When it comes to Korean BBQ in the Twin Cities, we’ve noticed a lot of confusion about the subject among locals.
To be fair, the differences between Korean BBQ and the usual Korean restaurant aren’t immediately obvious, at least from the names. But here’s the deal:
- Korean restaurants: Exactly what they sound like. A normal restaurant experience, where you order traditional Korean flavors and enjoy a chef-prepared dish from the East Asian country.
- Korean BBQ: A specific type of Korean restaurant, where you sit down at a table and they give you a tiny grill-like contraption. You order various cuts of meat and veggies, and you’re then responsible for using your tiny grill to cook the stuff yourself!
The latter is what true Korean food fans mean whenever they discuss “Korean BBQ.” Korean BBQ is a unique dining experience and an especially fun thing to do with friends and family.
(If the idea of cooking your own sounds intimidating, fear not! The meats are usually very thin and cook really fast.)
And so begins our quest for the best Korean BBQ in Minneapolis and St. Paul…
- Map of the Best Korean BBQ Restaurants in Minneapolis St. Paul
- The Only True Korean BBQ Restaurants in the Twin Cities:
- A Solid Korean BBQ Style Restaurant (That’s not actually Korean)
- Other Traditional Korean Restaurants serving Korean BBQ flavors around the Twin Cities:
Map of the Best Korean BBQ Restaurants in Minneapolis St. Paul
The Only True Korean BBQ Restaurants in the Twin Cities:
If you’re looking for the true Korean BBQ experience, you only have a few options around MSP:
Hoban Korean BBQ (Minneapolis)
For the genuinely authentic Korean BBQ experience, we almost always recommend Hoban Korean BBQ. Located right on Hennepin Avenue in the heart of Uptown (trust us, it’s worth the traffic headaches), Hoban has been a staple for Korean food in the Twin Cities since 2016. It’s one of the only options for the traditional grill-at-your-table experiences, and the menu knocks it out of the park. Plan for your visit; there’s almost always a wait of an hour or more on the weekends.
- Address: 2939 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408
- Website: Hoban Korean BBQ
Dong Hae Korean Grill and Sushi (Minneapolis)
The second spot we’ve found with a true table-side Korean BBQ grill is Dong Hae in downtown Minneapolis. While this one isn’t completely cook your own (the server will toss the meat on your grill and cook it for you) it’s definitely closer to an authentic Korean BBQ experience. You do seem to pay a premium for that service though – the prices here are on the slightly higher end.
- Address: 903 S Washington Ave 2nd floor, Minneapolis, MN 55415
- Website: Dong Hae
A Solid Korean BBQ Style Restaurant (That’s not actually Korean)
Okay, this next one is clearly not Korean. But if you’re just in the mood for great cuts of meat and a “grill your own” atmosphere, this next one is one of the Twin Cities’ best options.
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ (Minneapolis)
Again, the name makes it pretty clear this obviously is not “Korean” BBQ. But Gyu-Kaku has taken the Korean BBQ concept and immigrated it to Japan, all from the comfort of Minneapolis’s Lyn-Lake neighborhood.
At Gyu-Kaku, each table includes a built-in electric grill. The menu then offers all sorts of decadent cuts of Japanese beef, like Kobe style Short Rib, Hirami Skirt Steak, and even Filet Mignon. Even though these cuts and flavors are clearly Japanese, they all come out Korean style – sliced thin and ready to be grilled by yours truly.
It’s truly one of the best BBQ experiences around, and you know we wouldn’t be bending the rules on this one if the food wasn’t fantastic.
- Address: 3025 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408
- Website: Gyu-Kaku Minneapolis
Other Traditional Korean Restaurants serving Korean BBQ flavors around the Twin Cities:
While these restaurants don’t have the tableside grill experience, if you’re craving some Korean BBQ flavors, these great Korean restaurants might hit the spot.
