaining the intricacies of the different dishes available.
If you fancy something a little different, the Korean version of steak tartare – yukhoe – is well worth trying. Be aware that you can only pay by cash here.
There are many advantages to choosing a Korean restaurant, one being that you don’t need a super high salary to enjoy them. And the cuisine is such that it suits all tastes and dietary needs.
Vegetarians are particularly well catered for, with a tasty and extensive array of dishes to choose from. For the meat lovers amongst you, you’ll find an almost mind boggling choice of different cuts of beef, all served with wonderful sticky marinades, herbs and spices. Of course, sea food also features highly, as does chicken and pork. In fact, you’d be hard pushed not to find something on the menu that takes your fancy.