South Korea is becoming (or already is) an extremely popular travel destination for many tourists. For me, it's a country that has made me proud of my Korean heritage. There are street food stands open 24/7, fried chicken shops on every block, and creative desserts that I've been indulging on for years. 

The list goes on and on, and it can be overwhelming at times. So to help share the Korean foodie joy, I've prepared a list of thirty tried and true restaurants for you to enjoy, filtered by how much you'd be willing to spend. 

When your wallet is thin but your stomach is growlin':

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We all get hangry and desperate for good food. But with a wallet as thin as a tissue (thanks Indiana minimum wage) and a stomach as big as a wrecking ball, these places are bound to impress you for $10 or less.

1. 장인닭갈비 (Jang-in Dak-galbi) $

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Chicken. Cheese. Spice. Hot. If any of these words appeal to you, check out this popular chain restaurant. Served on a smoking hot pan right in front of your eyes, the only thing you’ll be staring at is the humongous center of cheese. If you can’t handle your spice, this may not be the best thing for you (but you should still try it).

2. 명동 밀피유 (Myungdong Milpieu) $

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Pork cutlets (donkatsu) are very popular in Asia, especially in South Korea. Milpieu has a rather simple menu and all of them give a tender and crunchy bite. If you’re a fan of cheese (like me... and everyone else), make sure to order the cheese cutlet. Because cheese.

3. 이끼롤까스 (Ee-kee Roll Katsu) $

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Think of kim-bap (Korean sushi roll) fried in a Panko crust that won’t get soggy in sauce. Unlike other cutlet or kim-bap eateries, this one has a larger variety of menu items for their customers to enjoy. From cheese to veggies to curry, there’s bound to be a few items on the menu you’ll devour in a heartbeat.

4. 르피아노끼퓸 (Le Piano Qui Fume) $

This pork cutlet restaurant has hopped on the cheese train and has gained considerable social media coverage in the past few months. A bite into the crispy Panko crust perfectly introduces your taste buds to a warm center. Other than cheese, they also offer chicken, fish, kimchi, and rice cutlets for customers who want something a little different.

5. 엽떡 (Yup-dduk) $

Tteok-bokki is a Korean snack that has already gained immense popularity in the states and in other countries, but if you’re ever in South Korea, come to Yup-dduk. Take a seat, and eat the spiciest—but very delicious and chewy—rice cakes you’ll ever eat.

6. Jil’Hal Bros $

Missing Halal Brothers? Let me introduce you to Jil’Hal Bros. It’s located in Itaewon, a neighborhood filled with foreigners, and you’ll be waiting in line to try their steaming halal rice plates. It’s great either for drunchies or for catching a quick meal in the midst of your busy day.

7. Cali Kitchen $

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In-N-Out cannot and will never be replaced by any other burger joint, but if you’re craving a simple burger, Cali Kitchen will give you a temporary fix. Their patties are juicy and soft, and their fries are ever so potato-ey and delicious.

8. 북촌손만두 (Bukchon Hand-made Dumplings) $

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Watching dumplings be folded/fried/steamed right in front of you really makes you feel some type of way, like that feeling of coming back home from a semester of college to smell your mom’s freshly cooked food in the kitchen. The sense of satisfaction that overcomes you when you take a bite out of Bukchon’s shrimp or steamed dumplings makes you wonder if you’ve ever felt this kind of happiness in your life before.

9. 돈파스팔레 (Donpas Palais) $

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You’ve heard of pasta in bread bowls, but have you heard of pasta being served in pork cutlet bowls? Head over to Don Paspalle, where you can enjoy noodles out of fried goodness. We have no idea why this isn’t a huge thing yet.

10. Melting Monkey $

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This hole-in-the-wall gem serves gooey grilled cheeses and gives you the option to mix and match various meats and vegetables into your sandwiches. It’s not the traditional Korean food you may have had in mind, but hey, grilled cheese is grilled cheese.

11. 겐로쿠 우동 (Genroku Udon) $

If you’re craving udon or soba, Genroku is the place to go. Their noodles are the right amount of chewy and their broth is seasoned perfectly! Don’t feel guilty ordering extra soba noodles. Why? Because they give you free noodle refills and soba is one of the healthier noodles you can slurp on. A win-win situation.

12. Casablanca Sandwicherie $

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Casablanca is a tiny sandwich store you’ll almost never find empty. There are many different types of sandwiches that you’ll end up liking, especially the Moroccan chicken sandwich (deep fried potatoes, salad, glorious chicken, and mayo wrapped up in fresh bread). Many of the sandwiches are less than $6 USD.

When your wallet is not as heavy but you gotta treat your s/o:

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There will be times where you get all flustered and ask someone on a date, and then forget about how light your wallet is. But not to worry, here are some awesome restaurants you can take your date for under $30. 

13. Stephanie Cafe $$

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This cute little-known restaurant located in Garosu-gil has a delectable menu filled with interesting pastas, pizzas, and entrees. If pink beet cream pasta or squid ink pasta seems appetizing to you, give this restaurant a try. They also have a great wine menu that is personally hand-selected by the owner.

