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Best of Toronto

The Best Korean BBQ in Toronto

Posted by Simon Yau / October 25, 2011

best korean bbq torontoThe best Korean BBQ restaurants in Toronto have entrenched themselves as some of the city's most entertaining dining options. Using a table-top grill, diners cook their own meat at their tables, ordering trays of marinated raw produce ranging from well marbled sirloin cuts to squid, lamb and salmon. There are a lot of options with KBBQ, ranging from low quality all-you-can-eat buffets to premium choices that feature prime cuts of meat for an accompanying premium chunk of change. Regardless of the restaurant, prepare for the inevitable meat sweats.

Here is the list of the best Korean BBQ restaurants in Toronto.

See also:

The best Korean restaurants in Toronto
The best bibimbap in Toronto

Photo by Sebastian Ip via the blogTO Flickr pool.

Sariwon

Sariwon

Sariwon is technically located in Thornhill, but folks in Toronto seem more than willing to hike a few blocks north of Steeles for this premium table top grilling spot. Quality over quantity is the name of the game here and though its prices are higher than many other KBBQ options, you get what you pay for. No mystery meats are on the menu, only high-grade cuts of short ribs, pork belly and marinated beef sirloin. How well the meat is cooked, well, that’s still up to you. More »

Seoul House (2 locations)

Seoul House (2 locations)

If you can think of a Korean dish, chances are you can order it here. With two locations in North York, this casual family friendly restaurant offers arguably the best marinated kalbi in the city. Service can be spotty at times and the prepared foods are just on par with what you’ll find at any average Korean restaurant. For KBBQ however, the generous portions, sweet marinade and quality meat make Seoul House worth a visit for the DIY carnivore. More »

Korean Village Restaurant

Korean Village Restaurant

In the heart of Toronto’s Koreatown, this wood paneled restaurant keeps a cozy vibe despite occupying a pretty large space. A plethora of private rooms help, allowing you to grill and play with your food in relative solitude. Ban chan is plentiful and the family owned restaurant has garnered a reputation for attentive service. Asides from table top cooking, the traditional dishes and an assortment of Japanese options (including sushi and sashimi) means variety beyond just meat and rice. More »

Kazan

Kazan

You’re definitely paying for ambiance at Kazan. The space is less family restaurant, more hotel lounge. Uniquely, Kazan offers both authentic KBBQ and Japanese teppenyaki. Ordering off an a la carte menu, its portions are average at best, but the meats are well marbled and marinated. Prices aren’t modest, with meat from $15-25 a plate. With all the table cooking going on here though, don’t forget to try the bibimbap, a consistently satisfying hit. More »

Bul Go Gee (Spring Garden)

Bul Go Gee (Spring Garden)

Striking a middle ground in the KBBQ landscape, Bul Go Gee offers a buffet menu but manages to feature options such as pork belly, bulgogi and kalbi on its menu. Granted, the quality of the meat isn’t up to snuff of the higher end non-buffet competition on this list (and just up Yonge street) but it’s a welcome change from the beef, chicken and squid carousel that can be ubiquitous at affordable KBBQ. Service is accommodating but parking is not. More »

Seoul Garden

Seoul Garden

Located in what used to be a Club Monaco outlet (so, so long ago), this oddly shaped restaurant has had its fair share of identity crises over the years. Originally marketed as a gourmet grill option along the lines of Sariwon (before Sariwon existed, natch), it has since succumbed to competition and switched to the AYCE model. Meat quality and portions are significantly better than that of the $6.99 buffet fare you’ll find at some joints, but the non-grill items here are a bit of an afterthought. More »

Chako Barbeque

Chako Barbeque

Chako not only offers unlimited table top grilling but also an AYCE Japanese menu. It’s also (I think) the only restaurant on this list to serve its pitchers in mini-kegs, so bonus marks for presentation of alcohol. Quality here is garden variety at best, yellow tinted chicken breasts and unknown grade beef. Kalbi is available but decidedly hit or miss. The sushi is nothing to write home about either, but the fun, contemporary interior makes it a unique KBBQ experience. More »

Grill Time

Grill Time

Perhaps best exemplifying the classic stuff-your-face-for-cheap KBBQ meal, Grill Time is a no frills joint. Ban chan isn’t particularly fresh, the MSG is palpable in the air and after eating enough food all the meat just starts to taste like light soy sauce. Still, sometimes this is the KBBQ you want in the wee hours of the night. You also can’t go wrong with $12 buffet lunches. More »

Chingu

Chingu

A relative relic in Toronto’s KBBQ scene, this two story Richmond Hill stalwart offers run-of-the-mill KBBQ options of the buffet variety. Beef, kimchi chicken, squid and mystery fish that sticks to the grill all make an appearance here. Ban chan is a mailed in effort here, but a delightful-for-winter twist is that stews such as pork bone soup, kim chi chigae and soon tofu are all included as buffet items. Reasonably priced for reasonable food, it’s no surprise Chingu has been around over a decade. More »

Discussion

24 Comments

Matt / October 25, 2011 at 11:40 am
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There's a place in Koreatown that has a sam-gyeop-sol (the thick pork belly) set that includes all the fixings and five bottles of beer for $29. I'm really glad it's not on this list because if it's overrun by non-Koreans they'll raise the prices. I don't mind that they call me a foreigner ('wayguken'), or that the grills always run out of gas--makes the experience more authentic, really.

