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Restaurants in Seoul

Seoul is a dream come true for foodies and offers everything from street food at the popular pojangmacha (covered wagons) to world-class cuisine. Kimchi (fermented spicy cabbage) and Korean ginseng are heralded for their health benefits, and popular traditional dishes to try include bibimbab (rice mixed with vegetables and hot pepper paste), bulgogi (beef barbecued on the table) and kimbap (rice with vegetables wrapped with seaweed).

The Seoul restaurants below have been handpicked by our guide author and are grouped into three pricing categories:
Expensive (over ₩100,000)
Moderate (₩30,000 to ₩100,000)
Cheap (up to ₩30,000)

These Seoul restaurant prices are for a three-course meal for one, with half a bottle of house wine or equivalent, tax and service included.

Expensive

Byeokje Galbi

Cuisine: Korean

Quality beef is the main draw at this upscale Korean barbecue restaurant in Seoul, which has won government awards and graced the Wall Street Journal's list of top five Asian restaurants. The meat is from a farm managed by the restaurant itself, with its famed spare ribs a particular highlight.

Address: Songpa-gu, 13-20 Changcheon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul,
Telephone: +82 2 417 9292.
Website: http://www.ibjgalbi.com

Doore

Cuisine: Korean

For a must-try dining experience, head to this traditional Korean hanok (house) for their wonderful hanjeongsik (Korean set menu meal). More than a dozen varieties of kimchi, a Korean dining staple of fermented cabbage or radish, are available to sample, as are traditional stews, barbecued meats and banchan (side dishes). Doore has been adorned with awards in the past and is the city's best spot for real Korean food.

Address: Jongno-gu, 5-24 Insadong 4-gil, Seoul,
Telephone: +82 2 732 2919.
Website: http://www.edoore.co.kr

La Yeon

Cuisine: Korean

Awarded three Michelin stars in 2017, this upscale, minimalist restaurant on the 23rd floor of the Shilla Hotel offers an exquisite dining experience in calm surroundings. Traditional Korean dishes are given a contemporary touch with luxury ingredients, such as bibimbap with abalone served with pear kimchi and spinach miso. Choose from one of four set menus (with optional wine pairings) and marvel at the Seoul skyline below.

Address: Jung-go, Hotel Shilla, 249 Dongho-ro 23F, Seoul,
Telephone: +82 2 2230 3367.
Website: http://m.shilla.net

Moderate

Baru

Cuisine: Korean

This modern Seoul restaurant, located in the Templestay Information Centre opposite the flag-decked Jogyesa Temple, is run by a Buddhist nun. It specialises in healthy vegetarian temple cuisine including soups, pancakes and tofu-based dishes. Modest eating and bowl-washing rituals can be learned while sitting cross-legged at the table. The set menus are very good value.

Address: Jongno-gu, 5F Templestay Building, 71 Gyeonji-dong, Seoul,
Telephone: +82 2 733 2081.
Website: http://www.baru.or.kr

Top Cloud Restaurant

Cuisine: European

Set on the top floor of the Jongno Tower, floor-to-ceiling glass windows offer stunning views over Seoul, particularly at night, as patrons enjoy fine European cuisine. Both buffet and à la carte dining options give diners the freedom to explore European favourites and Australian steaks to suit their appetite, while its impressive wine list elevates the experience.

Address: Jongno-gu, 33F Jongno Tower Building, 1-1 Jongno 2-ga, Seoul,
Telephone: +82 2 2198 3300.
Website: http://www.topcloud.co.kr

Yongsusan

Cuisine: Korean

Surrounded by the trendiest top-end international restaurants in Seoul, Yongsusan is a slick, modern gourmand's heaven and great lunch spot serving mouth-watering traditional Korean delicacies. Hidden in the basement of the Seoul Finance Center, various set menus are available here, some including 'royal-style' dishes and a good range of seafood options.

Address: Jung-gu, B1F Seoul Finance Center, 1-84, Taepyeongno, Seoul,
Telephone: +82 2 771 5553.
Website: http://www.yongsusan.co.kr

Cheap

Kimbap Cheonguk

Cuisine: Korean

Throughout Seoul, locals fill up on traditional Korean soups, stews, rice bowls and noodle dishes at Kimbap Cheonguk, an inexpensive chain with a wide range of Korean dishes. While there isn't much in the way of ambiance, Kimbap Cheonguk is a budget-friendly way to try local favourites like kimchi jjigae (fermented spicy cabbage stew), donkatsu (fried pork cutlet) and mul naengmyeon (cold buckwheat noodle soup).

Address: Jongno-gu, 32 Myeongnyun 2-ga, Seoul,
Telephone: +82 2 747 2332.
Website: http://www.kimbabchunkuk.co.kr

Meokjagolmok

Cuisine: Korean

Meokjagolmok is an alley within Gwangjang Market that has over 200 stalls selling a variety of reasonably-priced traditional food from grilled fish to whole chicken and vegetarian specialities to Korean pancakes. It's all enjoyed in a noisy, lively ambience as the stands selling dress material, clothes and more hawk for business. Closed Sundays.

Address: Jongno-gu, Gwangjang Market, 6-1 Yeji-dong, Seoul,
Telephone: +82 2 2267 0291.
Website: http://www.kwangjangmarket.co.kr

Techno Mart Food Court

Cuisine: Various

When you've gadget shopped till you've dropped in Seoul, fend off more bank balance guilt by heading for this cheap eatery. Around 40 stalls serve a range of international foods in hulking portions on large platters designed for sharing.

Address: Gwangjin-gu, B1F Techno Mart, 546-4 Guui-dong, Seoul,
Telephone: +82 2 3424 0385.
Website: http://www.tm21.com

Featured Hotels

SEE MORE

The Shilla

Celebrities, royalty and heads of state have stayed at The Shilla, which is set in 9 hectares (23 acres) of woodland yet known for its state-of-the-art technology. Modern public areas belie traditionally furnished rooms. The restaurant, La Yeon, has three Michelin stars - the first restaurant to receive such an accolade.

Fraser Place Central Seoul

A luxury home-from-home is offered by these serviced 'residences' in Seoul, from studios to three-bed and penthouse apartments. Relaxation is further aided by the attractive leisure facilities - a large pool, steam and sauna rooms and peaceful atrium garden.

K-POP Hotel Seoul Station

Only a short walk from Seoul Station, this hotel ticks all the boxes when it comes to a central location and low price. The rooms are tiny, it's true, but they are light and modern and offer underfloor heating, minifridges and flat-screen TVs. There's also a lounge area, a basement cafe and rooftop terrace. Laundry facilities don't include dryers, though.

Ibis Seoul Ambassador Gangnam

A good value mid-range hotel in Seoul with smart facilities in a central location. Amenities include a restaurant, a rooftop garden and underground parking, plus there's a sauna and fitness room. The COEX convention centre and shopping mall are nearby.

Lotte Hotel Seoul

The refurbished wing of this huge super-deluxe hotel in Seoul is a good bet for those who want to stay in the heart of the city and close to shopping areas – there's even a large duty-free store on site. A good choice of dining includes French and Italian restaurants. A personal trainer and sports lab analysis are available in the fitness centre.

Grand Ambassador Seoul

This good, centrally located deluxe business hotel offers great views over the Seoul cityscape. There's easy access to the main markets and historic palaces, and facilities include six bars and restaurants plus a health centre with hydrotherapy pool.