Top Restaurants in Seoul
Seoul locals stand out at an international level for dining out on a regular basis. This lifestyle is partly due to their long office hours and partly due to the vibrant culinary scene of the city - the restaurants are open through the night.
The city's wide selection of restaurants, bars and market stalls comprise the riches of Korean cuisine, which is now being appreciated for its complexity and sophistication, and has surpassed the traditional favourites of barbecue and kimchee.
Here is a guide to the best dining experiences in Seoul according to Thomas Storey.
If you are looking for a real Korean taste, go to Song Jook Heon, which is a restaurant that specialises in hanjeongsik which is the most lavish and luxurious type of Korean cuisine. A huge variety of smaller side dishes are combined with a main dish of meat, fish or a hot pot to make a fancy banquet. This type of cuisine originated in the royal palaces and aristocratic homes of ancient Korea, and these distinguished origins are still palpable in the abundance of dishes - up to 30 - on offer in a traditional Hanjeongsik.
Byeokje Galbi, which specialises in beef or Hanu, focuses on the more carnivorous side of the Korean food spectrum. The main element is galbi, which is the Korean grilled or barbecued meat that has become famous throughout the globe. The pieces of Hanu are barbecued on the table in front of diners, along with a variety of side dishes. This process is part of the social atmosphere and also guarantees the freshness of the meal. In Byeokje Galbi, the quality of the meat is extremely important.
Eulji Myun Oak is a restaurant that has been serving Naengmyeon - a refreshing Korean staple - for over 30 years and is one of the most beloved restaurants amongst locals for its family feel and the sheer quality of its Naengmyeon recipe. This classic Korean dish consists of cold noodles made from either buckwheat or potatoes, stewed in vinegary beed broth and served cold with cucumbers, pears, boiled egg, a spicy mustard sauce and occasionally toped off with cold braised beef.