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[Gourmet Restaurants Series 1] Myeongdong: A Favorite Street of Gourmet Restaurants
Myeongdong is located in central Seoul, the mecca of shopping, finance, and culture, and a must -visit tourist destination. Touring Myeongdong is even more enjoyable thanks to a number of gourmet restaurants that have served customers for several decades. Managing to survive the financial ups and downs that spelled disaster for neighboring businesses, these restaurants continue to attract customers mainly because of their tasty cuisine and warm hospitality. We’d like to recommend the following “seven best” restaurants.
Gogung is renowned for its Jeonju bibimbap (rice mixed with vegetables and beef). The food was thus named because the city of Jeonju is famous for its tasty and nutritious bibimbap. Gogung opened in Jeonju in 1971, bringing another restaurant to Myeongdong in 1999. The Myeongdong chain provides genuine taste of Jeonju bibimbap, for it uses main ingredients, such as bean sprouts and red pepper paste, delivered directly from Jeonju. A bowl of Jeonju bibimbap contains various ingredients, including minced beef; slices of radish, pumpkin, and cucumber; steamed spinach, bellflower roots, bracken, and radish; jujubes, pine nuts, walnuts, gingko nuts, and chestnuts. What is more, you can enjoy seven side dishes such as kimchi pancakes and pickled squid. Foreign customers love the restaurant’s interior, which is decorated with the traditional, hand-made paper for which Jeonju is famous, and the personnel wear Korean traditional clothing.
To mix the bibimbap, use chopsticks rather than a spoon as it helps maintain the shape and texture of all the fresh ingredients.
Restaurant Information
  • -Open: 11:00 am~ 10:00 pm daily
  • -Closed: Chinese New Year’s holidays, Chuseok holidays
  • -Telephone: 02-776-3211
  • -Menu: Jeonju bibimbap 11,000 won, Dolsot bibimbap (bibimbap in a stone pot) 8,800 won, Nakji bibimbap (bibimbap with tiny octopus) 8,800 won, Gogung japchae (medley of Chinese noodles, vegetables, and sliced beef) 14,000 won
  • -How to Get There: From Exit 10 of Myeongdong Station (Subway Line No. 4), walk to the right of Hotel Sejong until you reach a T-intersection. Turn left and walk about 60 meters.
Yeongyang Center
Opened in 1960, Yeongyang Center is the oldest restaurant in Myeongdong, and has maintained the same simple menu for more than 40 years: tongdak (roasted chicken) and samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup). Because Yeongyang Center’s tongdak is roasted on an electric rotisserie, the skin is crispy and not at all greasy. In fact you can watch the chickens roasting at the restaurant’s entrance. Samgyetang is the most popular fare, not only during the sultry months of July and August, but also during the frosty winter. Whichever type of chicken you choose, the meat is always tender because the restaurant uses only Korean-bred chickens only about one month old.
During lunchtime, try the Tongdak Lunch Set (12:00 pm ~ 4:00 pm on weekdays, 12:00 pm ~ 2:00 pm on weekends) at only W 6,000.
Restaurant Information

-Open: 10:30 am ~ 10:00 pm daily
-Closed: Chinese New Year’s holidays, Chuseok holidays
-Telephone: 02-776-2015
-Menu: Tongdak 12,000, Samgyetang 12,000
-How to Get There: From Exit 5 of Myeongdong Station (Subway Line No. 4), walk about 50 meters along Myeongdong-daero to the first intersection (near Pascucci coffee shop). Turn left and walk about 50 meters. The restaurant is next to Kaist optician's.
Myeongdong Donkkaseu
Opened in 1983, this restaurant serves delicious tonkatsu (Japanese pork cutlet). The secret is in aging thick slices of seasoned pork fillet (150kg total) for three to four days making the meat more tender. The slices are then coated with egg batter and breadcrumbs, and fried in hot oil (160°C) for about seven minutes. Voila! A tasty tonkatsu, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Also mouthwatering are the miso soup and fresh vegetables served with it. The first floor layout is a bar and the second and third floors are like spacious halls. During lunch, crowds of loyal customers mean a waiting line. The restaurant is a favorite for all ages, from youngsters to elderly regulars.
You can watch the tonkatsu being cooked on the first floor.
Restaurant Information

