Best For Delivery:
BiBimbap, Various Locations
BiBimbap now has locations in Soho, Leadenhall Market, The City and Spitalfields. As its name suggests, the mini-chain’s focus is on bibimbap. For the uninitiated, that’s steamed rice with seasoned vegetables served in a hot stone bowl, with gochujang and miso sauce on the side. There’s then a huge selection of toppings: think seasoned steak; shiitake, white, black and oyster mushrooms; marinated chicken in chilli, garlic and soy sauce; or a simple fried egg. While the Greek Street spot is a walk-in restaurant, the others are popular takeout options.
Best For A Side Of Karaoke:
Named after the Cheongdam-dong district in Seoul – the city’s go-to destination for food, restaurants, fashion and art – freshly launched Chung’dam offers a combination of modern Korean cooking and traditional techniques in a refined space in Soho. Its sleek interior is appealingly minimal with cream walls, oatmeal ceramic tiles, green marble-topped tables paired with dark wood and leather chairs. Menu highlights include hot stone bowl bibimbap, kyongsang beef soup, spicy cold noodles, cold kimchi noodles and soybean stew. The desserts also impress – think chocolate gateau, strawberry shortcake and matcha roll cake. Want to make a fun night of it? There’s a karaoke bar for eight on site.
Best For Drinks & Bar Snacks:
Hongdae Potcha, Soho
Pocha is an informal bar that bills itself as the Korean equivalent of a pub. Inside, guests can experience a range of food and drink from Korea in the welcoming surroundings of a retro-style pocha. At the bar, the team serves authentic snacks – such as tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) – plus a full menu of meat and veggie hot pots, whole garlic and soy-marinaded chicken for sharing, alongside a selection of beers and summer-ready cocktails, such as soju highballs.
Best For Fried Chicken:
Seoul Bird, Shepherd’s Bush
Korean-American chef Judy Joo opened the doors of Seoul Bird a couple of years back. The restaurant specialises in Korean-style chicken all made to Judy’s special recipe: the chicken is brined for 24 hours before being double-fried for extra crunch, and served with an Asian slaw of red cabbage, daikon, onion and carrot, tossed in a citrus soy dressing. Under a neon red sign and hanging pendant lamps, visitors can take their pick from whole thighs, whole wings or tenders, accompanied by sauces such as spicy Korean BBQ, ranch, honey mustard, and sweet soy ginger. The restaurant also offers ‘Seoul Bowls’ – freshly steamed rice or cauliflower rice piled with crunchy fresh vegetables and pickled daikon.
Best For Korean Fusion Food:
Jinjuu – meaning ‘pearl’ – is a modern Korean bar and restaurant in Soho that’s been popular with Londoners since it opened in 2015. Launched by Judy Joo, it fuses traditional influences with Korean pop culture, with menus that mix up the two – think Korean tacos and bulgogi sliders alongside more traditional dishes such as bibimbap, noodles and crispy pork belly. The team also offers a decent set menu at lunchtime, a fun take on a weekend brunch (hello, Philly cheese steak mandoo with kimchi and chilli dipping sauce) and a great selection of soju cocktails.
Best For A High-End Experience:
From husband-and-wife team Woongchul Park (formerly of The Ledbury and Koffmann’s) and classically trained pastry chef Bomee Ki (formerly of The Arts Club), Sollip intersperses Korean-influenced cooking with European techniques – and won a Michelin star in 2022. Offering a single tasting menu featuring the ingredients that have shaped the pair’s upbringing in South Korea and their time spent in London, every dish is personal. Alongside pastry, fermentation plays an integral part in the kitchen, where the team ferment kimchi in-house based on an old family recipe. Dishes could include a tartlet of beef tartare and gochujang; daikon tarte tatin with toasted barley, roasted potato and burnt hay; and skate with white asparagus, kimchi romesco and maltaise (blood orange hollandaise).
Best For An Afternoon Visit:
Be-Oom, Exmouth Market
Beautiful tea shop Be-Oom can be found in Exmouth Market. Inside, the team sells its full range of Korean teas, eye-catching tea sets and ceramics, plus there’s a dedicated tea bar where drinks and sweet treats are served in strikingly modern surroundings. In the summer, there’s outdoor seating available in the garden that’s tucked away at the back of the shop. Reservations are available for groups of four or more.
Best For A DIY Dinner:
Kimchee, King’s Cross
Kimchee in King’s Cross has a spacious downstairs dining room – complete with elegant floor-to-ceiling wood columns – that offers a shared dining experience on long benches centred around a traditional Korean BBQ. The kitchen serves a variety of meats including wagyu beef, Iberico pork and ribeye steak to grill at the table yourself. In the summer, Kimchee’s outdoor terrace comes into its own – it’s a lovely leafy space on Pancras Square and is just the place to order a Korean coffee or cold glass of soju.
Best For Groups:
Korean Dinner Party, Carnaby
Korean Dinner Party (KDP) is a recent launch from the team behind Señor Ceviche. In a cool, stripped-back space, guests can kick off with snacks and starters including bacon mochi (rice cakes wrapped in caramelised bacon with a gochujang caramel and spring onions); crispy kimchi pancake with onion and oyster mayo; beef tartare made with bavette, crispy seaweed and rice crackers; and Korean-inspired fried chicken nuggets served with garlic cream, parmesan and rice sticks. Nodding to LA’s Mexican food scene, main dishes see a playful take on tacos, while some dishes draw on more classic Korean flavours such as the kimchi stone pot with potato, enoki mushrooms, tofu, egg yolk and brown rice.
Best For Something Fun:
Bunsik, Various Locations
Bunsik has quickly expanded from a small shop off Leicester Square to sites on Embankment and up in Camden. The team specialises in Korean corndogs, an Asian twist on the US original, that make the ideal pre or post-theatre bite. Of the combinations, we like the ‘octo-legs’ version which uses prawn instead of a classic hotdog, and the cheese corndog, which comes with added crunch. Also on the menu are chicken burgers, ramyeon (Korean noodle soup with toppings including egg, cheese and vegetables) and dakgangieong (deep-fried crispy chicken coated in a sweet, spicy and sticky gochujang).
Best For A Special Dinner:
A London mainstay since 2005, Fitzrovia’s Koba is an authentic Korean table BBQ restaurant from Linda Lee, who also runs the excellent casual concept On The Bab (see below). Koba is an altogether more fine-dining experience, with an industrial backdrop and counter seating available. Dishes on the menu could include the likes of Korean seafood pancakes with kimchi; pork belly with sesame oil and salt sauce; and jjambbong – mixed seafood and udon in a spicy broth.
Best For First-Timers:
On The Bab, Various Locations
On The Bab now has sites in Shoreditch and St Paul’s – plus a popular outpost on Rue Thérèse in Paris. Referring to the Korean word for rice, On The Bab's name describes all the wonderful toppings that grace its signature dish. Alongside bibimbap, the kitchen offers diners a take on Korean cooking that blends traditional flavours with dynamic ‘junk food-style cooking’. The team’s yangyum fried chicken coated in sesame seeds is an absolute must-order, although we also love the Korean seaweed salad and kimchee fried rice on the side.