clock menu more-arrow no yes
Meat on the grill, with smoke being pulled through a vent, beside people toasting with soju and banchan all around.
Grilling at Nam-Yeongdon.
Robert Evans/Eater

The 14 Best Barbecue Restaurants in Seoul

From marbled cuts of hanwoo beef at a basement tasting counter to a decades-old spot for buckwheat noodles in bulgogi broth, here’s where to eat KBBQ in Seoul

View as Map
Grilling at Nam-Yeongdon.
| Robert Evans/Eater

Barbecue has long been an integral part of Korean cuisine. Dishes like bulgogi date back centuries, while depictions show noblemen gathering outdoors in the 18th century to grill meat over an open fire while drinking and reciting poetry. Today there’s no shortage of barbecue restaurants in the country, especially Seoul — though there’s plenty of mediocre barbecue too, so it’s good to know what to look for.

Almost any item can take center stage in Korean barbecue: Pork, beef, and chicken are all typical, and organ meats are widely popular as well. The most coveted are cuts of hanwoo, Korea’s beloved native cow breed known for its flavorful, fatty marbling (there are over 120 words in the Korean dictionary to describe specific beef parts, if you want to get technical). Sourcing good ingredients is crucial; though sometimes intense marination can mask the flavor of inferior products, on the whole, preparation for Korean barbecue is relatively straightforward, allowing natural quality to show through. Mouthwatering house-made banchan is also a good indicator of a standout restaurant. So is siksa (literally “meal”), a carb-based dish that could stand alone as a meal but works even better after a round of barbecue, with popular choices including naengmyeon (cold noodles), fried rice, and kimchi jjigae, as well as more unconventional takes that new restaurants use to distinguish themselves.

Consider this guide a starting point as you eat your way around Seoul. The list includes some timeless classics mixed with some hotshot newcomers everyone is talking about. No matter where you pick, be prepared to wait in line, as most restaurants don’t take reservations. As long as you decide on the right restaurant, the wait is always worth it.

Matty Yangwoo Kim is a former Eater intern and a photographer of A Very Serious Cookbook. Outside his day job, he eats his way around Seoul, often documenting restaurants and chefs through the lens.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Mongtan

Copy Link
50 Baekbeom-ro 99-gil, Hangangno-dong, Yongsan-gu
Seoul, South Korea

Famous for their smoky barbecue cooked over a straw fire, Mongtan has generated an infamously long queue in a quiet alley near Samgakji Station since 2019. Always expect to wait at least a couple of hours, unless you’re one of the lucky few who managed to score an online reservation (available only on weekdays). Their smoky pork belly is excellent, but everyone comes for the signature udae galbi (long beef rib): The staff marinates a 250-gram whole rib and then sears it in the kitchen over a straw fire to infuse its distinctive aroma and flavor. Then it hits sizzling-hot metal pot lids at the table before the staff cuts it into bite-sized pieces. The whole process is as Instagrammable as it is delicious. Complete your meal with naengmyeon (cold buckwheat noodles) or onion fried rice.

2. Nam-Yeongdon

Copy Link
17 Hangang-daero 80-gil, Namyeong-dong, Yongsan-gu
Seoul, South Korea
02-793-3598

There aren’t any gimmicks at Nam-Yeongdon, but customers wait patiently for hours to sample an ensemble of prime-quality pork grilled over charcoal and paired with flights of house-made banchan. The space has been serving pork and noodles since 1982, but it experienced a boom in popularity after owner Jung Jaebum rebranded his late father’s business in 2017. Must-orders include their highly prized hangjungsal (pork jowl) and gabrisal (pork cheek), though you should also make room for jjolmyeon, chewy wheat noodles with tangy, spicy sauce that create perfect harmony paired with the fatty pork cuts. The wait always stretches into hours, proving the basics, done right, still command a crowd.

Metal chopsticks hold a piece of grilled meat topped with kimchi in front of a plate of banchan.
Grilled meats and banchan at Nam-Yeongdon.
Robert Evans/Eater

3. Jamsugyo-jip

Copy Link
217-13 Bogwang-dong, Yongsan-gu
Seoul, South Korea
02-749-0434

Once considered passe, naengsam (frozen pork belly) is staging a bit of a comeback, and many would credit Jamsugyo-jip. Shortly after opening its first location at Bogwang-dong, Jamsugyo-jip quickly expanded to nearly a dozen outposts throughout Seoul — though whichever branch you hit, you can’t escape the line. The charm of Jamsugyo-jip is in the side dishes, served on retro-style serveware. On top of the complimentary banchan, there are also lots of choices for supplements like minari and fresh oysters. Finish with instant fried rice, which servers stir-fry with leftover meat and side dishes in front of your eyes.

