If you take a walk along La Trobe street (or most streets in the CBD), you'll come across an array of Korean restaurants and convenience shops.
Sure, you could be adventurous and try out each restaurant to find the dishes you fancy, but to make things easier, here's a list of places you really must visit if you're looking for a delicious Korean BBQ meal that's worth your money.
This restaurant is located at a little corner of a little street. They offer all-you-can-eat BBQ sessions that last for two hours at $39.90 (without seafood) or $49.90 (with seafood) from Mondays to Fridays. The good news? On weekends for lunch, you can get the all-you-can-eat BBQ for a mere $29.90.
Besides the marinated barbecue meat (pork or beef bulgogi, and pork belly among others), you can also order fried dumplings and spring rolls, Kimchi tofu soup, and Jap Chae (stir-fried glass noodles). A free soft drink or tea is also included.
I prefer going on weekends as it tends to be less busy, so you're able to enjoy the variety of food available without worrying about the two hour limit. The $29.90 lunch special is obviously a big incentive to go on weekends, but other than that, I also find the staff and general vibe to be more relaxed. They also play K-pop music videos, so if you're looking for a restaurant with good food and an authentic Korean vibe, this is the place to visit.
2) Woo Ga
270 Victoria Street, North Melbourne
This is one of the more popular BBQ joints, so much so that it's usually fully booked during the holiday season. Trust me, I've tried to make a booking during Christmas, only to hang up the phone in disappointment.
Its popularity is well-founded. The combo BBQ sets on offer are mouth-watering, and the meat almost always tastes excellent (the ox tongue in particular is to die for).
Service is a hit or miss for me. When things get too busy, it's hard to get the attention of staff members. However, the last time I visited the restaurant, the waiter was nice enough to help us take a few photos, although it was super busy and he was coughing profusely from all the smoke from our BBQ grill.
If you're tired of the typical Korean BBQ meat on offer, why not dabble with eight different flavours of pork belly? The set comes with rice, soup, and the usual side dishes of Kimchi and bean sprouts. It's definitely worth the $58.80 you pay, as the large portions allow for sharing between a few people. I find the garlic and curry flavours to have the most ommph , but the other flavours are equally as interesting and tasty.
The downside is that they don't accept bookings, and there's usually a long, long queue of people waiting to enter (which is testament to their popularity and food quality, I guess), so do come as early as possible to jot down your name on the waiting list!
4) Han Guuk Guan
13 Victoria St, Melbourne
Blink, and you'll miss this quaint restaurant situated among tall, metropolitan buildings.
When I first chanced upon this place a few years ago, I fell in love with their Jajangmyeon. This noodle dish topped with black bean sauce may not be for everyone, but there's a lightness to Han Guuk Guan's sauce and noodles that's enough to convert naysayers.
The best part of this restaurant is that you get half-priced BBQ food items on Mondays. The barbecue is nothing out of the ordinary, and the waiters pretty much disappear after delivering your food. However, if dining at a snuggly, charming place with relatively cheap food is up your alley, then definitely give this restaurant a go.