In a deeply multicultural city such as Canberra, we are lucky enough to have access to a sprawling and exciting multicultural food scene. With so many different cuisines represented, we often find ourselves spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing where to go out to eat. Among the innumerable venues to choose from, Korean is fast becoming one of the most popular cuisines in town.
From hearty and warming hot pots to kimchi fried rice and exciting Korean barbecue joints, Korean cuisine offers something for everyone. Plus, modern Korean cuisine can be so varied and experimental that there is always something new to try.
If you’re craving Korean for your next night out in Canberra, you might find yourself spoiled for choice when trying to pick a restaurant. Luckily, you’ve landed in the right spot. In this article, we’ll take you through what makes a great Korean restaurant, and provide a guide to some of Canberra’s best.
What makes a great Korean restaurant?
Not sure what to look for in a Korean restaurant? Keep these few traits in mind when looking for a great menu:
- High quality produce. Any cuisine is only as good as its ingredients. This is especially important in Korean restaurants, as Korean barbecue usually involves customers cooking up raw ingredients on their own. A great Korean restaurant prioritises the quality of its ingredients in order to serve up the best food possible.
- Catering to dietary requirements. A lot of Korean food is naturally gluten-free and dairy free, but if you have particular allergies then you want to be in a restaurant that is happy to cater to your needs.
- Great atmosphere. From nice interior décor to unintrusive music and a good crowd, the atmosphere of restaurant can contribute enormously to your enjoyment. Look for a restaurant that makes you comfortable, as well as serving delicious food.
- Good value. No one wants to pay huge amounts of money for subpar food or tiny portions. A great restaurant knows that their prices should reflect the quality of their food.
- Friendly staff. Never had Korean food before? Looking to branch out from your regular choice? Or just have some general questions about the menu? You want to feel comfortable with approaching the staff. Great restaurants are staffed by friendly and helpful waiters who are there to make sure you have the best dining experience possible.
The best Korean restaurants in Canberra
RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
Gangnam Lane, located in the ANU's Kambri precinct, is a fast and casual joint serving street-food style Korean food. They offer hot soups and rice dishes as well as lunch boxes, or you have the option to build your own box out of their individual food items. Their menu is full of traditional options like bulgogi and kimchi, as well as modern items like Korean fried chicken and ramen.
As 'Local Guide' Jack Dawes writes on Google, “Excellent Korean in the middle of ANU. Great value, I’ll definitely be back.”
The Tasty Hill is the newest Korean BBQ restaurant to open its doors in Canberra. At The Tasty Hill, you can enjoy wagyu beef on charcoal barbecue in semi-private rooms, plus individual banchan boards (collection of side dishes) all to yourself. As one of the only Korean BBQ restaurants that allows guests to cook on their own, The Tasty Hill is perfect for Korean BBQ veterans looking for a higher end, fine dining experience.
On Google, Lily Jeong writes, “The food was delicious and authentic. I'm impressed by the way they plate their food. Such neat and elegant! The customer service was also great.”
Hangari Kimchi was the first authentic Korean BBQ restaurant in Canberra when it opened its doors 12 years ago, and is still one of the town's best. The restaurant is fitted with booths and tables the feature grills, as well as standard tables if you're not interested in barbecue. They have a great selection of tasty meats, use charcoal rather than gas on their bruners, offer a generous selection of yummy banchan as well as 12 different types of Korean fried chicken.
As Summer Lee writes on Google, “One of the best Korean restaurants in Canberra for sure! Food was fantastic, enjoyable atmosphere, kind staff. I would definitely go back again.”
Photos: Amelia Bidgood.
Craving Asian food for your next night out, but can’t decide where to go? Maybe we can help – check out our articles on the best Chinese, Thai and Yum Cha restaurants in Canberra for some great recommendations.
Should something a little more fancy be on order take a look at our article on the best fine dining options in the region. Conversely for more relaxed dining options in Canberra, you might like our article on the best pubs, the best gastropubs, and the best steakhouses Canberra has to offer. And, should you fancy a tipple perhaps the best cocktail bars or the best wine bars may also be of interest.
Your experience with Korean restaurants in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback, if you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you been to any of the Korean restaurants listed above? Did we miss your favourite? Share your thoughts and feedback below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Korean food healthy?
As with any cuisine, there are some dishes that are contain saturated fats or high salt quantities compared to others. However there are also plenty of Korean dishes that heavily feature vegetables and leafy greens, tofu and fish.
How does Korean barbecue work?
In Korean barbecue restaurants, you will have to cook parts of your meal yourself. You will be able to choose what ingredients and dishes you would like from a menu, and then using a hot plate in the middle of the table you can cook up your food to your liking and eat it just how you want!
What are some typical Korean dishes?
Typically, Korean food is either rice or noodle based, and features spices such as gochugaru or gochujang, as well as strong aromatics and rich meat marinades. There are many Korean dishes that are particularly popular, such as bulgogi (marinated beef barbecue), japchae (stir-friend noodles), kimchi (fermented vegetables) and bibimbap (mixed rice).
Can I make my own kimchi?
Absolutely! There are many different ways to make kimchi that result in different flavours, but usually it involves fermenting cabbage, radish, and aromatics such as ginger and onions with fish sauce, chilli and spices.