4. Woo Lae Oak

Copy Link
62-29 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jugyo-dong, Jung-gu
Seoul, South Korea
02-2265-0151

Although the naengmyeon (cold buckwheat noodles) in extra meaty broth might steal the spotlight at historic Woo Lae Oak, the restaurant has also been one of Seoul’s classic spots for barbecue since 1946. The bulgogi has been a popular choice for generations, but the pro move is to order the off-menu special: the famed naengmyeon noodles added to bulgogi broth. Although the restaurant is spacious, there’s a long line out the door all day.

5. Nari’s House

Copy Link
245 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu
Seoul, South Korea
02-793-4860

Naengsam (frozen pork belly) gets a bad rap for low quality, but that’s not always the case if you know where to go. Nari is a classic example, serving nothing but frozen pork belly for over 30 years in Itaewon. Good-quality fresh pork is frozen and sliced thinly right before serving to maximize its flavors and ensure fast, even cooking, creating a different mouthfeel and taste than fresh pork. Contrasting the old, worn-out appearance of the restaurant, the crowd is always a mix of hipsters and Itaewon clubbers, with a few celebrities thrown in.

6. Geumdwaeji Sikdang

Copy Link
149 Dasan-ro, Sindang-dong, Jung-gu
Seoul, South Korea

What is the best breed of a pig when it comes to barbecue? The answer is YBD, according to Geumdwaeji Sikdang, the most popular barbecue restaurant in Seoul for pork. A cross between Yorkshire, Berkshire, and duroc pigs, YBD is juicy and rich, with a chewy texture and less-greasy mouthfeel than some other breeds, making it optimal for grilling. At Geumdwaeji Sikdang, the pork is aged to enhance the umami before the staff grill it on cast iron over briquettes. Their signature cut is bon sapgyeop, pork belly on the ribs, which yields unforgettable flavor when paired with anchovy dipping sauce (simple Maldon salt or ssamjang will also do the trick). Another specialty, the sweet and chewy grilled pork rind, is equally worthy of praise.

7. Eunhwagye

Copy Link
248-2 Sindang-dong, Jung-gu
Seoul, South Korea
0507-1377-0152
Visit Website

Korean fried chicken has become ubiquitous around the world, but since its debut in 2020, Eunhwagye has gone against the grain, enchanting chicken lovers with simple, charcoal-grilled chicken in a minimalist space accented with steel and neon. Chickens are prepped each morning and grilled right on the table over charcoal, tightly trapping all their juices inside. Go for the pristine salt-grilled version if you really want to taste the quality of the chicken, or try the sauce-covered version for some heat. The chicken gizzards and hearts are also delicacies, though they’re only available in limited quantities. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a chance to try the grilled chicken neck, a tender showstopper with just the right amount of fat.

8. Ggupdang

Copy Link
615 Gangnam-daero, Jamwon-dong, Seocho-gu
Seoul, South Korea
02-545-9600

Located in front of Sinsa Station, Ggupdang specializes in pork shoulder aged for 15 days. The meat, quickly grilled on binchotan by professional staff, is tender and every bite bursts with juice. Don’t skimp on their famous rice cooked in dashi, which you can punch up with wasabi for maximum flavor.

9. Ujeong Yanggopchang

Copy Link
23 Dosan-daero 30-gil, Gangnam-gu
Seoul, South Korea
02-6083-5830

Gopchang, or cattle intestines, is a popular barbecue item in Korea, but recently one purveyor, Ujeong Yanggopchang, has blown up among fans. The space is modern and comfortable to go along with the concise menu. If you’re not familiar with gopchang, start with the modeum hanpan, an assorted platter with four different cuts of intestine, each prepared separately according to its characteristics and served on one sizzling plate. Accompany the meal with a side of fried rice and doenjang soup. 

10. Budnamujip

Copy Link
1340-5 Seocho 2(i)-dong, Seocho-gu
Seoul, South Korea

It’s not uncommon to see generations of regulars dining together at Budnamujip, which has been serving customers since 1977. The restaurant skips the usual soy sauce in marinating their beef ribs, producing a unique tender texture and savory flavor with just sea salt and the kiss of a charcoal grill. At lunchtime, people flock early to get one of only a hundred bowls of galbitang (beef rib soup) packed with a copious amount of hanwoo.

