Dining in elegance, Dugahun

Written by on March 4, 2011 in Travel

Dining out in Seoul : Traditional Korean, world cuisine, casual dining, fine dining, royal cuisine – whatever your taste buds seek, all can be found in Seoul. This post is part of the restaurant review series here on the Korea Blog.

Hidden behind the Gallery Hyundai in Samcheong-dong is Dugahun(두가헌), the wine and art restaurant which features fine cuisine in a hanok setting.

The early 20th century style architecture brings back nostalgia for that era, when Korea was just entering modern society. The restaurant sets up outdoor heaters on the terrace for the cold seasons and soft lights shimmer in the evenings.

Fresh flowers always create an amiable atmosphere. Details in presentation catch my eye. I like that the restaurant doesn’t use placemats – they are that confident in their bright, clean, perfectly ironed tablecloths!

Dinner starts.

Let’s tickle our palates with an amuse-bouche selection: light carpaccio, melon ball with prosciutto, a bite of salmon. Not bad but not outstanding, either.

On a side note, I want to know who started the trend of presenting food in spoons. My heart goes out to the kitchen minion who has to do the dishes.

Appetizer is steamed abalone with caviar and lemon butter sauce. The lemon in the sauce provided the right amount of acidity to balance out the butter. Extra prawn to the side.

What’s tricky about abalone is that it’s extremely easy to overcook. The abalone then tends to get rubbery and tough, and you have to chew like a cow chewing its cud in order to get it tender. Of course, the abalone here was great. No need for extreme chewing!

Salad of fresh tossed greens, tomatoes, and a slice of cheese with Italian dressing. This salad was to my taste as I prefer bitter greens to the leafy regular ones.

Main dish is grilled lamb chops with Marsala sauce. A roasted clove of garlic and vegetables round out the dish.

A perfectly cooked medium rare. I’m a happy omnivore who likes her meat a bit on the pink side.

Dessert! Fruit, cheese, and cheesecake. I was a bit disappointed by the presentation. What’s with the transparent plate? And there must be a better way to present cheese slices.

Nothing wrong with the taste, though. Which is probably what counts the most.

The wine we had that night. Reliable pinot noir from Chambolle-Musigny. Great bouquet and good finish.

The rows and rows of wine glasses in the restaurant. Dugahun has an extensive wine list which can be viewed on their homepage.


  • Situated towards the entry of Samcheong-dong, across from Gyeongbok Palace
  • Metro: about a 15 minute walk from either Anguk station (line 3, exit #1) or Gyeongbokgung station (line 3, exit #5)
  • Tel : (02) 3210-2100 (Reservations recommended)
  • Address : Sagan-dong 109, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • The restaurant is closed on Sundays
  • Set menu contents may differ by season and decisions of the chef
  • http://www.dugahun.com/

About the Author

Suzy Chung

Multilingual editor, writer, and translator. Coffee addict, bookworm, art junkie, foodie, oenophile, and a billion other things. I tend to talk a lot. @suzyinseoul