Chef Recommendations: 3 Korean Restaurants for Foreign Visitors
See & Do Tours
Chef Lee Wonil specializes in Korean cuisine and is a regular on the popular Korean TV shows "Please Take Care of My Refrigerator" and "Cook Representative," and often makes appearances on other TV shows. Chef Lee is popular in Korea for his cooking skills and having a way with words. He currently operates a Korean restaurant as well as a bakery that's famous for its breads and desserts. Chef Lee Wonil gave special recommendations to Visit Seoul on 3 great restaurants for foreign visitors to the city.
Twenty Four Seasons is operated by Chef Tony Yoo, who's appeared on the TV show "Cook Representative." The menu changes seasonally as the dishes are made only with ingredients that are in season. Chef Yoo's speciality is traditional Korean cuisine, so the dishes at Twenty Four often have touches of the traditional as well as the modern. Try the spicy jeyuk-bokkeum (stir-fried pork), which is a stir fry made from pork neck, or the traditional bulgogi (marinated beef). The traditional bulgogi is served with seasonal vegetables. The hanu (Korean beef) kebabs are also very popular.
There is a set menu of formal Korean cuisine as well as a la carte options. Twenty Four Seasons also offers a modern interpretation of “bansang” or everyday traditional cuisine. If you’re curious about what casual traditional Korean food is like, stop by the Twenty Four Seasons location at the Hyundai Department Store, Trade Center in Sinsa-dong and have a taste. The famous Garosu-gil is also in Sinsa-dong as well as Serosu-gil. Serosu-gil is not as well known as Garosu-gil, but it’s known for having many small cafes and restaurants. If you love desserts and cafes, you must visit Serosu-gil.
Twenty Four Seasons, Sinsa Branch
1st Fl, Dongwoo Building, Sinsa-dong 589-17, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Mon~Sat 11:30~22:00 / Break time 14:00~18:00 (closed Sundays)
Twenty Four Seasons Hyundai Department Store, Trade Center Branch
10th Fl, Hyundai Department Store, Samseong-dong 159-7, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
11:00~21:00 (closed on days the department store is closed)
Sinsa-dong’s Garosu-gil is one of the trendiest places in Seoul, and filled with chic and fun shops to visit. The items on sale here range in price from low to high, so shoppers of any budget can enjoy shopping here. Serosu-gil is less established than Garosu-gil but this treat is as full of eateries and cafes as Garosu-gil is of stores. The desserts on offer from Serosu-gil’s cafes and eateries are particularly well known for their desserts.
Typically, bulgogi is made by marinating beef, stir-frying the meat, then serving it au jus. At Yukjeon, the bulgogi is made differently. Yukjeon's bulgogi is unique as it's roasted, then served crispy and dry. Diners may want to make a bulgogi wrap using a perilla leaf. The recipe for this distinctive bulgogi is 54 years old and has been handed down across three generations. There is a need to acknowledge the cultural value of such old recipes, and the city of Seoul once selected the recipe as being worthy of preservation as part of Seoul's cultural heritage. The restaurant is not just popular with Koreans, but foreigners as well. The most popular menu items are the bulgogi, bossam, and beer, usually ordered together. English and Chinese menus are also available for patrons, and menus also offer a description of Yukjeon's special bulgogi. The grilled octopus and seonji haejangguk (ox blood hangover soup) are also very good.
Yeomni-dong 173-21, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Mon~Fri 11:00~22:00 / Break time 15:00~17:00 (except weekends), Weekends 11:00~21:30
The Gyeongui Line Forest Park spans a large swath of Seoul and runs through several neighborhoods. Yeomni-dong and Daeheung-dong in Mapo-gu, Seoul were the first neighborhoods along the park to be developed and commercialized. The park's Daeheung-dong section is full of trees and trails. The trails are great for walking, biking, and light exercise. The park's many open spaces and sports facilities are great for leisure activities. Gyeongui Line Forest Park is a green oasis in Seoul and it's a great escape from regular city life. Visitors to the park may also want to explore nearby Yeomni-dong, especially the Salt Road. The Salt Road is full of fun and trendy shops, but still manages to maintain an old school charm.
Neungra Bapsang is one of the best places in Seoul to experience North Korean cuisine. The restaurant is run by a defector who specializes in and studies North Korean cuisine. The dishes focus on the natural flavors of the ingredients, so artificial flavorings like MSG are not used and the food has clean, light flavor profiles. The restaurant is quite popular with both local and foreign diners, the most popular dishes being the eobok platter, potato dumplings, vegetable and doenjang (soybean paste) noodles, Pyongyang Naengmyeon (cold buckwheat noodles), and Haeju Bibimbap. The eobok platter is a Pyongyang speciality that was said to be a favorite of Korean kings. Served as an accompaniment to alcohol, eobok platter is sliced beef belly. Vegetable and doenjang (soybean paste) noodles is an everyday North Korean dish; noodles and seasonal vegetables are served warm in doenjang (soybean paste) soup. The potato dumplings have a pleasant chewy texture and are particularly popular with Japanese visitors.
2nd Fl. Gyeongsan Building, Nagwon-dong 197-1, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Mon~Sat 9:30~21:30 (closed Sundays)
The hanok in Ikseon-dong were built in the 1920s and 1930s and are excellent examples of urban hanok. In recent years, the neighborhood underwent a transformation and is now a hip, trendy Seoul hot spot. Many of the hanok in Ikseon-dong have been converted to house galleries, shops, cafés, and restaurants. Explore the area to see hanok that have been preserved as well as hanok that have been renovated with modern architectural touches.