Home to around 250,000 people, many of them foreigners, Yongsan District is among the most vibrant in Seoul. Besides the popular Yongsan Electronics Market, and Haebangchon, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, Yongsan is also home to Itaewon, one of the most ethnically diverse regions in Korea. It’s, therefore, no wonder that Yongsan District also boasts some of the best restaurants in town.
Specializing in homemade Chinese dumplings, Johnny Dumpling is one of the most popular places to eat in Yongsan. Five different varieties of dumplings are on the menu but the half-moon and boiled shrimp dumplings are their signatures dishes. If you are familiar with Shanghainese xiao long bao, you will appreciate their shrimp dumplings as they are also filled with a flavorful broth. The half-moon shaped dumplings are also popular because of their unusual combination of a fried and a soft side.
Vatos has become a household name in Seoul for Mexican cuisine. The Korean-American owners from Los Angeles and Texas have fulfilled their dream of opening a Mexican restaurant in Seoul through crowdfunding and now run four locations in the city. Their signature dishes include anything from galbi tacos, kimchi carnitas fries and their ‘makgeollita‘, a margarita containing Korean makgeolli (rice alcohol).
Braai Republic is an outstanding BBQ restaurant serving South African specialties. The restaurant offers their guests the chance to eat delectable homemade sausages and dried beef. The meat is deliciously seasoned and barbecued to perfection.
Yongsan doesn’t only have superb foreign restaurants. Maple Tree House, for example, offers delicious Korean BBQ in a modern venue. Guests at Maple Tree House should try their perfectly aged hanu (Korean beef) that is cut in thin stripes and tenderly cooked on the grill on your table.
Midnight Bistro Season 2 Jubari Project is one of those places that aren’t too well known and considered a true hidden gem – even in the busy neighborhood of Itaewon! Many locals come here to enjoy their specialty 이태원탕, or Itaewon Soup. The seafood stew is not only absolutely delicious, it also makes for a colorful food post for your Instagram.
Prost Pub & Grill is one of the most visited pubs in Itaewon. On weekends and in the evenings, it can get quite crowded. You’ll find your typical pub food items, such as burgers and pasta on the menu. The drink selection is huge and many guests come for the Kilkenny on tap.
If seasonal fruits and veggies in vegetarian and vegan-friendly meals are right up your alley, Plant Cafe might just be your new favorite place in Seoul. The menu changes daily making it easy to try something new each time you visit. One of their most recent meals included a big green Caesar Salad with mixed greens, roasted chickpeas, tofu, grated parmesan cheese, fried onions, and their homemade cashew Caesar dressing.
Owner Linus Kim, Korean-American from Alabama, successfully runs Linus’ Bama Style BBQ in Itaewon. His restaurant has been called ‘the best American BBQ in Korea’ by several magazines and blogs and, undoubtedly, serves delicious, high-quality BBQ to all his guests. Kim’s pulled pork is cooked to perfection and the food presentation will make your Instagram go nuts.
Owned by Korean Muslims, EID is the first restaurant in Korea to serve Halal Korean food. Bulgogi is one of Korea’s most famous dishes and is made with Halal Beef from Australia at EID in Itaewon. Some other popular items on EID’s menu include seafood stir fry, braised chicken in sweet spicy sauce and samgyetang, a Korean dish made with ginseng and chicken.
Manimal Smokehouse has set the BBQ scene in Seoul completely on fire. Owner Jeff Kang took his enormous smoker straight from the US and brought it to Itaewon. The smoker uses oak chips to achieve authentic BBQ flavor. Manimal’s signature items are pulled pork and their brisket, a juicy delight. On top of the meaty treats, guests can also enjoy delicious cocktails that pair well with the food.
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