10 Best Local Restaurants in Seoul

Seoul’s Top Restaurants for Local Dishes

    The best local restaurants in Seoul have stood the test of time, consistently delivering homemade and inexpensive Korean dishes for decades. Using traditional recipes and cooking methods, these family-owned restaurants are places to savour must-try local delicacies such as kimchi, samgyetang (chicken ginseng soup), blood stew, and galbi-jjim (braised beef ribs).

    Most of these local restaurants are located in Gangnam and Myeongdong, which are easily reached with Seoul’s efficient subway systems. Best of all, diners can enjoy a hearty and nutritious meal plus a drink at rather affordable prices. Our list of Seoul’s top restaurants for local dishes also have won rave reviews from locals, seasoned expats, and food critics from all over the world.

    1

    Tosokchon

    Tosokchon is known for its signature samgyetang (chicken ginseng soup), a popular Korean dish best eaten during the summertime. A 10-minute walk from Gyeongbokgung Station, it was a favourite spot of South Korea’s late president, Noh Muh-hyun, making it as an iconic landmark in Seoul. 

    Tosokchon’s samgyetang is slow-cooked for hours for a sweet and nutty flavour, consisting of a spring chicken (that’s no more than 49 days old) stuffed with chestnuts, garlic, dried jujubes, ginseng, glutinous rice, and gingko nuts. Aside from its signature dish, Tosokchon also offers tongdak (roasted chicken), hae-mool pajeon (green onion pancake with seafood), and agu-jjim (braised spicy monkfish).

    Location: 5, Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Daily from 10am to 10pm

    Phone: +82-2-737-7444

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    photo by Wei-Te Wong (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    2

    Goryeo Samgyetang

    Goryeo Samgyetang has been serving quality samgyetang (chicken ginseng soup) since 1960. The local restaurants is about a 2-minute walk from the City Hall subway station (Exit 10). You can also enjoy many traditional Korean dishes such as goryeo tongdak (roasted chicken) and jeonbok-juk (abalone rice porridge).

    Samgyetang is made by boiling a whole chicken with a mix of dates, garlic, glutinous rice, and various Korean medicinal herbs to make a flavourful and energising soup. Goryeo Samgyetang only uses ginseng that’s grown in Geumsan and 7 week-old chicken from local farms. 

    Location: 1, Seosomun-ro 11-gil, Seosomun-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Daily from 10am to 9pm

    Phone: +82-2-737-1888

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    photo by wizdata (CC0 1.0) modified

    3

    Hadongkwan Myeongdong

    Hadongkwan Myeongdong is a popular lunchtime spot in Seoul for savoury gomtang (beef bone soup with rice) and suyuk (boiled beef slices). Founded in the early 1930s, Hadongkwan relocated from a quiet back alley near Cheonggye Stream to the popular Myeongdong district. 

    For about 10,000 won, you can enjoy Korean beef slices and excellent kimchi, as well as free refills of soup and kimchi brine. Hadongkwan Myeongdong closes when it’s out of ingredients, so stop by early get your fill of gomtang during your stay in Seoul.

    Location: 10-4 Myeong-dong 1-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Daily from 7am to 4.30pm (closed every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month)

    Phone: +82-2-776-5656

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    photo by egg (Hong, Yun Seon) (CC BY 2.0) modified

    4

    Woo Lae Oak

    Seoulites have been flocking to Woo Lae Oakfor flavourful Pyeongyang-style naengmyeon (noodles in cold broth) since 1946. The traditional Korean dish consists of thin handmade noodles made from buckwheat, potatoes, or sweet potatoes served in a cold tangy broth, julienned cucumbers, Korean pear slices, boiled egg, and slices of cold boiled beef. 

    Woo Lae Oak also serves an array of delicacies such as yukgaejang (hot spicy meat stew), bulgogi, and galbi (grilled short ribs). Set along a quiet alleyway in Jugyo-dong, you can reach Woo Lae Oak by taking the subway to Euljiro 4-ga Station (Subway Line 2 or 5), Exit 4.

    Location: 62-29, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Daily from 11.30am to 9.30pm

    Phone: +82-2-2265-0151-2

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    photo by Foxy1219 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    5

    Cheongjinok

    Cheongjinok, founded in 1937, is a family-run restaurant that serves haejangguk – this hearty beef broth is made by stewing the ox blood with generous chunks of radish, dried Napa cabbage, beef innards, bean sprouts, and doenjang (soybean paste). Also known as a hangover stew, this flavourful dish costs around 7,000 won and comes with a side of rice and kimchi. 

