15 Best Restaurants in Seoul for Locals and Foreigners

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Seoul is one of the largest and most bustling cities in the world, with a population of over 10 million people and counting. 

So, there’s no shortage of good food around. Because of Seoul’s international appeal, you can find any cuisine. 

There’s French, Italian, Middle Eastern, Greek and even Mexican restaurants amid a plethora of so many others.

This is the most comprehensive guide on the best restaurants Seoul has to offer. Because there are literally thousands of restaurants, we’ll keep the focus on Korean cuisine. 

These are the topmost ranked by locals and foreigners alike for taste, authenticity, price and presentation.

Whether you’re on a budget or you want to spend a night out on the town, there’s definitely something in this guide for everyone. 

From the fancy and luxurious to the more fast-food type spots, these are some of the most unique places at which to dine.

Best Restaurants Soul Quick Overview

The article goes into each restaurant in detail, but the table below provides a breakdown of what each restaurant offers, the general price range ($ is least expensive to $$$$ being most expensive) and it’s average rating out of five stars. 

You should always look into each restaurant before placing a reservation. Some require an advanced booking, while other accept walk-ins.

1. Mingles Restaurant

Source: mingles_restaurant

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Cuisine: Korean (traditional and modern)

Price Range: $$$$

Nestled near the Han River in the Gangnam-Gu district, Mingles Restaurant is one of the most popular eateries in Seoul. 

They have impeccable service and give their all with every customer. They take great pains to make every dish not only a traditional display of Korean culture, but also a dash of modernism

They pride themselves on how they devise, design and develop the menu. They use only fresh ingredients, which changes with seasonal availability. 

Everyone who has ever visited the establishment leaves feeling like the food was made with love and given the utmost care.

2. MOSU Seoul

source: mosuseoul

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars

Cuisine: Korean Fusion, Asian

Price Range: $$$$

MOSU Seoul is a quaint Korean-style bistro with a cute staff who aims to give topnotch hospitality. 

Their dishes are creative, artistic and meld many different worldwide cuisines with traditional Korean-style foods. They have eel, sea urchin, pork, abalone, tacos and a variety of vegan-friendly dishes.

The name MOSU comes from the cosmos flower as it is the basis for reminiscing about childhood happiness. 

Therefore, the owners strive for every customer to leave with not only an excellent dining experience, but also lifelong memories.

3. La Yeon

source: theshillaseoul

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Cuisine: Korean Cuisine with French Presentation

Price Range: $$$$

Located in the Dongguk University area at Jangchung-dong as part of The Shilla, La Yeon offers quintessential Korean fare. 

It’s the pinnacle of haute cuisine with impressive presentation and to-die-for hospitality. Their niche, however, focuses on a French type of display, which makes it very upscale.

But what highlights La Yeon is the special attention paid to the ambiance inside the restaurant. 

Not only is it a luxurious, relaxing and gorgeous atmosphere but they also have breathtaking vistas of Seoul. No matter where you sit in the restaurant, you’re guaranteed to get an excellent view.

4. Soigné

source: soigneseoul

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Cuisine: Contemporary Korean-European Fusion

Price Range: $$$

Soigné is a great restaurant that combines traditional Korean cuisine with various countries around Europe. 

This is one of the most ideal spots after doing a little sightseeing at Montmartre Park. The staff is friendly and eager to please with delectable food selections.

Their menu items combine Italian and French cuisines with a little influence from Spain and Germany to present what they call “storytelling dining.” 

It’s truly an experience to witness and difficult to write about. Words cannot describe what customers take away from their dining journey here.

5. Ulaeog

Average Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars

Cuisine: Cold Korean Noodle Spot

Price Range: $$$

Ulaeog (phonetically pronounced Woo Lei Oak), is a typical Korean noodle shop. But, it’s flavors are anything but average.

Located in the Gwangjang Market, it’s a great place to grab a quick bite for lunch or to enjoy an early supper.

This place is a staple in Seoul, being in business since the late 1970s. 

Ulaeog is famous for their bulgogi, noodle soups, pyeongyang naengmyun, buckwheat noodles and sesame-marinated kimchi. The broths they use are unusual but bursting with flavor.

6. Maple Tree House

source: mapletreekorea

Average Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars

Cuisine: Classic Korean BBQ

Price Range: $$$

On the northern side of the Han River, very close to Seoul’s city center is one of the best classic Korean BBQ joints: Maple Tree House. 

Any trip to Seoul would be remiss and severely lacking without at least one trip to this establishment.

Their menu comprises all beef or pork options with a few items containing prawns or tofu. But, for the price, you get heaping portions of food. 

This includes the main dish along with sides. Because they’re considered a late night spot, they also have alcoholic beverages available.

7. Korea House

source: koreahouse_official

Average Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars

Cuisine: Traditional Full Course Korean

Price Range: $$$ to $$$$

For a true authentic Korean dining experience, Korea House is the place to go. 

Not only is their menu full of delicious, mouthwatering morsels but they also offer live performances during dinner. They also have a wedding hall and is the official government reception hall of Korea.

Therefore, you can get many Korean historical experiences all in one place. 

Their food, décor, costumes, performances and displays date back to Korea’s Joseon Period (1392 to 1892). Everything is very formal, orderly and managed. 

The atmosphere and the area are absolutely enchanting.