11. Born and Bred

Copy Link
1 Majangno 42(sasibi)-gil, Seongdong-gu
Seoul, South Korea

The name of this restaurant in Seongdong-gu is an homage to the Majangdong meat market, where owner Jeong Sang-won’s father worked. Born and Bred started as a private social dining club showcasing only the most pristine Korean beef to exclusive guests, inspiring countless modern Korean beef restaurants with its practice of serving different cuts as courses. In early 2019 the business expanded into a three-story building, where each floor operates as a different concept: a butcher shop, casual restaurant, and private dining. For a full-on Born and Bred experience, take your shot at one of the seats at the basement counter, an intimate space usually reserved for groups, where the restaurant puts on a hanwoo extravaganza featuring just about every cut of Korean beef.

12. R Gogi

Copy Link
51 Seolleung-ro 162-gil, Gangnam-gu
Seoul, South Korea
02-3446-6925

R Gogi has set a new standard for Korean barbecue with their thick cuts of 1++ grade hanwoo, pristine setting, and professional service. Well-trained staff grill juicy tenderloin, sirloin, and other specialized cuts directly on the charcoal fire at the table, ensuring the high-quality meat gets the proper treatment. In keeping with the splurge vibes, you can add caviar to the table, and — unusual for a barbecue restaurant — there’s also a bar program for cocktails and whiskey alongside the feast. Do not skip the siksa after dinner; R Gogi’s beefy off-menu rendition of omurice is a cult favorite.

13. Gombawi

Copy Link
10 Yeongdong-daero 115-gil, Gangnam-gu
Seoul, South Korea
0507-1404-0068
Visit Website

Gombawi has maintained a strong reputation as one of the most popular yangdaechang (beef tripe and large intestine) restaurants in Korea since 1983, nailing the unique flavor and chewy texture you can only get from fresh yangdaechang and gopchang (intestines) prepared right. Gombawi also serves various cuts of excellent hanwoo, such as sirloin, ribs, and brisket, accompanied by banchan. Hongtang, a spicy red soup full of beef ribs and gopchang, is a hearty addition to the table, especially good on a chilly night or after a few rounds of drinking.

14. Byeokje Galbi

Copy Link
1-4 Yangjae-daero 71-gil, Bangi 1(il)-dong, Songpa-gu
Seoul, South Korea

Best known for marinated galbi, Byeokje Galbi has been a quintessential, high-end Korean barbecue house since 1986. For years, they have sourced the highest-quality hanwoo beef from daily auctions, with the price tag to match. For the top-grade meat, which they label seol-hwa (“snow flower,” a reference to the marbling), the signature diamond-cut galbi starts at 60,000 won ($47) per 100 grams, ranging up to 100,000 won ($80) per 100 grams for their “ultimate” striploin steak. In addition to meat, the restaurant employs masters of naengmyeon (cold buckwheat noodles) and gomtang (beef bone soup, milky white from a long simmer) with decades of experience.

1. Mongtan

50 Baekbeom-ro 99-gil, Hangangno-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Famous for their smoky barbecue cooked over a straw fire, Mongtan has generated an infamously long queue in a quiet alley near Samgakji Station since 2019. Always expect to wait at least a couple of hours, unless you’re one of the lucky few who managed to score an online reservation (available only on weekdays). Their smoky pork belly is excellent, but everyone comes for the signature udae galbi (long beef rib): The staff marinates a 250-gram whole rib and then sears it in the kitchen over a straw fire to infuse its distinctive aroma and flavor. Then it hits sizzling-hot metal pot lids at the table before the staff cuts it into bite-sized pieces. The whole process is as Instagrammable as it is delicious. Complete your meal with naengmyeon (cold buckwheat noodles) or onion fried rice.

