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The Ultimate Guide to Korean BBQ in Chicago

Indulge in traditional Korean bulgogi, pork belly, and more at these spots in the Windy City.

As one of the nation’s largest cities, Chicago has all the attractions that you’d expect a metropolis to have, like museums, a great restaurant scene, and a diverse population.

man grilling pork at a korean bbq in Chicago

That said, Chicago stands out in so many ways, starting with its characteristic Midwestern friendliness that welcomes tourists with open arms.

Between a fascinating boat tour along the Chicago River surrounded by stunning architectural feats and taking the token selfie in front of Millennium Park’s giant “bean” sculpture, I also wanted to explore Chicago’s world-famous culinary scene. I’m not just talking about Chicago-style dogs or pizza, either. 

As a key cultural hub, Chicago has restaurants specializing in a diverse array of global cuisines.

Whether you want Mexican or Chinese, you’ll find a wealth of options that authentically represent each culture’s culinary traditions. During my most recent trip to Chicago, I had a hankering for Korean Barbecue.

My quest to find the best Korean Barbecue in Chicago bore many amazing options, and I’ve compiled a list of my favorites.

Best Korean Barbecue Restaurants in Chicago

  1. Chicago Kalbi Korean BBQ
  2. Woo Chon Korean BBQ Restaurant
  3. Cho Sun Ok Restaurant
  4. San Soo Gab San
  5. Dancen
  6. Ryuu Asian BBQ
  7. Daebak Korean BBQ
  8. Gogi
  9. KFIRE Korean BBQ
  10. Del Seoul
  11. Ssyal – Chicago Korean Restaurant
  12. Yeowoosai
  13. Iron Age Korean Steakhouse
  14. Do Eat Korean BBQ
  15. SoJu BBQ
  16. SGD DUBU SO GONG DONG TOFU & KOREAN BBQ
  17. Perilla Korean American Fare
  18. Arirang BBQ
  19. BBQ Garden
  20. Korea BBQ. House

Whether you want a fine dining experience or a budget-friendly mom-and-pop restaurant, you’ll find the best Korean Barbecue restaurants in Chicago on the following list that have something for every dining preference.    


Chicago Kalbi Korean BBQ

3752 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
Phone: 773-604-8183
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Owned and operated by Japanese native couple and experienced Chefs Isao Tozuka and Chiyo-San, Chicago Kalbi is actually a Japanese barbecue restaurant.

However, Japan is South Korea’s neighbor, and the two culinary cultures have many overlaps, including the interactive tableside barbecuing that’s become a worldwide sensation.

Chicago Kalbi is an Albany Park favorite for fresh, high-quality Wagyu barbecue in a friendly, mom-and-pop atmosphere.

Kalbi also has a great selection of beer, vodka, sake, and whiskey from Japan and South Korea, along with a globally-sourced wine list. You can get Kobe and Wagyu beef to grill. My favorite cut was their Wagyu short rib.


Woo Chon Korean BBQ Restaurant

5744 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 6065
Phone: 773-728-8001
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Woo Chon Korean BBQ is a family-owned and operated Lincoln Square restaurant run by head Chef and Korean native Seon Ae, a beloved and revered chef in the local Korean community.

Woo Chon’s authentic and diverse menu has every kind of meat and seafood along with a wide variety of Korean favorites to share with the table.

I loved how vast the menu is at Woo Chon, and everything was both beautifully presented and delicious.

The humble yet lively environment makes you feel at home and is always packed with families and large groups of friends. I loved their Hae Mool Pa Jeon seafood and vegetable pancake to start.


Cho Sun Ok Restaurant

4200 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
Phone: 773-549-5555
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Cho Sun OK Restaurant is a Lincoln Square staple, opening its doors in 1980 and paving the way for Korean Barbecue’s now high demand in Chicago’s culinary scene.

Cho Sun Ok has a fun, authentic atmosphere with Korean-style wood detailing and paper windows. It’s always packed, and it’s a no-reservations and BYOB establishment.

The tabletop cooking menu has a wonderful selection of high-quality beef, pork, and seafood marinated in their signature sauces.

