One of my favorite things about the Twin Cities is how we’ve got such a sneaky awesome collection of diverse restaurants.
But our humble Midwestern city also has an incredible selection of more worldly fare. Take, for example, our Korean food scene…
There’s at least two dozen legit spots to grab Korean food around Minneapolis and St. Paul. Whether you’re craving authentic bulgogi, traditional hot stone babimbap, or even a celebrity chef’s spin on the classics, it’s all here. We’ve even got amazing Korean pizza, for goodness’ sake!
Today, we’re narrowing down that lengthy list to the true standouts. It wasn’t easy, but here’s our choices for the 9 best Korean restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
PS – If you’re looking specifically for the grilled adventure that is Korean BBQ in Minneapolis, we’ve got a guide for that, too.
- Map of the Twin Cities’ Best Korean Restaurants
- The Most Popular Korean Restaurant in the Twin Cities: Kbop Korean Bistro
- The Best Korean Restaurant Only Locals Know About: Dong Yang
- The Most Underrated Korean Restaurant in St. Paul: Lucky China
- The Most Authentic Korean Restaurant in St. Paul: Sole Cafe
- The Best Korean Tofu Soup: Kimchi Tofu House
- Best Korean Pizza: Pizzeria Lola
- Best Koren Fried Chicken: Bap and Chicken
- The Best Babimbap (that’s not trying to be authentic): World Street Kitchen
- The Best Traditional Babimbap: King’s Restaurant
Map of the Twin Cities’ Best Korean Restaurants
The Most Popular Korean Restaurant in the Twin Cities: Kbop Korean Bistro
With a prime location in the heart of Dinkytown, it’s no surprise that Kbop is front and center when you think of Korean food around Minneapolis and St. Paul. Thankfully, this is one spot that deserves its popularity. Kbop’s counter service menu (complete with HD photos of all 36 dishes, for the uninitiated) is truly authentic Korean, and everything we’ve ever tried is fantastic. The beef bulgogi is by far the best seller, but the bi bim bap is a classic, and Lily’s in love with their Japchae.
No matter what you order, each dish comes with several small bowls of authentic Korean banchan, including kimchi, pickled veggies, and cooked rice.
- Address: 425 13th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
- Website: kbop
The Best Korean Restaurant Only Locals Know About: Dong Yang
There’s maybe no better foodie adventure in the Twin Cities that an exploratory trip to Dong Yang out in Columbia Heights. Located in the back of an unassuming Korean grocery store, Dong Yang serves some of the most show-stopping authentic Korean food anywhere in the Twin Cities. It’s counter service (what else would you expecting at a grocery store??) but the final presentation could fool even the most legit full-stop Korean restaurants in the cities. Not to mention, the taste! The short menu is maybe 20 items max, but every single one is authentic Korean perfection.
- Address: 725 45th Ave NE, Hilltop, MN 55421
- Website: N/A
The Most Underrated Korean Restaurant in St. Paul: Lucky China
Update 2021: After nearly three decades, Lucky China’s owners have retired, and they closed the restaurant in June 2021. 😭 Thanks for the memories!
It’s tough for people to think of you among the best Korean restaurants in the city when you advertise yourself as a Chinese restaurant, but such is the mystery of Lucky China in West St. Paul.
One of the best kept secrets in the Twin Cities is Lucky China’s top-secret Korean menu, available only upon request. Surprisingly, that menu is packed with some of our city’s best takes on Korean classics, like Cha Jang Mein (a fabulous noodle bowl with black bean sauce) or the Gan Poung Chicken (basically the best spicy orange chicken you’ve ever had).
- Address: 1375 S Robert St, West St Paul, MN 55118
- Website: Lucky China
The Most Authentic Korean Restaurant in St. Paul: Sole Cafe
If you’re looking for a true Korean experience, Sole Cafe is one of your best bets in St. Paul. Stepping inside feels like you’ve entered another continent. The homey atmosphere is emphasized with low ceilings, hand-built wooden pagoda structures, and a TV that always seems to be streaming live from across the globe. There’s a reason this spot seems to be the local hangout among the neighborhood’s Korean community, and I have to think it’s a mix between the ultra-friendly owners and some of the best, most authentic Korean food around.
- Address: 684 Snelling Ave, St Paul, MN 55104
- Website: Sole Cafe
The Best Korean Tofu Soup: Kimchi Tofu House
Blink while you’re in Dinkytown and you might miss Kimchi Tofu House. But this tiny 24-seat restaurant is home to some legit Korean food, none of it more popular than the house Tofu Soup. What’s that? You’ve never had Tofu Soup? Brace yourself for a tangy and somewhat spicy concoction that’s only made that much better by the chilly climate we call home.
Of course, Dinkytown pricing means their food is also some of the best value around!
- Address: 307 SE Oak St, Minneapolis, MN 55414
- Website: Kimchi Tofu House
Best Korean Pizza: Pizzeria Lola
At this point our love for Ann Kim, who we now simply refer to as the Twin Cities Pizza Queen, (thanks to her three pizza joints representing a solid 1/4 of our best pizza places in Minneapolis) is obvious.
What might not be as obvious is that if you’re in the mood for Korean food, you might want to head to a pizza restaurant?
It’s true. Ann Kim’s Korean BBQ is absolutely one of the best bites of Korean food around the Twin Cities. In fact, it’s so good it brought Guy Fieri out of the woodwork during a Triple D Minneapolis episode. (Guy tried the similar “Lady Zaza” Korean pizza, and not surprisingly, gave it rave reviews…)
PS – You can find Pizzeria Lola’s same Korean Pizza at their sister restaurant, Young Joni, located in Northeast, Minneapolis.
- Address: 5557 Xerxes Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55410
- Website: Pizzeria Lola
Best Koren Fried Chicken: Bap and Chicken
With an owner born in Seoul, South Korea and adopted by Minnesotan parents, John Gleason brings his own spin to Korean Fried Chicken. What started as one of the Twin Cities most popular food trucks has since expanded into a permanent Grand Avenue location, but the same fan-favorite crispy chicken remains. Get it on everything from stand alone drumsticks to bibimbap bowls and even fried chicken sandwiches!
- Address: 1328 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55105
- Website: Bap and Chicken
The Best Babimbap (that’s not trying to be authentic): World Street Kitchen
Celebrity Chef Sameh Wadi (of Iron Chef America fame) opened World Street Kitchen as his unique take on world street food. What this means for Korean fans is that you’ll find a section of the menu loosely inspired by Korean Babimbap. The most obvious example of this is the “Korean BBQ Beef Short Ribs” bowl… an unbelievable mix with Korean inspired flavors, including a house made kimchi sauce. No, it’s not exactly authentic, but it’s not trying to be. It’s simply a chef-inspired take on the flavor profile, and the result is absolutely amazing.
- Address: 2743 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408
- Website: World Street Kitchen
The Best Traditional Babimbap: King’s Restaurant
If you’re looking for a more traditional babimbap, then you should head up to Fridley. At King’s Restaurant, they specialize in dolsot babimbap. Translation: babimbap that’ served in a heated stone bowl, so everything comes out sizzling hot, right in front of you. King’s takes a fresh and bright approach to their bowl – you’ll find a ton of veggies and even a raw egg yolk. (Which of course gets cooked before your eyes, in that sizzling hot stone bowl!)
- Address: 1051 E Moore Lake Dr, Minneapolis, MN 55432
- Website: King’s Restaurant