We’ve always loved eating Korean BBQ in NYC, especially in Koreatown with a group and an abundance of soju. But there has never been an option to eat endless rounds of sizzling galbi and pork belly on a traffic-less 32nd Street with music bumping and string lights flickering. Well, now there is - and we’ve gathered our favorite KBBQ outdoor restaurants here. Not all of the spots below are in Koreatown, and not all of them have grills built into their outdoor tables (fire + meat + tent - suction vents = possibility for disaster). We’ve separated the guide by restaurants with table grills and restaurants without.
KBBQ isn’t the only way to support Korean restaurants in places like Koreatown and Flushing right now. Koreatown’s six-ish blocks alone have several hundred businesses, including many spots on upper-level floors that don’t have access to ground-floor outdoor spaces. When you’re in the area, consider checking out a beauty shop, dessert spot, or one of the dozen other kinds of stores here and give them some love. And if you’re interested in trying other kinds of outdoor interactive dinners, use our outdoor hot pot guide here.
SPOTS WITH GRILL TABLES
Baekjeong is one of our longtime-favorite Korean BBQ spots in Koreatown, mostly because of the high-quality beef and pork combos and the fact that the dining room always feels like a party. They’ve set up a huge outdoor area on 32nd Street with open ventilation, heaters, and burners on every table to keep your barbecued meats warm. Unlike indoor service, the staff cooks all of the food inside the kitchen and then brings out a grill platter to your table to finish off cooking seconds before you eat it -- although they still offer endless banchan refills. Their pork and beef combos range from $74.99 -124.99, and come with three cuts of meat, your choice of beef brisket soybean paste stew or kimchi stew, and five banchan sides.
Walk just a couple of blocks away from the center of Koreatown (32nd Street between 5th Ave and Broadway), and you’ll find this Korean spot whose original restaurant opened in 1964 in Busan, South Korea. As the name might suggest, this is a place to eat beef (in fact, there aren’t any non-cow protein options offered). When you’re at Yoon Haeundae Galbi’s outdoor setup on 36th Street, we’d suggest you order one of their three meat combo packages, which range from $110-$118, and come with four or five different cuts of beef. Right now the outdoor tables are set up with grills so you can cook tableside.
Try Samwon Garden BBQ if you care less about tasting the flavor of the marinade and more about eating pure, unadulterated galbi. Other than their $91 beef and $76 pork combos for two, Samwon Garden BBQ prices their proteins individually. If you want to get a slightly better deal, come for lunch when everything is discounted (even their non-BBQ main course options like budae jigae and bibim naengmyeon).
Kunjip’s outdoor area is a great example of the outdoor party scene happening on 32nd Street right now. The music is bumping, it’s typically pretty busy (there are glass panels between groups), and there are heat lamps above every table. The Kunjip’s BBQ combos are on par with other Koreatown spots like Jongro - you can get a $119 beef combo for three people, a $68 beef set for two, or a $65 pork combo for two. Each set comes with your choice of soft tofu stew or soybean paste stew, as well as banchan.
If you’re looking for an all-you-can-eat barbecued meat experience, consider Let’s Meat BBQ on 5th Avenue between 31st and 32nd Streets. They specialize in “cap-style” grilling that drains some of the fat from the thinly-sliced meat while it’s cooking. Their outdoor dining menu has two options for AYCE BBQ, the $42.99 “signature” set with spicy rice cakes, japchae, and six different kinds of seafood and beef, and the $36.99 “classic” version that includes spicy rice cakes, and 15 varieties of beef, pork, and chicken. A couple of things to know about their AYCE policy: everyone at the table needs to opt in, you’ll get charged for wasted food, and the meal lasts for 100 minutes. From experience, we can tell you that we were ready to sleep for an entire day after 100 minutes of endless barbecue.
One order of marinated kalbi at Mapo in Flushing costs about $35, but you’re not just getting a plate of grilled meat. Each portion, which you can grill yourself in the middle of your table, includes enough sweet and smoky meat for two people, more than 10 types of banchan, from dried squid to sweet potato noodles, and as much rice as you want. Their outdoor dining area is almost entirely enclosed, complete with ventilation, sliding doors, and grill tables where you can cook everything yourself.