They also have noodle and protein combos for you to create a more well-rounded dish. I loved the Hwe Naeng Myeon, buckwheat noodles with raw skate fish ain hot and spicy sauce.


San Soo Gab San

5247 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
Phone: 773-334-1589
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As another longstanding Lincoln Square favorite, San Soo Gab San has served Chicago authentic Korean barbeque for the past 30 years.

They’re also proudly the only Korean barbecue restaurant to receive the coveted Michelin Bib Gourmand Award.

Michelin isn’t the only organization to recognize San Soo Gab San. The restaurant’s excellent food and service have won readers’ choice awards from the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, and MostBest.

The menu has as many casseroles, noodle dishes, stews, and specialties as it does tabletop barbecue. Their stews were especially authentic and flavorful. I recommend the tofu, seafood, and egg stew.

You can also choose between three group specials that come with a selection of meats for barbecuing along with seafood pancakes, fried dumplings, and various other sides.


Dancen

5114 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
Phone: 773-878-2400
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Located in Bowmanville in a trendy, upscale, and tiny eatery, Dancen is a contemporary Korean BBQ bistro that features modern Korean cooking from the very latest culinary craves in South Korea.

Their claim to fame is ultra-spicy fire chicken that’ll have even the bravest of eaters working up a sweat.

The creative and innovative combination of flavors and over-the-top presentation makes Dancen stand out amongst its traditional counterparts.

Their delicious selection of craft soju cocktails and plum wine is a great way to start the meal and give you some liquid courage to try their signature Fire Chicken.

You can opt for the super spicy dishes to be covered in a thick layer of melted cheese to lessen the spice load while complimenting the flavor.


Ryuu Asian BBQ

2766 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Phone: 773-661-1919
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Female-owned and operated by Executive Chef Anna Makmok, Ryuu Asian BBQ is a Pan-Asian barbecue bistro and sushi bar in a modern, sleek dining room with state-of-the-art smokeless grills at each table.

Located a few blocks from Logan Square, Ryuu Asian BBQ specializes in Japanese, Korean, and Thai barbecue techniques while also providing a full menu of specialty soups, satays, noodles, and more from around Asia.

Ryuu Asian BBQ’s unique menu and full cocktail selection, along with a fun and hip environment in which to enjoy it, has won OpenTable’s Diners’ Choice Award.

I loved that all the proteins for grilling had an array of different flavors, from garlic sweet soy sauce to yellow curry and coconut milk marinades.


Daebak Korean BBQ

2017 South Wells Street, Square, Chicago, IL 60616
Phone: 312-631-3913
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Located in the heart of Chinatown, Daebak Korean BBQ is a friendly, casual Korean BBQ eatery in a lively, authentic Korean atmosphere on the second floor with a loud soundtrack of Korean Pop music grooving in the background. The servers help guide you through the menu and help you grill the meat tableside.

I recommend starting with the spicy chicken cheese rice dish, a spicy and savory appetizer that has become a recent sensation in Korea and the U.S. Each elaborate rice and meat bowl combination comes with countless veggies, marinades, and sauces that your server helps you assemble and sear to perfection.


Gogi

6240 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60659
Phone: 773-274-6669
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Gogi opened its doors in Little India in 2014 to wide acclaim, featured as Chicago’s best new restaurant in Chicago Magazine.

Eight years later, Gogi still delights your senses with coal-fired sizzling Korean barbecue in a comfortable and nicely decorated space with plush leather booths and sectioned-off private rooms for larger parties.

Their authentic selection of soups and banchan were great starters and accompaniments for the delectable barbecue combos.

I started with the Kimchi Jjigae, fermented cabbage soup with pork and tofu. Their spicy pork Bulgogi was also excellent.


KFIRE Korean BBQ

2528 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Phone: 773-572-0323
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Located just a couple of blocks from Logan Square Park, KFIRE Korean BBQ is a fast-casual Korean barbecue joint. The locale offers quick, friendly counter-service and contemporary, American-style dining space with brightly colored chairs and washed concrete floors.