50 Baekbeom-ro 99-gil, Hangangno-dong, Yongsan-gu
Seoul, South Korea

2. Nam-Yeongdon

17 Hangang-daero 80-gil, Namyeong-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Metal chopsticks hold a piece of grilled meat topped with kimchi in front of a plate of banchan.
Grilled meats and banchan at Nam-Yeongdon.
Robert Evans/Eater

There aren’t any gimmicks at Nam-Yeongdon, but customers wait patiently for hours to sample an ensemble of prime-quality pork grilled over charcoal and paired with flights of house-made banchan. The space has been serving pork and noodles since 1982, but it experienced a boom in popularity after owner Jung Jaebum rebranded his late father’s business in 2017. Must-orders include their highly prized hangjungsal (pork jowl) and gabrisal (pork cheek), though you should also make room for jjolmyeon, chewy wheat noodles with tangy, spicy sauce that create perfect harmony paired with the fatty pork cuts. The wait always stretches into hours, proving the basics, done right, still command a crowd.

17 Hangang-daero 80-gil, Namyeong-dong, Yongsan-gu
Seoul, South Korea

3. Jamsugyo-jip

217-13 Bogwang-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Once considered passe, naengsam (frozen pork belly) is staging a bit of a comeback, and many would credit Jamsugyo-jip. Shortly after opening its first location at Bogwang-dong, Jamsugyo-jip quickly expanded to nearly a dozen outposts throughout Seoul — though whichever branch you hit, you can’t escape the line. The charm of Jamsugyo-jip is in the side dishes, served on retro-style serveware. On top of the complimentary banchan, there are also lots of choices for supplements like minari and fresh oysters. Finish with instant fried rice, which servers stir-fry with leftover meat and side dishes in front of your eyes.

217-13 Bogwang-dong, Yongsan-gu
Seoul, South Korea

4. Woo Lae Oak

62-29 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jugyo-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Although the naengmyeon (cold buckwheat noodles) in extra meaty broth might steal the spotlight at historic Woo Lae Oak, the restaurant has also been one of Seoul’s classic spots for barbecue since 1946. The bulgogi has been a popular choice for generations, but the pro move is to order the off-menu special: the famed naengmyeon noodles added to bulgogi broth. Although the restaurant is spacious, there’s a long line out the door all day.

62-29 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jugyo-dong, Jung-gu
Seoul, South Korea

5. Nari’s House

245 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Naengsam (frozen pork belly) gets a bad rap for low quality, but that’s not always the case if you know where to go. Nari is a classic example, serving nothing but frozen pork belly for over 30 years in Itaewon. Good-quality fresh pork is frozen and sliced thinly right before serving to maximize its flavors and ensure fast, even cooking, creating a different mouthfeel and taste than fresh pork. Contrasting the old, worn-out appearance of the restaurant, the crowd is always a mix of hipsters and Itaewon clubbers, with a few celebrities thrown in.

245 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu
Seoul, South Korea

6. Geumdwaeji Sikdang

149 Dasan-ro, Sindang-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

What is the best breed of a pig when it comes to barbecue? The answer is YBD, according to Geumdwaeji Sikdang, the most popular barbecue restaurant in Seoul for pork. A cross between Yorkshire, Berkshire, and duroc pigs, YBD is juicy and rich, with a chewy texture and less-greasy mouthfeel than some other breeds, making it optimal for grilling. At Geumdwaeji Sikdang, the pork is aged to enhance the umami before the staff grill it on cast iron over briquettes. Their signature cut is bon sapgyeop, pork belly on the ribs, which yields unforgettable flavor when paired with anchovy dipping sauce (simple Maldon salt or ssamjang will also do the trick). Another specialty, the sweet and chewy grilled pork rind, is equally worthy of praise.

149 Dasan-ro, Sindang-dong, Jung-gu
Seoul, South Korea

7. Eunhwagye

248-2 Sindang-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Korean fried chicken has become ubiquitous around the world, but since its debut in 2020, Eunhwagye has gone against the grain, enchanting chicken lovers with simple, charcoal-grilled chicken in a minimalist space accented with steel and neon. Chickens are prepped each morning and grilled right on the table over charcoal, tightly trapping all their juices inside. Go for the pristine salt-grilled version if you really want to taste the quality of the chicken, or try the sauce-covered version for some heat. The chicken gizzards and hearts are also delicacies, though they’re only available in limited quantities. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a chance to try the grilled chicken neck, a tender showstopper with just the right amount of fat.

248-2 Sindang-dong, Jung-gu
Seoul, South Korea

8. Ggupdang

615 Gangnam-daero, Jamwon-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Located in front of Sinsa Station, Ggupdang specializes in pork shoulder aged for 15 days. The meat, quickly grilled on binchotan by professional staff, is tender and every bite bursts with juice. Don’t skimp on their famous rice cooked in dashi, which you can punch up with wasabi for maximum flavor.

