We made a reservation at Jihwaja for their royal deluxe degustation menu (gungjung manchan) as we wanted to have a taste of what royal court cuisine is, and this restaurant was opened by Hwang Hye -sung, the 2nd royal culinary art master (you can read more on their english website). It sounded great, and we were glad that the meal met our expectations. Besides the great taste, variety and freshness of the ingredients, the presentation of the items was exquisite. Ambience was great too - we had a private room with traditional decor and music. [just a side note: we ordered the largest course meal as we wanted to go for the works, there are smaller course meals as well.]
Service was also excellent. We were late for our reservation timing and it was also 15 minutes past their last order time (our fault for not budgeting enough time to get down from Namsan tower to the base of the hill, where the restaurant is located. there's actually a queue for the elevator down!). However, they called us up and were also willing to go ahead with our reservation even though we were so late. Granted, we did try to wolf down everything as fast as possible (there were about 14 dishes in about 6 courses), but we were the last customers to leave. We were really appreciative on how pleasant and attentive their service was. After the meal, they also called a cab for us to return to our hotel, and waited outside (it was quite cold) for the cab for us.
Great food, great customer service, definitely happy with the whole experience. Visitors to Seoul should try this place at least once!
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