Ah, food… The thing I love the most on Earth (besides my cats).
This list of the best restaurants in South Korea is all you need to ensure you enjoy countless culinary experiences throughout your trip there. Also, it’s super subjective as taste varies from people to people, but this should please every taste palate!
I did NOT rank the restaurants according to my preferences. This list goes from the first to the last restaurant I ate at during my trip to South Korea, so starting from Seoul and ending in Busan.
10 Best Restaurants
1. Choigozip Hongdae
First stop with tasty beef and/or pork pieces! Some BBQ places have just either one of them, so it’s always good to have both in one place. If you’re new to Korean BBQ, the staff will help you out without any problem. Also, the banchan (South Korean side dishes coming with the main dish) and the meat sauces were super tasty. In conclusion, go there if you enjoy good meat and more particularly if you’re a Korean BBQ lover!
Address: 25 World cup buk-ro 2-gil, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Opening Hours: It is open every day from noon until midnight, except on Sundays when it closes at 10 PM.
So, first of all, yes, there is no English name lol. In this restaurant located near the Ihwa Mural Village in Seoul, they serve Kongbap, which is a sort of terracotta pot where rice is being cooked with beans (red or black). Several side dishes come with the main dish, like spicy tofu, kimchi, tuna, etc. You can even mix some things like the Kongbap with Bulgogi beef (a sort of meat stew with vegetables).
Address: 1-145 Dongsung-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Opening Hours: It is open from 11 AM until 10 PM (last service at 9:30 PM).
3. Gwangjang Market
Gwangjang Market has been around for at least 100 years and is one of the most popular markets in Seoul. People of all ages seat side by side in front of food stands to eat delicious, traditional, inexpensive dishes and without necessarily knowing each other. The market is a must-to-go in Seoul for all food-lovers out there.
Address: 88 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno 4(sa)-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Opening Hours: The official website says “till 11:00 pm (never closed)”.
4. Nori Table
I know it’s Japanese and not Korean, but I believe you should give it a try, as it may be very different from Japanese food you are used to eating in your home country. You have a lot of options there, from teriyakis to baked mussels, tempura noodles, and the classic sushis/makis, etc. Not only the food is incredibly good in this restaurant, but they also have fried ice cream (how cool is that?)!
Address: 455-47 Itaewon 2(i)-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Opening Hours: It’s open every day from noon until 11 PM.
5. Hongsi Hanjungsik
Be prepared for a full Korean culinary immersion! In this restaurant, you can choose between two menus. One is at ₩12,000 and is mainly vegetarian, composed of 5 starters and 16 main dishes (yes, 16). The other one is at ₩17,000 and includes also Bulgogi Beef. Once you go there, someone will explain to you everything you need to know about the meal you are about to consume, from side dishes to how to eat them. I suggest you take two menus if you’re 4 or 5 people, as they are heavy. Careful though, there are no chairs there! You will have to seat on pillows on the floor.
Address: 5, Hwarang-ro 19beon-gil, Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do 38143
Opening Hours: Every day from 11:30 AM until 9:30 PM every day.
If Japan is not included in your East-Asian trip (or you just want to eat Japanese), go eat some ramen noodles! I’m craving ramen every time I’m feeling a bit down, or when I need comfort. Nekojjang’s ones were really tasty, and they offer different types of broths.
Address: 79 Gyerim-ro, Nodong-dong, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
Opening Hours: It’s open every day from 11:30 AM until 9 PM.
7. Sukyoung Sikdang
Here, they offer bibimbap, which comes with various side dishes like fish, kimchi (it’s a fermented spicy vegetable dish, the most famous one is the cabbage variety), salad, soup, etc. What’s a bibimbap, you may ask me? It’s a dish made of a mix of rice, vegetables (carrots, cucumbers…), a sunny-side-up egg, and most of the time meat (beef generally), served in a sort of Korean terracotta bowl. I would also encuorage you to take on the side, to share, a sort of Korean omelet, called pajeon (which is a huge pancake with scallions), that is very tasty!
Address: 60 Gyerim-ro, Hwangnam-dong, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
Opening Hours: It is open every day (except on Tuesdays), from 11 AM until 9 PM.