8. Seoul’n’Soul

source: Seoul’n’Soul

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Cuisine: Korean Fusion

Price Range: $$$

Seoul’n’Soul is a bistro-style restaurant featuring classic Korean flavors with other international cuisines from places like Brazil, Italy, Mexico and Spain, to name a few. 

This is the unsung hero of our best restaurants list here. It’s close to the Sookmyung Women’s University too.

They offer beef, ox, shrimp, fish and chicken, with everyone having eaten there giving a glowing review. 

Each dish is simple yet personal, even though their menu is not very large. But it’s a great place for Koreans to take their foreign friends.

9. 7th Door

source: 7thdoor_official

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Cuisine: Modern Korean Featuring Fermentation

Price Range: $$

For “the ultimate journey to the heaven of taste,” 7th Door provides an unparalleled experience in Korean cuisine. 

They base their menu on the DNA of traditional food: fermentation and aging. Because 7th Door caters their menu to every reservation, you must book your table in advance.

Since the cuisine is for adults only, children under 13 years old are not permissible. Much of what they serve comprises fish, anchovies, seafood, caviar and rice. 

The whole restaurant and dining experience is a spiritual journey you can only understand with a hands-on approach.

10. Hangaram

source: hangarammx

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Cuisine: Traditional Full Course Korean

Price Range: $$

Hangaram is a traditional Korean restaurant located very close to Seoul’s City Hall. They take great care in providing home-style vittles in an exquisite restaurant setting.

Almost everyone who dines there leaves feeling their bellies full of the chef’s love.

The goal is to use food as medicine, from the vegetables down to the herbs and savory meats. 

They serve all the Korean favorites and staples such as hotpots, bulgogi, kimchi and japchae. The portions are generous and the prices are fantastic.

11. Yang Good

source: yanggood

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars

Cuisine: Korean BBQ

Price Range: $$

Specializing in halal lamb from Australia, Yang Good is an excellent BBQ place. 

They also have beef, crab, eel, abalone and many vegan-friendly dishes as well. The flavors of the food dance on the tongue like an angel on the head of a pin.

The staff is inviting, welcoming and helpful; they’ll even offer to grill your meat for you so you enjoy the food properly. You can see their YouTube promo video here.

12. Myeongdong Kyoja

source: myeongdong_kyoja

Average Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars

Cuisine: Cold Noodles

Price Range: $$

Situated in the heart of the Myeongdong district, Myeongdong Kyoja has been in the noodle business since 1976. 

Many people come for lunch and dinner to enjoy their array of cold noodles, noodle soups and other rice dishes.

They specialize in many traditional foods that foreigners and locals crave alike. They have kalguksu, mandu, bibimguksu and kongguksu. They even make their own special kimchi and ensure that every dish is healthy, well balanced and delicious.

13. Nakwon

Average Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars

Cuisine: Korean BBQ & Other Fare

Price Range: $$$

The upscale Mayfield Hotel hosts several excellent restaurants, one of which is Nakwon, offering traditional Korean BBQ. 

They use mostly fresh ingredients that the hotel grows itself, aside from the meat of course.

Nakwon is also famous for its special and secret method for aging their ribs. They have a large menu with many options from which to choose. 

There’s also crab, chicken, pork, fish, octopus, tofu and squid. Aside from BBQ, they also have Korean standards like bulgogi, noodle soups and bibimbap.

14. Jungsik Seoul

source: jungsik_inc

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Cuisine: Modern & Contemporary Korean Cuisine

Price Range: $$$$

One of the most popular upscale Korean cuisine restaurants in Seoul is Jungsik. It is the ultimate experience in fine dining while encountering courteous and helpful staff. 

Their love affair with food has birthed a new category of dining altogether: New Korean Fine Dining.

With a team of highly prized and qualified master chefs, they devise a cornucopia of food options that make it difficult for customers to decide on which one to choose.

15. Bicena

source: bicena_seoul

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Cuisine: Traditional Full Course Korean Cuisine

Price Range: $$$$

For a high-end meal after a relaxing day at Soekchon Lake or Songpanaru Park, Bicena offers traditional Korean fare as full course meals. 

They have intricate and separate menus for weekdays and weekends as well as for lunch and dinner. Reservations are mandatory, but you can place them up to two months ahead.

They offer a wide array of foods on their menus and they cater each to the season. They offer caviar, soups, fermented foods and a plethora of meats. 

For instance, in the summer, their menus are rather light, serving things like chicken, fish, rice and fancy fruit salads.

Conclusion

While this is a huge list of some of the best restaurants Seoul has, it is by no means complete. There are thousands of restaurants offering quality foods to fit a wide range of budgets, tastes and dietary requirements. 

However, the ones mentioned are the most unusual and tantalizing ones we could find.

From traditional meals to noodle shops and BBQ spots, there’s something for everyone to try. 

If you want a high-end bistro experience or something more down-to-earth, Seoul Korea has it all. There are so many Korean fusion restaurants that you could lose yourself for days in them.

Regardless of where you go, you’re sure to get a memorable experience. Not only will the food be delicious but the staff will leave a lasting impression.

It’s why there are some people who will travel specifically to Seoul just for the food.

About The Author

Photo of author

Jason Park

Jason has been living in Seoul over 4 years and during that time, he has experienced a lot of the city's quirks and charms. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others who are interested in learning more about South Korea.

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