October 1, 2022

The best Korean restaurants in Sydney right now | 2022

When you think of Korean food in Sydney, there’s no doubt you think of soju dinners at Korean BBQs or a late-night KFC (Korean fried chicken) feast. And they are both very nice examples of Korean cuisine, but they are not conclusive.

In recent years, a new wave of Korean restaurants has raised the game in Sydney. From high-end contemporary Korean restaurants and neighborhood delis to humble Blue Mountains cafes and Sydney’s first Korean “omakase” wagyu, there are plenty of Korean eateries that challenge Sydney’s idea of ​​Korean cuisine.

Whether you know your banchan from your bossam or don’t know the difference between sool and soju, you’re in for some exceptional feasts at these top spots. (And if you’re still on the hunt for Korean BBQ joints, you’ll spy a few here.)

Here are the best Korean restaurants in Sydney right now.

Sang By Mabasa

Surry Hills

Sáng By Mabasa has captured the hearts of Sydneysiders since opening in 2018. The sleek, pint-sized contemporary restaurant is family-run, with the kitchen run by husband and wife Seung-kee Son and Jin- sun Son, and the front of the house run by their son Kenny Yong-soo Son and his wife Youmee Jeon. And what this small restaurant lacks in size, it offers charm, authentic Korean cuisine and stunning presentation.

Sáng serves Korean dishes centered on son-mat cuisine, which translates to “taste of the hand” – so expect healthy, handmade dishes here. Popular dishes include yookhwe, a tartare-like dish of raw wagyu with Asian pear, cucumber, perilla leaves and egg yolk; jjim mandu (steamed dumplings); bossam, which is pork belly with seasoned radish and salted shrimp; and jogae tang, a clam chowder with salted cod roe, tofu and radishes. For dinner, there is a minimum spend of $55 per person (excluding drinks) or you can opt for the set menu at $80. If you’re coming for lunch, take your pick from the concise offering of takeaways like bulgogi, kimchi jjigae, and bibimbap. Book here.

Courting Wol

Chippendale

Korean food at Woo WolKorean BBQ, but make it fancy. That’s the core idea behind Woo Wol, a brand new restaurant from the team behind Sydney’s upscale Korean restaurant, Jung Sung. Located in Kensignton Street’s restaurant district, Woo Wol acts as both an elegant Korean BBQ and a full-on, wagyu-filled omakase-inspired experience.

“After opening Jung Sung, we heard that people wanted a good quality local Korean BBQ option in the area, and with omakase taking off in Australia in the last few years, when we saw the site , we thought, what better place to bring the two together,” says co-owner Jun Ok.

For lunch and dinner, Woo Wol’s Korean barbecue is lit on real charcoal grills – think barbecue sets filled with soy-marinated beef or pork ribs or wagyu beef, bento boxes Japanese-inspired and classic Korean bibimbap served two ways – with sashimi or wagyu stone pot. There’s even an insane “wagyu cake”, featuring the chef’s selection of meats. As for Woo Wol Black—AKA omakase’s signature experience—it’s slated to open in September 2022. Book here.

SOUL Deli

Surry Hills

Soul Deli DishRun by husband and wife duo Daero Lee and Illa Kim (also behind SOUL Dining), SOUL Deli is Sydney’s answer to scoring easy Korean produce, produce and food. Since opening in 2020, the cafe-meets-deli-meets-homewares store has become a Surry Hills staple. Its cafe arm is open for breakfast and lunch, serving Aussie fare with a delicious Korean twist – think bacon and spring rolls with sautéed kimchi, Korean chicken porridge, pulled pork and kimchi toast and salted cod roe omelets (Korean caviar). ). It also serves top-notch coffee, as well as popular South Korean drinks like black sesame lattes and Dirty Nutty, an espresso with peanut butter whipped with cream. Walk-in only.

On the deli side, SOUL has an on-site kimchi bar with everything from traditional kimchi to vegan kimchi and kimchi sautéed in sesame oil, all in ready-made jars. The deli also offers pickles, sauces, and snacks, as well as Korean barbecue kits with galbi-juice beef ribs, spicy pork belly, and even garlic-marinated sous vide chicken.

Pu Ji Mi

Eastwood

Pu Ji Mi, a family business, tucked away in a modest shopping center in Eastwood, serves up some of the best bulgogi in Sydney. It serves home-style dishes, or “jibbab,” in a no-frills restaurant reminiscent of a cafeteria — think an exposed utilitarian kitchen, simple wooden tables, and chipped dining chairs. In addition to the excellent bulgogi (which Dan Hong is a fan of), there’s pork and kimchi stew, beef intestine pot, fried octopus, short rib soup, seafood pancake, sea ​​and bibimbap. Walk-in only.

