Gyerim 계림 (Euljiro, Seoul)

Gyerim, Gyerim Dakdoritang, and Gyerim Maneul Dak are just a few names this restaurant goes by, which is understandable given that it’s been around for about 50 years. I’ve only been coming here for a few years but clearly understand why and how they have survived all those decades, because they serve, arguably, one of the best and most unique chicken stews loaded with a mountain of minced garlic. Garlic is a fundamental ingredient for most Korean dishes, but it goes even better with spicy stews such as dakdoritang (aka dakbokkeumtang). When my dongsaeng surprised me with this request (she’s usually into Western food), I was more than happy to oblige along with our other friends.

Once you get past the waiting line, which can be up to 15-30 minutes during peak hours, the service is fast and friendly. A huge pot is placed in front of you, filled to the brim with pieces of chicken, rice cakes, potatoes, onions, leeks, and, of course, garlic. Once boiled down for about 15 minutes, it’s every man for himself. The chicken is tender, bite-sized pieces that are full of flavor. The broth is on the spicy side, enough to warrant extra tissues and water (or beer), but it’s a nice balance of heat, sweetness, and savoriness all in one. The starchy potatoes and rice cakes give it some richness, which is another plus. Overall, served with essentials like maekju and soju, it’s definitely one of my favorite meals made even better with good company. Pictured is the four-person serving for a respectable 42,000 won with beer and soju costing an extra 4,000 won.

Gyerim is a little hard to find if you’re not familiar with Seoul, hidden in one of those back alleyways off the main street. Make sure to check a map for detailed directions and/or use an app to find the restaurant; or else you might find yourself doing circles in this not-so-warm weather we’re experiencing right now.

Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars

Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars

Ambiance: ★★★½ out of 5 stars

Value: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars

Gyerim 계림

Euljiro 3ga 167, Jongro-gu (서울 종로구 을지로3가 167)

Phone: 02-2263-6658

Hours: Open every day 11:30 am ~ 10:00 pm except Sundays

Click here for an interactive map:


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