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There is no shortage of good places to eat in Seoul. Whether you venture to a hole-in-the-wall specializing in one Korean dish or dine at an upscale restaurant featuring the finest Western-style cuisine, visitors are bound to leave satisfied. Here are the Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for the best places to eat in Seoul:
1. Min’s Club. This upscale Korean fusion restaurant is located in a historic hanok building once owned by Queen Min’s relatives. The exterior has been preserved, while the interior has been infused with homey atmosphere filled with mouthwatering aromas of European and Korean foods. Set menus are available for lunch or dinner, or you can choose to spend a quiet afternoon at Min’s Club drinking tea and nibbling on Korean rice cakes or cookies.
2. Byeokje Galbi. You can’t leave Seoul without trying Korean barbecue. And not just any kind of meat, but the best Korean beef out there. Enter Byeokje Galbi, a fine-dining restaurant dedicated to using only high-end hanwoo, beef that comes from domestically raised cows with special diets. You can expect the price tag to reflect the quality.
3. Hanilkwan. If you’re hoping to spot a South Korean President or a foreign celebrity, then dine at this 70-year-old restaurant. Choose from traditional Korean specialties like galbitang, beef short rib soup, or bulgogi, marinated barbecued beef. Lots of seating makes it perfect for big parties; we recommend you make reservations before you go.
4. Jung Sik Dang. Try Jungsik Yim’s innovative take on Korean food at this chic modern restaurant in Shinsadong. This Culinary Institute of America-trained chef infuses Korean flavors in many dishes while experimenting with preparation and ingredients. His repertoire includes sea urchin bibimbap dressed with a seaweed puree to replace gochujang, and herbal sujebi, the hand-torn noodle soup featuring a spicy parsley clam broth.
5. To Sok Chon. Locals and tourists alike clamor to try the samgyetang at this well-known restaurant. Its proximity to Cheong Wa Dae, the president’s office and residence in Seoul, makes it a favorite among politicians, such as the late President Roh Moo Hyun. Samgyetang, or chicken ginseng soup featuring a spring chicken stuffed with ginseng, rice, chestnuts, dates and garlic, is popular among locals who want to fight the heat on hot summer days.