Arirang Korea Restaurant (St. Paul)
Whether you’re new to Korean BBQ or have tried all the Twin Cities hot spots, the reviews of Arirang Korea Restaurant come in pretty consistent every time. Delicious, authentic menu. Fair prices. And a staff that wants nothing more than to make you feel at home every time you visit. The restaurant is on the smaller side; it may be a better option for curbside weekends on a tight schedule.
- Address: 828 E 7th St, St Paul, MN 55106
- Website: Arirang Korea Restaurant
Gangnam Korean Restaurant (St. Paul)
Don’t let Gangnam Korean BBQ’s unsuspecting strip-mall location deter you from enjoying some of the best-marinated meats and banchan in the East Metro. Gangnam prides itself on the freshest ingredients and flavors, without the additives and artificial ingredients that can sometimes find their way into takeout places.
- Address: 2303 White Bear Ave, Maplewood, MN 55109
- Website: Gangnam Korean Restaurant
Hoban Korean BBQ (Eagan, MN)
Not to be confused with the much-pricier Uptown spot with the same name (see above – the two restaurants share the same name, but not the same ownership or menu – how confusing is that!?), we often find ourselves at Hoban Korean BBQ after hitting up the Twin Cities Outlet Mall. The strip-mall setting may not provide the “wow” factor from the outside, but you will find some of the best banchan in the Metro. Did we mention there’s karaoke?
Address: 1989 Silver Bell Road, Eagan, MN
Website: Hoban Korean BBQ
Kbop Korean Bistro (Minneapolis)
The best option for carry-out bulgogi and bibimbap on your lunch hour? Kbop in Dinkytown takes the prize. The food here is surprisingly good for fast-casual BBQ. You may not get the tableside, slow-roasted experience, but you will find all the classic options and kimchi that stand up to the real deal.
- Address: 425 13th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
- Website: Kbop Korean Bistro
Kimchi Tofu House (Minneapolis)
If you’re not on the lookout for Kimchi Tofu House among the chain restaurants and coffee shops in Stadium Village, you might walk right past it. Not much about this tiny hole-in-the-wall spot on Oak Street near the Superblock screams ‘Best Korean on campus.’ But if you stop for a look, you’ll find a simple vegetarian-focused menu with traditional Korean BBQ flavors and plenty of steaming hot pot. The dishes here are known to be extra spicy – if that’s not your style, be sure to mention it before you order.
- Address: 307 SE Oak St, Minneapolis, MN 55414
- Website: Kimchi Tofu House
Kings Restaurant (Fridley, MN)
Downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul aren’t the only options to find top-notch Korean BBQ flavors in the Metro. Located just to the west of the 694/35W interchange, Kings Restaurant has been serving Korean standards for more than 20 years. Like any authentic Korean spot, the Bulgogi and Galbi (marinated short ribs) are incredible, as is the long list of soups and stews. For the more adventurous eaters, Kings offers a selection of Korean “Soondae,” homemade blood sausages with tripe and offal, considered a delicacy on traditional Korean menus.
- Address: 1051 E Moore Lake Dr, Minneapolis, MN 55432
- Website: Kings Restaurant
Mirror of Korea (St. Paul)
For more than 30 years, Mirror of Korea Restaurant has served up authentic Korean BBQ dishes on Snelling Avenue in St. Paul. The bright blue awnings out front of the restaurant suggest you can “Taste the Flavors of Korea” on a visit inside. While the dining area might be a bit dated, the sizzling plates of galbi and grilled mackerel won’t disappoint. Be sure to check out the seasonal specials and chef’s special menu items. You’ll find a few treasures on there you can’t find anywhere else in the Metro.
- Address: 761 Snelling Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104
- Website: Mirror of Korea Restaurant
Sole Café (St. Paul)
Sole means evergreen or “forever” in Korean. It’s sort of how we feel about this Snelling Avenue gem offering farmers-market fresh side dishes and authentic Korean BBQ. Open for lunch and dinner, Chef Kimberly Firnstahl prides herself on choosing locally grown ingredients whenever possible, skipping the MSG and pre-packaged ingredients, and customizing any dish on the menu.
- Address: 684 Snelling Ave, St Paul, MN 55104
- Website: Sole Café