Bubbling stews, charred meats, and more banchan (side dishes) than you can count. Korean restaurants abound in Colorado—in no small part to Korean immigrants such as Park Hee-byung coming here in the early 20th century and kickstarting the local Korean American population—and you’ll especially find them in certain pockets of Aurora that form a veritable K-town. With around 20 Korean eateries located near the intersection of South Havana Street and South Parker Road alone, that’s a lot of spots for even the most committed kimchi connoisseurs to choose from. So, we scoured the scene to pick these 10 best Korean restaurants to visit and let you in on the tastiest bites from their menus.

Woo Ri

A stone pot with rice and assorted toppings at Woo Ri.
Woo Ri’s dolsot bibimbap. Photo by Ethan Pan

This is the epitome of a hole in the wall: 22 seats, 16 menu items, one front-of-house server offering you either ice water or hot tea. And like the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants, Woo Ri makes what few things it offers very well. Its dolsot bibimbap, which roughly means “stone pot mixed rice,” is an exemplary version of the dish, owing to its diverse medley of perfectly cooked vegetables and its tender marinated beef. We recommend practicing your patience when the meal comes out: Letting the piping hot stone bowl sit untouched for two or three minutes allows the rice that’s in contact with it to brown and crisp (that layer of scorched rice is called “nurungji” in Korean). Snap a few pictures, then, as the dish’s name implies, mix together the whole bowl with your spoon, chopping up the fried egg and squirting in gochujang (a slightly sweet Korean chile paste) to taste. 2648 S. Parker Road, Unit 9, Aurora


Assorted dishes from Denver Korean restaurant Baekga.
The baekban special with kong-bul at Baekga. Photo by Ethan Pan

Owner Sean Baek swung open the doors at Baekga in the Lowry Town Center just a few weeks ago, so the industrial-chic eatery bedecked with Edison bulbs and hexagonal glass tile is by far the newest restaurant on this list. But early tastes have already made it clear that the Korean fare here stacks up. We especially love the versatility and breadth of Baekga’s menu. Come in for lunch and order a baekban special—your choice of main, such as kong-bul (spicy pork bulgogi and bean sprouts), served with rice, soup, and pickled and fried banchan—or build a dinner spread with shared appetizers and a large-portion protein. If you’re doing the latter, don’t miss the pajeon (green onion pancake) and assortment of rare-in-Denver Korean desserts such as hotteok, thick pancakes filled with chopped nuts which are served with vanilla ice cream and a toffee nut sauce. 200 Quebec St., Building 600, Unit 115

Moobongri Soondae

A metal bowl of beef rib soup at best Korean restaurant Moobongri Soondae.
Moobongri Soondae’s beef rib soup. Photo by Ethan Pan

This light-wood-accented restaurant is the only entrant on this list that’s part of a nonlocal California-based chain. While that usually makes us dock a few points, Moobongri Soondae offers something unique to the Colorado dining scene. Its primary focus is the namesake soondae, a type of Korean blood sausage. If your only exposure to blood sausage has been black pudding in, say, a full English breakfast, this version is quite different, since the blood is cut with glass noodles rather than something like oats. Our preferred way to enjoy it is in the plain soondae soup. The glass noodles soak up the rich stock, lending a pleasantly bouncy texture to the sausage and largely masking any gamey flavor. The beef rib and spicy pork belly stews are also delicious, but if you’re feeling especially bold, pair your stew with a meat sampler, which offers cold soondae with other offals. 2787 S. Parker Road, Aurora

Tofu Story

It’s always impressive when a restaurant chooses to make something in-house that most others purchase pre-made. You probably can guess how that’s the case at Tofu Story, a restaurant from JW Lee—whose empire under Seoul Hospitality Group spans 20-plus other Asian eateries across the Front Range—that rightfully shows off its house-made tofu across its entire menu. Start your soy explorations with a soondubu jjigae, soft tofu stew which you can customize in terms of spiciness and add-ins like seafood, beef, and dumplings. Jjigae is typically served with steamed white rice, but the pressure-cooked version is extra nice. The personal-size bowl is depressurized at the table, making for a noisy spectacle and a side of creamy, almost congeelike rice that’s delicious enough to eat on its own. 2060 S. Havana St., Aurora


Noodles and grilled meat with banchan at Aurora Korean restaurant Silla.
Silla’s bibim naengmeyon and LA galbi combo. Photo by Ethan Pan

As the oldest Korean restaurant in Colorado, Silla is undoubtedly a staple of Aurora’s K-town. In fact, owner Dennis Park isn’t fully sure of how long the Korean barbecue spot’s been around (likely around 50 years, he says), and with its fast service, wide-spanning menu, and generous portions, it’s easy to see why Silla has endured. We especially enjoy the lunch special of bibim naengmyeon—chewy buckwheat noodles served cold with beef broth, gochujang sauce, pickled radish and cucumber, sliced beef, and hard-boiled egg, plus Korean hot mustard and vinegar on the side—paired with LA galbi, or barbecued beef short ribs. Together, the two dishes hit all the essential tastes—salty, sweet, sour, spicy, bitter, and umami—and offer a hot-cold juxtaposition that’s perfect for mid-day dining in the Colorado summer. 3005 S. Peoria St., Aurora

