Seoul Guide: Where to Dine & Stay in Korea’s Capital City

Wongiog’s (원기옥) gopchang-jeongol hot pot

With months of my life spent in Asia across six countries since my youthful 1998 days, South Korea called to me like a beacon. Even as I had the opportunity to visit some Asian countries more than once and spend three months in Southeast Asia, I’ve dreamed of visiting Korea over 15 years.

Growing up in suburbs of NYC and LA, I was blessed to feast on the endless wealth of Korean eateries and restaurants from the U.S. densest, historic communities of Queens and Los Angeles. In fact, my 1990s home-cooked meals with lifelong Korean friends in Queens was when I first fell for Korean food as a teen, starting with seafood pajeon, then dolsot bibimbop, japchae and so on.

Taste of Seoul Icon Award being received by chef Cho Hee-sook

Ever since, I hoped to visit the home source and missed one press trip opportunity having already committed to another trip. Finally in October 2022, I visited S. Korea, my 7th Asian country. The impetus for the trip was food and drink festival, Taste of Seoul, on its third year but first in-person awards ceremony at the Sebitseom Floating Island Convention Hall. The prestigious event (via the Seoul Metropolitan Government and Bar & Dining Magazine) awards top 100 restaurants, bars and bakeries in Seoul. It was the first citywide in-person gastronomy event since pandemic began. What a privilege to be there with just a few international press from Japan, China, Paris, Singapore and England, as it was to see (and meet) local chef legends and greats across food and drink…

In addition to the great Born & Bred and Byeokje Galbi, which I write about in my upcoming article on the not-widely-understood world of Korean barbecue, here are eight standout Seoul restaurants, fine dining to casual (stay tuned for my Seoul cocktail bar guide in 2023), and my hotel recommends:

Article here:

Onjium desserts on historic recreation plateware

My Medium Travel Guides:
— Healdsburg Adventures with SingleThread, Little Saint and Montage
Vancouver Guide: 12 Top Places to Dine Now
— Orkney Meets the California Coast: Weekending with Highland Park in Pescadero
— NYC Guide: 12 Top Places to Dine Now

7th Door’s pine mushroom “sticks”

— Food with a View: New Life at Navio in The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
— Weekend-ing: Japanese Food & Drink + Cultural Events at New Sunnyvale Hotel
— My Belgium Checklist: Where to Dine, Drink & Stay in Brussels & Antwerp
— Hawai’i’s BIG ISLAND: 2022 Eat, Drink & Stay Guide
— Honolulu Guide 2022, Part Two: 10 Top Restaurants + Where to Stay
— Honolulu Guide 2022, Part 1: Coffee, Bites, Bakeries & Bars with Good Food
— Los Angeles Travel: Spring 2022 Restaurant & Food Guide
— Los Angeles Travel: Spring 2022 Coffee, Snacks & Drinks Guide
— Support Our Beloved Wine Countries, Guerneville Edition
— Support Our Beloved Wine Countries, Healdsburg Edition
— Staycations, Santa Cruz Edition: Where to Eat, Stay & Drink Now
— South Lake Tahoe: Where to Eat, Drink & Stay Now
— Weekend-ing: Affordable, Hidden Gems in Nevada’s Capital, Carson City
— Harvest Season Staycations: Support Our Beloved Wine Countries, Sonoma Edition
— Harvest Season Staycations: Support Our Beloved Wine Countries, Sebastopol Edition

7th Door’s amuse bouche
Jueun’s tangpyungchae play on the Korean flag
Restaurant Allen amuse bouche
Joo Ok’s wild prawns 4-ways