On January 13, 1903, one hundred and two Korean immigrants arrived by ship to Hawaii — the first Korean immigrants to this country. That number grew over the years, especially after the Immigration Reform Act of 1965, which lifted the restrictions on immigrants from Asia, Latin America, and other places outside of Northern and Western Europe that were enacted in the 1920s. In the last quarter of the 20th century, Korean immigration to the New York City region surged, and the area is now home to over 220,000 Koreans and Korean Americans, with significant concentrations from Manhattan’s Koreatown, Queens, the Bronx, and northern New Jersey. In 2005, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed a resolution that we honor and celebrate the contributions of Korean Americans on January 13th, now known as Korean American Day.
While many of the city’s most popular Korean restaurants are located in these Korean and Korean-American enclaves, there are plenty of destination-worthy Korean restaurants right here in Greenwich Village and the East Village. By no means is this a comprehensive list, and we encourage you to post your other favorites in the comments:
This local favorite is a “Casual Korean Restaurant with a Modern Touch,” and according to their website is a “Cozy, relaxed restaurant serving classic & contemporary Korean dishes, plus fruit-infused soju.” Their menu focuses on classic homestyle Koren food such as bulgogi, tofu soup, gimbap, and mandu.
Chef/owner Douglas Kim’s Jeju Noodle Bar is America’s first Michelin-starred noodle shop. Serving Korean-American fare since 2017 on the corner of Christopher Street, this restaurant is known for its Korean version of ramen, known as ramyun. It’s also known as one of NYC’s most affordable Michelin-starred restaurants.
When someone says “Korean food” you don’t necessarily think “corndog!” But this California-based mini-chain serves up Korean-style corn dogs at several NYC locations. Their variety of sweet and savory flavors range from the classic corndog to bean and kimchi-flavored menu items.
Opening on 14th and 3rd Avenue in December 2022, this all-you-can-eat, open-till-4am location is bound to be a draw. It is the company’s first east-coast outpost of another Califonia mini-chain. According to their website, “you will experience a wide array of complex flavors that will truly give your palate a new perception of taste.”
“Oppa” means older brother in Korean, and is used as a term for endearment. Oppa Bistro is a “Trendy cocktail bar featuring creative Korean small plates & karaoke in a historical townhouse.” Their menu offers Korean-inspired specialty cocktails and Korean fusion dishes such as Korean tapas and Kimchi Poutine, as well as classics such as bibimbap.