Australia has a large population of people with Korean ancestry, which helps add to the country’s rich and diverse culture.
There are many excellent Korean restaurants across Australia, and a number of the best are to be found in the vibrant, melting pot of a city that is marvellous Melbourne.
Korean BBQ restaurants focus on a particular aspect of Korean cuisine. This is good quality, succulent meat cooked over a BBQ – traditionally a charcoal BBQ, though some restaurants use gas – and served with a range of ‘banchan’ or side dishes.
Many Korean BBQ restaurants give their diners the option to cook their own meat over individual BBQs at the tables. Not surprisingly, this is a fun, sociable activity that enhances the dining experience.
There are a number of quality Korean BBQ restaurants to choose from in Melbourne. So deciding on the right one is not easy. To help you narrow down your choice, we’ve selected from those we’ve eaten at ourselves and can safely say are well worth a visit.
Following, is our list of the best Korean BBQ restaurants in Melbourne, along with recommendations of what to order from their extensive menus. Keep reading to find out more.
Location: 301 Elizabeth St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9642 3424
Whenever we are asked for recommendations of where to eat in the CBD, this restaurant always comes high on our list of suggestions.
There is a distinct cool and restrained Melbourne chic to the decor. That industrial feel, with stylish furniture within a large warehouse space with lots of exposed piping and creative lighting. The atmosphere is lively, and the staff are always close on hand to make sure you have the best sizzling experience.
If you want to cook your own food, then make this clear from the outset, as the servers are keen to get stuck in and help with grilling. It’s clear the friendly staff are eager to make sure that everything is done perfectly. This is great for ensuring that beginners and novice grillers get the tastiest meal possible.
We love the Angus Beef ribs that are perfectly marbled and juicy. The meat is minimally seasoned to allow the natural flavours to shine. However, you can jazz up your mouthful post-cooking with a range of delightful dipping sauces.The authentic sam-jang and G2’s signature homemade sweet soy sauce are stand-outs.
The kimchi is plentiful, zingy and feisty. The fresh vegetables served with the meat are lovely accompaniment to the rich flavours, and the drinks are very reasonably priced.
You should also try the kimchi pancakes, seaweed salad and the jap-chae (pan fried potato noodles).
And the atmosphere? Humming with bustle, conversation and laughter.
If we have a quibble, it is that some things are available only on certain days. But don’t let that put you off. There is so much choice that you’ll get a good feed regardless.
If you love Korean-style BBQ, you really should try Japanese teppanyaki. Here’s our guide to the Best Teppanyaki Places in Melbourne.
Location: 19 McKilliop St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: 0413 616 550
This restaurant has quite an up-market feel, with a heritage-listed 19th century facade. Inside, the original stone is paired with modern light fittings and exposed brass piping to create a very chic atmosphere.
This venue really embraces the communal style of Korean BBQ dining, with large tables which cater perfectly for big groups and set menus designed for sharing. You can even book large rooms upstairs for private functions.
You can cook your own meat or let the servers cook it for you, but either way it will certainly be delicious. We recommend the Angus cube roll which is cooked until the fat melts and sizzles over the coals.
The sundubu jjigae hot pot soup is also a firm favourite, made with silken tofu, mussels and egg. It can be served alongside the meat or enjoyed as a main course with red rice.
Location: 70 Little La Trobe St, Melbourne, VIC 3000
ChangGo Korean BBQ is bustling on a Saturday night, which can only be a good sign as the dining spot has no website or active phone number that we know of. Instead, it operates via an intermittent FaceBook and Instagram presence and a strong word of mouth. And that’s good enough for us.
This ambient restaurant is in a fancy part of town. The prices are much more reasonable than other nearby businesses but the service is second to none.
We recommend the Palsaik BBQ set which is a set menu of pork belly marinated in 8 different ways. It is served with banchan like kimchi, pickled vegetables and salad and will definitely not disappoint.
What’s more, there is also a dedicated Vegan BBQ Combo for the plant-based dieters out there.
