I’ve spent my entire life living on the Eastside of Seattle except for a short period of time I lived in the University of Washington district (just north of Downtown Seattle) for college. During that time, it’s been amazing to watch the explosion of Korean restaurants all throughout the greater Seattle area. Today, some of the best Korean in the region can be found across Eastside cities like Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, and Renton.
I’ll take you through each of the best Korean BBQ, sit-down restaurants, and quick-eat locations with my recommendations and need-to-know items.
The 13 Best Korean BBQ and Restaurants on the Eastside:
- Cho Dang Tofu
- Exit 5 Korean BBQ
- Stone Korean Restaurant
- The Box & Burger Eatery
- Seoul Bowl
- Palace Korean Bar & Grill
- Chi Mac
- The Third Place
- DAK Korean Fried Chicken
- Seoul Hot Pot
- Mama’s Kitchen
- Bowl Gogi
1. Cho Dang Tofu
Address: 1645 140th Ave NE, Suite A1-A, Bellevue, WA 98005
Type: Sit Down
So I’m a bit biased here as many would have guessed a Korean BBQ restaurant would be number one. But I just love soondubu jjigae (tofu soup). It’s my go to item when hitting up Korean for a meal and I’ll use a sit down restaurant’s soondubu jjigae as its measuring stick. Although Cho Dang Tofu has other locations in the greater Seattle area, this location in Bellevue is relatively new which is perfect because it’s a short 10-minute drive from my house.
There’s a small waiting area once you walk in and you’ll immediately want to write your name and number in your party on the waiting list. Someone will come around and seat you as soon as there’s a table available. Come during normal lunch and dinner hours, you might have to wait a bit.
Cho Dang has a great variety of traditional Korean appetizers and entrees from soups, Korean-style BBQ, and the famous banchan (Korean side dishes). They’ll serve you a personal serving of side dishes and a staff member regularly comes around with a side dish cart asking if you’d like refills! Insider tip: if you’re into spicy and decide to order the soondubu jjigae, you’ll need to decide on a spicy level. Although the menu will show four peppers and extra spicy, ask your waiter for the off the menu spicy!
Recommendations: Haemul Pajeon (green onion and seafood pancake – sliced up like a pizza and served with a soy sauce dip) | Kalbi (BBQ beef short rib) and Soondubu Jjigae (tofu soup) combo special.
2. Exit 5 Korean BBQ
Address: 911 N 10th PL, Suite D, Renton, WA 98057 – The Landing
Type: Korean BBQ
Exit 5 Korean BBQ is another new Korean restaurant in the greater Seattle area. It happens to be in Renton, which is just south of Bellevue and as you might have guessed, the restaurant is located off of exit 5 on I-405. Although there are numerous restaurants at, “The Landing” – which is a collection of various restaurants, shopping, and a movie theater – ignore the “noise” and head over to Exit 5 Korean BBQ.
Exit 5 accommodates both diners looking for a regular sit-down meal, as well as Korean BBQ (which I define as having a tableside grill for personally cooking the meat). Their regular menu boasts traditional (and some modern) options like Japchae (stir-fried noodles), Tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), various tangs/jjigaes (soups/stews), and Korean BBQ that is cooked in the kitchen and brought to your table ready to eat.
When you come in, you’ll be asked if you’re looking to do Korean BBQ. It’s up to you on the type of experience you’d like to have as you can still order off the regular menu while also doing Korean BBQ. You won’t go wrong with whichever option you choose at Exit 5. The Korean BBQ menu has different options for the size of your party (or perhaps how hungry you happen to be) and the types of protein you’re wanting. From beef, chicken, pork, seafood, and a combination of all the above, they’ve got it all. Know that it’ll be a bit pricey but you’re going to get high-quality cuts, which isn’t the case at all Korean BBQ restaurants.
