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Best of Toronto

The Best Korean Restaurants in Toronto

Posted by Simon Yau / April 20, 2011

Best Korean Restaurants TorontoThe best Korean restaurants in Toronto are as diverse as the neighbourhoods in which they are found. From traditional family fare, tabletop bbq, high-end fusion, post-party comfort food and mom and pop operations that specialize solely in tofu, this list of Toronto's best Korean restaurants has something for everybody. That variety applies equally to the geography with establishments from Etobicoke to Thornhill and everywhere in between.

Some of my personal go-to restaurants missed the cut, including Cho Wan Family Restaurant in North York and Sariwan in Thornhill, but no matter where in Toronto you live the list below proves there will likely be an abundance of options for great Korean food just around the corner.

Here are the best Korean restaurants in Toronto.

Song Cook's

Song Cook's

Completely hidden from street traffic and featuring only the subtlest of signage, this sprawling family restaurant is the definition of a hidden gem. Unlike many well-kept secrets however, Song Cook’s is hardly a hole-in-the-wall. In fact, it might be the biggest Korean restaurant in the city. Clean, modern decor, a real host and spacious dining areas separate Song Cook from its homelier contemporaries. Add a large menu of home-style cuisine and it’s easy to understand why waits are common. More »

Swish by Han

Swish by Han

Meld the flavours, tradition and techniques of Korean cooking with the palate, aesthetic and price points of more trendy Toronto eateries and you end up with Swish by Han. Sure, the ban chan isn’t complimentary here, but where else in the city could you order kimchied pears with stilton cheese and wash it down with yuza tea? Swish by Han isn’t exactly up to the standards of a Momofuku Ssam Bar, but it certainly doesn't hurt for trying. More »

Buk Chang Dong Soon ToFu

Buk Chang Dong Soon ToFu

Nothing is as soothing on a cold winter day than the spicy, steaming broth and velvety textures of soon tofu. With multiple locations across the city, Buk Chang Dong and its seven item menu of stews has been keeping Torontonians warm during the most blustery of months for years; particularly when you only have $10 in your pocket to spend on food. More »

Nak Won

Nak Won

This no frills family-style restaurant is one of the old guard amongst the increasingly competitive strip of options at Yonge and Finch’s uptown Koreatown. Simple, crowded and serving staple items like bim bim bap and jap chae en mass, they’re clearing doing something right. The restaurant has expanded with two sister locations in recent years. More »

Owl of Minerva

Owl of Minerva

Although it’s on the menu of every other restaurant on this list, when I specifically crave gamja tang I always instinctively think of the Owl. Why? Because there’s pork bone soup, and then there’s pork bone soup at 3 a.m after a heady night on the town. It’s the same, but better, and it tends to create a bias. Places that are open 24-hours a day tend to attract loyal followings and the Owl is no different. More »

Ka-Chi

Ka-Chi

The longtime go-to Korean restaurant for many living in-and-around the Annex, Ka Chi doles out home-style cuisine to consistently teeming crowds at several locations around the downtown core. The ambiance is casual if not sometimes a bit rushed, but cheap food, satisfying portions and local familiarity has made this a regular pit stop for many folks craving Korean. More »

Cho Dang Soon Tofu

Cho Dang Soon Tofu

The second of the Soon Tofu restaurants on this list, Cho Dang is a bit outside the usual haunts for Korean fare, nestled along Dundas West in Etobicoke. It’s worth the bus ride however, with silken tofu made in-house along with fresh soymilk that you can buy and take home for your own little stockpile. The stews and stone bowl rice you’ll probably have to come back to the restaurant for however. More »

Seoul House

Seoul House

With two uptown locations, this BBQ restaurant eschews the all-you-can-eat mentality of its competitors to focus on a la carte portions of high-grade kalbi, bulgogi, pork belly and other fresh marinated options. Cook it yourself or have it cooked for you, but you may never go back to the world of AYCE Korean BBQ after having tasted the good stuff. More »

Gu-Mi

Gu-Mi

This Korean/Japanese restaurant features a menu combining the best standard fare from both cuisines. Decorated more like a Japanese restaurant with wooden booths and room separators, this Scarborough favourite is a nice option when you want unexpectedly fresh sushi and tempura alongside your dolsot bi bim bap. More »

Toong

Toong

The menu at this watering hole may be fairly run-of-the-mill, but it does have an ace up its sleeve with its proximity to several Karaoke establishments, some located in the same building or immediately next door. On slow nights, the chintzy interior and khan poung ki (fried spicy chicken) can be endearing with enough good company. But the five beers that come with the food for only $20? A winner every time. More »

