Monday, December 28, 2015

Best French Restaurants in Seoul (2015)

Seoul has really come a long way in becoming one of Asia's gourmet capitals in recent years.
What makes the city so attractive from a culinary perspective is its vibrant, relatively inexpensive, multi-cultural and ever-changing food scene that is consistently improving every day. There has never been as many fine dining restaurants in Seoul, especially upscale French eateries and here are the best of the best chosen carefully by someone with spoiled taste buds (Me).

(1) Pierre Gagnaire à Séoul
Pierre Gagnaire is the first world renowned chef from France to open here in Seoul and his fine dining restaurant at Lotte Hotel remains the staple for those who's looking for an exquisite dining experience featuring one of the world's most ground breaking cuisine.

Address: Lotte Hotel 35/F (New Wing), 1 Sogong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82-2317-7181

(2) Jungsik
Touted as one of Seoul's hippest dining destinations, Jungsik prides itself as a modern Korean restaurant serving innovative Korean dishes prepared with European cooking techniques (mainly French). They've moved into this new premise late last year and continued to be recognized as the city's best restaurant in 2015 (at least according to Asia Best 50 Restaurants).

A recent review of my meal at Jungsik can be found here.

Address: 11 Seolleung-ro 158-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 2517-4654

(3) Soigné
Technically not a true French restaurant, Soigné checks in as a contemporary restaurant serving contemporary Korean cuisine with a French twist. Owner-chef Jun Lee's modern take on traditional North and South Korean dishes is as creative as it gets in Seoul and without question, Soigné is my favorite restaurant in Seoul this year.

A recent review of my meal at Soigné can be found here.

Address: 46 Banpo-daero 39-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 2-3477-9386

(4) Zero Complex
Like Soigné, Zero Complex is also located in Seorae Village, Seoul's "Little France" district but what separates Zero Complex with the rest is its neo-bistro approach, which represents a new wave of French restaurants defined by its innovative cuisine, casual atmosphere and international influences.

Dishes at Zero Complex are not meant to be as sophisticated or glamorous as the ones offered at Jungsik or Soigne but they are every bit as good, if not better.

A recent review of my meal at Zero Complex can be found here.

Address: 1-138 Bangbaebon-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 2532-0876

(5) Bover Lounge
Myeongdong is an area best known for its shopping and less as a gourmet destination. Apart from its casual eateries (mostly Korean) and street food, it has very little to offer when it comes to upscale fine dining restaurants and gourmet bistros. But Bover Lounge changes all that.

Opened in 2014, Bover Lounge is a cozy French bistro on the ground floor of the State Tower Namsan. Their food menu includes signature dishes such as omelette soufflé and some of the most elegant chiffon cakes from Glamorous Penguins. It's the perfect place to take a break from a busy day's shopping in Myeongdong.

A recent review of my meal at Bover Lounge can be found here.

Address: G/F State Tower Namsan, 1-1 Hoehyeondong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 2-6020-5755

(6) Maison de la Catégorie
La Catégorie Restaurant and its casual sister, Maison de la Catégorie, used to be housed under different roofs in the past but the owner had finally put them under the same roof last year. Maison de la Catégorie is more of a French brasserie offering some of the best French bistro food such as beef tartare, baked escargot and duck confit in the city.

Address: 85 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea
Tel: +82 2545-6640

(7) Louis Cinq
Situated in the heart of Apgujeong, Louis Cinq is easily the city's best gastropub. Owner-chef Lee You-suk and company brought the gastropub concept to Seoul back in 2010 following years of training in Europe and had it going in the right direction. What Louis Cinq does best are some of their French inspired dishes that simply cannot be found anywhere else in the city. The food menu promises a great deal of pleasant surprises and changes on a regular basis.

Address: 2/F, 657 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea
Tel: +82 2574-1259

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