Craving kimchi and dolsot bibimbap? The North Philly neighborhood of Olney has historically functioned as the city’s Koreatown — the place to go for traditional Korean dishes from barbecue to soft tofu stew. And while the neighborhood’s Korean population has since spread out to other areas, there are still plenty of not-to-miss eateries, like Seorabol and Kim’s. Denizens of other parts of the city have options close to home too, some classic and some decidedly not so (see: Korean-Jamaican fusion).Read More
Where to Eat Korean Food in Philly
All the bibimbap
SouthGate is a stylish addition to the Korean food scene with its tile walls, wood tables, and long bar taking up much of the narrow space. The menu is a mix of modern takes on Korean dishes, like the bulgogi burger, and the classics, complemened by a drinks list filled with inventive combinations. Soju shows up in cocktails and on its own.
Seorabol (Center City)
Seorabol in Olney now has a sister spot in Center City. Chef Chris Cho, the son of the original restaurant’s owner, is carrying on his family’s tradition with a full-service eatery (with alcohol) just off Broad Street.
Chris and Alicia Chung brought Korean food to Old City with Buk Chon, a sweet little BYOB serving flaky, fluffy green onion pancakes, crispy shrimp fries, and sizzling bibimbap.
Giwa’s new digs, just up the street from the original location, offer more room for hungry Center City folk seeking build-your-own bibimbap and Korean barbecue platters with rice, salad, and banchan. The gochujang sauce here is so good that the restaurant also sells bottles of it.
Located upstairs — past the fast-casual vendors — in the Chinatown Square food hall is this simply decorated sit-down restaurant serving filling stews, dumplings, bibimbap, and Korean beer. Ask for a table by the oversized windows that look out onto Race Street.
College students who don’t want to venture out of University City can satisfy their Korean food cravings at Koreana, a fast-casual eatery that checks off all the boxes: mandu, kimchi, Korean-style chicken wings, bibimbap, grilled meats, several soups, and more. The shop also sells bubble tea.
H Mart (multiple locations)
Grocery store chain H Mart, which has a few Philly-area locations, packs a lot in. In addition to the Korean staples, it offers a ton of other Asian foods and goods and has a food court for eating onsite.
Andy's Chicken (multiple locations)
For a Korean fried chicken fix, head to Andy’s Chicken in Fishtown or Graduate Hospital. The quick-serve spot also has rice and noodle dishes.
Also featured in:
The Spicy Belly
Brothers Jason and Jimmy Mills draw from their Korean and Jamaican heritage at this unusual fusion restaurant where the Korean-style dumplings come with a jerk sauce and the pork belly tacos are topped with arugula kimchi slaw. The bulgogi cheesesteak is a Korean-Philadelphian mouthful.
This standout in Philly’s Korean restaurant scene doesn’t limit itself to a specialty or two. Seorabol’s lengthy menu has long lists of jjigae (stew) and soups, do-it-yourself barbecue, japchae and other noodle dishes, seafood pancakes, and sushi. It’s a great place to bring friends and cover the table with a bit of everything.
Also featured in:
It’s hard to beat Kim’s in the Korean barbecue category. For diners new to the process, the friendly staff at this casual eatery is there to guide them through cooking the meat (or seafood) on tabletop grills, which use charcoal, not gas.
Jong Ka Jib
The soft tofu stew is the not-to-miss item at Jong Ka Jib, a traditionally styled restaurant that also offers bibimbap, barbecue, and really good Korean pancakes. Diners can adjust the spice levels for most of the dishes. It’s BYOB.
DuBu’s signature dish is the sundubu jjigae (soft tofu stew) but diners won’t go wrong with any of the Korean go-tos: mandu (dumplings), bibimbap (rice bowls) served cold or sizzling in a stone bowl, grilled meats, and more. Vegetarians have a bunch of options at this modern spot too.