8. Jagalchi Market
It is located near Nampo Port, and it’s the largest fish market in Korea, offering both living and dried fish. Many of the people who sell fish are women, so the merchants there are called Jagalchi Ajumma; ajumma in Korean means middle-aged or married women. At the market, you will have the opportunity to eat fresh raw (or cooked if you insist) fish among other Korean people.
Address: 52 Jagalchihaean-ro, Nampo-dong, Jung-gu, Busan
Opening Hours: It is open every day from 5 AM until 10 PM, and it’s closed every first and third Tuesday of every month.
9. Gaemijip Seomyeon
Here, you have a variety of seafood hotpots, and you can choose between shrimp, tripe, octopus, or a mix. I went for a mix of octopus and shrimp because it looked delicious (and it was!). As a little tip, you should add instant ramen noodles for an extra of ₩1,500, as it gives more consistency to the hotpot in my opinion.
Address: 73 Sincheon-daero 62beon-gil, Bujeon-dong, Busanjin-gu, Busan
Opening Hours: It is apparently open 24/7 according to Google lol.
10. Obanjang BBQ
Now, it’s time for you to experience a full Korean BBQ. They offer pork and beef options for those who may not eat one or the other. The staff is super attentive, kind, and was always happy to help novices (like me). The menu is a bit limited, but hey, if you have friends like mine who take forever to choose what they’re going to eat at the restaurant, bring them here! To sum up, it’s a traditional South Korean BBQ and at a reasonable price.
Address: 20 Gunam-ro 24beon-gil, U-dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan
Opening Hours: According to Trip Advisor, it is open every day from 9 AM until 9 PM.
Are you craving for more? As I am a remarkably generous person, I also decided to give you 5 cafés and bars I think are worth visiting in South Korea.
Cafés / Bars
1. Osulloc Tea House
There, you can eat everything with green tea flavor (it means if you don’t like green tea, first, how dare you? And second, go somewhere else lol). You can eat green tea ice cream, cake, flan, frappés, and other yummy stuff!
Address: Seoul, Jongno-gu, Gwanhun-dong, 170
Opening Hours: Open every day from 10 AM until 10 PM.
You may encounter many tourists there, but the view is worth it. Cha-teul literally means “tea-drinking garden”. You need to step there without your shoes, and you are served with the detailed Korean tea-drinking practices. The sunset hits different from there, and I cannot recommend you enough to go see it if you have the opportunity to do so!!
Address: 26 Bukchon-ro 11na-gil, Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Opening Hours: Every day from 10 AM until 9 PM.
3. Sabaha Café
In Gyeongju, I would recommend you to go to Sabaha Café because it’s cute, the staff is super lovely, and they have a variety of drinks, from ice coffees to frappés or teas, and other stuff. When the weather allows it, you should seat in the terrace as there are tons of couches and armchairs.
Address: 57-16 Wolseong-dong, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
Opening Hours: No info on the net so who knows lol.
4. Galmegi Brewing
It’s a recommendation I took from Tripzilla.com before my visit, and I don’t regret going there, as the beers were really good. They are present in 6 different places throughout Busan, but I would suggest going to their Gwangalli location, as it’s the first one that opened in 2014 (and the venue is large).
Address: 58 Gwangnam-ro, Namcheon-dong, Suyeong-gu, Busan
Opening Hours: It is open from Sunday to Thursday from 5 PM until 1 AM, and Fridays and Saturdays from 4 PM to 2 AM.
5. SKÖLL Gastro Beer Pub
It should please beer enthusiasts looking to get drunk for a big night out, or maybe just for chilling like decent human beings. They have an impressive and extending offerings of tap beers, local and international.
Address: Busan, Busanjin-gu, Bujeon 1(il)-dong, Seomyeonmunhwa-ro, 32 2F
Opening Hours: It is open every day from 11:30 AM until 1 AM every day, except on Sundays when it closes at 10 PM.
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this article and that you will use my recommendations (or not) if you decide to travel one day to South Korea. Don’t hesitate to leave comments if you have other places you would recommend visiting, and share this article with your friends, family, lovers, pets…
My next article will be about an easy South Korean recipe you can try at home! If you enjoy the content of my blog, don’t forget to follow A Gourmet Vagabond on WordPress and my social media channels, to be updated about new upcoming articles and other fun stuff!
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