Jung-sung

Chippendale

Restaurant Jung SungJung Sung, located in the Old Rum Store building in Chippendale, seriously impresses. Don’t expect Korean BBQ, but expect sensational dishes that push the boundaries of traditional Korean cuisine. Chef Insup Kim has honed his craft at starred spots across the United States like Del Pesto and A Voce. At Jung Sung, he’s upped Sydney’s Korean culinary game with his superb four- and six-course tastings, served in a chic, industrial-style dining room.

The menu changes seasonally, using local produce to combine traditional Korean cooking techniques with Australian flavors and local ingredients. The menu stands out with various wagyu beef dishes and the Moreton Bay Bug Two Ways, served as a deconstructed bibimbap and poached with brown butter. Oh, and the sweet corn dessert, made with doenjang, sweet corn custard, soy sauce, and caramelized pistachios, shaped like a real cob of corn. Book here.

SOUL Restoration

Surry Hills

SOUL Dining restaurant interiorSOUL Deli’s fancier sister, SOUL Dining, is located just down Devonshire Street. But while its deli-cafe sibling is light, bright and fun, it’s an intimate, rule-breaking Korean eatery unlike anything else you’ll find in Sydney. It’s an amalgamation of contemporary Korean cuisine with modern Australian techniques, plus an odd nod to Kim’s European upbringing. And it works, brilliantly.

Snacks include deviled eggs with whipped salted cod roe and caviar, Korean beef terrine with anchovy leaves and mustard butter, and trevally swimming in “kimchi water”, followed by from larger dishes like triple-cooked octopus, Korean spicy charcoal chicken and, of course, wagyu steak (MB 9+).

As for the layout, think Scandi chic meets bunker, with gray brick and concrete walls, dark furnishings, and exposed light fixtures. The impossibly moody space is brightened up by a single, very plush royal blue banquette and a sculptural pendant lamp in the center of the dining area. If you’re looking for Korean cuisine that pushes the boundaries in an atmospheric setting, SOUL Dining is the place to be. Book here.

Arisun

Haymarket

cheese fried chicken at ArisunA longtime favorite of Sydney chefs, shift workers and night owls, Arisun is the place to go to get your KFC fix. And if you haven’t been there yet, you have to go, stat. Opened in Belmore in the early 90s before moving to its current Chinatown location in 2007, this neon-lit Korean joint is a hugely popular spot thanks to its hearty meals you can get after midnight on weekends.

The winner here is the Korean Fried Chicken, which comes in half servings and full servings and 12 different options – from honey tabasco and salted egg yolk flavors to snow cheese and baked chicken. old fashioned with variations of garlic dip. You can also get hot pot, black bean noodles, grilled smoked duck, katsu and pork waffles, rice dishes and an insane number of soups. Additionally, it offers an impressive array of sool (drinks), ranging from Korean beers and peach ciders to makgeolli (rice wine) and fruit-flavored soju. Walk-in only.

Kobo

CBD

Another Korean “omakase” has made its way onto this list and with Kobo, it’s easy to see why. Run by Korean chef Jacob Lee (Marble BBQ and Tokki), the small eight-seat restaurant is located in the new Quay Quarter Lanes area.

Describing itself as an “intimate ‘bap sang’ omakase experience” and “cooking workshop”, Kobo finely balances Lee’s heritage, his technical culinary training in Japanese cuisine and his new home in Sydney. The dining experience takes you on a journey of Korean cuisine – from traditional “table for kings” surasang courses to contemporary Korean dish – through Lee’s lens. Kobo is open Tuesday through Saturday, with two sessions per evening. Book here.

Sanwiye Korean Cafe

Katoomba

The Blue Mountains might not be your immediate destination for Korean comfort food, but trust us, you’ll want to stop by Sanwiye on your next excursion. The cozy family-run cafe-restaurant is the perfect place for a warming bowl of kimchi udon after a winter hike. Come summer, you can soak up the fresh mountain air on the street-side seats and enjoy jijim (savory pancakes) and bulgogi. They also offer vegan and gluten-free menus. Book by calling 0405 402 130 or by appointment.

Red Pepper Bistro

Strathfield

Red Pepper Bistro Korean fried chicken served at a sports club? Sign us up. Red Pepper Bistro feels like a fallen RSL in the middle of Seoul, but it’s in Strathfield. It’s a cheerful restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining that is well worth a visit when you’re craving some greasy food.

The newly renovated bistro serves regular pub fare, as well as a range of Korean dishes. But the highlight has to be the finger-licking good Korean fried chicken that comes in a ton of different flavors. The soy sauce variety seems to have a hint of cardamom. The sweet and sour fried chicken has a hint of cinnamon. The black sesame chicken, with its very thin batter, is another favourite. Book here.

Now check out the best Korean BBQ restaurants in Sydney.

Image credit: SOUL Dining, Sáng By Mabasa, Steven Woodburn, SOUL Deli, Jung Sung, SOUL Dining, Arisun, Strathfield Sports Club