Travel 3 minutes 03 December 2016

12 Michelin-Starred Restaurants in Seoul's Gangnam District

Move over that horse dance. Today's Gangnam is a gourmand's paradise with a whopping 12 Michelin starred restaurants in the district alone.

Korean Travel Seoul

Affluent Seoul district Gangnam might’ve gotten famous thanks to a K-pop song, but the surroundings are also a gourmet haven. In fact, it’s home to one of the South Korean capital’s three-Michelin-starred restaurants, Gaon – an upscale establishment which serves up traditional Korean dishes, some of which are from the philosophies of ancient literature.

But Korean cuisine is not all Gangnam has to offer. Walk down the narrow street of Dosan-daero 30-gil and you’ll have Asian-Italian fusion fare at Alla Prima. Craving for Japanese? Head over to Kojima at Apgujeong for some sushi. Here’s what else the Michelin inspectors have picked out.

(Related: See the full list of the 2017 Michelin Guide Seoul)
The food from Kwon Sook Soo. Credit:
The food from Kwon Sook Soo. Credit:
Cuisine: Korean
Operated by GwangJuYo Group, maker of fine Korean ceramics, food and liquor, Gaon is a traditional Korean restaurant committed to promoting a better understanding of Korean food and food culture globally. The restaurant takes pride in serving high-end, elegant cuisine in a space that honors Korean aesthetic values. The meticulously-prepared dishes, made with fresh seasonal ingredients are served in custom-designed GwangJuYo ceramic vessels. Private rooms only. 

Kwon Sook Soo
The name of the restaurant is derived from an archaic Korean word ‘sooksoo’ which means “professional cook.” Chef Kwon Woo Joong interprets traditional Korean cuisine with a decidedly modern flair, using both rare and readily-available seasonal ingredients to create unconventional flavors. All cooking oils, preserved seafood, fermented condiments and vinegar are made in house. For a glimpse of the chefs in action, reserve a seat at the counter. 2F, 27 Eonju-ro 170-gil, Gangnam-gu

Alla Prima
Cuisine: Innovative
Meaning “first try” in Italian, Alla Prima features Asian-Italian fusion cuisine that demonstrates Chef Kim Jin-hyuk’s creativity with a distinctly Japanese flair. As a chef, what he values the most is the quality of the ingredients he uses and his food clearly demonstrates that. The menu changes often, based on the chef’s inspiration and seasonal ingredients. The completely open kitchen offers the diners a clear view of Chef Kim’s team in action.23 Dosan-daero 30-gil, Gangnam-gu

(Related: 8 Michelin-starred Fugu Restaurants in Japan)
Jungsik's Sweet Gujeolpan
Jungsik's Sweet Gujeolpan

Bo Reum Soei
cuisine: Barbecue
Beef restaurants are ubiquitous all over Korea, but this relatively new spot which opened in October 2015 offers something prized and uncommon: Jeju black cattle. Choose from a wide range of cuts including sirloin, tenderloin, chuck tail flap, outside skirt steak, brisket and two types of raw beef dishes: tartare and sashimi. The prime meat is flown in directly from the family-operated farm. Private rooms are available on the second floor.36 Teheran-ro 81-gil, Gangnam-gu

Meaning “of course” in Gyeongsang province dialect, ‘Hamo’ honors the traditions of authentic Jinju-style cuisine from the old days. Jinju Bibimbap, with a mound of seasoned raw beef on top of vegetables and rice, comes in a brass bowl with a side of beef and turnip soup. The noodle-free Joseon Japchae tossed in a fragrant mustard sauce is popular also. The owner’s family are soybean farmers and make all the fermented condiments from scratch.2F, 819 Eonju-ro, Gangnam-gu

Touted as a pioneer of modern Korean fine dining, Chef Yim Jung-sik’s restaurant offers a feast for the senses with his unique take on Korean cuisine. Jungsik Seoul expanded and relocated to its current three-story Cheongdam location in 2014, complete with a bar floor, restaurant floor and private-room floor. Some of the standout dishes include octopus aioli, spicy green chili cream kalgksu and sea urchin bibimap. Excellent wine list. 11 Seolleung-ro 158-gil, Gangnam-gu

The food at Mingles. Image credit:
The food at Mingles. Image credit:

Some of the most exquisite Japanese food in Seoul can be found at Kojima, a modern and sophisticated Japanese restaurant tucked away on the 6th floor of luxury multi-brand boutique Boon the Shop. A number of booths and intimate private rooms are available, while the main dining area is complete with a sushi counter. The freshness of the ingredients is the life of this restaurant and veteran chefs take great care in handling the pristine seafood. 6F Boon the shop, 21 Apgujeong-ro 60-gil, Gangnam-gu

17 solid years of dedication and passion to preparing consistently fine food with quality local ingredients and skilled precision has made Chef Jang Myoung-sik a reputable name in classic French cuisine in the local dining scene. Located on the second floor of a quiet contemporary building south of the river, L'amitié is the ideal space to enjoy an elegant meal in privacy as it only offers small private rooms. Reservations are a must. 2F, 7 Eonju-ro 153-gil, Gangnam-gu

Since 2014, this contemporary fine dining establishment has captured the imagination of even the most discerning palates with Chef Kang Mingoo’s new and bold creations that pay respect to Korea’s culinary heritage. Traditional fermented condiments and vinegar—‘jang’ and ‘cho’—play integral roles in the dishes, even dessert. Traditional liquor pairing is offered in addition to wine pairing. 1F, 757 Seolleung-ro, Gangnam-gu

(Related: 11 Michelin-Listed Portuguese Restaurants in Macau)
The food at Twenty Four Seasons. Image credit: Viamichelin
The food at Twenty Four Seasons. Image credit: Viamichelin

Ristorante Eo
Be sure to call in to make a reservation as it is the only way to secure a table at Ristorane Eo. It may also be a bit of a challenge to track down the location as the restaurant does not have a signage. Chef Eo Yun-gwon, who developed his culinary skills in Milan, delivers highly accomplished modern Italian cuisine, through two six-course set menus. Each dish clearly demonstrates his insight on the integrity and simplicity of Italian cooking.43 Dosan-daero 81-gil, Gangnam-gu

Twenty Four Seasons
Inspired by the 24 seasonal divisions of the year that governed agriculture in ancient times, ’24 Seasons’ is a modern Korean dining space that pays homage to the different seasons of the year. While staying true to the roots of traditional Korean cooking, Chef Tony Yoo experiments boldly with seasonal ingredients, creating distinctly Korean flavors with modern nuances. Enjoy the elegant simplicity of seasonal Korean food in a minimalist yet sophisticated décor.13 Dosan-daero 37-gill, Gangnam-gu

Votre Maison
Chef min-jae Park has some interesting parkour of his career- he owned his Korean restaurant for 5 years and it was working great, but he changed to French cuisine because he felt that French cuisine can show his philosophy of creation in kitchen with method of cooking. This passionate, and caring chef’s cuisine is reflecting his personality as well. We hope that you will feel the same happiness from him with his cuisine. B1F, 16 Eonju-ro 168-gil, Gangnam-gu

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