There’s a convenient take-out window for picking up orders, but the fast-casual service makes it a great dine-in spot for a delicious lunch on the go for young professionals and students.

They have Americanized Korean barbecue with a fusion of flavors and global dishes most notable in their Bites menu, shareable kimchi fried rice balls that they call Korean arancini.

Their vast menu includes salads, barbecue bowls, appetizers, specials, and more, all for a great, accessible price.


Del Seoul

2568 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: 773-248-4227
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Del Seoul is a hip, modern take on Korean street food that combines Korean, Californian, and other Asian street food dishes and flavors into a unique street food fusion.

Del Seoul is a family-owned business teetering between Lincoln Park and Lake View East in a hopping, fast-casual atmosphere.

You may receive your food on disposable plates, but the dishes are as colorful and tasty as they are unique.

I loved their selection of Korean BBQ tacos like the BBQ Pork or Sambal Fish taco on white corn tortillas with pickled veggie, cilantro, and tangy sauces to garnish.


Ssyal – Chicago Korean Restaurant

4201 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60630
Phone: 773-427-5296
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Originating as a ginseng farm in Missouri 30 years ago, the owners subsequently moved to Chicago and transformed the farm into SSyal Ginseng House in Albany Park.

SSyal Ginseng House is synonymous with traditional Korean home cooking and has won the hearts of locals and other award-winning Korean chefs alike.

Michelin Guide wrote a glowing review about SSyal’s glutinous rice stuffed Cornish game hen in ginseng broth, one of many comforting and perfectly executed chicken soups.

If you’re looking for Korean Barbecue, I recommend the Galbi Korean BBQ beef ribs with onions and green onions that come with various banchan and steamed rice.


Yeowoosai

6248 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60659
Phone: 773-465-7660
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Yeowoosai is a dingy yet charming sports bar in Little India. Its casual, hole-in-the-wall atmosphere evokes a typical Japanese Izakaya.

They have a full cocktail bar and over 40 beers and ciders, not to mention great deals on pitchers of classic Sojou and Plum Wine cocktails to accompany a robust variety of Korean barbecue and street-food snacks.

Their tropical soju cocktails are fantastic, mixing high-quality soju with fresh fruit juices like mango, strawberry, peach, and pear.

I loved their kimchi fried rice that I upgraded to the Ultimate combo of spam, bacon, eggs, and mozzarella.


Iron Age Korean Steakhouse

1265 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Phone: 773-697-7622
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Located in Wicker Park, Iron Age Korean Steakhouse is a modern Korean steakhouse and DIY barbecue bistro in a hip, upscale dining space with industrial-chic decor and giant modern art installations.

They offer a high-end all-you-can-barbecue menu with helpful staff available to guide you on cook times and flavor profiles.

The menu is very easy to navigate, with a list of every protein having your choice of spicy, soy, or garlic marinade.

I went for the blanched and boiled spicy squid with a fried rice cake and the Japchae stir-fried glass noodle and vegetables. The Hawaiian Bulgogi with a soy-sauce marinade and pineapples was also delicious.


Do Eat Korean BBQ

3141 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60608
Phone: 312-526-3938
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Do Eat Korean BBQ is a family-friendly, casual Bridgeport neighborhood Korean eatery with fast, hospitable service and great prices.

I especially liked the mishmash of décor as a combination of 80s-era turquoise faux leather booths, chairs, and fluorescent blown-glass wall dividers with faux-brick wall accents.

Each table has a giant vent above the grill, so you won’t leave smelling like a barbecue pit. I recommend their charcoal special pork belly and the grilled mackerel for the barbecue.

The Korean Rice cake with cheese and ramen was the ultimate dish for carb-heavy, cheesy goodness.  


SoJu BBQ

36 S Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60607
Phone: 312-877-5206
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Located in West Town, SoJu BBQ is a modern Korean eatery with a creative fusion of Korean and Mexican street food traditions for low prices.

They use fresh vegetables and house-made marinades. Plus, they offer high-quality meat, chicken, seafood, and tofu to create beautiful dishes and bowls.