Regular Menu Recommendations: Kimchi Pancakes | Soy-Garlic Wings | Mandu Twigim (Fried Dumplings) | LA Galbi (grilled marinated beef short ribs) | Spicy Pork Bulgogi | Hot Stone Bibimbap (seasoned veggies on top of a salad mixed with rice and choice of protein/tofu)
Korean BBQ Recommendations: Marinated Combo (Marinated Bulgogi, Marinated Chicken, Spicy Thin Sliced Pork Belly, and Marinated Beef Short Rib) | Seafood Medley (Squid, Shrimp, Baby Octopus, and Scallop)
3. Stone Korean Restaurant
Address: 16857 Redmond Way, Redmond, WA 98052
Type: Sit Down
Tucked away in a plaza in the suburbs of Redmond, Stone Korean Restaurant makes the list as the most at-home, traditional restaurant on the list. Owners Diana and Kang Choi describe that their goal with Stone was to be the best Korean Restaurant in the Great Seattle area by focusing on two categories: authentic/tasty food and amazing customer service… to introduce Korean food to people who have never tried Korean food before. Opening their doors in 2011, they are thriving in 2022 having added locations in Bothell and South Lake Union (Seattle).
Stone’s focus on authentic and traditional Korean food means plenty of jjigae (soup), bi-bim-baps (mixed rice pots), and naeng-myun (noodles) options. Combo specials might be the best way to go if you’re looking for smaller portions but a variety of foods to try.
Recommendations: Dduk-Bok-Gi (rice cake and veggies in sweet Korean chili sauce) | Beef Hot Pot | Spicy Pork Bulgogi | Grilled Flounder
4. The Box & Burgers Eatery
Address: 12305 120th Ave NE, Suite C, Kirkland, WA 98034
Type: Sit Down
The Box is definitely a stretch when adding it to a best Korean restaurants list. It’s more of an Asian Fusion restaurant. With that being said, the items they do have on their menu that is inspired by Korean flavors and hits the spot!
The Box has a smaller menu, but they do everything very well. From salads and creative burger concoctions to their fusion entrees, The Box has something for everyone.
Recommendations: Chicken Kraage Plate | Kalbi Yakinuku Plate | Kimchi Fried Rice | BiBimBap Burger
5. Seoul Bowl
Address: 13706 100th Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98034
Type: Quick Eats
Seoul Bowl has five different locations in the Greater Seattle Area. Bringing the big flavors from South Korea into their Seoul Bowls, this is one spot you won’t want to miss. If you’ve ever been to Chipotle, you’ll know how this works.
You’ll start with a base which includes various rice, salad, or noodle options. Next choose your protein (Bulgogi Beef, Spicy Pork, BBQ Chicken, or Organic Fried Tofu). Then comes the best part, the toppings. This is a play on many of the famous Korean banchan (side) dishes. Choose from caramelized onions, Asian salad, Kimchi, cucumber kimchi, pickled radish, sweet mashed potato, roasted corn, soy pickled jalapenos, and even mozzarella cheese! Finish all of this off with one of their sauces (sweet soy, yum yum, sweet chili, and Korean hot gochujang).
Seoul Bowl also offers Korean-style fried chicken and Korean-inspired sides.
Recommendations: Build Your Own KBBQ Bowl (get the Yum Yum sauce) | Seoul Chicken | Bulgogi Kimchi Cheese Fries
6. Palace Korean Bar & Grill
Address: 15932 NE 8th St, Bellevue, WA 98008
Type: Korean BBQ
If you’re looking for an All You Can Eat (AYCE) Korean BBQ option, look no further. Palace offers one of the largest AYCE options I’ve seen. They do a great job of coming around often to make sure you have everything you need, including those delicious banchan (side) dishes. Have your pick of Korean-style marinated beef, chicken, pork, and seafood. They even have a doenjang jjigae (soybean paste soup) and a Korean-style steamed egg option on the AYCE menu!
A few things to note. As you’re coming toward the end of your meal and feel like getting a little more food, ask the waiter for a half or even quarter portion of whatever AYCE item you’d like. If you waste food, you’ll be charged for it. You need to go with at least one other person as AYCE KBBQ is 2 or more people only. You have a time limit of 1.5 hours so don’t think you can stay there all day! You can order up to four items per order and be sure you finish everything on the plate before ordering a second round.