Zen Charcoal BBQ
This restaurant has quite a relaxed and casual atmosphere and gives off the intoxicating aroma of Korean street food packed with spices. The charcoal BBQs at each seating area cook your meat perfectly and every meal looks as good as it tastes.
Editor’s Note: We have been informed that Zen Charcoal BBQ has recently closed. We will let you know when we know more.
As Zen Charcoal BBQ is currently no longer trading, here’s another dining option for you to consider:
Location: 7 Coleman Parade, Glen Waverley, VIC 3150 Ph: (03) 8838 1838
Let me tell you that when Eatability first tried to eat at Hinoak Korean Charcoal BBQ, this thriving Korean BBQ spot was fully booked out. On a Wednesday evening! If that isn’t a recommendation, then I don’t know what is.
When we finally got a reservation, it was worth the wait.
Sitting just across from Syndal Station, Hinoak has a chic, wooden-clad facade in a row pleasant, but unexceptional-looking businesses. But push the glass door of Hinoak open and 3 things immediately hit you. Sleek, minimal design, the irresistible, smoky allure of charcoal cooking and the buzz of a surprisingly lively bar.
So apart from the great aesthetics, what puts Hinoak amongst our best Korean BBQ restaurants in Melbourne?
Well, Hinoak has a unique way of cooking your food – a “BBQ Toaster”. Choice cuts are sandwiched between 2 racks and slid vertically into the grilling compartment set into each table.
And if you don’t fancy manning the “Toaster” yourself, no worries. The staff are fabulous. Armed with timers a battalion of them slip seamlessly between tables, monitoring ribs, sauteeing veggies and delivering beverages from the Korean-inspired drinks menu.
Lastly, the quality of the meat is superb. Hinoak isn’t the cheapest Korean BBQ in town, and it isn’t in a smart part of town, but the Pork Belly, Beef Rib and Wagyu Scotch Fillet are all top-notch.
Hinoak Korean Charcoal BBQ is definitely worth the trip to Syndal. Just make sure you book ahead.
Location: 603 Whitehorse Rd, Surrey Hills, VIC 3127 Ph: (03) 9836 0445
Next on our look at the best Korean BBQ restaurants in Melbourne we have Towoo Charcoal.
You will need to book in advance to get a seat at this popular restaurant, but it will be worth the effort as the food is second to none. We love the red chilli pork bulgogi, but other popular menu items include the deep fried crab claw and the lotus root chips.
Finish off your meal with some refreshing soju and you will have yourself a perfect evening!
Location: 1/258 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9995 0643
Bornga is considered to be one of the best Korean BBQ restaurants in Melbourne and you will definitely need to make a reservation to get a table. The menu is authentic and impressive, and it might be difficult for you to narrow down your choice.
But don’t worry, you can order the sample set menu to get a taste of every dish! We recommend the signature woo samgyeop beef brisket with green onions, vegetables and a special dipping sauce.
Also, Bornga has a direct to kitchen ordering system which works really well. Having said that, the attentive staff are happy to help if you need advice.
Location: 562 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9642 5696
Hwaro claims to have been Melbourne’s first traditional Korean charcoal pot BBQ dining spot and it’s certainly been around for a while. Today, chef/owner Eunsook Kim still oversees her dominion and ensures the quality of everything entering and exiting her kitchen.
This is the perfect restaurant for beginners to Korean BBQ food or more experienced eaters who are confident with cooking their own meat.
The servers will bring a cast iron pot to your table filled with hot coals, and will either cook the meat for you or you can have a go at doing it yourself. You can order various types of meat including an impressive selection of ribs.
The side dishes are also fantastic – golden fried dumplings, cabbage kim-chi, softened bean sprouts and diced green onion. Each side dish is designed to either compliment or cut through the rich flavours of the meat.
Throughout the evening the restaurant fills with a delicious smoky aroma that will make your mouth water.
Yes, the wear and tear is starting to show in the decor and you can find cheaper places to eat, but the food is still authentic and delicious.
