The Best Korean BBQ in Toronto
The 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.
Photo by Sebastian Ip via the blogTO Flickr pool.
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 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 »
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 »
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 »