Cote is the perfect place to go when celebrating something with a group of carnivores. It’s a fancy Korean steakhouse in Flatiron with private heated cabanas where you can eat prime hanger steak for $38, marinated galbi for $46, or wagyu ribeye steak for $78 outdoors. The cabanas can fit up to six people at a time, but don't currently have grills at the tables so expect the staff to expertly cook each cut of meat.
Dokebi in Williamsburg makes it easy to plan your weekend around a Korean BBQ meal, since they only offer it as a special on Saturday and Sunday nights. They have a few grill tables outside on their covered patio where you can fill your table with things like steak cubes, kalbi, and shrimp, plus a vegetarian option involving five different kinds of mushrooms. Each BBQ option is available as a single serving for around $30 or a double order for around $60, and everything comes with complimentary banchan, dokebi rice, and lettuce.
SPOTS WITHOUT GRILLS
Whenever we go to Jongro in Koreatown, we typically get the $65.99 combo platter that comes with large pieces of pork belly, pork jowl, and pork butt - but the $90.99 beef combo with kalbi, prime ribeye, skirt steak, and brisket is a great choice as well. In addition to banchan, each of their set menus comes with soft tofu stew or bean paste stew. Jongro isn’t currently set up for DIY grilling in their heated outdoor tent, though, so they’ll cook everything inside and bring it out to you on a sizzling skillet.
LOVE Korean BBQ
Love Korean BBQ is one of the best places to eat grilled meat skewers in Koreatown. In addition to beef rib, chicken thigh, and shrimp on a stick, you can order larger portions of dishes like pork blade shoulder, prime ribeye, and hanger steak - all of which will be prepared for you indoors. A large section of their covered patio is wrapped in transparent vinyl to keep it windproof, but you can also sit at one of their two-top tables in range of a heat lamp tower.
Chung Ki Wa might not be open 24-hours anymore, but you can still get Korean BBQ options like kalbi short ribs and lean pork belly on the sidewalk patio here. In a convenient turn of events for commuters, this Jackson Heights spot sits right above the Roosevelt Avenue Q stop serving huge portions of spicy tofu soup, tteokbokki, and Korean fried chicken every day.
This East Village spot has an entire tent filled with heat lamps to keep you comfortable while enjoying Korean BBQ options like spicy pork bulgogi and beef short ribs with ssamjang sauce. You won’t find any grill tables in the tent, but you can order a wide range of bubbling stews like Budae jjigae or seafood soondubu jjigae, both of which come out gurgling in a pot of hot pepper broth.
In addition to their three-floor restaurant space in Koreatown, Miss Korea BBQ offers heated outdoor dining in a tent on 32nd Street. The outdoor tables are separated by partitions, and you can still order the entire menu outside (even though the tables don’t have any grills). The BBQ proteins are listed individually, as opposed to in combo sets, so you’ll have to order two of their BBQ protein choices if you want to try a couple of things (the proteins range from $25-40). Miss Korea BBQ is particularly great if you don’t want your entire meal to consist of grilled meat, since they offer a ton of other dishes and stews (like japchae, spicy hot pot, and mandu).
If you walk down 32nd Street in Koreatown right now, you’ll notice a few things about New Wonjo: the comforting spring green color of their heated patio tent, the plexiglass dividers between tables, and the smiling faces consuming beef short ribs and cold noodle soup. This Korean restaurant is the perfect place to go for premium cuts of beef, pork, and ox tongue served on a huge sizzling platter in the neighborhood, and they even offer meal kits for takeout and delivery in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and New Jersey.
The Woo in Soho gives you the opportunity to eat dishes like spicy beef bulgogi, marinated pork loin, and grilled shrimp in a tent on Spring street. Considering most of the dishes on the BBQ section of the menu cost over $30 a piece, his spot can get pricey fast. Thankfully they have a $25 prixe fixe lunch option that includes a few lean cuts of most of their high quality meat. The heated outdoor tables lack grills, but their Korean BBQ dishes still come out on sizzling platters.
PLUS, ONE NOTABLE MENTION
The Cast Iron Pot 3
If you call ahead first, you can book an outdoor table for a larger group meal at this all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ spot in Flushing. Cast Iron Pot’s BBQ options like pork belly, beef bulgogi, and spicy rice cake will be cooked for you indoors, but you’ll still be able to use your table grill to keep everything warm.