Recently I received this question from, Desiree, a reader of Seoul Eats:
Back to Desiree's question. All Korean restaurants have 반찬 (banchan: side dishes) but some will be inventive. You can go for Royal Court Cuisine which is high end and the table will be entirely covered with dishes. There is also 한정식 (hanjeongshik:Korean Full Course Meal) This style of food will be a intermediary between Royal Court and just a regular restaurant.
Daniel, I found myself wondering which restaurant has the best and the most banchan/side dishes in Seoul, and then thought that you'd be qualified to answer that question....your thoughts??
I am just going to list some recommendations here so Desiree will a couple places she can go to.
There is Sanchon which is a Vegetarian Temple Food Place. Awesome amount of side dishes and each dish has different accents. I wouldn't say authentic temple food, but you can ask for the dishes to be made with no garlic or peppers if you are looking for the authentic experience.
Telephone: (02) 735-0312
Price: 22,000 per person
From Exit 6 of Anguk Station (Subway Line No. 3), walk about 40 meters to Insadong-daero (between Crown Bakery and GS 25 Convenience Store). Proceed about 300 meters, and turn left at Atelier Seoul. Sanchon is located at the end of the street.
Excellent Korean restaurant that is right next to the main park in Hongdae. The side dishes are so good that the restaurant won’t give you utensils to eat them until the main course comes out. Their bulgogi, sundubu, and nokdu jeon are excellent.
Price: 6,000-15,000 per person
Directions go out Sangu Station Exit 1 and walk straight. You'll cross the street and head towards Hongdae Children's Park. It's right before the park on the left hand side.
It's got hanjungshik, which means they give you a lot of amazing side dishes including bossam, gujeolpan (a nine section crepe dish), and many courses of milder tasting Korean food. The food will have flavor; it just won't be firey hot each time.
Style: Traditional Korean
Phone: 562-5972 or 568-5972
Desiree, I hope that's a start. Generally, most places will have lots of side dishes. Especially if you order hanjungshik. If the meal for one person costs around 10,000 won, then you'll get lots of great dishes. 15-20, you will get even nicer ones.