Recommendations: Thin Slices of Marbled Beef Brisket | Slices of Pork Belly | Marinated Beef Short Ribs | Marinated Spicy Pork | Fresh Shrimp
7. Chi Mac
Address: 3640 Factoria Blvd SE, Suite E, Bellevue, WA 98006
Type: Quick Eats
How did Chi Mac come up with their name for their restaurant? Chi – short for chicken in English. Mac – short for beer (maekju) in Korean. Chi Mac. Chi Mac serves only local, cage-free chicken with no added steroids or hormones. So rest assured, you’re getting high-quality when it comes to chicken at this eatery.
Chi Mac’s menu has a good blend between those looking for more of your traditional chicken options vs those looking for a Korean-inspired chicken dish. From wings and tenders to sandwiches and rice bowls, Chi Mac has something for everyone.
On a side note, I was super excited to see Milkis and Chilsung Cider when I was at Chi Mac. I grew up drinking both but back in the day!
Recommendations: Chicken Rice Bowl | Korean Wings | Kim-Cheese Fries | Kimchi Macaroni Salad (not for everyone) | Milkis
Address: 8976 161st Ave NE, Redmond, WA 98052
Type: Korean BBQ
Boasting that they are truly the first All You Can Eat (AYCE) Korean BBQ in Redmond, Woomadang comes in at number 8 on our list for best Korean on the Eastside. Unassuming from the outside, as soon as you step in, your senses will be flooded with the smell of marinated meats on the grill! With some fancy Korean decor to add to the ambiance, Woomadang does not disappoint K-BBQ enthusiasts.
A couple nice touches at Woomadang that you won’t find at other Korean BBQ spots on our list are their unlimited hot bar and salad bar with your purchase of the AYCE K-BBQ option. You’ll find an assortment of both Korean and Asian hot foods, as well as greens and veggies to even out your protein intake for the day.
Woomadang also has an a la carte option, as well as a regular menu. The options are a bit more limited as this restaurant focuses their attention solely on the K-BBQ.
Regular Menu Recommendations: Japchae (stir-fried glass noodles, bell pepper, carrots, spinach, mushroom, onions, green onion, soy, with beef) | LA Kalbi (beef short rib, bone-in) | Yukgaejang (spicy beef and veggie soup)
Korean BBQ Recommendations: Thinly Sliced Brisket | Bone-in Short Rib (LA Style) | Beef Bulgogi | Pork Belly | Pork Bulgogi
9. The Third Place
Address: 7844 NE Leary Way, Redmond, WA 98052
Type: Sit Down
The Third Place is my “hidden gem” restaurant on the list. Nothing really stands out when it comes to the exterior or interior, but once your order arrives, it’s gonna be good. The Third Place offers a good mix between traditional Korean foods and a great Korean friend chicken menu.
Familiar items like bibimbap (mixed rice), various jjigaes and tangs (soups/stews), japchae (stir-fried glass noodles), and Korean BBQ are all on the menu but I’d pay special attention to their Korean Fried Chicken offering.
Recommendations: Yeook-Gae-Jaeng (spicy beef brisket soup) | Kimchi Jhun (kimchi pancakes) | Spicy Yangnyum Chicken | Spicy Chicken Bulgogi | Pa-Dak Chicken | Honey Garlic Chicken
10. DAK Korean Fried Chicken
Address: 7405 168th Ave NE, Suite 140, Redmond, WA 98052
Type: Quick Eats
DAK Korean Fried Chicken is located near Redmond Town Center in Downtown Redmond. A contemporary and modern restaurant, DAK combines everything you love about Korean fried foods with a side of slaw, sesame rice, and waffle fries!
Chicken comes in the form of tenders, wings, or a combo. Flavors include soy garlic, sweet savory, garlic kick, hot kiss, and super fire! Orders come with their vinegar slaw, but you can sub them out for some rice or fries. Want it all? No problem. Just order it on their side menu.
