It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a person in Toronto in possession of some fortune must be in want of Korean food. Korean food with its spicy, sweet, saucy, meaty, tofu-….y goodness. There’s nothing quite like the fragrant aromas of gochujang, soy sauce, onions, or BBQ and by the sheer number of restaurants, we know Torontonians need their fix.

One of the many beauties of Korean food is its compatibility for any occasion. Whether you’re out for a night on the town, looking for a sophisticated plate, or are craving some greasy, fried goodness, the ahjimmas (re: adult korean ladies), have got you covered. Here are some of the best Korean bites in downtown Toronto:

For a night out with friends…


Paldogangsan literally translates to eight provinces, river and mountain. In Korean, it means “our nation.” Located in the heart of Koreatown, Paldogangsan offers a sharing menu for groups of friends. Paldogangsan’s appeal is hearty food, endless supplies of beer and soju, and fantastic service. What’s not to love? If you’re really lucky, or if they’re feeling generous, they’ll bring out California rolls, glass noodles, or fruit just to tell you thanks for being their customer. Try their kkanpunggi (spicy garlic fried chicken), or gyeran mari (rolled egg) with a bottle of soju (or three).

For cocktails and bar bites…


Head over to Oddseoul on Ossington and enjoy a mashup of Korean-Philly goodness. Chefs Leeto and Leemo Han introduce some juicy bar eats paired with a pint or cocktail. Renowned for dishes such as “The Loosey” mini slider made with brisket, cheese, and kimchi, bulgogi cheesecake, or tempura chicken with deviled eggs. Pair it with a cocktail or wash it all down with a nice cold pint.

If you’re looking for mom’s home cookin’…

Lim Ga Nae

Lim Ga Nae translates to Lim’s house. The restaurant features an extensive menu of soups, stews, seafood and meats. If you’re craving classic Korean cuisine, this is the pace to go. They serve classics like soondae (Korean sausage), yukagejang (spicy beef and vegetable soup), and japchae (glass noodles). Remember all those mysterious dishes with ingredients your mom never disclosed? Find them all deliciously prepared by the deft hands of the chefs at Lim Ga Nae.

For Korean-style fried chicken…

The Fry

Fried chicken is to Koreans what fried chicken is to everyone with tastebuds: delicious, greasy, goodness that feeds your soul as much as it does your stomach. Korean fried chicken stands outnumber McDonalds in the world. Yangnyeom chicken translates to “seasoned chicken,” as sweet and spicy sauce made with gochujang (red hot peppers paste). It’s that saucy, sweet and spicy goodness that makes you sing kumbaya and want free love for everyone.

If you need a 24hr fix…

Owl of Minerva

In all its neon yellow glory, Owl of Minerva has been a welcome end to many after a long night full of bad decisions. Thankfully, there’s multiple locations and marking its claim as the GTA’s answer for 4 a.m. cravings for Korean food. As alluring as the call of the Sirens, the spicy, sultry bowl of gamjatang calls to us for good reason. Next time you’re out, answer that call. Give in to your baser instincts. Your morning self will thank you.

If you feelin’ fancy:


Doma (translates to cutting board) recently opened in Little Italy and has blowing up te map in Toronto’s restaurant scene. Chef Paul Kim innovates classic Korean tastes in bold and refined plates. Now considered a classic, the grilled octopus with konyak, korean mustard dressing, and cucumber granita has been written about the city over. All his plates are whimsical yet edited such as black rice bibimbap with truffle butter and Korean wild vegetables or the dish. Chef Kim’s ability to distill the nostalgia present in Korean ingredients with the luxurious effect of French techniques.