Kirby’s Top 5 Series
Having been a food blogger for 10 years now (and reviewed over 800+ restaurants all over the world), the most common question I get is “What is your favourite restaurant in Vancouver?”. Literally almost everyone who meets met asks me this – and unfortunately, I have no answer for that because there are just too many amazing restaurants in Vancouver to choose just one! HOWEVER, what I can do is give you my Top 5 picks for each type of food or cuisine. ?
I’ll be starting this Top 5 series off with K-BBQ restaurants, but I’m open to creating a Top 5 list on whatever food you can think of! High tea places? Brunch spots? Bubble tea shops in Vancouver?
Just give me your suggestions via IG (@eatingwithkirby) and slide into my DM’s. ?
⬇️ TOP 5 KOREAN BBQ RESTAURANTS in no particular order ⬇️
1) Sooda Brentwood
Sooda Brentwood is the perfect place for a group of friends to hang, get drinks, and share a wide variety of really unhealthy but also really delicious Korean BBQ food. Their specialty are their Sooda Specials and it’s a hot plate with corn, cheese, bulgogi, tamago (rolled egg), and rice. It’s more than enough food for 2 people and it’s ridiculously fun to watch the cheese melt, and then to mix everything for one giant fried rice. You can also be like me and eat them separately so you can taste the different flavours.
Another must get item is their Deung Kalbi (pork back ribs in soy based sauce and served with cheese)! It’s soooo good and basically you grab a rib, grab some melted cheese, and you wrap each rib in the gooey delicious cheese before eating.
Another item that makes them so popular and unique is their Sooda Box. You can get half or full size, but it’s a 46cm long sushi box that comprises of different toppings and flavours. My favourite is the Cheese Sooda Box that has premium Korean steak tartare with a layer of torched cheese on top, as well as the Honey Garlic Sooda Box that has roasted garlic and garlic sauce.
2) Ta Bom
Ta Bom started with a location in Coquitlam but have since expanded to another location on Robson St (in downtown Vancouver). I would highly recommend going to Ta Bom for any of their hot plate entrees. You can get anything for pork belly, to bulgogi, to spicy squid, and each of these hot plates will come with a side of corn, egg, and cheese which is my favourite part.
Check out my previous full review on Ta Bom to read about the entire experience.
Another thing I LOVE about Ta Bom is that they add rice to your hot plate (with all the leftover sauce) at the end and mix it up into a fried rice! It’s so authentic to the true experience in Korea and I’ve yet to find another restaurant in Vancouver that does it the same way as Ta Bom.
Arisu is a very well known Korean BBQ spot in Mainland Vancouver and it’s for good reason. Their prices are on the higher side, but you can guarantee that it’ll be ridiculously fresh and the food will be delicious. A lot of Koreans deem this place one of the most authentic Korean BBQ places in Vancouver.
My favourite thing to get is either the regular Pork Belly (like you see here below), or their Hot Pot (which is also really delicious and comforting especially during wintery months!). My personal favourite is their Mushroom Hot Pot which had TONS of mushrooms, beef, tofu, and other delicious veggies.
ARISU has two locations. One on North Road in Burnaby/Coquitlam and one on Edmonds St.
If you ever walk by a SURA location, 9 times out of 10, you’ll see a line up of people outside. They have two locations, 1) Aberdeen Center – bottom floor, 2) Robson Street in downtown Vancouver.
I’ve only been to the SURA location at Aberdeen but I’ve heard good things about both locations. And I’m not sure if they still do this anymore, but back then, they give you 50% off your bill if you provide a student ID and you go between Fris and Sats between 9-10pm! What a deal right?! I wrote a full SURA blog post on them before about this so check it out here.
5) Kook Korean BBQ
Kook is a recent addition to my Top 5 list because when I first posted my Top 5 and had Gyu-kaku as my 5th spot, I got a ton of messages saying Kook is a their favourite Korean BBQ spot! Having never tried this new BBQ joint, that was the nudge I needed to give give it a try!
Their dine-in BBQ comes with 15 (yes! 15!) refillable banchans and also unlimited lettuce wraps. That in itself already belongs on my list because I have yet to find a good Korean BBQ restaurant in Vancouver that offers unlimited lettuce wraps, let alone give you 15 banchans with your meal.
The one thing to mention is that while the banchans are refillable and there are a lot of them, they’re actually not the best tasting banchans I’ve had. Many of them were mediocre but I did really enjoy about 4-5 of the 15 including the kimchi.
I got the LA Galbi ($42) and Pork Galbi ($25) to share. The meats were well marinated and very tender.
This place is ridiculously busy so make sure to make resos or go during down times! We had to wait an hour without a reservation.
Honorable Mention: Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ
So this one is a bit of a cheat. It’s not Korean BBQ (it’s Japanese) but it’s such a good Asian BBQ place that I have to lump it in with the Korean BBQ list.
If you’ve never been to Gyu-kaku Japanese BBQ before, you’re missing out. They have thousands of locations around the world, and there’s three in the lower mainland. One in Richmond, and two in Vancouver. It is probably one of the most well known Japanese BBQ places in the world.
Not only do I think the food is incredibly tasty, their service is great, and everything is pretty affordable. My fiance and I usually get the Meat Lovers Combo for 2 ($85) which is more than enough for both of us. It comes with miso soup, fried chicken kaarage, salad, beef sukiyaki bibimbap, 5 types of marinated meat, and 2 veggies (mushroom medley and broccoli). Go during Happy Hour to really take advantage of the deals! They have a Combo for 2 for only $75!
I hope you enjoyed my Top 5 List of Korean BBQ spots in Vancouver!