Recommendations: Mix Combo (4 tenders and 8 wings with 2 flavor choices. All the choices are good but garlic kick is my all time favorite) | Cajun Waffle Fries | Sweet Potato Fries |
11. Seoul Hot Pot
Address: 2560 152nd Ave NE, Suite N, Redmond, WA 98052
Type: Sit Down
Seoul Hot Pot is a great place if you’re looking for something warm during these winter months. Communal dining (family style) is a big part of Korean tradition although it has changed over time. But Seoul Hot Pot brings jeongol – Korean style hot pot to the Eastside area for all to enjoy.
Although the menu has plenty of your traditional Korean entrees, appetizers, and dishes you’ll want to focus your attention on their jeongol offerings. Seoul Hot Pot’s jeongol is served with a 64-ounce pot heated up right at your table burner. If you like spicy, you’ll need to make sure your waiter knows as the default level is mild.
Recommendations: Jeongol – Pork and Potato | Jeongol – Kimchi and Dumplings (with noodles and assortment of veggies) | Jeongol -Seafood (with clam, mussel, whole octopus, shrimps, noodles, assortment of veggies)
12. Mama’s Kitchen
Address: 12672 SE 38th St, Bellevue, WA 98006
Type: Quick Eats
Mama’s Kitchen is your Korean version of a comfort food restaurant. Blending bold flavors from Korea with the American comfort food concept, Mama’s is a go-to any day of the week. You’ll see lots of familiar Korean dishes when looking at mama’s menu, and one in particular that I want to highlight is their kimbap (traditional Korean seaweed roll). We haven’t seen this offered in any of our restaurants on this list. Kimbap is a staple dish when it comes to Korean food culture. Kimbap is conceptually banchan wrapped in nori.
I love Mama’s retro kitchen section of their menu. Beyond kimbap there’s a variety of options including chicken katsu jungsik, kimchi cheese fried rice, and ban ban chicken (half fried and half spicy and sweet). Katsu Mayo Over Rice is perfect if you’re looking for a crispy chicken and rice combo and the Galbi-Jjim Bibimbap brings perfectly marinated melt-in-your-mouth meat with fresh veggies over rice that provides that perfect combination of sweet and savory.
Recommendations: Mama’s Kimbap | Chicken Katsu Jungsik | Ban Ban Chicken | Galbi-Jjim Bibimbap | Spicy Pork Over Rice | Katsu Mayo Over Rice | Chadol Jjolmyeon (spicy, chewy, sweet, and sour cold noodles topped with marbled beef brisket slices)
13. Bowl Gogi
Address: 500 108th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
Type: Quick Eats
Located at the City Center building in Downtown Bellevue, we have Bowl Gogi rounding out our best Korean restaurants on the Eastside list. A unique fact about this restaurant is their green mission. Their bowls and lids can be refrigerated and frozen, are made by sugarcane, microwave safe, and are disposable, 100% biodegradable, and compostable. So if that’s something you’re super passionate about as well, Bowl Gogi is the greenest spot on our list.
Like Seoul Bowl, Bowl Gogi is another Chipotle-like concept when it comes to food. You’ll pick your base which consists of rice and a salad option. Your protein choices consist of beef, pork, spicy chicken, chicken breast, tofu, salmon, and a half-and-half option (choose two different proteins).
Then you can go with the 3 or 6 sides option. Sides consist of bean sprout, edamame, cucumber, imitation crab, cabbage, broccoli, spring mix, corn, kimchi, sliced egg, and carrot.
Next pick a sauce: spicy bibimbap (my personal favorite), soy bowlgogi, spicy mayo, make me cry (very spicy), gluten-free soy, and teriyaki. A choice of toppings rounds out your bowl construction. Choose from green onions, pickled onions, seaweed, same seed, and a fried egg (for an additional cost).
Beyond their bowls, Bowl Gogi has a few lunch box items on their menu that are bento-style dishes. Choose from spicy chicken, beef, or pork as your protein. Bento comes with rice, beef gyoza, egg roll, broccoli, macaroni salad, stir-fried kimchi, and veggie omelet.
Recommendations: Build Your Own Bowl Gogi (highly recommend the pork protein and spicy bibimbap sauce) | Any of the Bento Lunch Boxes