These are the best Korean BBQ restaurants in Hawaii:
- Sadie’s BBQ Inn
- Don e Don
- Gen Korean BBQ House
- Me’s BBQ
- Choi’s Kitchen
- Yakiniku Don-Day
- Soon’s Kal-Bi Drive-In
- Yum Yum Korean Bar-B-Q
The Korean craze is far from over; it’s the music, the TV shows, and of course, there’s the Korean barbecue. To think it took so long for such an amazing practice to hit the mainstream: eating out, sitting around a grill, playfully grilling your own meat and sharing it with your loved ones. This is the kind of restaurants we love.
Hawaii has a long history with Korean immigrants, who have adapted and transformed the islands’ lifestyle, adding a new layer of flavors, cooking methods, and culture around the table.
So these are our favorite Korean barbecue restaurants in Hawaii. Tell us which one is your favorite!
Sadie’s BBQ Inn
Within the Pearl City Shopping Center, this family-owned restaurant offers authentic Korean food in a casual family-friendly environment. Everything is nicely plated without being pretentious; it’s all about the flavor here.
Korean kalbi (short ribs,) grilled bulgogi meat, BBQ chicken, stir-fries, bibimbap (mixed rice with veggies,) all the classics are here. Although all the flair of a personal grill is missing, meat is perfectly cooked — juicy, golden-brown meat with all the original Korean flavor.
850 Kamehameha Hwy
This place in Honolulu and Waikiki specializes in bibimbap, mixed bowls of rice, vegetables, egg, meat, and many other goodies. The restaurant is slick, modern, and comfortable; food is true to the original and very well priced.
Attention to detail shows, and the quality of the ingredients is hard to beat. For grill lovers, try the kilbi, charcoal-grilled short ribs marinated with a sweet and savory soy-based mix.
66 N Hotel St
Don e Don
With a modern, industrial decor, this is not your average Korean joint; it’s packed with Koreans, and you know that’s a good sign. Here the BBQ pork ribs are impeccable. Cook your own and order a little of everything because it’s all good. Colorful food is generously served in classy black dishware. This is a wonderful place for celebrations with friends.
Add a pork skin and chicken feet side dish to your order, along with kimchi and all the traditional sides; you’ll have a Korean meal to remember.
919 Keeaumoku St
Gen Korean BBQ House
With over two dozen locations in the States, this restaurant knows the Korean BBQ business. Their location on Honolulu has an ultra-modern feel, almost like a nightclub. Tables have a fixed in grill, so you know this is the real deal.
Their two-hour limit all you can eat is the best way to experience a little bit of everything. Seafood, chicken, pork, beef, this is a complete menu. Try the KFC Korean Fried Chicken, the beef bulgogi, or the Hawaiian pork belly. Cook your own and have a wonderful time, make that fixed price count!
1450 Ala Moana Blvd
Me’s BBQ on Waikiki is incredibly small for the massive amount of different options available. Food comes out in Styrofoam dishes from a fast-food order-pay-pickup business scheme. This might not be the fanciest dining experience in the islands, but the food is terrific.
Grilled meat and chicken are plentiful and cooked to perfection. Sides are delightful too.
151 Uluniu Ave
This one is another amazing hole in the wall: limited service, a few tables, but terrific food. Try the BBQ squid, the BBQ chicken with spicy pork mixed platter, or fried pork over a bed of kimchi fried rice.
It’s the small places that often surprise you the most. Food is cooked with passion here; everything is delicious. A good number of loyal customers can swear to it.
1427 S King St
Easy to recognize from the outside for the picket fence and the garden tables around a gigantic tree, this place offers authentic BBQ, and each table has its center grill.
With inside and outside tables, the patio is the best experience, especially when you hear the sizzling sound of your neighbor’s grill and the smells combine in a real outdoor BBQ event.
Order one of the ten meat combos that go from $50 to over $100: pork belly, beef bulgogi, brisket, beef tongue, kalbi ribs, chicken bulgogi; this is enough to feed the whole family.
905A Keeaumoku St
This is a cool small eatery, open 24 hours with an all you can eat menu. Short rib, brisket, and the spicy pork steak are juicy and tender, ideal after a few beers on a weekend’s night-out. The well-lit, medium-sized dining room is comfortable even when busy. Grill your own meal while you have a few cold ones and experience a down-to-earth Korean dinner.
655 Keeaumoku St
Soon’s Kal-Bi Drive-In
Korean BBQ restaurants come in all shapes and sizes. This drive-in eatery has raving fans. Order here, pick up there, you know the drill. Combos are the best value for your money, and you’ll be surprised by the generous portions.
The Family Pack gets you kalbi ribs, BBQ chicken, BBQ beef, meat jhun (battered strips of meat), and man doo dumplings.
Salt Lake Shopping Center
Yum Yum Korean Bar-B-Q
This fast-food style restaurant inside a mall rounds up our list beautifully with an inexpensive, quality-minded fast Korean meal.
The teriyaki BBQ beef is actually better than in other more formal establishments, and you could say the same about their honey chicken. Heavy on grilled meat, the menu is balanced, adequately priced, and substantial.
Order to go or sit in one of the tables or booths, perfect for a day out shopping at the mall.
Now you know it, there’s no shortage of good Korean food and its delicious grilled barbecue meat in Hawaii.
Whether you like casual diners, grab-n-go eateries of the full immersive experience, there’s something for you.
What can be better than beautiful blue seas, palm trees, warm weather, and delicious food kissed by fire? That’s what we call a holiday.