Korean food favors fresh seafood, which means San Diego is an ideal location for Korean restaurants. Dishes are known to include fresh fish, octopus, squid and a range of shellfish. There are also plenty of unique flavors, from spiced meats to delectable sauces, which help Korean foods stand out in the international restaurant world.
Don’t let its trendiness or the uniqueness of certain ingredients, like kim chi, put you off from trying Korean. Properly prepared, Korean dishes can be enjoyed by those who are picky about proteins and those who have little tolerance for spicy heat. There truly is a broad range of dishes, especially when you consider Korean BBQ.
Korean BBQ takes amazing Asian flavors and combines them with fresh grilled meats. The end result is a bone-picking, finger-licking dish that you can’t get enough of. From spare ribs to noodle soups, the range of flavors and foods included in Korean dishes makes them very accessible.
While many modern restaurants do interesting fusion renditions of Korean dishes, we opted to highlight mostly traditional Korean eateries with less experimental dishes. Read on for four can’t-miss Korean restaurants worth visiting around San Diego!
Hit Up the Buffet for Some Real Korean Soul Food
Jeong Won Korean BBQ Buffet.
Location: 4690 Convoy Street, Suite 104
Hours: Seven days a week: Noon to 10:30 p.m.
Jeong Won Korean BBQ Buffet is the only all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ buffet in San Diego. Of course, quality is so much more important than quantity, but you can have both at Jeong Won Korean BBQ. Unlike some buffets, they do not have a plate limit, so you can bring your biggest appetite.
You can make reservations, but they also serve you if you walk in. Of course, when it comes to the food, you can serve yourself. You can expect to find a wide range of dishes, sides, sauces and veggies. You can load up your plate and get exactly what you want, no more and no less.
Jeong Won Korean BBQ Buffet is a true mom and pop, family-owned place, beloved by regulars. They have a pleasant, casual setting, like you’d expect from an Asian buffet. They can accommodate families with children as well as large groups. There’s no outdoor seating, but they do serve beer and wine. If you’re taking out family or friends, they do offer both senior and military discount pricing.
Convoy has Real Deal Korean Meals In Kearny Mesa
Convoy Tofu House.
Location: 4229 Convoy Street
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday: 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Believe it or not, the Convoy Tofu House will serve you all kinds of dishes, not just tofu. If you’re looking for incredible food at amazing prices, Convoy Tofu House is your new go-to Korean joint.
They have a special summer menu that includes black noodle salad, spicy cold soup and cold noodle soup. Don’t worry, though. There are plenty of awesome dishes all year round. Main dishes include dumplings, crab, a range of soups, including chicken ginseng stew, and black goat soup and Korean sausage. Cutter fish, cod and mixed seafood are all options on the extensive menu at Convoy Tofu House.
You can also order pork or chicken bulgogi, BBQ at the table, such as sliced bacon, beef brisket or beef bulgogi. As the name implies, they offer a range of tofu dishes, such as BibimBap tofu stew, mixed stew with beef, clams, shrimp and mushrooms, fried egg and even tofu and kim chi stew.
The casual atmosphere is complemented by beer and wine, as well as televisions and free wi-fi. You can bring a group, but larger groups may way to call ahead.
Love your Korean BBQ and Yourself a Fix at Buga Korean in Clairemont
Buga Korean BBQ.
Location: 5580 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
Hours: Seven days a week: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
If you want something truly authentic, you can’t beat a place that updates its Facebook page in Korean! Buga Korean BBQ has a wide range of authentic, and mouth-watering, flavorful Korean dishes. Thankfully, their staff is both friendly and knowledgeable, so you don’t have to worry about feeling overwhelmed. Even if you aren’t familiar with the common dishes, condiments and flavors of Korean BBQ, you can count on help to make the best decision.
They do serve beer and wine, and they have space for groups. They are also family-friendly, if your children enjoy adventurous meals. Whether you’re looking for yook-hwe, a marinated raw beef dish, Korean pancakes or marinated short ribs, you’ll find it on the menu here.
They also offer traditional soups, steamed eggs, dumplings, noodles and even BimbimBap. They allow you to make reservations on their website or by calling the restaurant.
OB Noodle House has the Best Korean Food in Ocean Beach
OB Noodle House and Sake Bar.
Location: 2218 Cable Street
Hours: Monday-Thursday: Noon to 11 p.m., Friday-Sunday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Unlike the other eateries featured on this list, OB Noodle House is a fusion restaurant, not a Korean one. This Ocean Beach restaurant has a range of Asian flavors. They have previously been rated as one of the best fusion offerings in San Diego, and their menu and specials are sure to keep drawing in customers to impress.
Craving a cold salad? Try the lemon rare steak, a salad with plenty of protein and vegetable crunch. If noodles are what you’re in the mood for, this is the place. They have pan-seared crispy egg noodles, bun vermicelli noodles (served cold) and even pho.
Protein options range from vegetarian-friendly tofu to chicken, pork, steak, shrimp and calamari. Korean beef short ribs are always a great dinner choice. Stop in on Tuesdays, when they offer Korean style pork belly tacos for $4 each or three for $10.
If fusion tacos aren’t your style, they also have a weekday Happy Hour (except on holidays) from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. with half off beers, whiskey and sake. Due to limited seating, there are no reservations here. You’ll have to drop by and hope to snag a table!