Lim Ga Ne

Lim Ga Ne

This quaint and cozy restaurant features authentic low tables for cross-legged dining (the downtown location at least) and a simple but traditional menu. The ban chan is particularly generous here as is its reputation for Soon Dae Gook (a blood sausage made of pork or cow intestines). In other words, come for the guts but stay for all the freebies. More »

Home of Hot Taste

Home of Hot Taste

This pseudo-bar serves plenty of traditional dishes but is known primarily for its delicious Korean Fried Chicken. Be it the light and crunchy skin of a whole deep fried bird or diced thigh meat on a hot plate tossed with kimchi sauce, the poultry here compliments its assortment of cheap domestic beers perfectly. The proletariat decor is just the cherry on top. More »

Discussion

50 Comments

Kate / April 20, 2011 at 01:42 pm
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Cho Dang is the shit!!!
geg / April 20, 2011 at 01:47 pm
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I know this is lame since it's a chain and korean/japanese, but the HoSu on queen/john has the best dolsot beef bibimbap of any korean place I've tried (and I used to live by Christie station so I've eaten at a fair share of korean restaurants)
Shawn / April 20, 2011 at 01:48 pm
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Wow, nothing in Koreatown?
rek / April 20, 2011 at 01:50 pm
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Ka Chi is my go-to for gam ja tang. Minerva is good – at 3am.
Brandon replying to a comment from Shawn / April 20, 2011 at 01:57 pm
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Owl of Minerva, Ka-Chi and Lim Ga Ne all have locations in Koreatown. Minerva and Ka-Chi are on Bloor, Lim Ga Ne is on Euclid.
Greg replying to a comment from Shawn / April 20, 2011 at 02:33 pm
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Nah, bro. They best they game up.
Kristy / April 20, 2011 at 02:36 pm
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Urgh, I had such a bad experience at NakWon. The service was slow and rude. The food was ok. NOT RECOMMENDED. What I do recommend is Nae Goh Yang that's just a few doors down of NakWon. Their Yuk Gae Jang is the bomb! They serve a variety of Banchan (Korean side dishes), too. Buk Chang Dong is my go-to destination for kimchi soon tofu :)
emmzee / April 20, 2011 at 02:49 pm
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Nice, I was at the Owl for the first time yesterday. Food was pretty good, the server was a bit rude but he seemed rushed off his feet, the place was busy. Not sure how it compares with the other places on the list, but I'd go back.
blarg replying to a comment from Brandon / April 20, 2011 at 03:09 pm
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Ka-Chi has got nice and spicy pork bone soup. Its the hot-dog of Korea but still good.
om nom nom / April 20, 2011 at 04:22 pm
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i live for buk chang dong
mike / April 20, 2011 at 04:44 pm
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Owl of Minerva is my fave. You don't go for anything except the gamjatang, the service is inept at best, nonexistent at worst, but I'll still go back any time of day for that delicious pork bone soup.

Zach / April 20, 2011 at 05:18 pm
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I won't be back in Canada until June from Korea, but are there any places like Kimbap Nara in TO?
Sean / April 20, 2011 at 06:17 pm
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Can't wait to try some of these out. I've been living in Korea for 14 years and am returning to Toronto at the end of June. Sure my Korean wife will also be interested in this list of restaurants.
Sean / April 20, 2011 at 08:08 pm
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GUMI! Love it!
JD2273 / April 20, 2011 at 09:17 pm
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Buk Chang Dong Soon 4 Life.

Any place in the city that does great Dak galbi? I'll hit up Joon's from time to time. But it's missing something IMO...

I need a separate list for Korean BBQ as well.
Karen / April 21, 2011 at 07:16 am
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Being Korean and a huge foodie, this list is terrible. First off song cook's shouldn't even make it onto this list. It's one of the worst places I've had Korean in the city. Sure they're big and have a host, but the servers forget about you, and the food is terrible with the worst flavor. I don't know how nakwon even made it on the list either, and no nae goh yang is just as terrible. If you want the best Korean, go to Seoul house at yonge and steeles across from Canadian tire. A couple places at yonge and cummer/drewy are good too.
Lune / April 21, 2011 at 08:17 am
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Buk Chang Dong all the way.
I've been going there past 3 years - tried other places for Soon Tofu, but alway go back to BCD.
rek replying to a comment from JD2273 / April 21, 2011 at 09:52 am
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I've only had dakk galbi at Joon's and a restaurant that's no longer around, neither met my expectation. I miss Shinchon's Chun Cheon Jib!
Sean / April 21, 2011 at 12:04 pm
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Rek,

