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Dining Out 5 minutes 13 July 2021

The Best Korean Restaurants in MICHELIN Guide New York City

Where to eat delicious Korean food in New York City

Korean cuisine NYC Korean

Whether devouring bowls of gochu ramyun positively heaving with noodles or the crispiest kimchi-jeon (pancake), New Yorkers are wild for Korean cuisine. These are the 19 best Korean restaurants in NYC.

Atoboy

Ellia Park and her husband Junghyun Park wows diners from start to finish at this Gramercy hot spot with their unapologetic love for Korean food. Here you may find braised eggplant with snow crab and tomato; or fried chicken brined in pineapple juice, coated in tempura batter, and served with a ginger-peanut butter sauce. Close out with a refreshing sujeonggwa granita with lychee yogurt, burrata and candied walnut. US$75-102

Atoboy. Photo @lefrenchfood/Instagram
Atoboy. Photo @lefrenchfood/Instagram

Atomix

When Ellia Park and Junghyun Park not only serve the most exquisite multi-course menu, but have also created a truly beautiful space inside this Gramercy brownstone in which to enjoy it. Enormous care has gone into every detail, from the colors and the uniforms to the chopsticks and the bowls. Competing with all this style and elegance could be a challenge but the food is equally memorable. Dishes are delicate, yet satisfying and display extraordinary finesse and detail. The banchan alone will alert you that something special is happening here and whether pickling, curing, fermenting or grilling it’s apparent this is one with a mastery of all techniques. And the ingredients, be it Australian abalone, Hokkaido uni or Wagyu from Miyazaki are equally exemplary. US$205

Atomix. Photo by Diane Kang, courtesy of Atomix
Atomix. Photo by Diane Kang, courtesy of Atomix

Cafe Salmagundi

This “Korean inspired” restaurant makes a refreshing change in Gramercy Park. Make an inevitable start with a plate of those deliciously sticky chicken wings, famously doubly fried and flavorfully aggrandized by salt and pepper or soy sauce and garlic. Follow this up with "pizza" di mar, starring mussels, scallops, rock shrimp, and—surprise—Parmigiano and mozzarella; or bi bim bap with quinoa, uni, wasabi tobiko, and seaweed purée. Sign on the line with an enticing espresso martini. US$22-88

Café Salmagundi. Photo by Michelin North America
Café Salmagundi. Photo by Michelin North America

Cho Dang Gol

For a change of pace in bustling Koreatown, Cho Dang Gol offers the barbecue-weary an opportunity to explore some of this nation’s more rustic cooking. Soft tofu is the specialty of the house and it’s downright delicious, but bubbling casseroles and spicy stews are equally heartwarming. The menu also offers favorites like flaky pajeon, satisfying bibimbap and marinated meats. A sautéed tofu trio with pork belly is stir-fried with glassy sweet potato noodles and kimchi, in an excellent sweet and spicy red pepper sauce. US$18-50


Cho Dang Gol. Photo @view4two/Instagram
Cho Dang Gol. Photo @view4two/Instagram

Cote

Korean-born Simon Kim opened Cote as a joyful celebration of his home country’s love for beef allied with his admiration for the American steakhouse—and that’s what makes this place unique. First-timers should head for the “Butcher’s Feast” where you’ll get four different cuts of beef and a luscious egg soufflé that’s a meal in itself. This is accompanied by enough banchan and stews to cover your table and appetite. The USDA Prime meats are first presented raw for you to admire their marbling and color. Your server then rubs the smokeless grill with oil before expertly cooking them. The supporting cast of accompanying flavors—from the kimchi to the ssamjang—are all there to enhance their succulent and persuasive flavor even further. US$50-180

Cote. Photo by Gary He, courtesy of Cote
Cote. Photo by Gary He, courtesy of Cote