Ayonghi gyeseo, bitches! :)
Peter / October 25, 2011 at 11:41 am
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Pretty sure Chingu hasn't been around for over a decade, it used to be another kbbq place and then became Chingu.
Jenny / October 25, 2011 at 12:11 pm
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Sariwon is definitely worth the trip.. As a Korean, I get asked the question of "where is the best Korean BBQ in Toronto?" all the time. And my answer is always "get out of downtown". Downtown Ktown (bloor/christie) is more business focused, whereas Uptown Ktown (yonge/sheppard to steeles) is where all the food + fun is at.
Kim / October 25, 2011 at 12:29 pm
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Shouldn't this be called "The Best Korean BBQ in GTA"?.......
Danny / October 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm
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How is Chako on the list? Place for the best quality meat is Dahn, but it is a little over priced.

They do have the best Kalbi Soup and Cold Buckwheat (Nneng Myun) in the GTA. It is the closest you'll find to Seoul.
Paul / October 25, 2011 at 02:07 pm
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I will hit up LA Soft Tofu Stone Hotpot on Bloor (North side just west of Bathurst).

All you can eat! May not be the best in the city. But when you want all you can eat BBQ, it's hard to beat.
Fail / October 25, 2011 at 02:24 pm
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Only took 2 seconds of checking to confirm that the author got at least two of the addresses very wrong. Does anyone read this stuff before it goes up. I feel bad for the family that lives at the address they put for Chako.
Fail / October 25, 2011 at 02:37 pm
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addresses and maps are very wrong for at least two of these locations, check before you go eat.
Alice / October 25, 2011 at 05:13 pm
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Still haven't figured out why there isn't a restaurant called "SEOUL FOOD"...
LoveFood! / October 25, 2011 at 05:15 pm
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You should REALLY CHECK YOUR ADDRESSES BLOGTO! sorry is all caps but when I used your app to try to get to an AYCE sushi place on Kennedy and HWY 7 it sent me all the way to WESTON! sushi AIN'T JAMAICAN! same goes for Korean BBQ! you need a fact checker!
EK replying to a comment from Alice / October 25, 2011 at 06:01 pm
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HAHA! I'm on it! I'm from Seoul to boot ;)
Tim replying to a comment from LoveFood! / October 27, 2011 at 03:18 pm
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The 2 incorrect addresses have been updated. Sorry about that.
Rory / January 1, 2012 at 03:42 pm
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Fun Fact: There's a Korean restaurant in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island called Seoul Food. It's actually the ONLY Korean restaurant in Prince Edward Island.
Bob / March 21, 2012 at 07:11 pm
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The fact that Chako was on this list just took away 70% of the credibility. None of the food at Chako is served in the traditional style; it is completely butchered. It is essentially the same as going to Ho Lee Chow for Chinese.
Ren / May 12, 2012 at 02:40 pm
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Agree with Bob. Some of the places listed on here aren't even legit Korean BBQ. As a Korean I discredit places like chako or chinese style Kbbq places. Its quantity over quality at most of these places. They eventually start tasting all same and like charcoal later.. Try a Place like DAHN which is new, and Sariwon used to be amazing but I feel they went down on quality a little bit.
Dave replying to a comment from Ren / August 5, 2012 at 09:46 pm
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I agree with both you and Bob...

Never been to DAHN, but I can speak to Kazan. It's out of the way but if you order from the regular menu and not the AYCE (that menu was meant to compete against the Chinese KBBQ places...) menu. The quality of the meat is serious outstanding! The marbling on the jum-ah-lok and galbi is impressive and consistent... melt in your mouth tender... They even change the grills (like in the old country) without asking when you change your meat choice or if it gets a little dark... But I can't help but wonder if that is because I only spoke Korean to them...

I definitely will check out DAHN because Ren seems to know his KBBQ!
COSPLAY / September 26, 2012 at 11:04 pm
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Pretty sure Chingu hasn't been around for over a decade, it used to be another kbbq place and then became Chingu.
gas grill with side burner / July 12, 2013 at 07:29 pm
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Thanks to my father who stated to me about this website, this weblog is truly
amazing.
Minnie / September 9, 2013 at 10:23 am
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I go to Arisu restaurant for my bbq night. This restaurant's right in front of honest ed's in the annex (584 bloor street west) it's a must-try restaurant for bbq. they have a whole list of bbq items that you can choose. Although it's not an all-you-can-eat, you still get a huge amount of food that comes with it. I personally love the little side dishes they serve (the peanuts and fishcakes are my favourtie). The servers come and change the grills from time to time so your meat doesn't burn--excellent service. Also, some bbq combos have a dessert drink called cinnamon punch which is really good (love the spice). I'm definately recommending this restaurant as my number one bbq restaurant :)
Malachi / July 18, 2014 at 08:08 pm
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Figures a Chinese guy would put Chako on this list! As a Korean I find it insulting that anyone would call this Korean BBQ, I don't mind the food, it just tastes nothing like the real thing! Let me just put it into perspective as to how I see it.

It's like saying Manchu Wok is authentic Chinese food and everyone in China eats sweet and sour chicken balls.

To the Italian it would be like comparing the Olive Garden to mamma's cooking!
Andy / September 13, 2014 at 07:47 pm
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Please do not go to chako..THAT IS NOT KOREAN BBQ!!!! Or any other Korean BBQ that is owned and run by Chinese people because you will NOT EXPERIENCE ANYTHING REMOTELY AUTHENTIC KOREAN BBQ!
B replying to a comment from Andy / September 13, 2014 at 10:52 pm
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Indeed. I ate at Grill time when it was called something else. It was one of the worst restaurant experiences I've ever had.
Edmund / September 14, 2014 at 02:09 pm
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Not very convincing if chako is on the list.
Sasa / September 14, 2014 at 05:52 pm
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I'm not Korean, and even I know Chako and Grill Time aren't authentic. Definitely not Korean BBQ, and the worst quality meats. Chingu isn't the best, but at least it's better than Chako and Grill Time, and is owned and operated by Koreans now.

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