I know teh one you mean. I live only a 15 minute walk away - check out my vimeo video http://vimeo.com/8774841
charlie / April 21, 2011 at 12:09 pm
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echo Karen's comments. the best korean restaurant in toronto is sariwon, north of yonge and steeles. some other notables including chowon (on yonge/drewry) and chosonok (yonge/centre) were also missed

taste is subjective, but especially when it comes ethnic cuisine, it's coming clear to me that there are places where the blogto readership favours, and there are places where the community goes to. and they are clearly different
rek replying to a comment from charlie / April 21, 2011 at 02:08 pm
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Everyone knows the "real" Koreatown picked up and moved north, but no BlogTO or Torontoist reader is going north of St Clair unless there's some kind of evacuation order in effect.
rek replying to a comment from Sean / April 21, 2011 at 02:26 pm
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I've been there, but my favourite was the one a little farther north, on the northwest corner a block or two along. (I lived in the hasukjib over Mike's Cabin.)

Now I want to pick up some pickled daikon from E-Mart.
Shaan / April 22, 2011 at 02:45 pm
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I would have to say that Korean Village Restaurant on bloor has possibly the best Korean food i've ever had. Also the service is amazing. You feel like family going in there. It is a family run business (which i found out from talking to the owner) and they make their own kimchi which is wonderful.
Sezme replying to a comment from Shaan / April 23, 2011 at 01:41 pm
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+1 on Korean Village @Bloor & Manning! And I totally agree with Karen: there are many on this list that I'd never go back to. Ka Chi? Seriously? Owl of Minerva on Bloor? If you're not hung over or under 23? I don't think so.
w. / April 26, 2011 at 02:24 am
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"Everyone knows the "real" Koreatown picked up and moved north, but no BlogTO or Torontoist reader is going north of St Clair unless there's some kind of evacuation order in effect."

Word up.
However, that being said-- places like Ka Chi and Owl of Minerva are a great place for the average BlogTO reader to dip their feet into the pool before they dive in, so to speak. Korean cuisine can be intimidating at first, and I for one am glad that it seems to be growing in popularity.
Jen / April 26, 2011 at 09:57 am
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Sunrise house on bloor is also awesome, they have the best banchan!
the lemur replying to a comment from rek / April 27, 2011 at 09:33 am
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Everyone knows that kind of generalization is bullshit and that there's still good Korean food to be found in the old Koreatown if you bother to look. And out in the western fringes of the GTA as well.
Korean / May 7, 2011 at 11:00 am
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As a korean, the gamja tang of Owl of Minerva is way too watery and less spicy.(its too north americanized) but it's still good tho.
Catherine / May 14, 2011 at 07:03 pm
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Jung Soo Nae on Yonge, north of Finch is really good. I'm sorry but I don't have an address. It's on the first floor of an apt building just north of TTC parking lot on NW quadrant of Yonge and Finch
Sarah / May 31, 2011 at 12:04 pm
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Although it's just north of the city, Sariwon is probably one of the best Korean restaurants in the GTA. It's up at Yonge/Clarke in Thornhill. Lots of seating, great BBQ and other dishes. You know a Korean restaurant is good if Koreans enjoy going there, and my family really enjoys it. Check it out!
Ren / June 4, 2011 at 10:28 pm
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How about Tofu Village in Koreatown? Their Soontofu is pretty good and you can order it however spicy/not spicy you want. It's beside an adult theatre if you insist.
jashik replying to a comment from Karen / June 17, 2011 at 01:00 pm
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Karen - I question your palate as I've been to Seoul House at Yonge and Steeles. The food is alright and its on par with Song Cook's. Song Cook's noodles are tastier as they are made fresh to order. The service at any Korean restaurant is the same. They'll bring your order and then leave you alone.
BTW I wouldn't go to the restaurant on Drewry unless you want to eat re-used side dishes (banchan). I've ordered takeout from that place and seen them with my own eyes putting back used banchan. They're kkanpoongi is really good though.
soso / September 23, 2011 at 02:29 pm
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woow lovely
C P B / February 3, 2012 at 07:04 pm
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I love Tofu Village on Boor.
albert / April 5, 2012 at 12:34 pm
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Hi simon
I read all the your posted restaurant at blogto .com
I want to introduce my restaurant to you.
My e-mail is jkang1125@hotmail.com
catherine / July 13, 2012 at 10:54 pm
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gamja tang at The Korea House in Koreatown is pretty delicious. Get the combo for two that comes with five beers or one bottle of soju and the large porkbone soup table cooking style. DIVINE. (25 bucks! seriously!)