Hungry for dumplings? See our guide to the Best Dumplings in Melbourne.
Location: 136 Koornang Rd, Carnegie, VIC 3163 Ph: (03) 9563 4424
This restaurant has a minimalist Scandi-style and a very welcoming atmosphere. You can sit in a cosy booth for a more private dining experience, or grab a stool on the long communal table.
Each seating area has a gas BBQ where the meat is cooked in front of you. You can order from a set menu or choose your own items, including a range of tasty side dishes and salads.
The chicken thigh marinated in soy sauce is particularly good, as is the vegetable broth that is packed with mushrooms, zucchini, potato and tofu. Mrs Kim’s is so popular that another two branches have opened up in Melbourne.
Location: 1 Cobden St, North Melbourne, VIC 3051 Ph: (03) 9326 8834
Yeonga gives you just what you want from a Korean BBQ restaurant – fresh, tender meat cooked over hot charcoal for a smoky flavour. The pork belly with chilli paste is fantastic, but wagyu beef is the real star of the show.
They also do an outstanding bibimbap. The menu is very user friendly and great for people who aren’t yet experienced with Korean BBQ food. There is even an excellent dumpling and mushroom hotpot for vegan diners.
Location: 144 Bridge Rod, Richmond, VIC 3121 Ph: (03) 8395 7736
This is a very chic and intimate restaurant with dimmed lighting and dark decor. It offers an authentic Korean menu with some innovative touches to bring the traditional cuisine forward to suit a modern restaurant.
Noda pride themselves on providing excellent service and you are guaranteed to have an outstanding dining experience at Noda Grill.
Location: 179 King St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9995 9612
Woodo is the ideal place if you are looking for an affordable but authentic Korean BBQ experience. The lively atmosphere and friendly staff create a fun yet relaxing evening. And the reasonable prices allow you to keep coming back without breaking the bank.
You will find all of the traditional favourites on the menu as well as a few unexpected things that you will be keen to try. We recommend getting a side of gyozas with your beef or pork, and finishing off the meal with a scoop of sesame ice cream.
Location: Shop 9/120 A’Beckett St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9939 9189
Moving on with our rundown of the best Korean BBQ restaurants in Melbourne we have Mansae.
This minimalist but modern restaurant is all about having fun and eating good food. Here you can cook your own food on the gas BBQs at every table. Moreover, you can and enjoy a great selection of beers and cocktails.
We recommend trying the soy marinated galbi beef ribs with the dipping sauces made in house.
Location: 970-972 Whitehorse Rd, Box Hill, VIC 3128 Ph: 0452 166 970
Soko offers the usual suspects – a variety of different cuts of beef and pork. However, you can also try the impressive seafood on offer, like king prawns and whole squid. The hot pot is also splendid.
One of the unique features of this restaurant is the outer ring over the BBQ: this allows you to keep your side dishes warm whilst cooking your meat.
Location: 916A Doncaster Rd, Doncaster East, VIC 3109 Ph: (03) 9840 7279
This restaurant may look unassuming but the food is outstanding, and you might need to book a table weeks in advance to get a taste! Despite its popularity, this restaurant has a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
We recommend trying the lamp chops as they have the most amazing flavour and will melt in your mouth. The Jap-chae is also delicious.
Location: 525 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9972 2043
Lastly on our reviews of the best Korean BBQ restaurants in Melbourne, we have Paik’s BBQ.
If you want to try Korean BBQ pork that is tender, juicy and packed with flavour then this is the place to go! It is served with a wide variety of side dishes and you can order the classic favourites like kimchi stew.
You will not be disappointed by a visit to Paik’s BBQ.
Whether you want casual communal dining, an up-market experience, or an authentic Korean BBQ experience, there is something on this list for everyone and to suit every budget.
If you aren’t sure what to order then ask the staff for recommendations – they will know which menu items are the most popular and will be able to point you in the right direction.
Remember to check whether you need to book in advance to make sure you avoid disappointment.