Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Some of my fave restaurants in Seoul

I don't consider myself a food expert, but I do enjoy good restaurants. So here are some restaurants, divided by cuisine type, that I have enjoyed eating at during my time in Seoul.

Korean Barbecue: ("Kal", meaning "knife"), 새마을식당 (Sae Ma Eul Shik Dang, meaning "New Village Restaurant")

I usually don't go hunting for specific Korean BBQ restaurants because to me, they're all good. You can be walking around with your friends, get a sudden craving for grilled pork, and pop into any corner restaurants and eat a very satisfying meal.

That being said, there's a couple of restaurants that are particularly good. Kal is in Apgujeong, and though it's expensive, it's definitely worth it if the occasion calls for it. Most of the time, I'd rather eat plentifully and inexpensively, but sometimes, I want some high quality curry samgyeopsal. And Kal is the place to go.

Sae Ma Eul Shik Dang is the good old reliable BBQ joint. You can practically find one every 5 blocks, and their prices are extremely reasonable, making this place a great choice for casual get-togethers. Their pork bulgogi is especially good, as is their kimchi stew.

Korean: Myeongdong Gyoja, Noryangjin Fish Market (for spicy fish stew)

I've already raved about Myeongdong Gyoja in this blog, so I'll say no more.

Spicy fish soup
If you want to try Korean spicy fish soup (매운탕: Mae Oun Tang), then go to the Noryangjin Fish Market. They'll have the freshest fish and they'll make you an angry red spicy stew. I normally don't eat a lot of rice, but their soup was so good that I ate two bowls of rice.

I forgot the specific name of the restaurant that I went to... It started with "Busan" something.

Fried Chicken: Han Chu, BBQ, 오븐에빠진닭 (Oh Beun Eh Bbajin Dak, meaning "Oven-Roasted Chicken")

Fried chicken @ Han Chu

Fried peppers @ Han Chu: so greasy but so good!

Fried chicken in Korea is amazing, and it makes you never ever want to go back to a KFC or Popeye's again. The chicken is fried crisply and dryly so that it's not soggy and heavy with grease. Korean fried chicken is so good that it even makes a beer like Cass taste great.

Han Chu in Apgujeong is my favourite fried chicken place, and they have great fried stuffed jalapeno peppers too. They seem to use japapenos in their fried batter, so their chicken has a spicy bite which I love.

BBQ Chicken and 오븐에빠진닭 are two big chain restaurants that I've been to multiple times. Both are good and ubiquitous.

Spanish: Albayzin

There isn't an abundance of Spanish restaurants in Seoul, and I'm not even sure what good authentic Spanish food tastes like. But I've been to Albayzin in Hongdae a couple of times, and it has a great cozy atmosphere where you can get a big pan of paella for 2 for 30 000 won ($28). Their tapas are pretty tasty too.
The ambience at Albayzin is very nice

Their paella is pretty tasty as well

Burgers: Patty & Veggies, Salt & Butter

The Pepperjack Cheeseburger @ Patty & Veggies
Patty & Veggies is a small joint, but there was luckily plenty of room when I went there

Both of these great burger joints are in Apgujeong, and though I love them both, I have to give the edge to Patty & Veggies. Their patties are massive and their fries are mouth-wateringly crispy and thick. Plus, they give you little wax paper "burger holders" so that you can eat your deliciously fat burger without making a mess.

Salt & Butter is quite good though. I like how they give you tartar sauce for your fries. They also have a bibimbap burger, but I've never tried it.

Italian: Casa Nolita, Mad for Garlic

Good vibes at Casa Nolita
I like Italian food and all, but it all kind of tastes the same to me. I really can't tell the difference between decent pasta and great pasta, though it's pretty obvious when it's bad.

I like Casa Nolita in Gangnam because it has a really nice atmosphere and they give you plenty of food.  Their menu seems a bit limited though, with only about 6 pasta choices.

Mad for Garlic has multiple locations throughout Seoul, and I remember enjoying it the couple of times that I went. They have this great "Vampire Killer" appetizer plate that's perfect for garlic lovers like me. But don't get their misleadingly-named Garlic Bread Tower; more like Garlic Bread Stump.

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