Having dietary restrictions while living or traveling abroad can turn eating into a difficult and stressful part of your day. Especially in South Korea, where meat seems to be in almost every Korean dish. But one of the best parts of travel is the food! You can still enjoy your mealtimes abroad if you know where to go. After over 2 years of eating around Seoul as a vegetarian, I have put together a guide to my favorite vegetarian restaurants in Seoul – some fully vegan, some just with vegetarian options. These are all mid-range, affordable options.
How can I find vegan/vegetarian options in Korea?
The easiest way to find good vegetarian/vegan options in Korea is to download the app HappyCow. This $3.99 app will show you, on a map, a list of nearby vegan and vegetarian food, along with photos and reviews from fellow travelers. I recommend that you look and plan in advance because not every neighborhood in Seoul will have options, while some will have quite a few to choose between!
My Favorite Vegetarian Restaurants in Seoul: Vegan
Little Gangster (리틀갱스터) – Western, Yongsan-gu
This is my favorite vegan restaurant in Seoul! And I’m not alone; it has been recognized by both vegans and non-vegans alike in local magazines and newspapers. The menu changes seasonally so there’s always a reason to go back. It’s popular and in quite a small storefront, so go early to beat the crowd!
Camouflage (카무플라주) – American Chinese, Itaewon-dong
Itaewon is the neighborhood in Seoul with the most vegan and vegetarian options. Camouflage is a hidden gem located just a short walk from the main street. I appreciate the many soy “chicken” options they offer, since they can be expensive and hard to find. Don’t miss out on ordering a set – the chow mein is incredible!
Oh Se Gae Hyang (오세계향) – Korean, Insa-dong
If you want a traditional Korean dining experience, this is the place. The menu is huge, featuring many traditional Korean dishes vegan-ized, and you will receive a plethora of vegan side dishes (banchan) before the main course. A word of warning, the restaurant displays lots of pro-vegan propaganda, perhaps to an excessive degree… if you can ignore that, it’s a very enjoyable experience.
Pinch Brunch Bar (핀치브런치바) – Western, Sinsa-dong
If you want a delicious brunch that you won’t even realize is vegan, head to Pinch! And do yourself a favor by ordering the green pea and asparagus curry gnocci. This is an absolute favorite among my vegetarian, vegan, and meat-eating friends alike. The menu is small but everything I’ve tried on it has been amazing. If you’re visiting on a weekend, I recommend showing up shortly after opening, as it’s a small space.
Monk’s Butcher (몽크스부처) – Western, Hannam-dong
This is the most expensive restaurant on this list, but I promise it’s worth it! For an amazing culinary experience, head here. It’s the perfect spot for a high-scale vegan dinner without completely breaking the bank. Everything I tried was absolutely amazing.
My Favorite Vegetarian Restaurants in Seoul: Veggie-friendly
California Kitchen & Craft Pub (캘리포니아 키친앤크래프트 펍) – American, Haebangchon
If you’re craving some American Tex-Mex, this is your place. They offer a few vegetarian options featuring their ‘cali chorizo’ – tofu, mushroom, cauliflower and walnuts mixed together into a convincing veggie alternative to chorizo. In addition, this place has some of the best on-tap beer options in the city.
Gusto Taco (구스토타코) – Mexican, Sangsu
It’s difficult to find high-quality Mexican food in Korea, especially when we are used to delicious American Mexican food, but Gusto Taco will not disappoint! Their veggie tacos are to die for – you can order them vegan or vegetarian (with cheese and sour cream). The margaritas are also legit.
Mama Ethiopian Cuisine (마마 에티오피아 요리) – Ethiopian, Haebangchon
Mama has an amazing veggie platter featuring delicious lentil and vegetable dishes. It’s unlike any other vegetarian food that you can find in Korea. Bring a friend or two to help you tackle it, and make sure to put on the provided gloves before digging in!
Delhi India (델리인디아) – Indian, Sangsu
I stumbled upon this gem after cafe hopping in the Hongdae area. I was craving salty, savory food, and this did the trick. The menu features 9 veggie curries, a veggie biryani, and 2 veggie noodle dishes. My friends and I agreed that this was the closest to American Indian food that we had eaten in Korea.
Buddha’s Belly (부다스벨리) – Thai, Itaewon-dong
This elegant Thai spot has the most vegetarian and vegan options of any Thai restaurant I’ve been to in Korea. There is an entire menu dedicated to their vegetarian and vegan options – just ask! As a Thai food enthusiast, I thought the pad thai was delicious; close to the pad thai in American Thai restaurants.
My Favorite Vegetarian Restaurants in Seoul: Honorable Mentions
Plant (플랜트) – Western, Itaewon-dong and Yeonnam-dong
If you’re coming to Seoul with dietary restrictions, you’ve surely heard of Plant. There’s a reason it’s so well-known – it’s a reliable vegan restaurant located in two popular areas with a wide range of dishes, drinks, and pastries. It’s an honorable mention because they took my absolute favorite dish off of the menu and the other dishes never live up to it! But it’s still worth checking out.
Cuchara (쿠차라) – casual Mexican, multiple locations
This is the closest you can get to Chipotle in Korea. It’s never going to hit the same, but it satisfies the craving and it’s cheap. The idea is the same – choose from a bowl, tacos, burrito, or salad, and add the protein and toppings of your choice from there. The tofu is pretty close to the sofritas from Chipotle.
Any hotpot buffet (훠궈/샤부샤부)!
If you type “훠궈” or “샤부샤부” into Naver Maps or Kakao Maps, you will see many options pop up in Seoul. Look at the pictures to MAKE SURE IT’S A BUFFET – the bigger the buffet looks, the better! These buffets are oftentimes unlimited and feature many tofu, vegetable, and noodle choices. Just make sure you go with someone who won’t cook their meat in your soup! Here are my 2 favorite hotpot places in Seoul: Guguhyang Huoguo (구구향훠궈) in Kondae and Chungching Mala Huoguo (충칭마라훠궈) in Sharosugil.
Although being vegetarian in Korea can be difficult, I hope that this guide to my favorite vegetarian restaurants in Seoul helps you out. Happy plant-based Seoul searching!
Wondering what to do in Seoul, other than eating? Check out my ultimate South Korea travel guide and itinerary.