Gaon is one of the most refined restaurants in Seoul. The 3-storey restaurant has been meticulously designed with each floor featuring different motifs and designs. One wall is made up with glowing colour bars, another is built using old newspapers, and the 3rd with clear plastic cases filled with beans.
The menu consists of some of the best Korean classics. The radish kimchi with oysters and hae-mool pajun – a thick pancake full of scallops, squid and octopus – are some of Gaon’s signature dishes. They also have an extensive collection of wine and traditional Korean drinks.
- Opening Hours: Monday–Saturday from 5.30pm to 11pm (closed on Sundays)
- Location: 317 Dosan-daero, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- Tel: +82-2-545-9845
Gwangjang Market is one of the 1st permanent street markets in South Korea. Located near Jogno-ga Station (Exit 8), this market is known for its range of traditional Korean food.
The ground floor has dozens of food stalls and restaurants serving authentic Korean dishes when you’re shopping at Gwangjang Market. Tailor shops occupy the 1st floor, where you get to buy folk clothing at reasonable prices.
- Opening Hours: Daily from 8.30am to 11pm (hours vary by shop)
- Location: 88, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Hongik Sootbul Kalbi
Hongik Sootbul Kalbi is an affordable Korean BBQ restaurant near Hongik University. The standout dish here is the high-quality galbi (beef ribs), which is cooked using charcoal stoves instead of hotplates.
The staff usually does most of the cooking for you, but it’s pretty straightforward – place the meat on top of the heated stove. Once it’s cooked, wrap the meat and your choice of sides in lettuce, before enjoying it in a single bite. When you leave the restaurant, you’re bound to smell like roast meat – and we mean that in a good way!
- Opening Hours: Daily from 3.30pm to 4am
- Location: 146-1 Eoulmadang-ro, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- Tel: +82 2-334-3354
Namdaemun Kalguksu Noodle Alley
The Kalguksu Noodle Alley in Namdaemun Market has rows of food vendors selling kalguksu (Korean knife-cut noodle soup), galchi-jorim (braised cutlassfish) and pajeon (scallion pancakes). Founded in 1988, this narrow alley is one of the busiest food streets in Seoul. Head there early as it can get cramped with hungry visitors in the mornings and afternoons.
- Opening Hours: Monday from 11pm to midnight, Tuesday–Saturday from 11pm to 5pm, Sunday from midnight to 5pm
- Location: 60-3 Namchang-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Myeongdong Hamheung Myeonok
Myeongdong Hamheung Myeonok is a great place for a casual meal in Seoul. The restaurant dates back to the 1980s and is located near the Myeongdong Cathedral. Its signature dish is the North Korean-style naengmyeon (chilled buckwheat noodles). You can also enjoy this dish with thinly sliced raw meat on top of the spicy noodles.
- Opening Hours: Daily from 9.30am to 9.30pm
- Location: 35-19, Myeongdong 10-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- Tel: +82-2-776-8430
Sanchon is the place to visit for vegetarian dishes cooked in Buddhist-temple style. Founded by a former Buddhist monk, this rustic restaurant is decorated with Buddhist artworks, traditional pottery, and paper lanterns – it feels like you’ve stepped inside a real shrine rather than a dining spot.
Sanchon has an ala carte menu, but it’s popular for its 16-course lunch and dinner menus, which vary from season to season. The restaurant also hosts Korean dance performances every night at 8pm.
- Opening Hours: Daily from 11.30am to 10pm
- Location: Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, 30-13, Gwanhun 14, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- Tel: +82-2-735-0312
Seoulsuh Duljjaero Jalhaneun Jip
Seoulsuh Duljjaero Jalhaneun Jip has been serving Korean teas and desserts since 1976. This traditional teahouse is one of the best places in Seoul to enjoy danpatjook – sweet red bean porridge topped with sweet rice cakes, chestnuts and gingko nuts. Once you’re done with your dish, wash it all down with a cup of refreshing sujeong-gwa (ginger cinnamon tea) which is another speciality of Seoulsuh Duljjaero Jalhaneun Jip.
- Opening Hours: Tuesday–Sunday from 11am to 9pm
- Location: 122-1, Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- Tel: +82-2-734-5302
Smokey Saloon is an American-style burger joint near Itaewon Station (Exit 2). The restaurant attracts those craving for a juicy burger during their stay in the Korean capital. The menu is varied, with the base consisting of thick beef patties seasoned with salt and pepper. Smokey Saloon has several branches in Seoul’s Apgujeong, Daechi, and Ichon districts.
Smokey Saloon‘s signature burger, the ‘Smoky Burger’ has 2 pieces of bacon, BBQ sauce, pickles, and sharp cheddar cheese sandwiched between 2 burger buns. Another must-try is the ‘Ambulance Burger’, which contains a fried egg, hash brown, 3 bacon slices, American cheese, and mayonnaise.
- Opening Hours: Sunday–Thursday from 11.30am to 10pm, Friday–Saturday from 11.30am to 2am (closed on Mondays)
- Location: 123-5 Itaewon-dong Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- Tel: +82-2-795-9019