A decade ago, it seemed almost impossible to find an authentic French restaurant in Korea. Luckily for us, a handful of gems have popped up across Seoul in recent times.
Here at 10 Magazine, we’ve compiled a list of 10 authentic French restaurants in Seoul (in no particular order).
La Marmite, managed by Chef Kevin Attal, is a French restaurant located in the Yongsan district of Seoul. Before opening La Marmite in Korea, Chef Attal managed a restaurant of the same name in Montreal.
La Marmite uses fresh homemade ingredients that make for authentic French flavors. The menu here constantly changes, as it is based on seasonal ingredients, and includes a variety of craft and signature seasonal cocktails. We recommend the Seasonal 5 course menu “à la Française” (French Style Dinner).
Located in Mapo-gu, Yec’hed Mat is a French restaurant that specializes in crepes. Owned by a young French-Korean couple, Arnaud and Yeon Jeong who starred in the TV show ‘My Neighbor Charles,’ Yec’hed Mat offers a cozy interior, a friendly staff, and a menu that boasts a selection of wine as well as a variety of sweet and savory crepes and galettes. If you’re looking for a taste of France in Korea, Yec’hed Mat is the place to go.
L’Empreinte Bistro, located in Mapo-gu, is a traditional French Bistro. Managed by a French chef, every dish at L’Empreinte Bistro is homemade. The restaurant offers a constantly changing menu, as its ingredients are selected on a seasonal basis. Lamb dishes come highly recommended, and the wine menu is extensive. If you’re looking for authentic French cuisine, try stopping by L’Empreinte Bistro.
L’impasse 81, located in Mapo-gu, is a French restaurant that specializes in charcuterie, a selection of meats such as sausages and hams. If you’re looking to try a different side of French cuisine, besides the typical beef bourguignon and soupe l’oignon, this is the place to go. Owned by Chef Grégoire Michot and Chef Jio Jeon, L’impasse 81’s atmosphere is cozy and welcoming, and all the breads and desserts here are homemade. Chef Gregoire Michot was a sous-chef at la Tour d’Argent in Paris, the restaurant that inspired the setting of the film Ratatouille. Dishes range between 18 000 and 32 000 KRW. Try pairing your dish with one of the wines or cocktails on L’impasse 81’s extensive menu.
La Planque, which means “Hideout,” is managed by Chef Anton Lombard. The restaurant proposes a menu that changes seasonally and the inspiration of the Chef. The menu here constantly changes according to seasonal ingredients and the specialties of the Chef, but the beef bourguignon and ratatouille come highly recommended. Seating is limited, so especially on the weekends, be sure to make a reservation far in advance.
Tavern 38, managed by Chef Go Byeong Wook, is located in a quiet residential area south of the Han river. Here, you’ll find classic French dishes such as Croque Madame, duck confit and steak tartare. In addition, the menu also includes some of Chef Go’s own creations such as the Iberico pork chop with apricot maple jus and the pan-braised chicken with vegetables and house-cured bacon. The restaurant also proposes the creations of the Chef Go Byeong Wook.
Comme Moa, located in Yongsan-gu, is a French Bistro managed by Chef Kim Moa, who studied culinary in France for a long time. The menu offers an extensive wine list and classic French dishes such as foie gras, pâté en croûte, and crème brûlée. Some dishes on the menu (such as Beef Wellington) need to be reserved a day in advance.
Le Comptoir, located in Gangnam, is a chic French brasserie managed by Chef Seomun Yong-Wook who studied and lived in France for 11 years. Here, you can find traditional French cuisines that are rare to find in Korea, such as carré d’agneau (lamb chops) or magret de canard (duck breast). The menu proposes traditional French cuisines mostly inspired by two French regions: the Lyon region and the Basque country. The restaurant’s interior is both comfortable and modern, and during warmer months the terrace is available for those who wish to enjoy their meals outdoors.
Le Bistro Namsan located in Yongsan-gu opened its doors in November 2017. The restaurant offers a cozy and welcoming atmosphere and authentic French dishes. The menu includes seafood, meat, and fish dishes.The Traditional Cordon Bleu, the Moules Frites or La Blanquette de Veau come highly recommended.
Stay, managed by the Chef Yannick Allén, is a French restaurant located on the 81st floor of Lotte World Tower. The restaurant offers a modern interior and creative and refined French cuisine. While savoring a gastronomic meal, enjoy a breath-taking panoramic view of the city. Stay is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The lunch and diner menus consist of three fixed price choices or à la carte options.
All photos courtesy of the restaurants. Cover photo CC courtesy of Pxhere.
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