Mono Mono Korean Fried Chicken

Offerings at Mono Mono Korean Fried Chicken. Photo by Hannah Morvay

Any meat-eating Front Ranger should rejoice when Mono Mono Korean Fried Chicken comes to their neighborhood. With locations in LoDo, Lafayette, Lakewood, Littleton, Highlands Ranch, and Centennial (the most recent open), this local chain from JW Lee should be a go-to for those seeking Korean flavors but who don’t live in Aurora. The thin batter on the signature fried-to-order chicken wings shatters when you bite into it, and the meat beneath it is plump and tender. We like to order them half with the hot and spicy sauce, half with the milder soy-garlic one, although you can also get them unsauced. An order of 12 or 20 wings comes with ranch, celery, and carrots, but we don’t mind going for six and then tacking on a set of fried pork and veggie dumplings. Multiple locations


A takeout bowl with chicken and rice drizzled with mayo.
Dagiya’s chicken mayo bowl. Photo by Ethan Pan

This off-the-beaten-path Aurora restaurant in minimalist digs is another eatery that features Korean fried chicken, but you’ll find a few preparations of it here that stray from the usual sauce-laden wings many foodies have come to love. For example, two versions come unsauced and topped with a refreshing tousle of raw white onion or green onion shavings, with a tangy white sauce or hot mustard sauce, respectively, on the side subbing in for the more commonplace glazes. Our favorite choice at this fast-casual joint is actually the chicken mayo rice bowl: It’s compact and packed with flavor, and the combination of crispy chicken, a thin soy-garlic sauce, creamy mayo, and fresh scallion is satisfying without being overly stodgy. 5612 S. Parker Road, Aurora

Seoul K-BBQ & Hot Pot

A Korean barbecue grill with beef and octopus and many banchan.
Galbi (short ribs) and jukumi (baby octopus) at Seoul K-BBQ & Hot Pot. Photo by Ethan Pan

If you’re going to do Korean barbecue, do it right. While Seoul K-BBQ isn’t all-you-can-eat, is slightly pricier than some alternatives, and might require a longer drive depending on where you live, what you get in return is an experience that easily rivals those in other cities with larger Korean hubs. That includes a mind-boggling array of complementary banchan (we counted thirteen during our visit) and attentive waitstaff that can cook up your protein perfectly if you prefer not to DIY. This is another JW Lee venture, so expect subtle touches that elevate your meal, such as a unique basil dipping sauce that enhances unmarinated meats, tilted griddles that drain off excess juices and encourage browning, and an impressive selection of beer, wine, soju, and other Korean spirits. Plus, if you show up and suddenly aren’t feeling barbecue, you can just as easily hop over to the hot pot side of the restaurant (which is all you can eat). 2080 S. Havana St., Aurora

The Porklet

A plate of katsu from the Porklet.
The Porklet-Cheeselet combo. Photo by Ethan Pan

Plenty of the menu items at the Porklet demonstrate its Korean-Japanese fast-casual concept: Korean wings, udon, and tornado-shaped, omelet-topped fried rice dotted with Spam and bacon. But don’t let that distract you from the first thing you should try at the Aurora eatery: its namesake katsu. The fried pork loin cutlet is audibly crispy from the use of panko breadcrumbs, and it and its accompaniments—cabbage slaw with a creamy, slightly sweet dressing; other sides such as mac salad, pickles, miso soup, and rice; and a signature what-the-hell-is-in-here gravy—make for a meal that fires on all cylinders. Bonus: You can go half-half on your cutlets and also try the Cheeselet, which is stuffed with mozzarella for a dazzlingly stretchy effect. 12201 E. Mississippi Ave., Suite 123B, Aurora

P & Y Cafe Asian Bistro

Due to their geographical proximity, Korean and northern Chinese cuisines have long had mutual influence on each other. That has led to the development of a distinct Korean Chinese cuisine, characterized by its noodles and saucy fried meat dishes, which you can enjoy at P & Y Cafe, which is on the same Parker Commons strip as Moobongri Soondae. We go for the jajangmyeon, chewy wheat noodles smothered in a thick, dark sauce made primarily with chunjang, a fermented wheat flour paste that imparts a rich, earthy, salty-sweet flavor. Take a minute to thoroughly mix the sauce, which also contains diced pork and onions, into the noodles and add a few pieces of danmuji (yellow pickled radish) or raw onion for a pop of freshness. 2769 S. Parker Road, Aurora

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Ethan Pan
Ethan Pan
Ethan Pan is 5280’s associate food editor, writing and editing for the print magazine and 5280.com. Follow his dining/cooking Instagram @ethans_pan.