615 Gangnam-daero, Jamwon-dong, Seocho-gu
Seoul, South Korea

9. Ujeong Yanggopchang

23 Dosan-daero 30-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Gopchang, or cattle intestines, is a popular barbecue item in Korea, but recently one purveyor, Ujeong Yanggopchang, has blown up among fans. The space is modern and comfortable to go along with the concise menu. If you’re not familiar with gopchang, start with the modeum hanpan, an assorted platter with four different cuts of intestine, each prepared separately according to its characteristics and served on one sizzling plate. Accompany the meal with a side of fried rice and doenjang soup. 

23 Dosan-daero 30-gil, Gangnam-gu
Seoul, South Korea

10. Budnamujip

1340-5 Seocho 2(i)-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea

It’s not uncommon to see generations of regulars dining together at Budnamujip, which has been serving customers since 1977. The restaurant skips the usual soy sauce in marinating their beef ribs, producing a unique tender texture and savory flavor with just sea salt and the kiss of a charcoal grill. At lunchtime, people flock early to get one of only a hundred bowls of galbitang (beef rib soup) packed with a copious amount of hanwoo.

1340-5 Seocho 2(i)-dong, Seocho-gu
Seoul, South Korea

11. Born and Bred

1 Majangno 42(sasibi)-gil, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, South Korea

The name of this restaurant in Seongdong-gu is an homage to the Majangdong meat market, where owner Jeong Sang-won’s father worked. Born and Bred started as a private social dining club showcasing only the most pristine Korean beef to exclusive guests, inspiring countless modern Korean beef restaurants with its practice of serving different cuts as courses. In early 2019 the business expanded into a three-story building, where each floor operates as a different concept: a butcher shop, casual restaurant, and private dining. For a full-on Born and Bred experience, take your shot at one of the seats at the basement counter, an intimate space usually reserved for groups, where the restaurant puts on a hanwoo extravaganza featuring just about every cut of Korean beef.

1 Majangno 42(sasibi)-gil, Seongdong-gu
Seoul, South Korea

12. R Gogi

51 Seolleung-ro 162-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

R Gogi has set a new standard for Korean barbecue with their thick cuts of 1++ grade hanwoo, pristine setting, and professional service. Well-trained staff grill juicy tenderloin, sirloin, and other specialized cuts directly on the charcoal fire at the table, ensuring the high-quality meat gets the proper treatment. In keeping with the splurge vibes, you can add caviar to the table, and — unusual for a barbecue restaurant — there’s also a bar program for cocktails and whiskey alongside the feast. Do not skip the siksa after dinner; R Gogi’s beefy off-menu rendition of omurice is a cult favorite.

51 Seolleung-ro 162-gil, Gangnam-gu
Seoul, South Korea

13. Gombawi

10 Yeongdong-daero 115-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Gombawi has maintained a strong reputation as one of the most popular yangdaechang (beef tripe and large intestine) restaurants in Korea since 1983, nailing the unique flavor and chewy texture you can only get from fresh yangdaechang and gopchang (intestines) prepared right. Gombawi also serves various cuts of excellent hanwoo, such as sirloin, ribs, and brisket, accompanied by banchan. Hongtang, a spicy red soup full of beef ribs and gopchang, is a hearty addition to the table, especially good on a chilly night or after a few rounds of drinking.

10 Yeongdong-daero 115-gil, Gangnam-gu
Seoul, South Korea

14. Byeokje Galbi

1-4 Yangjae-daero 71-gil, Bangi 1(il)-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Best known for marinated galbi, Byeokje Galbi has been a quintessential, high-end Korean barbecue house since 1986. For years, they have sourced the highest-quality hanwoo beef from daily auctions, with the price tag to match. For the top-grade meat, which they label seol-hwa (“snow flower,” a reference to the marbling), the signature diamond-cut galbi starts at 60,000 won ($47) per 100 grams, ranging up to 100,000 won ($80) per 100 grams for their “ultimate” striploin steak. In addition to meat, the restaurant employs masters of naengmyeon (cold buckwheat noodles) and gomtang (beef bone soup, milky white from a long simmer) with decades of experience.

1-4 Yangjae-daero 71-gil, Bangi 1(il)-dong, Songpa-gu
Seoul, South Korea

Related Maps