Korean culture has definitely been a growing development in today's western society whether it be the food, culture and its really catchy music (shoutout to all my kpop fanatics out there!). As someone who has been interested in Korean culture for more of my teenage and young adult life, it breaks my heart every time I suggest to go out for some Korean cuisine with my friends and they all just decide that Korean BBQ is all that there is-- yes, it breaks my heart.
Don't get me wrong, classic Korean BBQ is definitely a big part of Korean food culture, but in my opinion I feel that it has become over rated and shuts out a whole world of homey foods from Korea that most people have yet to try. Have you ever tried bibimbap? ddeobokki? jajangmyeon? These are some of the Korean classics that are some of my personal favourites, but if you haven't tried any of these it's a MUST! From warm & savoury stews to bright and fresh vegetable dishes, it's no wonder why Korean cuisine has become all the rage these past couple of years.
I could talk about my love for Korean cuisine forever, but to help all you lost Seouls, here are a few Korean Restaurants in Toronto that you must visit before thinking about another Korean BBQ dinner:
Song Cook's Authentic Korean Restaurant// 72 Steeles Ave W
Tucked away in the corner of this plaza in Yonge/Steeles, this Korean restaurant is always buzzing with people dying to get their hands on some of the delicious food being served-- most people being me. Korean families are often seen eating here just to have the same vibes as back home with their children.
For a more authentic Korean cuisine experience, opt for sitting on their floor section and enjoy your meal crosslegged and warm your butt on their warmed floors. Pair that with a hearty pork bone soup and those chilly fall days are set & good to go!
Kimchi Korea House// 149 Dundas St W
Located on the busy streets of Dundas St. W, this Korean restaurant serves many authentic Korean dishes that definitely beat your typical Korean BBQ. They don't call it the house of kimchi for nothing, try their spicy pork bone soup and prepare to taste the heat packed flavour with each bite.
Owl of Minerva// 5324 Yonge St
This late night Korean restaurant is sure to please no matter what time of day it is. Enjoy your favourite Korean dishes 24 hours a day whether it be by yourself or with the squad. This restaurant is said to serve the best bang for your buck and serves an awesome quality dish for the best value on the market, not to mention the unlimited side dishes you can enjoy all night long!
Korean Village Restaurant// 638 Bloor St. W
Great service, homey ambiance, and delicious food-- all phrases that have been raved and told about this popular Korean restaurant in the Annex. This popular restaurant will make you feel like you were meant to take off and move to an actual village in Korea. I'd go on and explain but the three positive phrases say it all.
Cho Sun Ok// 7343 Yonge St
If you're looking for something with authentic Korean vibes and variety, you're looking at the right place! If you're not into something warm, especially during the summer months, Cho Sun Ok's famous cold noodles is a dish you're going to want to try. Although it's always busy, the wait to be served is definitely worth it as the food is nothing but amazing!
Odd Seoul// 90 Ossington Ave
Let's take a break from the traditional Korean cuisine and talk about this Korean/Western fusion restaurant. Located on the hipster streets of Ossington, it's no wonder that this place is booming all the time. You can find dishes like bulgogi cheesesteak, kimchi pork belly fried rice and squash poutine-- dishes you wouldn't necessarily find on the streets of Korea but takes Korean cuisine into a whole new context!
Oh Geul Boh Geul// 5320 Yonge St.
Some might say small, but others who've been to this restaurant prefer to say cozy. And that's exactly what this restaurant is. Located along Yonge and North York, this restaurant is one of the homiest amongst the other chains of Korean delicacies beside it. Enjoy the warm company of the really nice and awesome ahjummas who run the restaurants and the even warmer & crispier Korean seafood pancake that'll change your mind about your everyday omelette.
Makkal Chon// 1979 Lawrence Ave E
This Korean restaurant excels in its spice and flavour content and is sure to pack a punch in your day. Enjoy a hearty bowl of bibimbap or go for the intense spice of the spicy gamjatang to awaken your senses. It'll either be that or the neverending buzz of the environment that is always packed with excited guests on a Friday and Saturday night.
Lim Ga Ne// 5529 Yonge St.
Check out Lim Ga Ne on Yonge if you're down for some hearty stews or some awesome table top cooking. From goat soups, to spicy stews, this place is said to do it and does it pretty well.
