South Korea

Top Korean restaurants awarded three Michelin stars

‘The richness of this first selection is the sign that today Seoul has emerged as a mecca of world gastronomy,’ says international director of Michelin Guide

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 November, 2016, 12:53pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 November, 2016, 1:21pm

By Baek Byung-yeul

The Michelin food guide unveiled its first Seoul edition, Monday, awarding two upscale Korean restaurants with its coveted three stars.

At a press conference at Hotel Shilla in Seoul, South Korea, the prestigious French food guides announced that  some 140 restaurants and 30 hotels in its Seoul edition and 24 eateries have been named as Michelin-starred restaurants.

“The richness of this first selection is the sign that today Seoul has emerged as a mecca of world gastronomy,” said Michael Ellis, international director of Michelin Guide. “The quality, the potential of the culinary offerings as well as the eclectic cuisine that can be found there delighted our inspectors, who discovered some exceptional restaurants in Seoul.”

Michelin has been awarding stars ranging from one to three after inspecting restaurants from the entire spectrum of the local food scene. According to the company, visitors can experience “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey” at three-starred eateries. The company gives two stars to eateries “worth a detour for excellent cooking” and one star for restaurants with “high quality cooking, worth a stop.”

Among the 24 Michelin starred restaurants, La Yeon and Gaon have been awarded three stars.

La Yeon is located on the 23rd floor of the Hotel Shilla. The Michelin food guide said it gave La Yeon three stars for providing opportunities to experience a contemporary approach to traditional Korean dishes.

“The cuisine at La Yeon led by chef Kim Sung-il immerses diners in a true gastronomic experience. The sophistication of the dishes combined with the contemporary approach the chef gives to Korean tradition, lifts this restaurant to the level of experiences that are worth the trip,” said Ellis.

Another three-starred restaurant is Gaon located in southern Seoul. “Served in a refined setting anchored in pure Korean tradition, the meticulously prepared dishes using seasonal ingredients are a beautiful incarnation of the best of classic Korean cuisine,” he said.

”As we have been awarded the Michelin stars, my team and I will do our best to introduce the best Korean dishes to the world and turn them into valuable tourism resources,” said Kim Sung-il, the chief chef of La Yeon.

Three restaurants were awarded with two stars. Gotgan,  Kwon Sook Soo (Korean cuisine restaurants) and Pierre Gagnaire, which is a French contemporary eatery at Lotte Hotel in Myeongdong.

The guide also gave 19 eateries one star including restaurants such as Poom and Hamo that serve traditional Korean foods; Twenty Four Seasons and Jungsik that offer contemporary Korean foods; Italian restaurant Ristorente Eo; French restaurant L’Amitie and Votre Maison; and sushi specialities in Kojima.

The French company began releasing its guide book in 1900 and has been selecting the best restaurants and hotels in 28 countries annually.

The guide book’s Seoul edition costs US$17.50. It will be available in Korean and English as well as a digital version.