10 Best International Restaurants in Seoul 2018
At Restaurant Buzz Seoul, where we currently have over 13,000 members, we regularly discuss, debate, and showcase the best restaurants in the Seoul metro area. I recently set up a poll on what members thought were the best restaurants.
Things to keep in mind.
- These aren’t mainstream spots in Seoul restaurant and tourism guides.
- They tend to not be Korean, I think mostly because great Korean restaurants are everywhere. Most of the good ones are already established and well-known, so they don’t make much buzz. Oh, and this is an international list.
- RBS members tend to be Korean and foreign English speakers, so it’s coming from a more international perspective.
- Since the polls are on the populist side, fine dining rarely fares well. Still, I say you shouldn’t trust the Michelin Guide.
10. Nekkid Wings
Diners love the variety of flavors and the crunchy texture of the wings. Served with Seoul’s top craft beers. We’ve come a long way since the days of Sh-Wing.
The wings were delicious, the sauce was really great, many different flavors, with the Aazinger and the mandarin orange being my favourites. The giant Onion ring was awesome too. – Yann D.
The oldest place on this list. When Taco Amigo first opened, Mexican fare was dire and depressing. Taco Amigo distinguishes itself from the current Mexican restaurant wave by being more of a fast-casual place. Unpretentious and dependable. It was looked over for so long that it’s gotten a revival from fans who appreciate simple Tex-Mex at a decent price.
Luv this place, no Korean fusion, no fancy pansy cuisine jumpin off here! Just some good Mexican granny grub!!! – Cindy R.
A cozy place to have a casual meal. The menu changes regularly, and it’s currently run by Leo Jehn, legendary baker and restaurateur.
My favorite sandwich of the moment: pulled pork ahogada at Fat Cat. The pulled pork is really tender and flavorful and cilantro goes really well with it (you could ask them to skip it). The best part is the spicy tomato soup – it gets absorbed by the delicious baguette, making it super juicy. The sandwich ends up tasting like a much richer and flavorful version of a french dip sandwich. – Joe R.
Linus is still going strong with his authentic Alabama-style barbecue. He’s been the standard that other BBQ places have emulated. What I mean is that some plating and items that Linus introduced are now so ingrained that Seoul diners expect to see them at any American BBQ restaurant. He’s recently opened a second location in Haebangchon that specializes in chicken.
The pulled pork and the ribs stand up to the best you’ll find in Memphis. (And I ought to know because I’m from Memphis.) Linus’ BBQ is one of the great restaurants in Seoul, or anywhere on Planet Earth. – Lyman M.
Starting out as a tiny closet tucked away unseen, Chuck Chun took a gamble, closed shop, ran a Kickstarter campaign, and opened a larger and more popular location. California Kitchen specializes in Cali-style burgers (think In-n-Out) and Cali-Mex. They have been adding house cured corned beef, and Chuck has shown me that he has other experiments in store. They boast a unique rotating beer list with some ales that you can’t find anywhere else in Korea.
If you see a large man slumped at the bar with shreds of smoked meat hanging out of his mouth, do come and say hi. – Andy H.
South African food has been slowly catching on. Once considered a novelty, Braai Republic has established itself as one of the top watering holes in Seoul. They have great lamb. I’ve noticed that the majority of the top five on this list serve lamb in a city where lamb is scarce. They also have a location in Pyeongtaek.
It’s like being at home for me. I miss South African food when I’m here in Korea and usually go there to get my taste of home. Its not just popular with Koreans. It’s popular with all Saffas, and not just because it’s our closest taste to home. Their meat really does taste exactly how my gran and mom make it when home. Lamb chops, boerewors, meat pies, Hunters and Savannah, all the good things right under one roof. – Nicole K.
I mentioned South African, but Moroccan food has been the sleeper hit of Seoul’s foodie community. Casablanca specializes in Moroccan sandwiches. The Lamb Chili Sandwich gets the most buzz.
Had lunch at Casablanca Sandwicherie!!! The food is delicious and as a Morroccan, I should know. The prices are great and the service is amazing. – Kawtar El A.
3. Mix & Malt
If you spend just a couple of days on Restaurant Buzz Seoul, you’ll hear about Mix & Malt. It’s the most talked about place. The kitchen serves up well-executed comfort foods while the bar titillates with innovative classy cocktails. It gets a lot of posts on RBS because guests discover new exciting items each visit. Oh, and the personalized hospitality makes everyone feel like home.
Mix and Malt is such an amazing place to have a date night. Maybe the best host ever in any restaurant/bar here in Seoul. We waited awhile for our food because of how busy they were, but the owner made sure we were taken care of nonetheless with drinks, hospitality that defines Mix and Malt. Food is amazing as I prepared to eat here starving myself all day for I knew the amount of food they give. I look forward to coming here with friends, my husband any time I have the opportunity. – Kendra J.
2. el pino 323
We had the Mexican wave. Mexican food got better. Then came el pino. It’s blown everyone away. People consider it the most authentic Mexican food in Korea–possibly on this side of the planet.
I’m from a border city in New Mexico and dang, the food was on point. – Rebecca D.
Number one is one of the newer restaurants on the list, so it’s still in the heavy buzz stage. It’s the second restaurant run by the folks from Casablanca Sandwicherie. This one expands the menu to more sit-down Moroccan fare. It hasn’t caught on with the Instagramming matjip crowd yet, so go down there before the perma-line forms.
Morococo Cafe was absolutely terrific. The lemon chicken with green olives was my favorite. Absolutely knocked it out of the park with this one. ^^ 10/10 recommend! – Kayla T.
Some Cool Mentions
There were some interesting nominations this round. Some have been around, but people want to keep them secret. Others have only recently been open.
That’s exactly what it is. They make their own bacon and serve over a dozen different kinds of BLT sandwiches. You gotta get the fries, though. Some of the best.
As of this writing, they’re under renovation. It’s a jazzy bar run by the aforementioned Leo Jehn. Specializes in cocktails, corned beef sandwiches, and empanadas.
Innovative French restaurant run by a passionate crew. When people are asking me for recommendations for special dates and meetings, I suggest La Marmite.
Cantonese BBQ and noodles from the minds behind Manimal Smokehouse and Motor City Pizza.