The gourmet Michelin Guide published its first Seoul edition on Monday, only the fourth in Asia and the 28th in the world.
A total of 24 restaurants in Seoul were given Michelin's coveted stars, and two Korean restaurants -- Gaon and La Yeon -- landed the jackpot three.
Dating from the guide's origin as a travel companion for commercial travelers, one star means "a very good restaurant," two stars, "excellent cooking, worth a detour," and three "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey."
Gaon in Gangnam has been operated by ceramics maker Kwangjuyo since 2003. A dinner menu costs between W180,000 and W250,000 per person (US$1=W1,144).
Its more affordable sister Bicena in Itaewon also received one star for dinner menus between W88,000 and W120,000.
Opened in 2013, La Yeon in Hotel Shilla previously made Asia's best 50 restaurants for two consecutive years, chosen by vote from some 300 food critics. Dinner courses cost between W150,000 and W230,000.
The number of starred restaurants and the total number of 31 stars awarded are similar to those for the Shanghai edition that came out in September but still a long way behind Tokyo's 2008 tally of 150 restaurants and 191 stars.
Among the 24 starred restaurants in Seoul, 14 serve Korean food, though Michelin’s traditional focus is on fine dining in the French tradition.