Lim ga ne near bloor and christie is my favorite korean restaurant in that neighbourhood.I feel like family there, the food is INCREDIBLE and the side dishes are plentiful.

Best Korean bbq is the seoul house up at dufferin and orfus road. hands down!
COSPLAY / September 26, 2012 at 11:04 pm
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Everyone knows that kind of generalization is bullshit and that there's still good Korean food to be found in the old Koreatown if you bother to look. And out in the western fringes of the GTA as well.
Dave / November 5, 2012 at 08:01 pm
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As a Korean I can say with confidence that this is easily one of the WORST lists for Korean food I've ever seen. Yonge and Finch is not known for having good Korean food in any sense of the word. Only Christie holds the best restaurants in the GTA.
chris / November 7, 2012 at 10:56 pm
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Have you guys been to Dae Bak Korean restaurant in Thornhill?
This Korean restaurant is a hidden jem. They serve authentic style Korean food and yet the taste and the amount of food is amazing. The place is nice and clean and the quality of B.B.Q.meat and the side dishes are superior than other Korean restaurants. This place is definitely a "must try".
lly1121 / April 15, 2013 at 04:12 pm
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chris k replying to a comment from Karen / April 16, 2013 at 10:37 pm
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I can agree with Karen's point of view about some of the Korean restaurant. One place I may suggest would be a Dae Bak Korean Restaurant located at 100 Steeles Ave. W. #2B. This place is unknown to many non Koreans but it is a hiiden jem. Their food is amazing and their side dishes are superier than all others in town. I highly recommend to you to try.
Patricia / June 26, 2013 at 09:48 pm
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Hi, I live in Bloor West/Junction area, I LOVE Korean food so much. I was wondering if there was any great Korean food anywhere near. I am new to Toronto so I am searching for new places! Thanks everyone!
Toronto on a Budget / July 5, 2013 at 10:57 pm
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I always make Owl of Minerva part of my routine when in the area. I've tried a bunch of stuff on the menu and they are ok, quite good. Of course their pork bone is the main star. They start with good meat, boiled very nicely and the broth very good but I agree not spicy enough. And they always have a piece of potato in..yay. So many other restaurants are missing the potato in their bowls of gamja tang.
Tara / August 22, 2013 at 09:05 am
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I would like to add to that list Lola restaurant on Yonge between Eglinton and Davisville (walking distance) near Saint Louise. It is small place, not fancy for big parties, but food is REALLY good! And I mean KOREAN good! and NOT expensive!
Although they also make Japanese, bit for sushi I would prefer different place.
My second favorite is korean place near Novotel in Mississauga. Forgot a name.
Try Lola sushi place though!
Brian Smith / September 5, 2013 at 01:44 am
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Most recently I just found the new Korean restaurant at the corner of Bloor and Markham st(west of Bathurst).
Arisu was the name of this new place, clean,friendly,and tasty.
They were serving full selection of Korean dishes include table
BBQs and master class sushi.
It was really good dining experience at Arisu and memorable
night.
Jennie / September 11, 2013 at 12:34 am
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Have you guys tried Arisu before?
I think it deserves a place on this listing. They specialize in Korean AND Japanese food which you can do both at the same time! They have a wide spectrum of authentic dishes that look good and taste good (however, to new customers, the menu might seem too heavy to read). My favourite dish would be the galbi jjim (soft beef ribs in sweet hearty sauce)and the well-known stone-pot bibimbap. they also have a whole page of different bibimbaps that seem crackling good.
JW / May 20, 2014 at 01:01 pm
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Cho Sun Ok...Yonge and Centre. Amazing Kimchi Jjim and the cold noodles.Banchan can't be beat either.
Edwin / June 24, 2014 at 01:34 pm
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I'm a big fan of Joon's, south side of Bloor, near Bathurst station. They have an amazing dukgalbi, which is hard to find anywhere in downtown Toronto. Sometimes its a bit tough getting a big group in, but if you go early you should be fine.
Mike replying to a comment from JW / July 10, 2014 at 06:24 pm
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Cho Sun Ok = BEST naeng myun + kimchi jjim (this is my favourite combo in the world and only from here).

Arisu = Best hwae dup bap. Period.
Mike replying to a comment from JW / July 10, 2014 at 06:25 pm
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Owl of Minerva = Best Gamjatang. Best bro best.

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