Danji

Attractive and smartly designed, this restaurant's silk panels, pottery and striking display of spoons are further enhanced by a flattering lighting scheme. Equally impressive are the menu’s myriad small plates, each of them a refreshing take on Korean specialties. Blocks of soft tofu are quickly deep-fried and boldly dressed with gochujang and a ginger-scallion vinaigrette. Poached daikon rings accompanied by bok choy are glazed with a dark and spicy sauce and stacked high for dramatic presentation. Vegetarian highlights include spicy, crispy dumplings filled with tofu, vegetables and cellophane noodles. US$20-65

Dons Bogam

Make no mistake: this is no average K-town joint. Inside, a top-notch venting system lets diners enjoy a smoke-free evening of exceptional grilled meats. Start with fried pork mandu, which are on-point and divine. Pork belly marinated in red wine is smoky and supremely tender, but for the ultimate payoff, opt for the beef platter. It features thinly sliced maeun and yangnyeom galbi set beside meaty king trumpet mushrooms.In Midtown for meetings? Pop in for the BBQ lunch, a fun and interactive midday meal that is leaps above a quick grab-and-go salad, yet just as healthy. US$22-280

Dons Bogam. Photo by Michelin North America
Dons Bogam. Photo by Michelin North America

Gentle Perch

This kitchen knows exactly what it’s doing. The style is Korean but with a playful edge. Think fried rice cakes submerged in a cheesy kimchi sauce or smoky bacon-studded fried rice. It’s all meant for sharing, unless you’re here just for a bowl of ramyun (try the Hungover Seoul). Groups may split the giant beef marinated short rib served with salad greens tossed in a clever nori vinaigrette. US$20-50

Gentle Perch. Photo by Bonnie Saporetti, courtesy of Gentle Perch
Gentle Perch. Photo by Bonnie Saporetti, courtesy of Gentle Perch

Haenyeo

This is the kind of spot that serves food so memorable you'll find yourself craving the same meal well after your visit. The kitchen is known for surprising diners at every twist and turn, as evidenced by the tteokbokki—spicy rice cake topped with Oaxacan cheese and chorizo. Less Korean leaning but equally delicious items include the fiery tofu stew stocked with seafood and accompanied by grilled ciabatta with seaweed butter. Wind down over warm, light and fluffy beignets along with a sip from their wonderful selection of sparkling spirits. US$40-50

Haenyeo. Photo @estherinaeats/Instagram
Haenyeo. Photo @estherinaeats/Instagram

Hahm Ji Bach

This is not your average Korean barbecue. It’s hard to go wrong on Hahm Ji Bach’s delightful menu, but don’t miss the samgyeopsal, tender slabs of well-marinated pork belly sizzled to crispy perfection tableside for you to swaddle in crisp lettuce with paper-thin daikon radish, spicy kimchi and bright scallions; or the mit bachan, a hot clay pot with soft steamed eggs, kimchi, tofu, pickled cucumbers and spicy mackerel. US$25-50

HanGawi

HanGawi is a soft-spoken, vegetarian restaurant that cares about what you eat and how you feel. The ssam bap offers a fun DIY experience with a long platter of fillings. Dark leafy lettuce and thin, herbaceous sesame leaves are topped with creamy slices of avocado, crunchy bean sprouts, pickled daikon, carrot, cucumber, radish and three rice options—white, brown and a nutty, purple-tinged multigrain. Topped with miso ssam sauce, each bite is a fresh burst of uplifting textures. US$26-69

HanGawi. Photo @cher_r_r_/Instagram
HanGawi. Photo @cher_r_r_/Instagram

Hyun

Hyun is a luxurious take on Korean barbecue, focusing squarely on top-notch Japanese A5 Wagyu, butchered in-house and grilled tableside. Enter this temple of indulgent tranquility to discover sleek dark wood, cool slate surfaces, private rooms, and a few tables en plain air. The omakase is a veritable feast that includes silken chawanmushi and hand-chopped tartare. It is however merely a precursor to the Wagyu slices, each of which arrives more beautifully marbled and deliciously grilled than the next. US$42-135

