Korean Restaurants in Melbourne

Melbourne's best Korean food and restaurants.

1. Chimac
Like LA's Kogi Food Truck (started by Roy Choi) phenomenon, Chimac offers Mexican-Korean mash-ups. A ''Ta-Kor'' (Korean taco) may come filled with bulgogi and a quesadilla with kimchi. Other good drinking food includes K-classics like fried chicken and seafood pancake.
Shop 1, 39-47 Peel Street, West Melbourne, 9939 5916

2. Gami Chicken & Beer
Like it says on the can, there's chicken and there's beer. Most people come after they've been sinking soju. Then, after a cleansing beer and half a crisp-fried chook (the Korean equivalent of a late-night souvlaki), they sing their hearts out at a nearby karaoke bar.
Shop G, 535 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, 9671 3232. Also at 100 Little Lonsdale Street & basement, 26 King Street, Melbourne.

3. Joomak
Barely signed and hard to find, Joomak is a den of good times. ''Team Joomak'' staff rush rice-wine or soju cocktails to gangs of young (mostly) Koreans perched on industrial-reel stools or bunched into booths. Gnocchi-like rice cake with seafood, cheese, and more cheese, is a gloopy godsend after the fifth cocktail. Or have your share of pancakes (including a crisp, tasty kimchi version), soups and spicy pan-fried pork or squid.
Basement, 407-409 Swanston Street, Melbourne, 9663 7123.

4. Towoo
Traditional Korean barbecue meets modern Melbourne. Family owners include an interior designer, an artist and a chef, who have combined to create a sleek space where individual hwaros (little footed coal-carrying grills) are brought to the table, and your choice of marinated meat sizzles. The pork set is the go-to, with six curls of differently marinated belly, plus tasty fried starters, and banchan.
603 Whitehorse Road, Surrey Hills, 9846 0445.

5. Woo Ga
Woo Ga is one of a handful of traditional barbecue restaurants opposite Queen Victoria Market - perhaps Melbourne's closest thing to a Koreatown. It's wall-to-wall wood-panelling, with black exhausts to whisk away any sauna sensation. Set-meal ''combos'' offer full-immersion with at least three cuts of beef, rice, soup and sides.
270 Victoria Street, North Melbourne, 9328 1221.

6. Guhng
Also known as ''the Palace'', Guhng has four distinct levels. From the padded booths at lower-ground level through the more formal main dining area at ground and above, Guhng is more special than everyday. Its speciality is tabletop charcoal barbecue (maybe Australian wagyu) and traditional dishes like beef rib stew with house-made soy sauce and soybean paste hotpot with vegetables.
19 McKillop Street, Melbourne, 9041 2192.

7. Bistro K
A contemporary restaurant-bar in an accessible, industrial, bare-brick setting, Bistro K fuses Euro and Korean. Expect things like sous-vide pork belly with soy-citron sauce, served with apple and kimchi chips, and salmon bibimbap topped with a poached egg. At the bar, soju-based cocktails, and beers.
366 Smith Street, Collingwood, 9973 6055.

8. Chick-In
Hunkered down a narrow walkway, Chick-in is younger sibling to Richmond's Seoul Soul. It's all share tables, concrete walls, loud music and Korean-fusion food. As the name suggests, fried chicken is its thing - crisp, boneless morsels that go down like popcorn. Have it with a basket of fries topped with braised chicken, kimchi, cheese and sour cream. Have it late; with beer.
G23, 620 Collins Street, Melbourne, 9973 6244.

9. Melbourne Bornga
This traditional restaurant represents the cuisine's many guises. Formerly Myeong ga-Madang, Bornga has the same owners, same chef, but a slightly different menu including some Chinese dishes. Bornga has crisp, savoury pancakes, mandu (dumplings) and table-top cooking. There's a karaoke bar next door.
Level 1, 258 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne 9663 1112.

10. Mrs Kim's BBQ
Each table at Mrs Kim's has its own gas grill. Staff spark 'em up and when the grill is hot, sizzle and turn various cuts of meat for you. The kalbi (beef ribs) are traditional long strips of rib meat (no bones) marinated in soy and garlic. Other menu items (smoked salmon salad, tomato and avocado salsa) are more modern-Melbourne in style.
136 Koornang Road, Carnegie, 9563 4424.

11. Gangnam Pocha
An innocent night out could easily turn into a party at Gangnam Pocha. It's open till 2am every night, fizzes with K-pop, and has a liquor list that's almost as long as its hours. The drinks are sometimes in the food as well, like a rice-wine sorbet. Otherwise, the menu's mostly traditional Korean; there's bibimbap with a crunchy base, crisp pancakes, and budae jjigae - kimchi, ham, cheese and noodle stew - a result of US Army influences since the war.
141 Bourke Street, Melbourne, 9078 8882.

Glossary of Korean menu terms

Bap - Cooked rice and other grains

Doenjang - A pungent brown paste made with fermented soybeans

Dubu - Korean tofu

Gochujang - A thick, red paste made with chillies

Jjigae - A stew with vegetables, meat and tofu, in a broth usually flavoured with gochujang or doenjang

Jorim - Vegetables, meat and tofu simmered in a seasoned broth

Kimchi - Spicy or sour fermented vegetables, such as cabbage and radish

Namul - Lightly cooked and seasoned vegetables, such as spinach and bean sprouts

Ssam - To be wrapped, usually in leafy greens

Ssamjang - A mixture of doenjang and gochujang pastes, used in wraps

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Korean Restaurants in Melbourne 

Disclaimer: Check with the venue before making plans...

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