There’s no denying that Korean culture has had a huge influence here in our country; from K-Pop to 10-step skincare and of course, their delicious cuisine which makes hearts (and bellies) go bi-bim-bap! Despite all these wonderful things, we’re willing to go out on a limb and say that the prevalent piece of their pop culture here in Manila is their K-dramas.
According to many Korean drama fanatics, their first series (and a common gateway kdrama drug) is the popular coming-of-age Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo.
Aside from its innocence and comedic moments, following a group of young athletes trying to find their place in love and life, the star of the show was the titular character Bok Joo, played by Lee Sung Kyung. And one thing that caught all our foodie eyes was her love for food. A mood.
Of the entire Weightlifting Fairy cast to grace our stages, it’s Lee Sung Kyung who landed in Manila for a fan meet last July 27 in Quezon City. And all fans of Kim Bok Joo will be satisfied to find out that she was spotted eating in (you guessed it) a Korean barbecue spot!
In its SM North EDSA branch, Soban K-Town Grill was the lucky samgyupsal joint Lee Sung-Kyung, her mother, and her team picked for the night. Upon seeing all the fans lined up outside the restaurant, Lee Sung-Kyung waved and sent finger hearts (a bop) to everyone.
Even after being ushered to sit down by a crew member, all that waving wasn’t enough for this queen. And that’s why we decided to stan forever.
Want an idea of what Lee Sung-Kyung ate?
Soban K- Town Grill – multiple branches
Inspired by “K-Town” communities in L.A, New York, and Hong Kong, Soban offers unique Korean-Mexican fusion dishes.
Soban K-Town serves a variety of unique dishes like their K-Tacos (Korean tacos), Kimchi Fries, Korilog (Korean tapsilog), and the Korrito (Korean burrito).
Even their best-selling samgyupsal set is not what you would expect. Soban’s 6-Flavor Samgyupsal Set is the specialty of the house and it comes with 540 grams of pork belly flavored in six different marinades: fresh, fruity, soy garlic, black pepper, honey spiced, and gochujang!
If you’re upset that you didn’t get a chance to watch Lee Sung-Kyung eat like Kim Bok Joo here in Manila (like we are), then the next best thing you can do is eat at the best Korean restaurant near you.
If you’ve been having Korean cravings lately, we’ve got you! We’ve come up with this ultimate Korean restaurant list to make it easier for you to choose so you’ll have more time eating and less time searching!
One of the best things of Makati is their melting pot of cuisines so you’re sure to find a number of Korean restaurants and some of them are even open late at night. Traffic can get terrible in the area but the food here definitely makes up for it.
Gaja – Poblacion
Gaja Korean Kitchen offers a contemporary take on traditional South Korean recipes. This is their first branch in the Metro.
RJ’s Bowl-Gogi – G. Puyat
RJ’s Korean Bowl-Gogi serves Korean favorites like beef bulgogi, ramyeon, bibimbap, samgyeopsal, and many more at affordable prices.
Buendia Food by the Court, Sen. G. Puyat Ave cor Bautista & Finlandia St., Makati
Min Sok – Poblacion
An underrated Poblacion find, Min Sok is owned by a Korean couple and serves authentic Korean specialties. Meals start with the traditional banchan appetizers and a bulk of it is their delicious grilled meats.
5655 Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati
Dong Won Korean Garden – Polaris Corner Jupiter St.
Unlike most KBBQ restaurants which are known for all-you-can-eat promos, Dong Won is the ideal restaurant for those with a smaller appetite. You can order ala carte and although the portions here are smaller than average, don’t be fooled. They do not fall short on quality and authenticity.
53 Polaris St. cor Jupiter St., Bel-Air, Makati
(02) 898-3558;(02) 659-5160
Bornga – Alphaland Makati Place
Far away from the mall-crowd, Bornga is not your usual Korean restaurant. They don’t serve buffet but instead focus on the quality of their ingredients— they have an impressive variety of greens and generous cuts of the meat.
Alphaland Makati Place, Ayala Ave., Bel-Air, Makati
(02) 519-6980;(0905) 318-8282;(0928) 678-8282
Korea Garden – Jupiter St.
Korea Garden is one of the longest standing Korean restaurants in Makati, if not the whole Metro Manila. If you notice, their parking is always full so it’s best to arrive a bit earlier than usual.
128 Jupiter St., Bel-Air, Makati
Taguig is slowly but surely growing its arsenal of restaurants and now already has a number of Korean restaurants up their sleeve from barbecues to fusions, you’ll be surprised to see what Taguig has in store.
Namoo House – Uptown Parade
Namoo House is the local franchise of Maple Tree House, a popular Korean BBQ restaurant from Seoul, Korea. It offers value-for-money premium meat cooked on charcoal grill.
The Cook by Hongleepark – The Forum
The Cook is a new restaurant concept serving Korean-Italian fusion dishes like Bacon Carbonara, Spicy Chicken Steak Salad, Seafood Olive Spaghetti and more.
Yoree Korean Barbecue Dining – The Forum
Yoree is famous for their state-of-the-art Korean barbeque. They also serve set meals and Korean bingsu dessert.
Sariwon – Bonifacio High Street Central
Awarded “The Best Korean Restaurant” by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Sariwon is also famed for its Legendary Bulgogi and Galbi or Barbecued Beef Short Ribs, with the New York Times proclaiming it as the “The Most Tender Succulent in Seoul.”
