Whether you’re on the hunt for the best KBBQ, authentic Korean classics, or modern twists on the beloved cuisine, these restaurants have got you covered.

Korean cuisine is a treasure trove of unique and incredible dishes. When shrouded in grey clouds and wet weather on gloomy months like these, a warm bowl of Korean beef stew or bibimbap easily soothe the soul. For relaxed get-togethers, nothing hits the spot quite like a couple of beers and Korean fried chicken, whether spicy or soy, wings or boneless. Of course, Korean barbecue will always invite delight and excitement as the ideal feast for any celebration, abundant with delicious meats grilled right at the table.

Luckily for us, Manila is rich with Korean establishments that effortlessly execute these iconic dishes and many more, including authentic Korean fare and fun twists on familiar picks.

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1. Sariwon

A favourite among the Tatler team, Sariwon provides passionate meat-eaters with a refined Korean barbeque experience. From the perfectly marbled deung shim (rib-eye steak) to all the refillable sides, you’re in for a gastronomic treat with every visit. For the broadest grazing option, order their premium grill set –it comes with three cuts of beef, rice, and four other dishes, japchae included!

2. Kko Ko

As the self-proclaimed home of KPop and chicken, Kko Kko certainly lives up to its title. The whimsical restaurant has fun, imaginative creations like this cheese fondue with boneless fried chicken, fries, onion rings, and chips. They offer delivery and take out until 2 am daily so you can satiate those late-night cravings for Korean fried chicken burgers, ramyeon, and other favourite Korean dishes.

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3. Korea Garden

Korea Garden has grown to be an institutional dining destination, finding its way into the homes and hearts of customers old and new. This Korean-Filipino haunt has only one branch, located on Jupiter Street, Makati - but they’ve continually drawn in diners from all over the metro who can’t get enough of their dishes. The kalbi chim (beef stew) is undoubtedly their most popular, and for good reason: the generous chunks of beef are mind-blowingly tender, falling-apart with the slightest force, while the mouth-watering sauce is packed with festive spices that make for the perfect comfort dish.

Take it from them - this cult classic is “great with rice, great on its own, great with bread, great even a few days later”.

4. Big Mama

Big Mama restaurant celebrates the marriage of food and booze with their Korean pulutan and “friends of alcohol”. These playful dishes include stir-fried squid and vegetables, egg rolls, and steamed dumplings, which pair perfectly with the beer and soju they offer in-house. For a heavier meal, opt for their heftier dishes like jueksuk ttokbokki, fried chicken, and ramyun.

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5. Kaya

With nearly 27 years under its belt and branches in every nook of town, Kaya has also grown to be a household name. In addition to the reliable barbecue set-up, Kaya serves many other Korean classics from grilled mackerel to goon mandoo (fried dumplings), kimchi fried rice, and of course kalbi jjim (beef stew). Thanks to the success of these restaurants, Kaya has even launched Kaya Mart, selling iconic Korean treats like Jin Jjambbong spicy seafood ramen, soju in every flavour you could want, and the unmistakable Samangco.

6. Sibyullee

When you think of KBBQ, you naturally think of the Sibyullee Unlimited Korean BBQ chain. The irresistible waft of smokey meat is a hallmark of this fan-favourite, inducing a growing hunger as you flip through their menu. From pork and beef in a range of flavourful marinades to fried chicken, gimbap, and more. They also have solo set meals, food trays and ready-to-cook party kits.

7. Kiwa Korean Grill

From the moment you step through Solaire’s grand entrance and make your way to Kiwa Korean Grill, you’re met with every suggestion that you’re in for an exquisite experience. Between Kiwa’s private rooms, premium cuts of pork and beef, and unique selection of dishes like sea urchin bibimbap and grilled eel, you won’t be looking for much else. That said, their mountains of indulgent bing su are not something to miss out on either - they serve some of the largest and most decadent bing su around, with flavours like pat (red beans), watermelon, mango, banana, and chocolate.

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Sheraton’s OORI is a prime example of how attention to detail and quality ingredients can truly elevate a meal. With specialised grills for different meats, melt-in-your-mouth Australian Mulwarra Wagyu 9+, as well as the remarkably juicy Duroc Spanish Pork, every grilling experience at OORI promises to please. The restaurant also serves other classic Korean fares like dakgangjung (Korean fried chicken), tteok bokki (rice and fish cake), and refillable banchan (side dishes) to accompany your barbecue.

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9. Goryeo

We can all agree that Korean barbecue is delicious - but sometimes, we don’t want to come away from it smelling like our dinners. Goryeo utilises innovative smokeless grills at every table, meaning you can dig into their selections of premium meats worry-free. They even have soju and wine pairings for a one-of-a-kind feast.

10. Soban

KBBQ joint Soban K-Town Grill has also grown to be a favourite among local barbecue enthusiasts, offering bang-for-your-buck sets of choice meats. Apart from these no-brainer deals, they also have classic dishes like gimbap and bibimbap as well as inventive picks like sizzling kimchi fried rice with cheese. If you’re one of many who miss the Soban grilling experience, you’re in luck - the chain now offers frozen barbecue meats accompanied by thorough cooking guides so you can recreate the mouth-watering experience at home.

11. Gochu-gang

Since opening up shop at Rockwell, The Grid Food Market has drawn in fervent foodies looking for an exceptional range of delicious eats. Gochu-gang tosses their modern Korean comfort food into the mix with specialities like beef ribeye bibimbap and their beef bulgogi rice bowl. They’ve even got generous, mouth-watering trays great for sharing including a steak ramdon noodle platter and an army-style Korean rice bake.

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