I loved their selection of bibimbap, a Korean hot stone bowl with a steamed rice foundation topped with kimchi cabbage, radish, carrots, pickled cucumber, sauteed eggplant, spinach, and a fried egg with your choice of protein and sesame oil drizzle.

My favorite BBQ dish was the bone marrow short rib. It had fantastic marbling and came in a flavorful braising broth used to steam its accompanying veggies. 


SGD DUBU SO GONG DONG TOFU & KOREAN BBQ

H Mart Food Court, 711 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60661
Phone: 773-362-8702
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Owned and operated by Head Chef and proud Korean Going Muk Choi, SGB Tofu and Korean BBQ is a popular Greektown restaurant dedicated to offering the most authentic forms of Korean cooking.

SGD Dubu’s simple yet perfectly executed food has won accolades from the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, and Chicago Magazine.

The signature dish at SGD is their rich, comforting stews. My favorite is the spicy seafood Soondubu Kalguksu. You specify the protein and spice level for your stew.

They also make great bento boxes so you can sample a bit of everything from dumplings to banchan to bulgogi.


Perilla Korean American Fare

401 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 312-243-3344
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Located in the heart of the Fulton River District, Perilla Korean American Fare is a high-end contemporary kitchen and bar with a communal, family-style dining experience.

Executive Chef Andrew Lim and his childhood friend and co-owner Thomas Oh pay homage to their parents’ Korean customs while utilizing their own first-generation American take on preparation, experimentation, and presentation.

A full cocktail bar and wine list accompany a multi-course family-style meal menu. I loved their authentic Korean fried chicken served with traditional dipping sauces or Americanized ranch and buffalo sauces.

They have a la carte barbecue and tasting sets, all of which feature the highest quality Wagyu beef. 


Arirang BBQ

741 Civic Center Dr, Niles, IL 60714
Phone: 847-966-7072
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Arirang BBQ is a casual yet elegant authentic Korean eatery in the Chicago suburb of Niles.

They have excellent lunchbox specials with colorful, perfectly compartmentalized combinations of stir-fries, meats, and various banchan.

Dine-in options offer high-quality meats for barbecuing along with a colorful and artistically plated selection of rolls, stews, bibimbap, and more. 

I like how they have a rotating weekly special menu with more obscure Korean dishes. When I ate there, I had their weekly special Korean miso soup with hearty squares of silken tofu in wonderful umami miso broth topped with fresh scallions.


BBQ Garden

9020 W Golf Rd, Niles, IL 60714
Phone: 847-813-6523

As another Niles neighborhood favorite, BBQ Garden is a Korean restaurant and all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue buffet in a spacious, family-friendly atmosphere.

The large dining space with equally large marble tables with round grill centerpieces give families plenty of room to accommodate the never-ending dishes of meats, banchan, and sauces.

If you want the all-you-can-eat experience, you can purchase a prix fixe menu of meats and visit their cooked food buffet to your heart’s content.

They also have an a la carte menu if you come craving a specific dish. I loved their marinated pork ribs.


Korea BBQ. House

3315 W Bryn Mawr Ave, Chicago, IL 60659
Phone: 773-463-2121

Korea BBQ House is a cheery Korean-owned and run Korean BBQ restaurant in North Park with quaint Korean-country décor.

The wooden accents and booths are carved in Korean fashion, with countless green vine plants adorning every booth.

They also have a neon-backlit soju bar with black and white checkered floors and black leather bar chairs, providing a mix of modern and traditional.

Their menu is also a mix of traditional and modern, with tabletop barbecue options like bulgogi with Korean BBQ Banh Mi sandwiches and Korean-style ramen.

I loved the spicy Gochujang marinated spicy pork bulgogi sandwich with a sweet-spicy sauce. 


Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking for fast-casual Korean street food or a fine dining Korean American kitchen, Korean Barbecue comes in various forms that run the gamut from traditional to experimental.

My list of Korean Barbecue restaurants in Chicago has the most delicious food in a variety of atmospheres that will delight your tastebuds.

If you want a more diverse list of dining options in Chicago, check out my list of excellent restaurants throughout the city.

Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment, and we’ll check it out!

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.