14. Cheese A Lot $$

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If the name of the restaurant doesn’t catch your eye, then your eyes need to be checked. At this restaurant/cafe duo, you are given the option to watch your cheese be melted and paddled off of a raclette or edam cheese wheel. If you’re not willing to pay around $20 USD for a plate of melted goodness, there is also a cafe upstairs with more affordable (and smaller) dishes.

15. Coreanos $$

Trust me, good Mexican food is extremely difficult to find in South Korea. The interior of Coreanos is aesthetically on point, and their dishes are probably the best Mexican food you can get your hands on. The three locations in Seoul make great mixed drinks, and flip an actual drink upside-down into your drink—talk about drink-ception.

16. Seoga and Cook $$

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This restaurant has become famous on social media for their white tomato pasta, and I get it every time I go. Once you dig into the pasta, the whipped white “cloud” reveals a warm and cheesy marinara pasta. Lots of great beverage and ade options, as well as the Hallabong Ade (specialty oranges from Jeju Island).

17. Black Stone $$

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You say you’re a Korean barbecue connoisseur? Well, Koreans are one step ahead of you. At Black Stone, you cook your meat on your own tiny little stone. Eating here caters to both a delicious and fun eating experience for you and your friends and family to enjoy.

18. Mr. Pizza $$

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A pizza with a sweet potato stuffed crust topped with bacon and potato wedges? Korean barbecue on a pizza? That’s all there is to say.

19. Nene Chicken $$

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Like we said in this article, Koreans take their fried chicken very seriously. Nene Chicken serves one of the best fried chicken in Seoul, so make sure to hit them up for delivery or take-out (and grab a few beers while you’re at it).

20. 강호동백정 (Kang Ho Dong Baek Jung) $$

Let’s get straight to the point. Corn, cheese, and eggs are cooked around the rim of the round pan. Baek Jung serves top quality meat and offers great side dishes like kimchi fried rice in a traditional Korean lunch box.

21. Lobster Bar $$

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Lobster Bar serves possibly the best lobster rolls you can find in Seoul. Accompany your tasty crab nachos or juicy lobster tails with a cheap beer sampler or an amazing Mai Tai, and you will be good for the rest of the day.

22. Brooklyn the Burger Joint $$

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The name pretty much explains it all. When you enter this burger joint, you’ll feel as if you’re in an actual American diner. Definitely a place you should visit if you feel like you need a break from all the awesome Korean food you’ve been eating on your trip.

23. Mies Container $$

Personally, Mies Container is one of my favorite fusion restaurants in Seoul. From creamy bulgogi pizzas to chicken platters, this restaurant chain serves their food with amazing service. From the moment you open the door to the second you get out of your seats to leave, the staff at Mies Container will be shouting cute, practiced greetings and goodbyes. Talk about hospitality at its finest.

24. 후꾸오까 함바그 (Fukuoka Hamburger) $$

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Hamburgers are fun to cook on humongous grills in your backyard, but they’re also fun to cook on tiny little stone grills indoors. Similar concept to Black Stone, but instead you’re cooking a juicy hamburger patty.

25. 리틀넥 (Little Neck) $$

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Who says you have to miss your Sunday brunch just because you’re traveling abroad? Worry not, South Korea has it all. At Little Neck, they serve amazing brunch dishes that might stand against a few of those in Southern California. Intriguing menu items like the Salmon and Beet Cream Sandwich and the Avocado Cream Shrimp Pasta satisfy the stomachs of many (it definitely did for me).

26. 별다방미스리 (Miss Lee’s Star Cafe)

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This extremely cute cafe is one of the best places to try Korea’s traditional lunch boxes. Cute metal boxes filled with rice, spam, fried eggs, and more will definitely fill your stomach any day you happen to be wandering the streets of Seoul.

When you feel like your wallet is thick as the Bible:

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When you get your paycheck, allowance, or you win the lottery, here are the place you should go ASAP. The sky's the limit.

27. McCoy’s $$$

With a stellar menu and a stylish interior, McCoy’s is a great place to celebrate that birthday or anniversary. Impress your date with huge pork chops and sweet sangria. Split the house apple pie and you’ve got yourselves the perfect date.

28. Din Tai Fung $$$

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There are several Din Tai Fung locations in the U.S. and other countries, but if you’re ever craving Taiwanese food while traveling in South Korea, this is the place to go. The xiao long bao never disappoints!

29. Viking’s Wharf $$$

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There’s all-you-can-eat sushi, Korean barbecue, fried chicken, noodles, but have you ever heard of ALL YOU CAN EAT LOBSTER? Viking’s Wharf has been featured on several Korean TV shows, and is known for its hefty bill. For the price of $100 per person, customers can dip their freshly cooked lobsters in butter and keep eating until their stomaches explode.

30. 프로간장게장 (Pro Ganjang-Gejang) $$$

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Raw crab might sound weird, but it is definitely a Korean delicacy worth trying. This restaurant is a bit pricey, but it serves only the best crabs marinated with the establishment’s secret soy sauce blend. If you’re feeling daring, come to Pro-Ganjang-Gehjang for an adventure on your plate.

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If Seoul is on your bucket list, be sure to bookmark this page to help you make the perfect itinerary. There are tons of restaurants, cute cafes, bars, and more nestled in the small country of South Korea just waiting for you to try them out.