Best part about the restaurant? It's open 24 hours, baby!
Kayagum Restaurant// 5460 Yonge St.
This late night Korean food destination is sure to satisfy your late night cravings with some great late night food. Enjoy any of the variety of Korean dishes and some Japanese delicacies with your BFF at any time at night and prepare to be sat down for a long while as you're never going to want to leave.
Bi Bim Bap// 950 Eglinton Ave
This mid town Korean restaurant represents the classic dish of bibimbap proudly with its delicious and all natural dishes. Order some kimchi fries with the famous Korean stone rice bowls and indulge in all that is Korea here at Bi Bim Bap.
Piggy's Restaurant// 5 Glen Cameron Rd
Don't let the cute name fool you as this restaurant will serve you some intense dishes that are anything but cute. Located north of Toronto, this restaurant is always booming around lunch and dinner time as it has been pretty popular lately for its delicious food and reasonable prices. Many people are comfortable with the ambiance of this restaurant and just like the food, the restaurant itself combines both the tastes of Korea with the modern & western influence of American decor and architecture.
Han Ba Tang// 4862 Yonge St.
Enjoy a few shots of soju on the side of your kimchi fries at this Korean fusion bar/restaurant. Bring the squad to this late night location and enjoy some Korean/Western infused dishes like a spicy pork taco and a ramen salad for dinner. Afterwards, wash down your meal with either your classic shot of soju or the various fruity flavours of soju that'll leave you a better after taste than your average beer.
Mot Na Son// 5374 Yonge St.
This homey restaurant is somewhere where you and the squad can enjoy some table cooked pork belly while watching the latest Korean drama on the TV. The restaurant serves a variety of dishes with very reasonable prices that'll have you coming back for more!
The Fry// 6012 Yonge St
Moving away from your full, hearty Korean meals, this late night Korean snack bar focusses on the Korean fried chicken. Yes, Koreans may like their noodles but they also enjoy some fingah lick'n good fried chicken as well. The dark lighting in this restaurant will make you feel a little more bad ass eating chicken late at night in the dark, and the beautiful chicken that rips right off the bone is perfect to compliment a nice bottle of beer or soju with the gang.
Koryo Samgaetang// 5865 Leslie St.
Bingo, you've hit the hidden gem of North York! With hardly any complaints, this Korean restaurant hits the trifecta of a clean and modern environment, super friendly staff and mouth watering food to enjoy time and time again. Try out their samqyetang (ginseng chicken soup) if you're feeling a cold coming on or their spicy pork dupbap if you're feeling especially daring.
Royal Boonsik// 647 Bloor St.
This Korean restaurant in the Annex has probably one of the best side dishes that you and your stomach have to be acquainted with. Any foodie that tends not to stick with a committed dish can try this place and mix and match side dishes with their other foodies to enjoy all there is to offer in easy bite sizes of Korea itself.
Yummy Korean Food Restaurant// 620 Bloor St. W
The name of the restaurant says it all my friend. There's more Korean foods that you absolutely have to try here in Koreatown. Best part about it? It's insanely cheap, which is amazing if you're craving a bite of Korea on a budget!
Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu// 691 Bloor St. W
The spicy tofu stew is EVERYTHING here. No wonder the word tofu got thrown into the title. This cheap eat is perfect for something hearty and warm to have during the fall and winter months. If you like spice and tofu, you have to check this place out!
Cho Won Family Restaurant// 17 Drewry Ave
Although this location is small and tucked away right on Drewry and Yonge, this family restaurant serves the most amazing table cooked pork belly ever! Yeah it may be similar to the same process the popular Korean BBQ but do not be mistaken for the pork belly here is being fried and then wrapped in a lettuce leaf with veggies, sauces and other side dishes to be popped into your mouth in one bite. It shames the western adaptation of Korean BBQ and is definitely something you HAVE to try.
Kim's a la Cart// 5576 Yonge St
Nothing says Korean cuisine like street food that the streets of Korea itself are known for! Right on Yonge and Finch in front of the Shoppers Drug Mart, don't pass by the Korean street vendor without trying their red bean fish waffles (otherwise known as tayaki) and fish balls. It's delicious, cheap and you can always have the taste of Korea in the palm of your hand as you continue to roam the streets.
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