  • -Open: 11:00 am ~ 9:30 pm daily
  • -Closed: Chinese New Year’s holidays, Chuseok holidays
  • -Telephone: 02-776-5300
  • -Menu: Donkkaseu 9,000 won, Saengseon (fish) donkkaseu 11,000 won, Hirekkaseu (tenderloin donkkaseu) 9,000 won, Saeu-hurai (fried shrimp) 15,000 won
  • -How to Get There: From Exit 6 of Euljiro-ipku Station (Subway Line No. 2), walk about 200 meters, until you reach a tourist information office. Turn left and walk about 80 meters until you reach McDonald’s to your left. Turn left at McDonald’s and you can see the restaurant sign.
Myeongdong Gyoja
Opened in 1969, this restaurant serves one of the tastiest bowls of guksu (chopped-noodle soup) in Korea. Both the tender noodles and rich broth are prepared right in the restaurant. The chopped noodles are made of dough that “rests” for three hours before being cooked, and chicken bones are boiled for at least six hours in water to make the rich broth. A bowl of kalguksu is served with four pork-and-scallion mandu (dumplings) and topped with minced chicken. This restaurant’s kimchi, served as a side dish, is so delicious that customers come to the restaurant just for a taste of it. Popular with foreigners as well as Koreans, Myeongdong Gyoja is known for its excellent service: personnel never forget to refill the kimchi and soup bowls on each table. There are two Myeongdong Gyoja restaurants (Main Branch and Branch No. 1) in Myeongdong, and whichever you choose, you won’t be disappointed.
Kalguksu and mandu go well together.
Restaurant Information
-Open: 10:30 am ~ 9:30 pm daily
-Closed: Chinese New Year’s holidays, Chuseok holidays
-Telephone: [Main Branch] 02-776-5348, [Branch No. 1] 02-776- 3424
-Menu: Kalguksu 7,000 won, Bibim-guksu (noodles with assorted mixtures) 7,000 won, Kong- guksu (noodles in bean soup) 7,000 won, Mandu(Dumpling) 7,000 won
-How to Get There: [Main Branch] From Exit 8 of Myeongdong Station (Subway Line No. 4), proceed between La Bellavita (coffee shop) and Crown Bakery about 150 meters (you'll pass two intersections). [Branch No. 1] From the Main Branch, walk straight further about 90 meters. It is across from Missha (cosmetics shop).
Ttaro-jip Sogogi-Gukpap
Opened in 1969, this restaurant has been serving sogogi-gukpap (boiled rice served with beef soup) for 36 years. The restaurant’s name, ttaro-jip, literally means “separate house,” for unlike other restaurants that serve boiled rice already in the bowl of beef soup, this restaurant serves the boiled rice and beef soup in separate bowls. As time has passed and Korea’s fortunes have risen, the price of gukpap has also gone up: from W100 when the restaurant opened, to the current W6,000. The main fare is of course sogogi-gukpap, a Korean favorite. And no wonder the soup is so rich and hearty: the beef bones are boiled in water for over 48 hours. Red pepper seasoning makes the food both pungent and sweet, and bean sprouts, beef brisket and seonji (boiled beef-blood lumps) are added. The recommended side dish for gukpap is modeumjeon (Korean pancake) which contains various ingredients, including egg, fish, pumpkin, pepper, and fried meatballs. A refill of gukpap is free.
If you don’t want the seonji (beef-blood lumps), tell the waitperson, “Seonji-neun ppae- juseyo.” (“No seonji, please.”)
Restaurant Information

