3 Restaurants I Sought Out in Seoul

Since we stayed at Ibis Ambassador Hotel situated right in the shopping district of Myeongdong, I knew that we wouldn’t have a hard time finding a restaurant. But there were three restaurants that I really wanted to try in Seoul even 3 months before the trip.

Before we start, here’s a video of the highlights of our trip to Seoul:

1. Play Pot

Play Pot doesn’t have a website. But it made its rounds on the interior design blogs. The restaurant was desgined by Lim Tae Hee Design Studio.

play_pot_restaurant_seoul07 play_pot_restaurant_seoul06 play_pot_restaurant_seoul09

And its cuisine intrigued me. It played on Korean Street Food. Here’s how Lim Tae Hee Design Studio describes the cuisine found at Play Pot:

Play Pot is a Boonsik restaurant. Boonsik is a term used to refer to inexpensive Korean snacks easily found on Pojangmacha. (food vendor). The main idea behind Play Pot is ‘super luxury food vendor’: taking the favorites of what you love from the street and giving them a gourmet twist, while still keeping the accessibilty, inexpensive prices and customer service like a regular food chain.

That’s why they designed the restaurant to look like they were food stalls of some sort.

play_pot_restaurant_seoul01 play_pot_restaurant_seoul02play_pot_restaurant_seoul14 play_pot_restaurant_seoul13 play_pot_restaurant_seoul03

When I got the menu, I got a bit confused because they had a whole section on “Thai Omelettes”. There was Pad Thai and Tom Yum. I thought this was a play on Korean street food? (Sorry for the blurry photo, but I was hungry and tired from the walking. Never have a photographer go hungry. Hahaha.)


We ordered the Carbonara Tteokbokki. The Tteokbokki (a rice cake) was so light and fluffy. My wife described their texture like marshmallows. Served in a pan:


Shrimp fries – which are fries with dried shrimp and a whole lot of spicy powder:


Pickled radishes in a measuring cup were given as a complimentary side dish (playful, indeed):


I got the miso pork belly pasta. Not Korean, I know. But there really wasn’t much Korean on the menu:



To get there: Line 7, get off Bangbae station, Exit 3. Walk down for 2 blocks, hang a right and turn a left. Walk a bit more and you’ll see Play Pot’s yellow logo from afar.

2. Allô Papergarden

You’ll easily break your bank account if you shop around Garosu-gil. I just wanted to see it was all. The way they described it online, it seemed so appealing. So Garosu-gil we went.

Here’s a building shaped like a hand bag (which also houses the Simone Handbag Museum) that you’ll see at the beginning of the tree-lined street.


After walking and window shopping, you’ll want a place to sit down and get some coffee or a snack. So I looked for a cafe/restaurant in my planning stage around this area and came across Allô Papergarden.


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We sat down, got the menu and my jaw dropped at the $7 cup of coffee. What did I expect since it was in the Gangnam district?!


That’s right. Their menu says it all, “Delicious love making just for you!” This is a cafe, right? Is there a secret door somewhere I don’t know about where I have to enter to see some of this delicious “love making”?


3. Poom Seoul

Tucked in one of the hills in the Itaewon district is Poom Seoul. A month and a half before the trip, I tried making reservations on a specific date, but they told me it was full. They asked me if I was willing to make it the following day. I said yes and rearranged my itinerary around it. Boy, was I glad we got in.

I wanted to be the first diner since we had a toddler with us. I didn’t want to ruin the experience for anyone else.


We got there earlier than expected so we had the opportunity to bask in the wonderful view their rooftop garden offered.

poom_seoul_restaurant02 poom_seoul_restaurant03

Also on the rooftop deck, they had large clay pots fermenting beans for some sauces they use in the restaurant. I originally thought these housed their house made kimchi, but Ginger of Poom Seoul told me they have a special refrigerator for their kimchi.


An 11-course dinner awaited us. *rubbing palms together*


Pine nuts and some dried red dates or jujubes as we waited for the first course:


Every month, Poom has a food story and base their menu on that story. It’s like storytelling but with food. This month’s food story was about Banga Cuisine. Banga was the term used for the nobles in old Korea. So basically this was a meal using ingredients and techniques only enjoyed by the nobles of old.

Julienne pine mushroom in beef broth:


Seafood on an organic poached egg in pine sauce:


Thickly julienned front leg of beef with pear in seasame oil and salt:

poom_seoul_restaurant10 poom_seoul_restaurant11

Look at that deep-fried lotus root! Crispy!


Fresh beef patty grilled on oat wood charcoal, made of ground short rib and striploin with addition of minced jujube and nuts and julienned radish pickle:

poom_seoul_restaurant13 poom_seoul_restaurant14

two slices of pan-fried tofu stuffed with seasoned minced beef and tied then cooked in a hotpot with onion, mushroom and beef broth:


An assortment of desserts:


That drink is a traditional Korean pear drink cooked with black peppercorns and ginger:


Poom Seoul’s tagline is: Korean Food Now. I think it was appropriate as they take ancient recipes and re-imagine them into modern masterpieces. This is probably the most delicious way to learn about the Korean culture.


358-17, Daewonjeongsa Building Annex 4F, Huam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul-si
서울 용산구 후암동 358-17 대원정사 빌딩 별관 4층

(Best way to get there is by cab. Show them the address in Korean and they should know how to get there. Our cab also called Poom at +82-2-777-9007 to confirm directions.)


If you’ve missed it, check out my blog about the 4 Things To Definitely Do in Seoul.

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3 Responses to “3 Restaurants I Sought Out in Seoul”
  1. TriciaVM says:

    Uh, I think I need to diet before I go to Seoul…hahaha. Thanks for the recommendations! 😀

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  1. […] If you liked this blogpost, please check out this post on the restaurants I chose to eat at in Seoul. […]

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