Barbecue isn’t just an American tradition. It’s an ancient meat-centric tradition that’s as ancient as civilization itself.
Korean barbecue revolutionizes the typical outdoor grill we’re used to in the States by moving it indoors as the centerpiece of restaurant dining tables.
Customers grill their own high-quality meats, accompanied by a varied list of Asian veggies, rice, and noodle dishes.
Korean barbecue restaurants have garnered widespread popularity as fun, interactive dining experiences for families and friends.
Pittsburgh is a historic and diverse Northeast metropolis with a variety of museums and iconic destinations, not to mention a cosmopolitan array of restaurants.
Korean barbecue is a popular global cuisine in Pittsburgh’s restaurant scene.
You can explore where to find the best Korean BBQ in Pittsburgh below.
2020 Murray Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Green Pepper is a Korean dinner bistro in a casual yet refined space in Squirrel Hill.
They offer a small, yet perfectly curated menu of authentic Korean dishes, from barbecue to noodles.
While the tables do not have individual grills, they serve elaborate family meals in numerous small dishes that you combine and assemble to your liking.
I’ve heard that a small menu is a good sign, indicating that the kitchen has had much more experience cooking each dish.
Green Peppers perfectly executed dishes confirm this idea.
I started with their number one selling Korean fried chicken to share as a saucy appetizer.
For the family-style main course, I ordered the bone-in flame grilled Mackerel, which comes with rice and vegetables.
414 Semple St, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Located in South Oakland, a few blocks from the Phipps Conservatory, Korea Garden is a no-frills Korean eatery with a busy take-out and delivery service.
A favorite for University of Pittsburgh students and staff, Korea Garden is a friendly family-owned Mom and Pop restaurant serving authentic family recipes.
I was told they have the best kimchee Jijigae in town.
Kimchi is a traditional fermented cabbage dish that has become fashionable around the world in recent years.
Their Kimchi jjigae is a kimchi stew with pork ribs, tofu, and scallion in a funky, spicy broth served with a side of white rice to soak it all up. It was delicious!
5504 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Nak Won Garden is an intimate and casual family-owned Korean eatery in Sunnyside.
Their tables come with a single electric stove that can serve to heat a heaping bowl of stew or a small grill over which customers can cook barbecued meats as per Korean tradition.
The atmosphere is cheerful and casual, delivering comforting Korean soul food.
They also have a typical Korean menu format, with a picture of each dish beside its written description.
I used the personal stove at my table to keep my order of Soondubu Jjigae warm.
Served in a traditional black crock pot, Soondubu Jjigae is a soft tofu stew with meaty mushrooms and beef in a spicy red broth.
119 Oakland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Receiving praise from Pittsburgh City Paper, Pitt News, and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Oishi Bento is a Korean and Japanese comfort food restaurant, serving authentic street food and bento boxes.
Located in a cheerful space overlooking Schenley Plaza in Central Oakland, Oishii Bento has a diverse menu of comforting and nutritious meals meant for eating on the go.
The well-organized menu at Oishii Bento has three main sections: bowls, bento box meals, and soups.
There’s also a substantial appetizer menu with everything from tempura to shrimp shumai.
I loved their fried Gyoza shrimp dumplings.
To sample multiple dishes in one convenient, compartmentalized box, try the Bulgogi Bento with thin slices of bulgogi beef, and marinated vegetables with rice, kimchee, and two dumplings.
110 Smithfield St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh a block from the Monongahela River and the Smithfield Street Bridge, Sushi Kim is a sushi bar and Korean kitchen.
The quaint dining space is on the second floor of an old 20s-era building with exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, and an open kitchen surrounded by bar-style seating.
Sushi Kim 2 is a BYOB restaurant with extensive sushi and Korean food menus.
The Korean menu has an extensive variety of appetizers, soup, barbecue, stews, and family-style combos.
The sushi bar menu has traditional Japanese maki, rolls, and sashimi, as well as a fusion of Korean ingredients.
I loved their bulgogi roll.
525 W Main St, Carnegie, PA 15106
Seoul Korean BBQ is a fashionable contemporary Korean BBQ restaurant serving traditional Korean dishes with gourmet plating in a bustling, westernized atmosphere.
They’ve received the highest customer ratings on Yelp.
The high-energy Carnegie neighborhood restaurant is a favorite spot for business lunches, lively family dinners, and date nights.
I love the contemporary plating like cast iron skillets and wooden cutting boards with long handles.
Their signature dish is the Bibimbap bowl, displayed as a rainbow pinwheel of rice, bean sprouts, carrot, cucumber, spinach, and lettuce with an over easy egg as the centerpiece.
I ordered mine with pork belly and kimchi.
951 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Bae Bae’s Kitchen is the trendiest option on my list, located in a cute rustic-chic downtown space, adorned with hanging spider plants and white-washed brick walls.
Bae Bae’s is a Korean-style café with a full espresso bar, specialty Korean drinks, and modern bento-style meals served in-house on compartmentalized glass plates.
The café menu has fresh smoothies, fruity milk teas, tropical Italian sodas, Thai iced tea, and Vietnamese coffee in addition to Italian-style espresso drinks.
I had a delightfully lavender-colored taro root milk tea to accompany a Korean Fried Chicken Wing plate with honey wasabi and spicy mayo.
4923 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Soju is an upscale Korean kitchen and cocktail bar in a contemporary dining space in Garfield.
The beautifully designed restaurant gives a modern spin on communal eating, with long, high wooden tables and rot iron bar chairs, black leather booths, and a rotating menu written on a giant chalkboard hanging on an exposed brick wall.
The menu is a Japanese Korean fusion menu, with traditional and inventive dishes from both countries.
I started with the Killer tofu; bite-sized fried crispy tofu tossed in a pineapple-soy glaze.
The highlight of my meal was the Kimchi Fried rice with chopped beef, a fried egg, and house-made kimchi.
325 Mt Lebanon Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15234
Located in the southern suburb of Mt Lebanon, Oya Sushi and Korean Grill is a treasured family-owned Korean kitchen and sushi bar.
The old-school Japanese décor features paper lanterns, decorated paper walls, and giant traditional Japanese war fans.
There’s a small sushi bar with bar seating overlooking sushi chefs preparing fresh rolls.
The plating is traditional and elegant, consisting of a large oval-shaped skillet with a long handle over a solid wood board.
Each dish lies atop a bed of white rice.
I went for the spicy Dupbap stir fry with calamari and julienned veggies.
They also make a delicious fish and scallion pancake that’s large enough to feed four people.
117 Oakland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
As the name suggests, Chick’n Bubbly is a Korean chicken and bubble tea counter in a colorful street-food storefront in Oakland, directly across from the University of Pittsburgh campus.
They serve authentic bubble and milk teas in extravagant presentations along with perfectly fried, saucy chicken and fried sides.
Everything is served in disposable cardboard boxes to be eaten at the narrow, standing-space-only bar or to-go.
The bubble tea menu is completely customizable, where you first pick the tea base, then add the flavor, and finally decide on the flavored tapioca pearls and sweetness strength.
I ordered a mango and pineapple black milk tea with lychee-flavored tapioca balls.
It was a colorful rainbow explosion.