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The best restaurants in Gangnam

Gangnam eats and where to go south of the river

Gangnam is chock full of delicious places to eat. However, this area south of the river doesn't have as many "food alleys" and designated areas for specific cuisines. Since Gangnam spreads out further, it may involve driving or taking cabs out of the way. Here are the restaurants that we can guarantee to be good and worth the price. 

Firebell

Having only opened two years ago, this little burger joint in Daechi-dong has quickly gained a cult-like following. Their burgers are meaty, cooked to the ideal medium and are expertly seasoned. There are some unique burgers here, like the M.A.C. (mac ‘n’ cheese, cayenne pepper), as well as classic combos, like the Chili King (chili, cheese). Our personal favorite here is the Habana (jalapenos, mayo, cheese). It’s a simple, juicy burger with superb spicy mayo. The bun holds up well, and the toppings don't splat onto your plate right away. Their fries are light and crispy, and though the regular fries are good, we think the wedge fries are the winner. Cheese, chili and cheese, ranch sauce and bacon can be added for an additional charge. Best of all, Firebell makes great shakes. The flavors are uncomplicated, delicious, thick and creamy—the way shakes should be. All in all, this spot is well worth the trip for arguably Seoul's best burger.

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DOSA BY Back Seung-Wook

"If you've ever been to the fames Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant & Lounge in Las Vegas, you probably remember chef Akira Back's culinary creations. This celebrated chef has made his way to Seoul via Dosa, a modern Korean restuarant. His longtime signature dish, tuna pizza, as well as new favorites are all on the menu. It's surprising to see how stable their service and food is at such an early stage of the business.

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Gangnam-gu

Vault +82

The Vault Steakhouse has a great interior and ambience, but it’s the steak that really makes the place shine. The restaurant’s secret is that it orders its delicacies from Master Purveryors, Inc., where renowned New York restaurants Wolfgang’s and Peter Luger Steakhouse also order from, so you’re already assured quality meat. After the meat arrives it goes through an in-house wet and aging process. Their sides of tomatoes, onions and creamed spinach add a nice touch to the main. With the juicy meat melting in your mouth you can’t deny that this restaurant serves up a proper steak. The lunch menu is reasonably priced as well. 

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Min’s Kitchen

There are times when I want to offer choices of Korean food and alcohol rather than making a decision for a guest (treating a visitor to a Korean barbecue can’t always be the solution). A refined yet casual enough interior with professional service, separate rooms and Western style seats would be a plus. If you ever think like I do, Min’s Kitchen located near Dosan Park is a good place to try. Looking at the menu here, one can’t help but notice how extensive it is (first timers often take a while to decide). Lots of à la carte items, categorized as salad, beef, pork, chicken, seafood, soup and noodle dishes among others, are available while several tasting menus showcase some of their fusion creations. The lunch set B, a 7 course meal priced at 39,000 won for example, starts with the delicate, mustardy Cold Bean Sprout Salad topped with beef, abalone, shrimps and mushrooms, and includes a couple of other appetizers such as the savory acorn jelly. It then moves onto the main dish, with a choice between the pork galbi dish with pickled vegetables and the Korean style beef steak with sticky chapssal rice and perilla leaves. The marinade is on a rather sweeter side, but the meats in both dishes are cooked to perfection, and the balance with the vegetables is quite pleasurable. Of course, as a Korean restaurant, it doesn’t skip a rice dish and presents a delicately plated soy sauce shrimp bibimbap, which was actually the relatively humble winner of the course for me. The course i

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Gangnam-gu

Ryunique

Unlike other fine-dining restaurants, Ryunique offers one menu for dinner with no options for the customer to choose from. With the dinner course priced at 180,000 won, the problem of finding a friend to accompany you to the meal is as problematic as the cost (especially if you have yet to visit and can’t exactly guarantee them about the taste). Fortunately for myself, I was able to find such a friend for the special occasion of my birthday. At the restaurant, we were greeted with a quality selection of outstanding dishes throughout the 11-course meal. Although I had not planned on asking about the wine, by the time I had finished the amuse-bouche, I was enjoying the meal so much – I had to get it. The wines paired with the dishes maximized the taste of the cuisine. Equally pleased, my friend remarked that she hadn’t enjoyed this kind of high-end food for such a long time.   The tasting menu entitled “hybrid cuisine” starts out with five kinds of amuse-bouche. Straight away, you’ll notice the aesthetics of the meal – the dragonfly-shape dish whose wing is made of dried kimchi and tail made of potato puree draws particular attention. Memorable also are the Konbuzime Red Snapper and Cucumber Foam as well as the Foie Gras. Ryunique’s signature dish is the Quail “Nostalgia,” which comes served in a covered bowl. Upon opening the bowl, you’ll be tickled with the scent of burnt hay rose. Inside, there’s a quail egg wrapped in bacon and garnished with beet sauce. While this might

