9 Korean Restaurants You Should Eat at in Seoul
As one of the world's most loved cuisines, Korean food is a mix of spice, flavor and comfort, but mostly about the comfort. The capital, Seoul, is lined with restaurants on every street, a wonderland for food lovers. Here are some of the best places to indulge in some Seoul food.
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Hidden at the foot of Namsan Mountain in a beautiful traditional Korean hanok house, the idyllic natural setting of this restaurant is only outdone by its delicious food. Having earned a nod from the Michelin guide, Mokmyeoksanbang is famous for their bibimbap, a dish of various mixed vegetables and meat. However their Korean pancakes are also delicious and worth trying if you're with a few people or have a ravenous appetite.
Address: 71 Toegye-ro 20-gil, Namsandong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
There's nothing quite so comforting as having a steaming hot bowl of sundubu jjigae, a Korean tofu stew, on a cold winter day and Jaedong Sundubu is one of the best places to indulge on. Located near Anguk Station, Jaedong is a great option for those visiting the nearby Bukchon Hanok Village, although it's worth making the separate journey there even if you're not.
Address: 6 Bukchon-ro 2-gil, Jae-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Nowadays you'll find Korean barbecue restaurants around the world and there's a good reason the country's take on grilled meats has become so popular. In short it's delicious, and a trip to Seoul without indulging in it is just not done. 853 is all about grilled pork, make sure to go for the pork belly or samgyupsal and have it the local way by wrapping it in lettuce with a dash of chili sauce.
Address: 16 Insadong 12-gil, Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Gaeseong Mandu Koong
An old establishment often visited by locals, Koong was opened in 1970 by a North Korean who fled south during the war. Here she sells Gaeseong-style dumplings that have hungry diners coming back for more everyday. If the steady stream of locals aren't enough to convince you to eat there, maybe the recognition from the Michelin guide will - the shop earned a Bib Gourmand award from the coveted restaurant reviewer.
Address: 11-3 Insadong 10-gil, Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
If there's one thing Korean's love even more than fried chicken - it's beer. Chimaek is the Korean words for fried chicken and beer literally mashed together and it's one of the country's favorite meals. You'll find chimaek restaurants all over the city but Kyochon is one of the best. While it might seem a little odd to be eating fried chicken in Asia, South Korea's take on this popular dish is unique and delicious, coating the crispy chicken in a sweet and spicy sauce.
464-6 Changsin-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
If you're looking to dine in style while in the city, Poom is a fine dining restaurant that serves a modern approach to traditional Korean dishes with a focus on seasonal ingredients. For those not too keen on spending so much on a meal, the lunch sets are much more affordable, usually starting from around 80,000 won, highly worth the price for what you get.
Address: 49 Duteopbawi-ro 60-gil, Huam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Seen by Koreans as a 'health food', miraculously the dish of samgyetang is not just healthy but also downright delicious. This Korean chicken soup is made with a whole chicken that's stuffed with ginseng, jujube, rice and garlic, cooked until beautifully tender. Although it's a hot soup dish, it's actually supposed to be eaten during the hot summer days, as a local way of 'fighting fire with fire'. We can assure you it works just as well in winter however, a great way of warming up your insides during the city's chilly winter days.
It might be popular and these days a little touristy but Tosokchon Samgyetang is still one of the best bowls you'll find in the city. There's usually a little queue to get in, but with around 400 seats inside the restaurant, it goes down quickly so you won't need to wait long.
Address: 5 Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Chebu-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Sinmigyeong Hongdae Dakgalbi
There's something highly comforting about the combination of chicken and cheese, a fact gone unnoticed by Koreans in their fusion style dish of cheese dakgalbi. Soy-marinated chicken is stir-fried in a spicy sauce with onion accompanied with gooey melted cheese for you to dip the meat into.
Address: 2F, 32, Hongik-ro 3-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Manjok Ohyang Jokbal
Michelin-approved pig trotters in the heart of Seoul, Manjok is an old institute in Seoul that has long been famous for serving pork hocks slow-cooked in a five-spice blend until perfectly tender. A popular comfort food among local Koreans, the meat melts in your mouth, the flavor accentuated with the spices, something that other jokbal joints often lack. They start serving the dish from 3 pm and can often sell out early so try to get there for a late lunch or early dinner.
Address: 134-7 Seosomun-ro, Taepyeongno 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Outside of the outstanding restaurants you'll find around the city, Seoul is a street food paradise with a number of traditional food markets and roadside vendors. The street food here is a whole different ball game, it's cheap and well worth sinking your teeth into, if you're looking for what streets eat to try then click here for a roundup of the best street food in Seoul.