While Italian restaurants in Seoul these days are not that difficult to find, the trick is to discover one that serves authentic Italian cuisine and not a second-rate imitation. Back in September, we created a poll for our readers to help us determine the 10 best authentic Italian restaurants in the city.
We received over 250 votes over the course of the past couple months – the top 5 spots are overwhelmingly unanimous, but places 6-10 are neck and neck. Without further ado, the results are in so prepare your stomach and enjoy!
65 votes (26%) Ciuri Ciuri brings the best of Sicilian dining to Seoul. Owners Enrico and Fiorenza are native Sicilians who are incredibly passionate about their food. The interior of the restaurant is decorated with light blue ceramics imported straight from Sicily. The cannoli (7,000 KRW), layered with chocolate chips and sweet orange peels, comes highly recommended. Taking home an overwhelming 26% of the votes, Ciuri Ciuri is a must-try for any Italian food lover in Seoul. Ciuri Ciuri recently won Best Italian Restaurant in the 10 Magazine Best of Seoul 2018 competition.
Cannoli Siciliani (8,000 KRW)
Spaghetti con Bottarga (25,000 KRW)
Pesce all’isolana (26,000 KRW)
2. 300 Degree | Yongsan-gu, Seoul*
*Edit: 300 Degree is no longer open! :( [March 2019]
62 votes (25%) 300 Degree’s 1-meter Italian style pizzas (44,000 KRW) set them apart from regular pizza joints. If you’re not starving, order the 50 cm pizzas (20,000 KRW). Patrons can choose 3 toppings from over 20 authentic Italian selections. Vegetarians should definitely try out “Ladies,” which is a meatless pizza that comes with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and eggplant. Meat lovers will love the “Rustica Bianca,” topped with pork and fried potatoes. The restaurant’s diverse selection of beer and wine makes it a perfect late-night destination.
55 votes (22%) Brera is Seoul’s go-to Italian comfort food restaurant. Established in 2015 by two university professors, Brera focuses on balancing good food with a relaxed atmosphere. At Brera, you’ll find a wide range of international patrons and staff that gives the restaurant a welcoming vibe. The Pappardelle alla Boscaiola (14,900 KRW) is a Tuscan dish filled with Italian sausages, green peas, mushrooms, and parmigiano cheese. Finish off your meal with their rich and creamy Tiramisu (5,000 KRW).
28 votes (11%) Al Matto is a cozy joint in Haebangchon that serves authentic Italian pizza, sandwiches, and brunch. There is an open kitchen where customers can view the classic Italian pizza oven while they munch on their meal. The Alberto (20,000 KRW) is a fascinating blend of french fries, bacon, mozzarella, pepper, onion, and tomato sauce. If you’re stopping by earlier in the day, don’t miss out on the “Al Matto Breakfast,” which comes with fried eggs, french toast, sausages, beans, grilled tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, and hashbrowns.
The Alberto (20,000 KRW)
Napolitana (20,000 KRW)
Al Matto (23,000 KRW)
5. Pizza Muzzo | Yongsan-gu, Seoul*
*Edit: Pizza Muzzo is no longer open! :( [July 2021]
5 votes (2%) Pizza Muzzo is without a doubt the most glamorous pizza place in Seoul. The interior is decorated with furniture imported directly from Europe, which gives the place a classy European feel that matches perfectly with their delicious pizzas. One of the most popular menu items is the Primavera (23,000 KRW), which is topped with parma ham, shaved parmesan, rucola, and tomato sauce. The pizzas here are baked in a 12-inch wood oven to ensure maximum crispiness.
4 votes (2%) Maremma Trattoria is an establishment that offers a more relaxed and quiet vibe compared to other Italian restaurants in Seoul. The bruschettas (9,000 KRW) here are to die for, according to many reviewers, and come with mouth-watering toppings like goat cheese, roasted hazelnut, and homemade ricotta. Their signature dish is the Fish Carpaccio (29,000 KRW), which is sliced tuna topped with lemon sauce. With a chic interior and relaxed vibe, Maremma Trattoria is the perfect place to enjoy a night out with friends.
4 votes (2%) Paolo de Maria is a fine dining trattoria with an extensive menu that features virtually every Italian dish you can think of. Keep in mind that the fine dining tag may result in a pricier bill, but many say it is oh-so-worth-it. The Pappardelle al Barbera Caramellato Saltate (28,000 KRW) is a pasta served with cheese fondue and red wine. For dessert, try their delectable lemon tarts or chocolate mousse.
3 votes (1%) Il Chiasso adheres to the three principles of “mangiare” (eating), “cantare” (singing), and “amore” (loving). With authentic Italian cuisine combined with cheerful staff members and exciting atmosphere, Il Chiasso is a place like no other. The succulent Fiorentina T-Bone Steak (starting at 12,000 KRW) is a must-try. If you don’t know what to order, cart service is on standby to help you choose the perfect dish. Be prepared to spend some serious money, though as a full course meal here will likely cost you between 80,000 and 120,000 KRW.
Lasagna Classica (18,000 KRW)
Sea Bass Fillet (24,000 KRW)
Bistecca alla Fiorentina + side dishes (27,000 KRW)
3 votes (1%) Located near Hapjeong Station, Spacca Napoli is a hidden gem that serves some of the best Neapolitan style pizza in Seoul. The restaurant is spacious and includes a wood fire oven and plenty of tables. Even if you’ve never been to Naples, one bite of the Margarita (19,000 KRW) will tell you all you need to know about the city. If you want a meatier pizza, definitely try the Diavola (21,000 KRW), which is topped with strips of salami.
3 votes (1%) Terra 13 is an Italian restaurant headed by Chef Santino Sortino. A small taste of Italy in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Gangnam, Terra 13 has an extensive selection of both dishes as well as wine. The Panna Tartufato Nero Da Sortino (30,000KRW), a paccheri pasta dish with fresh thyme, herb-infused cream, prosciutto, and shaved black truffle comes highly recommended. With a spacious terrace perfect for lounging about in the warmer months, Terra 13 is an ideal spot for your next relaxed night out with loved ones.
Panna Tartufato Nero Da Sortino (30,000KRW)
Ragu Di Gallo Nero E Anatra (31,000KRW)
Fresh Truffle Special Pasta (Market Price)
La Tana | Yongsan-gu, Seoul*
*Edit: La Tana is no longer open! :( [July 2021]
La Tana is a hot new Italian restaurant that has received raving reviews since its opening a couple months ago. Headed by Chef Biagio Aprea, a long-time veteran in the expat community in Seoul, La Tana serves everything from unique restaurant specialties to classic Italian favorites. The Baby Octopus Luciana Style, a Campanian product seasoned with olives and tomatoes, comes highly recommended by Chef Aprea himself and the tiramisu here is splendid. Be sure to check out the extensive selection of Italian wines.
Italian Tiramisu (10,000KRW)
Seafood Spaghetti Napoli Style (25,000KRW)
Deep Fried Pizza Napoli Style (25,000KRW)
Thanks for checking out the 10 best authentic Italian restaurants in Seoul. If you feel there’s a restaurant we missed that deserves consideration, leave a comment below!