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Old Jan 27, 09, 2:47 am   #1
 
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Restaurants in Seoul?

Going to Seoul with the wife for a week of R&R at the Shilla. Any advice on the best restaurants in town? We are quite open to any type of cuisine (with the exception of kimchi!) as long as it is interesting and taste-bud provoking...
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Old Jan 27, 09, 4:05 pm   #2
 
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Good luck eating well in Korea and avoiding the Kimchi.
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Old Jan 28, 09, 4:04 am   #3
 
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Good luck eating well in Korea and avoiding the Kimchi.
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Old Jan 28, 09, 6:12 am   #4
 
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Kimchi may be an acquired taste, and best enjoyed in moderation, but when in Seoul...

I can't recommend any one place over another, because I don't recollect the name of one place we went and never caught the name of the other, but I would encourage you to go for Korean Barbecue with all the little dishes of accompaniments and the grill right in the table where you can either cook it yourself or watch closely while the waitstaff cooks the meat. You'll leaving feeling like a real carnivore.
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Old Jan 28, 09, 6:37 am   #5
 
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Seoul Food and DMZ Trip Report, Korea Do 2007

FTer Sweet Willie and a couple of others were on a culinary tour of Seoul in 2007.
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Old Jan 29, 09, 1:44 am   #6
 
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I've dined at the Japanese and French restaurants at The Shilla and both are very good. The hotel is owned by Samsung and run by the eldest daughter of its former chairman, so you can be sure that the restaurants are in tip-top shape. They have an impressive wine list.

Otherwise I patronize the restaurants in the basement (two floors) of Seoul Finance Plaza just behind the old city hall (which is unfortunately being torn down). They offer several fine dining choices: Japanese/Japanese fusion, Italian, Chinese fusion (pine mushrooms and abalone to die for), Shanghainese, Indian. This is not your run-of-the-mill food court type cuiside. Sushi in Seoul is as good as Tokyo but at half the price.
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Old Jan 29, 09, 2:48 am   #7
 
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I've dined at the Japanese and French restaurants at The Shilla and both are very good. The hotel is owned by Samsung and run by the eldest daughter of its former chairman, so you can be sure that the restaurants are in tip-top shape. They have an impressive wine list.
The Japanese and Italian restaurants at the Millenium Hilton are also rather good as is La Cucina higher up on Namsan close to the GH.
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Old Jan 29, 09, 6:08 am   #8
 
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Japanese and French. Japanese and Italian. All quite lovely, I'm sure. But how about KOREAN? It is Seoul, after all. Kimchi aversion acknowledged, surely we can find some Korean restaurants to recommend for the OP and others.
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Old Jan 29, 09, 7:57 am   #9
 
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Japanese and French. Japanese and Italian. All quite lovely, I'm sure. But how about KOREAN? It is Seoul, after all. Kimchi aversion acknowledged, surely we can find some Korean restaurants to recommend for the OP and others.
If one follows Korean customs, there is kimchi virtually as part of every dish. BBQed meat is eaten with grilled kimchi, raw fish accompanied by kimchi, the soups and stews often include the same ingredient...

The Japanese food is, however, of such high standard, and sometimes with an interesting Korean twist (like the sashimi bibimbap at the Millenium Hilton), that I would genuinely recommend trying that as an alternative.

Some of the higher end Italian food is also spectacular, French I think Japanese and Chinese chefs understand better. Chinese food in Korea is often from Fujian province and can be very tasty as well, with an emphasis on seafood dishes.
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Old Jan 30, 09, 12:47 pm   #10
 
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Japanese and French. Japanese and Italian. All quite lovely, I'm sure. But how about KOREAN? It is Seoul, after all. Kimchi aversion acknowledged, surely we can find some Korean restaurants to recommend for the OP and others.
Honestly I can't remember the names of these places unfortunately. But I bet if you ask the people at the hotel, they can recommend some nice places.

In general I've found some really good places to eat everywhere, but I would specifically ask about the following:

Traditional (old style) Korean food (jung shik) - you should take a trip to In-sa-dong.

Korean BBQ places - Myeong-dong or nearby or if you want more of an "American" feel, I would try some places in Itaewon or Yongsan (near the US Army Base). I would recommend trying some Korean BBQ: gal-bi (beef short ribs), sam-gyeop-sal (pork belly), bul-go-gi (marinated beef), etc.

If you want to be a bit more brave, i.e. less english, try some places in Shinchon or south of the Han river.

Good luck and happy travels.

BTW almost every korean place serves kimchi - it's usually only a side dish and you don't have to eat it (or any other side dishes as a matter of fact).
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Old Jan 30, 09, 11:07 pm   #11
 
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BTW almost every korean place serves kimchi - it's usually only a side dish and you don't have to eat it (or any other side dishes as a matter of fact).
Yes, in the same way as you can go to Alba in Italy and just eat the pasta without touching the truffles on the plate.
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Old Jan 30, 09, 11:36 pm   #12
 
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If one follows Korean customs, there is kimchi virtually as part of every dish. BBQed meat is eaten with grilled kimchi, raw fish accompanied by kimchi, the soups and stews often include the same ingredient...
This sounds like the Korean version of Monty Python's SPAM skit.
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Old Jan 30, 09, 11:37 pm   #13
 
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The Japanese and Italian restaurants at the Millenium Hilton are also rather good as is La Cucina higher up on Namsan close to the GH.
La Cucina used to be absurdly expensive and terrible value for money. Nowadays I guess it is only expensive and so-so value for money.
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Old Jan 31, 09, 7:32 am   #14
 
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La Cucina used to be absurdly expensive and terrible value for money. Nowadays I guess it is only expensive and so-so value for money.
We had lunch there with my Korean ex-boss in August and although the antipasti could have been better there was nothing to complain about regarding the mains. Very nice beef.
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Old Jan 31, 09, 9:07 am   #15
 
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Some of the higher end Italian food is also spectacular, French I think Japanese and Chinese chefs understand better. Chinese food in Korea is often from Fujian province and can be very tasty as well, with an emphasis on seafood dishes.
Most chinese food is latent with MSG, and not 'real' cuisine. IMHO would avoid.

Japanese food is quite good.

One high end korean restaurant to consider is:
Yongsusan in the Chungdam area, tel: 546-0647/8
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