Hyun. Photo by Michelin North America
Hyun. Photo by Michelin North America

Jeju Noodle Bar

As envisioned by chef-owner Douglas Kim, the kitchen specializes in ramyun—not ramen. Pick your perch at one of the generously spaced tables or at the counter, where you can watch each dish come together. If that doesn't have your taste buds tingling, the kitchen's concise number of unique items at a steal of a price will hit the spot. Persian cucumber kimchi with a spicy plum dressing, shiso and sesame seeds is a culinary delight, while the mouthwatering aroma of pork bone broth that precedes the arrival of gochu ramyun brimming with curly noodles, bean sprouts and pickled cabbage is a veritable thesis on ace ingredients. US$25-50

Jua

Chef Hoyoung Kim is the man behind this iteration, turning out plates that are familiar yet somehow manage to surprise every single time. Kim weaves Western influences into his Korean prix-fixe in such an expert fashion that the results are nothing short of sumptuous and utterly crave-worthy. Kick off with caviar cradled by crisp seaweed prepared in the style of gim bugak; or cold-smoked slices of yellowtail imbued with yuzu and pepper. Sashimi is highly creative and may arrive with kombu, sliced blueberries, and finger lime. US$95-140

Jua. Photo by Dan Ahn, courtesy of Jua
Jua. Photo by Dan Ahn, courtesy of Jua

Jungsik

The cuisine describes itself as “New Korean,” which means it does lean westwards considerably; indeed, some of the wonderful sauces turned out of this versatile kitchen wouldn’t be out of place at a grand French table. What is most impressive here is that the Korean elements of the dishes seem to raise them to another level. Bibimbap composed with gochujang, crispy quinoa and tender Wagyu beef tartare will live long in the memory; while the branzino served simply with white kimchi shows that this is also a kitchen with the utmost confidence in the quality of its ingredients. This is cooking that's original, impeccably executed, and enormously satisfying. It’s the sort of food that makes you involuntarily nod to yourself while you’re eating. US$165-235

Jungsik. Photo by Dan Ahn, courtesy of Jungsik
Jungsik. Photo by Dan Ahn, courtesy of Jungsik

Kochi

Kudos to Chef Sungchul Shim, who taps into his Korean roots and fine-dining pedigree to create a solid but playful and technically proficient menu. Start with pine nut- and potato milk-soup, or sweet potato-and-sunchoke gratin, paired with a clever doenjang béchamel. Salmon bibimbap mingles pollock roe, candied anchovy, and toasted nori with brown soy-butter rice for a harmonious high point. The final hurrah? A stick of rich and nutty black sesame ice cream. Worth the splurge, you ask? Without a doubt. US$75

Kochi. Photo by Melissa Hom, courtesy of Kochi
Kochi. Photo by Melissa Hom, courtesy of Kochi

Oiji

A compact operation serving creative Korean infused with modern touches, Oiji is all about small plates-style dining. An open kitchen in the back offers sneak peeks of the adept chefs as they prepare a cuisine rooted in tradition, but replete with refinement. Begin with a wrap of Wagyu slices, brushed with barbecue sauce and topped with sautéed maitakes. Raw scallop slices may then arrive atop shredded snow crab; while vanilla bean ice cream surrounded by potato crisps doused in honey butter boasts of enticing flavors. US$45-75

Oiji. Photo by Michelin North America
Oiji. Photo by Michelin North America

Tong Sam Gyup Goo Yi

Begin with the usual but very exquisite banchan-like pickled turnips, fermented bean paste soup and specially aged house kimchi—funky, garlicky and a total pleasure. The kimchi pancake has a delightfully delicious crust and sear that recalls a slice of pizza. Yet what makes this place unique is that barbecue grill on each table, used for sizzling slices of flavorful duck with miso, garlic cloves and bean sprouts; spicy, tender bits of octopus; and sweet, fatty pork with soy sauce, red chili paste and scallions. US$25-50

Hero image: Jeju Noodle Bar. Photo by Douglas Kim, courtesy of Jeju Noodle Bar

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