If you’ve recently read my post on the Best Cafes in Korea, you can now make sure you have your whole day covered! Head to dinner then head to a cafe, all from the best restaurants in Korea list!
As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m going to try to avoid having multiple restaurants in the same city. I’ll give you runner’s up and some honorable mentions from my friend who still lives in Korea as well, so don’t worry if one doesn’t suit you! Let’s jump into the best restaurants in Korea ~
Willala Fish & Chips, Jeju – Best Restaurants in Korea
This place is rather out of the way for the average visitor to Jeju if you don’t have a car. Frankly everything in Jeju is somewhat out of the way if you don’t have a car so you should prioritize coming here anyway.
This is by far some of the best fish and chips you can get in Korea (the only other good place is also on this list!) and still manages to be innovation while remaining classically delicious. The breading is very different, but still crunchy and delicious and the use of the local fish (called Johndory) was a highlight.
Prices are around 14,000krw for a meal.
Runner up: Dombedom, a Michelin Star black pork restaurant. If you’re looking for black port, this is the place to get it – I’ll be honest it wasn’t my favorite but then, I’m a beef person. Expect to bring a friend and spend around 19,000-23,000 each.
Kakao Address: 33, Seongsanjungang-ro, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si
Ryoko 료코, Gyeongju
I do try to keep things fairly “Korean” on these lists but Korean-Japanese food is something of its own category. I never saw any of these dishes while I was in Japan, other than the curry which tastes different anyways. If you’re wanting to give this fusion a try, this is the best place to do it.
It is surprising, given that Gyeongju isn’t exactly known for its food. But this tiny area where the restaurant is seems to be up and coming, providing several foodie options!
The people are super nice and once gave me a free fried shrimp dish because they recognized me. Sadly, shrimp makes me sick but it was super nice of them.
Address: 27, Cheomseong-ro 99beon-gil
I did hesitate to recommend this restaurant for Seoul given that it is certainly more pricey. However, if you’re looking for a cheaper Michelin meal (two stars!) somewhere in the world, this is about 85,000krw or $75 for the tasting menu. Not too bad!
And it is an experience. Over the course of two hours you will be served dish after dish focusing on traditional Korean ingredients cooked to perfection with absolutely stunning combinations. I ate asparagus – asparagus! Bane of my existence asparagus…and I loved it.
Beautiful techniques and a lovely Gangnam setting gives you an extra reason to visit this chic side of Seoul
Of course, there are any number of amazing restaurants in Seoul so here are a few runners up:
Yun ssi Milbang: This place is sort of…Korean American fusion? It’s spicy, it’s weird, it’s sort of Shabu Shabu but with hamburgers and noodles? It’s good! Expect to pay around 9,000krw for your own pot.
Bukchon Sonmandu: I’ve harped on this place to anyone who will listen. If you want mandu, or Korea’s version of dumplings, this is the place to get them. Crispy and fried with glass noodles it will fill you up in minutes – also portable as you walk along Insadong’s streets. It’s about 4,000krw for three (and they’re quite large).
Address: 19, Dosan-daero 67-gil, Gangnam-gu
Cheap and delicious, this is the best food to be had in Jinju and the best dimsum I had in Korea altogether. I would take a two hour roundtrip day trip just to eat these. Of course, dimsum is not terribly Korean.
But it is made in Korea and it’s great so just go. Don’t mind the waitstaff who are sometimes somewhat rude/inattentive? It’s worth it. Expect to spend around 6,000krw for six dimsum with broth inside (so don’t burn yourself).
Address: 661, Namgang-ro, Jinju-si
Shabu Shabu, Korean style. What could be better? Amazing meats but the veggies hold up somehow, all stewed in a beautiful broth over a burner at your seat.
There’s typically a line so show up early if you want to time it just right. Somehow this incredible food is only around 15,000krw for each person – it’s an absolute feast. Bento boxes with delicacies to stew or save to savor on their own – even desserts are included!
Don’t worry, you don’t have to get the same thing as your friend, they’ll let you order your own box (you’ll just share the pot of broth) which is fairly unusual.
Runner up: Chaihana, a delicious Uzbekistani place that serves, well, Uzbek food with panache. It’s definitely a local joint, with tons of locals and foreigners popping in throughout the evening. You should order several dishes, which will set you back around 12,000krw.
Address: 17, Suhyang-gil, Dong-gu
Remember how I said I’d mention another fish and chips place? This is the one! Run by an Australian immigrant chef and his Korean wife they make an amazing team. Some of the freshest ingredients are used to make classics you just can’t find (done well, anyways) in Korea elsewhere.
And be sure to try their creative drinks (especially the passionfruit one). Be prepared, though, the portion sizes are somewhat immense and if you order dessert you might just have to get to-go boxes!
Address: 9, Gyeongwon-ro 73beon-gil
리블럽/Live Laugh Love, Suwon
Ignore the silly name, this is some of the classiest food you can treat yourself to in Suwon. French food with Korean flair cooked to perfection – I’ll never forget those blanched tomatoes and Brussel sprouts. Things I hate, but brought to life.
This is one of the more expensive places in Korea and it saddens me that there are frequently less people here because of it. It’s clear that the chef is very highly trained and uses quality ingredients. So go support them if you can, dishes range from
Kakao Address: 45, Sinpung-ro, Paldal-gu
Jinmi Jip, Jeonju – Best Restaurants in Korea
Now this is a pretty cool one. Not only is the dish (Konguksu) highly traditional and delicious, it’s credited for saving Korea’s population from starving (or so I’ve been told, take it with a grain of salt). Apparently the nutritional content is really high!
Normally I’m not a fan of chilled soups, but this one is great with silky soy milk and buckwheat noodles. I’ve even tried to make it myself from scratch and let me tell you – just buy your soy milk it’s not worth it. If you do want to try your hand at it, here is the recipe I used (which did turn out well it just took forever).
Kakao Address: 94, Jeonjucheongdong-ro, Wansan-gu
순천양꼬치 1호점, Suncheon
You might be surprised to learn that Suncheon is relatively well-known for its lamb dishes. And it’s lamb skewers above that. They have these amazing little contraption that spin the skewers around and around so you get to decide how well cooked you want everything.
Unfortunately, they will not take people who are by themselves unless you buy two sets, despite the restaurant frequently being empty at lunch. Such is Korea. Expect to drop around 14,000 each on a sizable amount of skewers. Their bokubap (mixed rice) side dish is also extra excellent and I recommend.
Kakao Address: 252, Bonghwa-ro
I leave this one for last because, well, it’s a chain. And normally I like to support independent businesses. But I am someone a bit obsessed with quality BBQ and this place has some of the absolute best.
Whenever I was in a town I could feel confident that I would get quality meats (black Angus beef) and side dishes here. I’ve been to some much more pricey BBQ places and this was always just as good if not better. Make sure to order a set of cheese to grill up as well.
Expect to pay from 10,000 to 14,000 per set depending on the type of meat you want and the quality.
Honorable Mentions – Best Restaurants in Korea
Just like in my last post, the Best Restaurants in Korea list would not be complete without my friend’s input. Here are some of her top choices for restaurants!
My friend says she’d go to Jeju again just for this restaurant! Serving Turkish food the hummus and falafel that are simply to die for.
Namhae is an island that has a German Village and most of the food is suspect. Not here! Bulgarian inspired food finds itself alongside great Korean cafe drinks – the best of both worlds.