For the uninitiated, there are few categories tougher to crack into than the true Korean eatery. But our judges ate far and wide during our most recent Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards to ensure that they could direct you to the best the city has to offer.

BEST KOREAN RESTAURANTS IN VANCOUVER

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1. Hanwoori

Our Judges agreed that you can do no better than longtime standard bearer Hanwoori. The Metrotown strip mall location isn’t inspiring and the food can be pricey, but once inside, you’re treated to an event that blends the fun of tabletop cooking with dishes like kkori gomtang (oxtail and bone marrow soup)—a bubbling cast-iron cauldron of Korean comfort food—that are the best in town.

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2. Joong Won

Then there's Robson Street’s Joong Won, which won’t win any prizes for decor but was a welcome surprise for our panel: “Leave your name and go for a stroll—the food is well worth the wait” was their consensus.

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3.  Royal Seoul House

Here's to the OG that is Broadway’s Royal Seoul House, perhaps the city’s most iconic Korean spot: still rock solid, and a great intro for newbies to what classic Korean is all about. An institution.

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4. Sura Korean BBQ

This elegant spot has locations in both Vancouver and Richmond, although the Vancouver location, on Robson, can see frequent lineups. Service can be perfunctory, but the famed potato pancakes are worth it.

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5. Insadong

Drive to Coquitlam for dinner? Yes, say our judges, when the food is the superlative Korean BBQ that is the house speciality. We also love that the tables have buzzers for service!