Pasay is home to one of the best known Korean restaurants chains such as Gen Korean BBQ House. Whether you want to grill-all-you-can or have bibimbap, you can find it at Pasay.
Bibimharu – SM Mall of Asia
Craving for Bibimbap? Japchae? Or some samgyupsal? You can get all that at reasonable prices at BibimHaru Korean Restaurant! They have different kinds of Bibimbap to choose from such as the Seafood Bibimbap, Beef Bulgogi Bibimbap, Fish Fillet Bibimbap and of course Classic Bibimbap that started it all. So say haru to the bibimbap of your choice!
G/F Two E-Com Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay
Gen Korean BBQ House – SM By the Bay
Gen is a popular Korean restaurant chain from Los Angeles, California. Best known for its grand grill-all-you-can experience, you can feast on premium samgyupsal (pork belly), chadol (beef brisket), seafood, and more, because you’ve got 20 meat options to choose from!
Jin Joo Korean Grill – SM Mall of Asia
Jin Joo is a restaurant that’s ready to bring something fresh to the table. When you’re finished taking photos of their industrial interiors, neon-lit signs, and pastel furniture, feast your eyes on their famous Jin Joo 8 Flavors with samgyeoupsal in Honey Garlic, Wine, Curry, Herb Soybean, Red Pepper, Nutty, and Smokey BBQ!
Parañaque has a number of Korean places that are quite unique compared to the usual unlimited grills. They do have our favourite grill-all-you-cans but if you want a breather to try something new, Parañaque’s got it.
Kiwa Korean Grill – Solaire Resort & Casino
Far from your usual Korean dining experience, Kiwa Korean Grill is more of an upscale version, serving some of finest traditional Korean dishes and other artisan creations by their world-class Korean chefs.
Big Mama – Aguirre Ave.
Big Mama Korean Restaurant serves delectable Korean food that makes you feel like you’re at home – only with a wide range of options offered a room away. So whether you’re in the mood for samgyupsal or some good fried chicken… feast away!
If you’re in the area, you don’t need to go far to satisfy your Korean cravings. Muntinlupa has a bunch of Korean restaurants just waiting for you to try.
Meat Here Unlimited Korean BBQ – Weidmann’s Plaza
True to its name, Meat Here Unlimited Korean BBQ offers a no-fuss unlimited Korean dining experience at affordable rates.
Weidmann’s Plaza, 94 National Road, Muntinlupa
Soga Miga – Festival Supermall
People from the South have been raving non-stop about this Korean restaurant in Alabang and we heard that they serve some of the best Korean beef stew they’ve ever tasted!
Festival Supermall, Filinvest Corporate City, Commerce Ave., Alabang, Muntinlupa
(02) 807-3008;(0917) 807-3008
Pasig is probably the city with the most Korean restaurants and some are even at close proximity with each other. If you’re still not sure on where to eat, you could just walk around Pasig and see an abundance of choices right in front of you.
Kko Kko – Sapphire Bloc
Owned by Grace Lee, Kko Kko is a modern restaurant that serves authentic and reinvented Korean favorites such as their Dosirak, Cheese Fondue, and Snow Chicken.
Sibyullee – Ayala Malls 30th
Sibyullee, being the third concept of the Happy Foods Group and award-winning Korean restaurateurs Mr. Sung Rah and wife, Mrs. Yoo Chang, They serves modern Seoul BBQ and street food dishes.
Ye Dang – Meralco Ave.
Ye Dang serves some of the most delicious marinated grilled meats in the city. Each meat platter comes with bountiful banchan and your choice of lettuce or rice, so full bellies are a guarantee.
88 Meralco Ave., Ortigas, Pasig
(02) 631-9086;(0916) 671-3830
Lee Hak – Kapitolyo
Lee Hak is an affordable Korean buffet that offers DIY Korean BBQ as well as around 100 different ready-made meals and appetizers. The smokey aroma of samgyupsal and chadolbagi will welcome you as you enter, so make sure you have a spare change of clothes or don’t have other plans after eating.
Quezon City is vast so you can be sure to expect this list to keep growing. The city has many pockets of food-filled areas such as Tomas Morato and Maginhawa that it’s impossible not to spot a good Korean restaurant.
Seoul Train Korean Barbecue – Tomas Morato
Seoul Train Korean Barbecue is a locomotive train-themed Korean restaurant that serves fresh OMI chateaubriand, A5 Saga, Kagoshima beef, and USDA beef. They also have 5-6 red wines on pouring to match with their grilled meat and other classic Korean dishes.
MOKJA – Maginhawa
It’s almost impossible to talk about food in Quezon City without mentioning the Maginhawa area, and MOKJA has got Korean cuisine covered! This Maginhawa restaurant has become beloved by the neighborhood because of its authentic and affordable Korean buffet that keeps people coming back for more. They now also have a branch in Banawe.
San Juan is bustling with new eats and classic restaurants way beyond the Greenhills area. It’s also home to some of the most well loved restaurants such as Sodam which is almost synonymous already with “Korean” if you’re from around the area.
Sodam – Little Baguio
Sodam is an authentic Korean buffet best known for its all-you-can-eat grilled meat dishes and other cuisine staples.
17 Jose Abad Santos, Little Baguio, San Juan
(02) 238-3593; (0905) 393-4190
You could bookmark this article as we’ll continue to keep updating this list to give you the latest on Korean restaurants around the metro.
Did you know that with the Booky app, you can type “PASIG” and other locations to search over 100 restaurants in the area. If you spotted a new restaurant near you, shoot us an email at email@example.com with all the details.