Seoulful Delights ... Auckland's Finest Korean Cuisine

A group of customers sitting at a table inside Hello Beasty in Auckland.

Featuring everything from fried chicken and hotdogs to classic Korean BBQ, check out the list below for your comprehensive guide to Auckland’s favourite Korean restaurants

Words by: Nicole Mudgway 

Photos by: Anna Briggs, Delena Nathuran & Supplied

Korean cuisine is one of those cuisines that can be so deliciously simple. Many dishes contain just a few ingredients, yet somehow the flavours harmonise to create tantalisingly sweet, satisfyingly salty and lip-smackingly good, spicy food.

We have all heard of Korean fried chicken and bibimbap, but some of the lesser known dishes are also worthy of a dabble. From tasty, inexpensive bites to Korean feasts set for a king, there’s not a Seoul in sight who wouldn’t kill for some of Auckland’s best Korean dishes. The list below is a compilation of some of our favourites, and we’re sure you will enjoy them too. 

Hello Beasty

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95-97 Customs Street West

Hello Beasty is funky, its location on the waterfront is hard to beat, and it serves contemporary Korean food (along with Japanese and Chinese-inspired dishes), earning itself somewhat of a cult following. Do try the Korean fried cauliflower, and save some room for dessert: the Kkwabaegi twisted donuts are a fan favourite.

Tokki

87 Kitchener Road, Milford

The journey over the bridge is well worth the trip for a meal at Jason Kim’s Tokki. You might recognise the name, Kim being the co-owner and former head chef at Gochu, with Tokki being his latest venture. Aiming to show that delicious Korean food is more than just a stereotype, Kim’s menu focuses on the subtlety and elegance of Korean flavours, seasonal produce and minimal ingredients (in the best kind of way).

Gochu

Commercial Bay, 21 Queen Street

Gochu might be located on the waterfront edge in Commercial Bay, but the good views aren’t the only drawcard. Serving modern-style Korean food, it didn't take Gochu long to become an icon in Auckland’s dining scene. Challenge yourself and try the cold noodles: served with egg yolk, kimchi, seaweed and pickled radish - they might not sound super enticing, but they’re not a menu staple without good reason.

Photo: Supplied

Red Pig

2 Kitchener Street, CBD

Its name says it all (well, almost) - Red Pig is a Korean BBQ specialising in, you guessed it, pork. Charcoal grills on every table mean that like a traditional Korean BBQ, customers can cook their meat themselves in a communal setting. The neck and jowl are both succulent cuts and if you’re feeling adventurous, have yourself some pig intestines. Pig isn’t the only thing on the menu though, and make sure you try the beef steak and some of the plentiful Korean sides.

Ockhee

171 Ponsonby Road

You might spot the Ockhee fans hailing about town, sporting their trendy merch in proud recognition of one of Ponsonby’s coolest restaurants. Specialising in Korean food, natural wines and soju cocktails, the dishes (and drinks) at Ockhee are incredibly more-ish, packed with colour and flavour. Vegetarians can also get excited - there are just as many well thought out plant-based options as there are meat.

Photo: Supplied

Simon and Lee

115 Saint Georges Bay Road, Parnell

With an all-day menu offering an introduction to Korean food in the most un-intimidating way, is Simon & Lee. It’s modern, well thought out and almighty delicious. There are classic dishes such as fried chicken, bibimbap and bulgogi, but you’ll find plenty of creativity and tasty twists on the menu too. We love the dolsot rice dishes (served in a sizzling stone pot) - the crispy bits at the bottom will definitely make you want more!

Tiger Burger

549 Great North Road, Grey Lynn

Tiger Burger fills the gap that we never knew we needed: a delicious meshing of Korean flavours inside a good ol’ burger. Think bibimbap slaw, kimchi and gochu mayo, paired with fillings like signature blend NZ grass fed beef, aged cheddar and, of course, some locally sourced lettuce. Many of the desserts are typical of what street vendors in Korea would sell - the rice flour donut (crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside) is nostalgically served with a side of condensed coconut milk - delicious!

Neat Auckland Places

Coco's Cantina

Wooden tables and chairs with red booth seating.
Place Auckland
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Coco’s has been around as long as anyone can remember - the kind of restaurant that has become so cemented in its neighbourhood.

Pineapple on Parnell

Bartender making drinks.
Place Auckland
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Prepare to be seduced by the old world charm behind the door at Pineapple.

Twenty Seven Names Newmarket

A hem of a dress.
Place Auckland
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The flagship store for the Wellington-based brand.

Lamplight Books

Woman holding a book about artist, Matisse, at Lamplight Books, Auckland.
Place Auckland

Bibliophiles should make a beeline for Lamplight Books, an elegant bookstore situated along Parnell’s main strip.