10 FAVOURITE London Korean Restaurants

Written by on March 25, 2013 in Special Report, Travel

London is an exciting place for Korean food right now. It boasts a vast array of Korean eateries, each with its own personality and niche. We’ve had fun trying as many as possible, and although it’s been difficult to choose our top ten, these are our absolute faves. Let’s take a look at what makes each of them so unique and wonderful:

10. YAMI

Location: New Malden
More details: Time Out review
Best for: An evening in K-town

Featured in a recent The Korea Blog post, Yami impressed us with its sociable atmosphere and lovely, welcoming staff. Its pièce de résistance is Chuncheon-inspired dak galbi: the authentic spicy chicken dish that we’ve been hard-pressed to find anywhere else in London.

9. OLD JUSTICE

Location: Bermondsey
More details: Randomness Guide to London
Best for: A one-of-a-kind experience

Winning the prize for originality, Old Justice combines the best of both worlds: the Korean restaurant and British pub. The ambiance is fun if surreal, and the BBQ menu has a good reputation, although we must admit the anju food we tried was less memorable than Old Justice’s concept. If you like your noraebang with a pint, though, Old Justice is not to be missed.

 

8. WOO JUNG

Location: Tottenham Court Road
More details: Yelp reviews
Best for: Dining in a big group

Woo Jung is spacious and caters for large groups without losing its cool, even during busy periods. Its menu is brimming with the classics as well as more adventurous dishes like raw beef, beef tongue and spicy pork soup, all of which will delight foodies.


7. MYUNG GA

Location: Soho
More details:
Myung Ga website
Best for: Chillaxing dinner and drinks

Friendly and chilled out Myung Ga pleasantly surprised us with its cooked-at-the-table BBQ experience and delicious menu. We felt so relaxed that we ended up staying all evening, rather than moving on to a pub as we’d planned. It’s rare to feel this welcome in busy Soho, and we’ll definitely be back!



6. PEKING-SEOUL

Location: Paddington
More details:
Urbanspoon review
Best for: Lunch dates

By far the most underrated on this list, Peking to Seoul is our hidden gem. Mixing London’s tried-and-tested favourite Chinese food with the best of Korean, P -S has something for everyone. The lunch menu is an affordable treat that includes a main dish, soup and banchan. We loved it there so much that we couldn’t help but share our secret!

 

5. KAYA

Location: Mayfair
More details:
Kaya website
Best for: Special occasions

Suave, sophisticated and special Kaya offers high quality Korean food in upmarket surroundings. With the interior decorations reminiscent of an ancient palace and historical artefacts on display, a celebration of Korean culture and heritage shines through. The food is beautifully presented with wonderful attention to detail in both appearance and taste. Not the cheapest on our list, but well worth it.

 

4. BI BIM BAP

Location: Soho
More details: Bi bim bap website
Best for: K-food first-timers

When Bibimbap came on the scene a couple of years ago, it sacrificed authenticity for accessibility, with trendy décor and fully English menus. In doing so, it revolutionised London’s attitude to K-food as a quirky and fun thing to try.  This place is young, fresh, fun and relevant to today’s London. Take your friends!

 

3. JEE’S KOREAN RESTAURANT

Location: New Malden
More details: Trip advisor reviews
Best for: Comfort food; nostalgia

Going to Jee’s reminds us of visiting a loving relative: it’s a homely and comfortable place that makes sure we’re happy and well-fed! It’s impossible to ignore the nicely sized portions and copious quantities of free banchan, however the quality of dishes is not compromised, and you can tell they were made with love. Probably the most authentic of all London Korean eateries, we’d recommend Jee’s for a first-time trip to New Malden.


2. SEOUL BAKERY

Location: Tottenham Court Road
More details: Yelp reviews
Best for: Snacks, hot drinks and chats

If judging on charm alone, Seoul Bakery would win hands down. It’s hip, cute, oozes personality and sneaks us a peak into the trendier side of Seoul.  Nibble on kimbap, sip on nockcha latte, get lost in customers’ endearing wall-scrawlings, and pretend you’re in Insadong.

 

1. ASSA

Location: Tottenham Court Road
More details: Trip advisor reviews
Best for: Consistency; the sure start to a good night!

Assa is our consistent all-rounder: a place with genuine soul, hearty food, good prices and, importantly, a noraebang. What more could anyone want from a Korean restaurant? Sure, it’s neither perfect nor cutting edge, which makes us love it more. Assa has attitude. It’s a genuine and subtly ingenious place that continues to make us feel sentimental and excited. We’ll see you there on a Saturday evening.

You may be wondering why some others didn’t make the cut, so in summary…

 Asadal (Holborn) is well-located but we found it to be overpriced, and the food didn’t match up to other locals. Nearby newbie Kimchee (also Holborn) has proved popular though for us, lacked charm and flavour.  Arirang (West End) is London’s longest-running K-restaurant, and although the staff were lovely, the service couldn’t cope with a large group. We thought Po Cha (Tottenham Court Road)’s food was delish, but felt a bit uncomfortable and rushed. Our evening at Sorabal (New Malden) was awesome, but Jee’s and Yami had that extra-special something. Finally, we prefer to visit Corean Chilli (Charing Cross Road) for noraebang and drinks rather than for food. PHEW!

There are still many more London Korean eateries on our “must try” wishlist. Some restaurants our friends cannot stop raving about are: Koba (Fitzrovia), Naru (West End) and Sarang (Golders Green). Watch this space for our reviews…

With so much choice, everyone in London should be enjoying the delights of K-food. Remember that it’s all about personal taste, and we believe that every London Korean restaurant is well worth a visit. The fun of the journey is trying, testing, exploring, and getting inspired. Foodies, get out there, and let us know what you think!

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About the Author

Anne Cole

Annie Cole lives in South London, UK, but her heart and soul remain in Korea. After returning from a teaching year in 2009, she began to record her memories, thoughts and reviews on various blogs. She is a vegetarian foodie and a lover of horror films, indie culture, modern art, interesting literature, kooky fashion and anything cutesie. She has made it her mission to seek out, enjoy and share all things London/Korean.