Sobremesa’s head chef Edgar Quesada Pizarro takes dishes rooted in Spanish cuisine and combines them with his own innovations to recreate the country’s traditional recipes. With a primary focus on the quality and freshness of the ingredients, Sobremesa offers some of the most flavorful Spanish cuisine in all of Seoul. Not to be missed are the acorn-fed jamón Ibérico and Segovia suckling pig served with sous vide potato and roasted apple. The dessert menu is also worth exploring, and changes seasonally based on Spain’s popular holidays and festivities.
With the look and feel of a casual Manhattan bistro, MADE is a great escape from the pretentious restaurants and gastropubs of the surrounding Apgujeong area. Offering a simple menu of made-to-order Italian-American classics such as spaghetti and meatballs, chicken Parmesan, and tiramisù, diners can mix and match their orders based on their preferences. The beef meatballs are the real star here; prepared with local Hanu + grade beef, they are certainly an upgrade from the sub-par pizza parlor variety. Portions are generous, so go with an empty belly.
Staying true to its name, the Sinsa-dong locale serves up incredibly inventive dishes dreamed up by Chef Tae Hwan Ryu. Chef Ryu blends Korean ingredients with Japanese and Western culinary techniques gained from his past experiences in the UK, Australia, and Japan. Rated 27th of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, Ryunique offers an incredible 23-course signature tasting menu that utilizes a play on various tastes, aromas, textures, and temperatures to entice all the senses. From Chef Ryu’s signature quail dish that is presented inside a smoke-filled bell jar to homemade cotton candy wrapped around panna cotta and plated on a picture frame, Ryunique is a place that has to be experienced to be believed.
Laissez les bon temps rouler at Pier 17, one of the few restaurants in Seoul that serves up authentic Cajun cooking. Transport yourself to New Orleans as you sample specialties such as gumbo, jambalaya, and boiled seafood. If cocktails are your thing, try the Shark Attack, a blue margarita topped with a plastic shark that “bleeds” strawberry daiquiri when squeezed. Located just a block off Garosugil, Pier 17 makes for a great place to take a lunch break during an afternoon of shopping.
Breaking away from the traditional focus on fermented dishes and pungent spices, the contemporary Korean cuisine of Min’s Kitchen takes a lighter approach. It uses a number of Western cooking and plating techniques and a minimal amount of seasoning to allow the flavor profiles of the incorporated ingredients to properly shine through. Opt to try the course menu, or go à la carte. The Bulgalbi Salad, succulent grilled marinated rib-eye set atop a bed of fresh greens, and the Assorted Pancakes – mushroom, lotus root, zucchini and fish jeon – are both excellent choices.
The Original Pancake House
While the restaurant has more than 100 franchises all over the U.S., the Apgujeong location was The Original Pancake House’s first outside the States. Classic dishes such as Dollar Pancakes, Banana Pancakes, and French Toast, along with imported items like Boyd’s Coffee and Daily’s Premium Bacon, not only taste good, but are sure to cure any North American expat’s homesickness. Like the ingredients themselves, the portions, too, are American, so order accordingly.
Jin Mi Pyongyang Naengmyeon
With over 20 years of experience, the founder of Jin Mi Pyongyang opened the restaurant’s doors in 2016. Savory and flavorful, Jin Mi’s cold noodles are the stuff of Korean food lovers’ dreams. The meat broth, made from beef brisket, beef shank, and pork, is crystal clear, while the noodles are delightfully chewy, providing a pleasant texture. Try the naengmyeon with a side of boiled meat, made from pork belly, to complete this hearty meal.