Kogiya is Northern Virginia’s Best Korean Barbecue

Kogiya is without a doubt the very best Korean barbecue restaurant in Northern Virginia, an area with many Korean options. (HT: TCEDG)

I went at 4pm on a Sunday, and only a couple of tables were taken. By 5pm every table was occupied, and minutes later a line formed. This place has gotten popular, and it’s too good and too small. Go early, or (I imagine) go very late. They’re open 10:30am to 2:00am. Supposedly you can call ahead for seating, and they’ll also call you when it’s your turn to be seated.

The restaurant is in suburban Annandale. It’s in a place where rents are low, you can get good value and experiment in offering things that wouldn’t work in downtown DC.

The interior is stainless steel industrial. Rent is low, service is friendly although they can get overwhelmed. The staff cook the meat at your table, it’s not for you to do. There are chop sticks, spoons, napkins in the drawers at your table.

There are two all you can eat options, option A is $21 and includes 5 meats. Option B is $28 and adds 3 different intestine choices. I went for option A, as a way of trying the variety of what they offer.

Next time I won’t do the all you can eat, I’ll probably do some combination of the ribeye (bulgogi), galbi (short rib), or spicy pork belly which comes with the all you can eat options. The soups and banchan come with the meal regardless.

With the all you can eat they really will keep bringing whatever you wish, generally they’ll start with the brisket and then the three porks together and finish with the chicken but it’s up to you. Too much food, though, and I didn’t send them back for more than they brought out naturally of each. When they first brought out the brisket I was sure it was intended not just for my table, but for another as well. But no… they kept grilling meat.

The menu of meats was:

The chadol (fatty brisket) was great for dipping, but not overly flavorful on its own.

The regular pork belly was thick cuts of meat, excellent. The miso pork belly was fine. And it’s hard to go wrong with spicy pork belly (in gochujang).

The chicken galbi with rice cake was also in gochujang. Spicy deliciousness, and the rice cakes were the highlight (‘glutinous goodness’ as our waitress described).

Alongside the meat they serve a steamed egg soup dish, bean paste soup, scallion salad, plenty of banchan side dishes, and vegetables. They also serve three sauces: soy garlic, sesame oil, and a mustard sauce. I thought the sesame oil was fantastic. The kimchi was average

They conclude the meal with a small shot of iced coffee or sliced oranges.

This isn’t the most creative or inventive restaurant, but it’s the best Korean barbecue around by a wide margin. The quality of the food is good and the service is friendly, and while not dirt cheap it’s a fantastic value.

Past recommendations I’ve made here – which if you find yourself in the Northern Virginia area you must consider — are Bangkok Golden for their Laotian menu (not for the Thai lunch buffet) and Elephant Jumps Thai. Just go to Elephant Jumps, seriously, and order off their new menu. I don’t think anyone has ever disagreed with my recommendation for the hung lay curry. I had the Gang Buad Pumpkin-(pumpkin in coconut cream) for dessert the other day and it was fantastic.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. That’s actually quite cheap for AYCE Korean BBQ. I’ve had plenty of good Korean BBQ here in the Bay Area and in LA, but your pictures had my mouth watering!

  2. Thanks for the review. I’ll have to check it out next time I’m home. I really miss all the amazing Asian food in Northern Virginia.

  3. Looks good. My go to is usually Yechon, but I’ll have to give this a try.

    How new is the new menu at Elephant Jumps? I’ve not been there in a month or two, is it time to go back?

  4. @CW the new menu at Elephant Jumps began with specials over the summer but solidified a couple of months back — the hung lay curry, jungle curry, the pork with green thai peppers are all favorites among the entrees. All the new salads are good too. Some don’t like this, but I’m a huge fan of the sticky rice with anchovy for dessert.

  5. Stop saying places are “absolutely” “the best” at certain ethnic foods. Just stop it. It looks and sounds silly, and you lose all credibility.

  6. Kogiya is fantastic but so is Yechon. The advantage for me is that Yechon is open 24 hours a day.

  7. Shit. Things I miss from living in Arlington. We don’t have anything of this caliber anywhere in Maine, save for the incredible Japanese that Masa Miyake is doing. Definitely missing the Asian food in general.

    Next time I’m in town, I’ll hit this place, then get back on rt 7 to Pho Vinh Loi in Bailey’s Crossroads and finish up at Hong Kong Palace at 7 corners.

  8. AYCE Kbbq spots in LA start at $9.99 (there’s too much competition in Ktown)… that’s about the quality you’ll get in the photos you have. Sorry to be the Kfood snob, but you were served cheap banchan and evidently, no dduk bo ssam. I’d save my money for a trip to the city of angels, which houses the highest Korean population outside of Korea, for a real KBBQ experience. Happy to share recommendations, if ever needed. I’ve shared already for several frequent flyers and the feedback was always positive. 🙂 It maddens me that they charged $21 for that…

  9. The menu looks rather limited for AYCE, thought I don’t understand how anyone can make claims about the quality of the food from a few low-res cell phone pictures…

  10. Great post. Hopefully Delta Points can follow up with an equally exciting post reviewing th Four Points Des Moines.

  11. You should make a restaurant guide webpage with some of your favorite places in different parts of the country/world.

  12. Sorry, but I’ll go for the Honey Pig in Annandale every time. One meat, but plenty for two people at about $30. Just my humble opinion.

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