-Open: 24 hours daily
-Closed: Chinese New Year’s holidays, Chuseok holidays -Telephone: 02-776-2455 (Korean language)
-Menu: Gukpap 7,000 won, Modeumjeon 13,000 won, Gochujeon (pepper pancake) 10,000 won, Jeyuk- bokkeum (fried pork seasoned with spicy sauce) 15,000 won
-How to Get There: From Exit 8 of Myeongdong Station (Subway Line No. 4), proceed between La Bellavita (coffee shop) and Crown Bakery about 230 meters (pass three intersections). It is across from Missha (cosmetics shop).
Teumsae Ramyeon
Opened in 1981, this diminutive restaurant has been attracting customers with its mouthwatering ramyeon noodles for more than 20 years. The restaurant’s unique ramyeon recipe includes an ultra-spicy broth with lots of red pepper seasoning, chewy noodles, egg, and bean sprouts. Even Koreans, who are used to eating spicy kimchi, sometimes shed tears while eating this fare. Besides the food, the ambience is lots of fun, with interesting messages written by customers attached to the ceiling and the walls. The restaurant has created its own jargon that is recognized only by regular customers: ramyeon is called ppal-gye-tteok (spicy red soup with egg and rice cake), and yellow pickled radish is pineapple, to name a few of the coined terms. The menu board lists the price of ramyeon as W30,000 confusing first-time visitors. But don’t panic: an extra zero (0) was just added for fun!
(1) Take some souvenir pictures using the walls and the ceilings as the background
(2) Try to putting some cold rice in your ramyeon for an interesting, less spicy taste experience.
Restaurant Information
-Open: 10:00 am ~ 9:30 pm daily (11:00 am ~ 8:30 pm on Sundays)
-Closed: Chinese New Year’s holidays, Chuseok holidays -Telephone: 02-756-5477
-Menu: Ppal-gye-tteok (ramyeon) 3,500 won, Kkoma gimbap (small seaweed rolls) 1,000 won, Chanbap (cold rice) 1,000 won
-How to Get There: After coming out of exit 8 of Myeongdeong Station (line 4), go walk the small street between Crown Bakery and the convenience store for about 100 meters. When you see Chungmu Gimbap, turn right and walk straight for another 20 meters, you will see it on the right side.
Halmeoni Guksu
The name of this restaurant means “grandma’s noodle soup.” Opened in 1958, the restaurant serves guksu made from a traditional recipe handed down to grandma’s daughters. While the restaurant looks like an ordinary snack bar, it attracts crowds of customers because of the wonderful flavor of its guksu. The secret lies in a mouthwatering, delicately spiced seafood broth, as well as tender, hand-made noodles and mildly flavored tofu. A bowl of guksu is the perfect snack, and the service is also great.
Enjoy this tasty guksu anytime you need a quick snack between meals.
Restaurant Information

-Open: 6:40 am ~ 9:30 pm daily
-Closed: January 1st, Chinese New Year’s holidays, Chuseok holidays
-Telephone: 02-778-2705
-Menu: Halmeoni-guksu 3,000 won, Dubu-guksu (tofu noodle soup) 3,500 won, Bibim-guksu (noodles with assorted mixtures) 4,000 won, Gimbap (dried seaweed rolls) 2,500 won
-How to Get There: From Exit 5 of Euljiro-ipku Station (Subway Line No. 2), walk about 50 meters, until you reach Buy the Way. Turn right and walk until you reach a T-intersection (Sock Stop is located here). Take the left fork and walk until you reach the first side street to your right. Halmeoni-guksu is located on this side street. 
[Dessert Info] O'sulloc Teahouse
Myeongdong is home to numerous shops serving wonderful desserts. Among them, O'sulloc Teahouse serves tea as well as desserts, such as green tea cake. Also popular are green tea ice cream and green tea tiramisu. During the winter season, try a green capuccino or a green latte.

Tea shop Information
-Open: 9:00 am ~ 10:30 pm (9:00 am ~ 11:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays)
-Closed: January 1st, Chinese New Year’s holidays, and Chuseok holidays
-Telephone: 02-774-5460
-Menu: Okro Green tea capuccino 9,000 won, Green tea cheese tiramisu 5,000 won, Green tea ice cream 7,500 won
-How to Get There: From Exit 8 of Myeongdong Station (Subway Line No. 4),
proceed between La Bellavita (coffee shop) and Crown Bakery about 250 meters to WHO.A.U (clothing store). Turn left, and walk a short distance and you’ll find the O'sulloc Teahouse on your left.
Map of Myeongdong
* Above information may be subject to change after October 2009.
Date 10/01/2009

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