    Cheongjinok also serves suyuk (boiled beef slices), various pajeon (Korean pancake dishes), donggeurang-ttaeng (pan-fried beef and vegetable patties,). Drinks range from soju (distilled liquor) and beer to baekseju (glutinous rice-based wine) and bokbunjaju (black raspberry wine).

    Location: 32, Jongno 3-gil, Chongjin-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +82-2-735-1690

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    photo by 올라프 (CC BY 2.5) modified

    6

    Andongjang

    Andongjang has been around since 1948, serving affordable Korean-Chinese delicacies. A 5-minute walk from Euljiro 3­ga Station (Subway Line 2, Exit 10), this restaurant has a number of signature dishes with prices starting from 8,000 won. 

    Must-tries include juljjamppong (spicy noodle soup), jajangmyeon (wheat noodles topped with raw cucumber slices, black soybean paste, diced pork, and vegetables), and tangsuyuk (fried pork strips with a sweet, apple and vinegar-based sauce).

    Location: 315-18 Euljiro 3(sam)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Monday–Friday from 11.30am to 9.30pm, Saturday from 11.30am to 9pm, Sunday from 11.30am to 8pm

    Phone: +82-2-2266-3814

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    photo by KFoodaddict (CC BY 2.0) modified

    7

    Masizzim

    If you’re looking for delicious galbi-jjim (braised beef ribs) in Seoul, Masizzim is a must-visit. Located in Gangnam, this restaurant has a stylish dining ambience with sleek wooden furnishing, warm lighting, and minimal decor – great for those who want to enjoy traditional Korean food in a modern setting. 

    Other signature dishes include the beef short ribs stew and pork short ribs stew with vegetables. Masizzim also has an array of side dishes complementing its braised beef ribs, including spicy noodles, rice soup, potato pancake, fried rice, and steamed eggs.

    Location: 29, Bongeunsa-ro 2-1gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Daily from 10am to 10pm

    Phone: +82-2-3452-5926

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    photo by Chun Yip So (CC BY 2.0) modified

    8

    Goraebul

    Goraebul is an authentic Korean restaurant in the Gangnam district that specialises in raw seafood. Sourcing only the freshest ingredients from a coastal area (of the same name) in Gyeongsang Province, this eatery, Goraebul serves raw dishes including whale, abalone, red snapper, flounder, oyster, sea urchin, octopus, flatfish, and gwamegi (half-dried Pacific herring). 

    The ambience here is very quiet and cosy, with several private rooms specially catering to couples. While the food and service here are excellent, do note that the menu here is in Korean and staff aren’t very fluent in other languages. 

    Location: 62, Nonhyeon-ro 79-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Daily from 11.30am to 2.30pm and from 5.30pm to 10pm

    Phone: +82-2-556-3677

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    9

    Norang Jeogori

    Norang Jeogori is a Korean table d'hôte restaurant that serves folk-style side dishes in a traditional setting. Located in Gangnam, you can enjoy a full-course meal of traditional delicacies at one sitting. 

    Prices start from 20,000 won, and includes banchan (pickled vegetables), scallion pancake, porridge, stir-fried glass noodles, raw fish, suyuk (boiled beef slices), bulgogi (grilled beef), rice, doenjang jigae (soybean stew), and mackerel stew. 

    Location: 9, Seocho-daero 73-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Daily from 11.30am to 10pm

    Phone: +82-2-534-5300

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    photo by Alpha (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    10

    Busan Sikdang

    Busan Sikdang is where you’ll see locals enjoying baekban – a set menu of rice, soup or stew, and side dishes. Standout dishes include the cold steamed cabbage with fermented soybeans, cucumbers with hot pepper flakes, soy sauce crabs, mung bean sprouts, and kimchi made with ponytail radish. 

    Do note that the rice is only cooked upon ordering, so you might need to wait for about 20 minutes for your meal. Busan Sikdang is also known for its spicy pollock maeuntang (peppery fish soup) – it makes for a popular cure for a hangover and accompaniment for Korean soju.

    Location: 12, Insadong 11-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    Open: Monday–Saturday 11.30am to 10pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +82-2-733-5761

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    photo by LWYang (CC BY 2.0) modified

    Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveller

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