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Gangnam-gu

Jungang Haejang

Whether skilled in cooking or not, most agree that a great dish starts from great ingredients. Jungang Haejang, located near Samseong Station, is a good example: with its own 36-year-old butcher in Majang-dong, an area in north east Seoul famous for its meat market alley, this restaurant always has fresh, quality meat that is transformed into a bowl of comfort on site. Other ingredients that go into its dishes, including pepper flakes and rice, are all domestically sourced, as well. The fact that there is always a long line during lunch time is probably due to such factor. As it opened in early 2016, the space inside the restaurant looks quite clean. The most popular dish here is haejangguk (ox bone broth "hangover soup") which has a nice portion of blood curd and beef (ruminant) stomach which resembles a laced blanket. But what I want to recommend the most is the the spicy beef intestines and tripe soup (12,000 won) which has a generous amount of quality beef intestines. The Korean mustard sauce mixed with other condiments provided such as pepper oil and pickled peppers makes for a nice dip with a real kick. While the dish is often understood in Korea as "hangover soup," it certainly goes well with soju as the broth is clean and light.

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Gangnam-gu
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Witch's Kitchen

Not feeling pumped up enough for Halloween just yet? One remedy might be the red and blue IV injection available at Witch's Kitchen. With the spider webs on the ceiling, rather eerie looking paintings on the wall and purple lighting, the IV cocktail shot will go well with finger shaped cookies decorating the dishes. Considering the atmosphere and quality, the prices are good: Chicken Thigh Steak is 5,000 won and Pane Cream Pasta is 13,500 won. While Witch's Kitchen is a quite kid-friendly place, it will become a bit more ghostly on Halloween.

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Gangnam-gu

Queens Park

If you must have brunch south of the river, the question is not whether you’ll be shelling out a pretty penny but whether it’s worth the price you’ll  be paying. For brunch à la mode surrounded by Seoul’s elite, Queens  Park in Cheongdam is the place to be. Undoubtedly inspired by the neighborhood in London, the elegant high ceilings and porch seating make for an atmosphere fit for Her Majesty. While popular items on the menu include sandwiches with a side salad and fries, we’d recommend the blueberry pancakes with seasonal fruits. Served with a light cream and a small additional helping of blueberries, the fruit is incredibly fresh and the pancakes aren’t overbearingly sweet. If you’re a fan of having some liquor with your meal, note that only beer is served with brunch.

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Jin Mi Pyongyang Naengmyeon

Selected by those in search of the best restaurants in town, Jin Mi Pyongyang Naengmyeon (cold noodles) has been on the rise to fame starting this past summer. Although you wouldn’t really think of combining soju with Naengmyeon, with the added boiled meat slices, it made the perfect recipe for friends to gather together. Hidden in the back alleys of Gangnam’s main streets, it might be a little difficult to locate even with the help of Google Maps. Yet, come dinner time, the venue (lit with its white fluorescent lights) will be serving customers ranging from families, groups of white collar workers, and even Gangnam’s fashionistas. Don’t be surprised to catch a glimps of the ‘Asian Glow’ on those enthusiastically eating, drinking, and talking the night away. Jin Mi Pyongyang Naengmyeon has a trustable history. With over 20 years of experience at the Uijeongbu Myeon-ok and Nonhyeon Myeon-ok, the founder of Jin Mi Pyongyang opened the restaurant’s doors this past March. To compare the Jin Mi’s noodles to Myeon-ok’s, it is a little bit more savory and flavorful. For those who favor the blander Myeon-ok’s noodles might find Jin Mi’s to be slightly saltier. The meat broth, made from beef brisket, beef shank and pork, is almost as clear as water, while the noodles get as chewy as it can be. The broth’s light yet savory taste and meat scent make it a clean dish to surrender to. From experience, 3 women will easily finish 2 bowls of Naengmyeon, 1 plate of boiled meat and 2 bottles o

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Gangnam-gu
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The Round

Chef Kim Jeong-suk, owner of Cheongdam’s Yining and JS Garden,  recently opened The Round in a small building with a miniature garden. It has only been a little over a month since opening, but the filled seats  indicate the restaurant’s popularity. High ceilings and spacious communal tables allow for several people to sit together without feeling claustrophobic. Private rooms with abundant sunlight can be reserved and seating at the bar is available as well. The menu has plenty of dishes to choose from—the lunch course consists of two main dishes and three for  dinner. The price for a course is great for its value. Each course is very filling and within it, there are seven or more side dishes being served.  The only negative point is that the same course meal has to be ordered  for two people— forcing you to choose the same thing. Gourmet dishes, such as shark’s fin stew and Peking duck (cut right in front of you), can  be ordered here. Even the jajangmyeon will exceed your expectations!

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Gangnam-gu

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