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Oct 16, 2011 07:49 AM

Where in Seoul for HIGH END for anything help !

Come on i am there tuesday is there really no romantic high end places to EAT!

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  1. Don't be silly! I've only scratched the surface of Seoul fine dining but I know enough already to know that your exaggerated emotions are far from the truth. A little too late, but for the record and future reference:

    A small handful of very, very many.

    15 Replies
    1. re: globalgourmand

      globalgourmand: these places look like they lean more towards western styles of cooking. is this the case?

      1. re: globalgourmand

        Haven eaten at a few of these now I would say that Elbon is very very average (even bad) for someone who is familar with European food. I love JSD but the dining room is very dated. The food is exceptional.

        As for the others, they are largely Western imports. I haven't yet been to Congdu but heard great things about it.

        1. re: TomEatsHK

          Hi Tom, how's the stay in Seoul so far? I see that you've discovered 'booking' clubs (!) & makgeolli. :) Besides Jung Sik Dang, any chow-worthy recommendations, especially for more casual food?

          Btw what did you have at Elbon that was so dire? Thought there were some hits and misses but bad is a pretty strong term!

          1. re: RipCurl

            RipuCurl - sorry for the slow reply. I am currently doing Korean work hours which are rather intense so this is the first time I have visited CH in a while.

            I love Seoul but definiitely miss Chinese cuisine and the subtle and precise nature of the cooking. As for finds in Seoul I would absolutely give up on Western food here. Just not worth trying.

            The Korean food is rather special as you would guess and opened up a whole new type of cuisine which we don't get back in Europe - the stews, guks or jiggaes. I am in love with them.

            Elbon - I just didn't care about a single dish. It is meant to be the best fancy Euro style restaurant in Seoul (well maybe Pierre G) but it was really average. If the equivalents in HK are Caprice, Robuchon etc... it is pathetic by comparison.

            The Western influenced dinning scene here is at ground level. The Korean dining scene is obviously v high!

            And booking clubs. Don't tell Jen :/

            1. re: TomEatsHK

              No worries, I'm slow in replying too. :) Hope the work hours have normalized somewhat!

              Yep, on Elbon I can see how if you had great expectations before going it may have disappointed - not to say that it was bad, but that San Pellegrino list is a bit suspect.

              As to Chinese, if you get a dire craving I think there's a couple of Crystal Jades in Apkujeong and Samseong-dong? Though I've not tried them since we get that easily here but good Korean food is a hard find in Singapore.

              Look forward to more posts on Korean food in due course!

              1. re: RipCurl

                Re: Korean food in Singapore, try Hyang-to-gol (향 토 골) at Amara Hotel. Not 100% authentic, but it's one of the spots where my Korean expat friends go on weekends for family lunches (they didn't like Singaporean or Chinese food) - I joined them once with my family.

                Address details
                Hyang-to-gol ((향 토 골)
                165 Tanjong Pagar Road,
                Level 2, Amara Hotel,
                Singapore 088539
                Tel: +65 6220 7160

                1. re: klyeoh

                  Thanks klyeoh! I go to Hyang To Gol for the meats once in a while but so far haven't hit on a good stew or soup there. Also can't seem to find a good soondubu place anywhere in town. This also brings to mind - I don't know if you've noticed this too, but it seems like Korean restaurants when they first start out in Sg offer pretty decent banchan (in terms of variety and quantity)... and then you go back again a year later and everything's been economized. I noticed this happening with a number of places over time. It's still better than in London where I think you have to pay for & order your banchan separately but I wonder why this deterioration happens. Are Singaporeans free-loading too much(!)?

                  1. re: RipCurl

                    Eating places in Singapore try to cut corners wherever they can - many restaurateurs go all out to attract diners and hopefully recoup their initial investment costs within the first year of operation, in fact. After that, most would lapse into mediocrity as fickle S'porean diners turn their attentions to newer eating spots.

                2. re: RipCurl

                  As for Crystal Jade in Seoul - I'd only been to the one in the Grand Intercontinental Hotel (near COEX), it's very nice but, just as you can't get authentic Korean food in Singapore, neither can you get authentic Cantonese food in Seoul. Everything's been tweaked to suit Korean tastes, which are sweeter than Chinese-Singaporean ones.

                  In place of Crystal Jade's famous wintermelon seafood soup - large enough to serve 6-8 persons (, you get seafood soup steamed in little individual pumpkins (see pic)

            2. re: TomEatsHK

              As a native Korean who has been living most of my life in western countries AND in Hong Kong, I strongly disagree that Congdu is anything to be called good. And I think Elbon is on par with, or even better than Bo Innovation in Hong Kong. I would never call it bad.

                1. re: agaaga

                  Agaaga - I understand ELBON is very reckoned here in Seoul which is why I was excited to try it when I first moved here. All I can say after two meals here is that it is an embarassment if that is one of the best Western style restaurants here in Seoul.

                  By reference to HK, let alone Europe it is plain average to bad. Desserts were inedible, starters were boring, mains were solid but nothing interesting. It did nothing remarkable with Korean ingredients. I can't remember a single dish unless I look at pictures. I remember the head chef was there when I went and I wanted him to ask me how the meal was. Unfortunately he didn't.

                  In relation to Congdu I wasn't criticising. I've heard good things. Still Jung Sik Dang is the only standout high level meal I've had.

                  And Bo Innovation is again an embarassment for HK. Entry level stuff.

                  1. re: TomEatsHK

                    If you don't like Bo Innovation, you shouldn't have tried ELBON. I love Bo Innovation, just like most of my international friends. And we adore ELBON.

                  2. re: agaaga

                    "on a par with, or even better, than Bo Innovation"? That means Elbon must be very bad as Bo Innovation is terrible. The worst high end (or wannabe high end) restaurant I have ever been to, anywhere in the world.

                    1. re: Asomaniac

                      I don't think Bo Innovation necessarily tries to be high end per se. It is a casual arrangement. That's the current global trend.

                      Again, if you don't like Bo Innovation, don't even think about visiting ELBON. It is a waste of your time. You are entitled to your own opinion but you are not necessarily 'right', neither are others. Eating out is like shopping. Know what you want and select the right place and right menu.

              1. Has anyone been to Pierre Gagnaire in Seoul? I am planning to try it later this month but can't find any reviews of it on this board.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Smilinglion

                  Smilinglion-- did you make it to Pierre Gagnaire? I hope to make it later this month (now May) as well!

                  1. re: globalgourmand

                    We thought it was very good. Strangely we could not find many write-ups or reviews about it and were quite worried that it would be a disappointment, but the dinner there turned out to be of a very high standard. Wine markups were very high, but otherwise the food and service were excellent. Try to get a table by the window if you can, the restaurant overlooks the city from the 35th floor.