Have the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea piqued your interest in Korean culture and food? From bulgogi and bibimbap to bhahn chahn and kimchi, Korean cuisine features delicious dishes and amazing flavors. I asked friends to recommend family-friendly Korean restaurants in Chicago and the suburbs and here are their favorites.
2568 N. Clark St., Chicago
This restaurant is very kid-friendly. They feature “street food” and the Korean BBQ tacos have legions of fans of all ages. Eating with your hands in a casual atmosphere can be a great way to get little ones to try new foods. The tasty items make a trip to this Lincoln Park establishment a win for parents and little ones alike.
2940 N. Broadway, Chicago
Korean fried chicken and Buddha bowls are the highlights at this Northside counter service restaurant, but the Korean burritos made with bulgogi (or chicken or veggies) are yummy, too. The fried chicken comes in a few different options, including the Plain Jane and the Seoul Sassy, if you have family members with varying tolerances of spice.
5744 N. California Ave, Chicago
For a more formal, sit down Korean BBQ experience, head to Woo Chon, where guests cook their meat on the tabletop charcoal grill and enjoy with bahn-chahn (an assortment of side dishes) meant to be shared. It’s a family-owned restaurant and they’ll make you feel like a part of their family.
49 Summit Ave., Park Ridge
Bibimbap is tough to pass up here, and kids often enjoy the traditional Korean dish that includes meat, rice and veggies. But if you are craving Korean BBQ, Korean pancakes or even sushi, they have that too. And if you have a kiddo who is adamant about eating only chicken fingers, you’re covered here.
1400 W. Randolph St., Chicago
1542 N. Damen, Chicago
Chef Bill Kim has literally written the book on Korean BBQ. (It’s called “Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill in Seven Sauces” and comes out in April.) Urban Belly features a variety of Asian cuisines. There are many Korean options, including Wheat Berry Bibimbap and Korean rice cakes. There are several gluten free options.
Locations in Naperville, Niles, Schaumburg, Glenview and a newly opened store in Chicago’s West Loop at 711 W. Jackson Blvd.
This Pan Asian grocer has a large food court that offers many Korean options. The West Loop location features Korean stews, dumplings, barbecue and bibimbap from SGD (So Gong Dong) Tofu House and Korean Barbecue, though seating at this location is limited. Several parents said that the food court approach worked well with their kids who are picky eaters. You can also pick up bulgogi and kalbi (Korean short ribs) to make at home. There’s an entire section devoted to kimchi, the national dish of Korea.
1123 N. Salem Dr., Schaumburg
Some families who drive quite a way for Korean BBQ at this restaurant in the Northwest suburbs. If you’re new to the experience of cooking at your table, the staff is happy to help you out. And if you wish to order off the menu instead of cooking, that’s an option.
4200 N. Lincoln, Chicago
This restaurant has been a staple along Lincoln Avenue for nearly 40 years. You may not notice it when driving by, but go on a weekend night and you’re likely to see people waiting outside. Given that there is often a wait and many of the dishes are hot and spicy, this is a good option for older kids. Regardless of age, going very early is a good idea.