by Ashley Heil
We've been big fans of Cali Kitchen since they started at their original location in Kyungridan, but recently they moved locations and now have a much better atmosphere. They're now called California Kitchen and Craft Pub (still off of Kyungridan street) and in short, their new location is awesome. It has an airy, open feel with huge open windows so you can people watch and get great views of Namsan tower. We've been there twice in the past two weeks and have really enjoyed it each time. We came first for their soft opening Taco Tuesday. We had never had Cali Kitchen's tacos before, only their burgers and burrito bowls. We were blown away by their tacos. We've had some really great Mexican food in Seoul, and these tacos were our favorite we've had in Seoul. We both had 3 each because they were so delicious. All of the tacos were amazing, but the one that really stood out was the puffed chicken and puffed carnitas tacos (bottom right picture). The shell on these are deep fried so they are light, crispy, and had a great crunch. The guacamole we had on every taco was outstanding. If I remember correctly, the tacos were about 5,000-6,000 correctly, but I believe the types of tacos change weekly. If you're wanting some good beer and tacos, definitely check out California Kitchen's taco Tuesday!
We went back a second time because I convinced Michael to finally try their burgers, because it's for sure in my top 3 burgers in Seoul. It was just as good as I remembered. We got the double burger (10,000 won) and shared a big basket of french fries (6,000 won) with their extremely addicting chipotle ketchup. Chuck (the owner) told me he is one of the only places, if not the only place, in Seoul to use fresh, never frozen USDA prime beef, so that's great. The burger's bun is also toasted with grass-fed butter, and has American cheese, grilled onions, tomato, and lettuce. The burger sauce was great but not overpowering or too messy. For me, when I get burgers, that's just what I want. Nothing fancy or weird, just a simple, delicious burger.
One of the things I really like about Cali Kitchen's new location is their live tap list. For beer geeks like me that like to check the ratings of beer and see what types of flavors they have before drinking, this is awesome. This beer list is updated daily and has direct links to a website called Taphunter where you can check them out. http://calikitch.com/beerlist/
California Kitchen and Craft Pub is a great place to get a delicious burger, some Cali-Mex burritos and tacos, or enjoy a craft beer with an awesome view. We've never been disappointed there and we always leave with our bellies happy. It's a must-try for good food in the Itaewon area :)
Go to Noksapyeong station, exit 2.
Walk down the road and go down the underpass and cross the street over to the right. At the end of the underpass/tunnel, turn left.
Come out of the underpass and turn right on Kyungridan street.
Walk all the way up the big hill. You'll pass some places like the Wellbeing Mart, Namsan chemistry, and the cute pet shop with the little kittens and puppies playing.
Keep walking all the way until the CVS4U on the corner, and turn right there, and California Kitchen and Craft Pub will be there (on the 2nd or 3rd floor).
by Michael Jones
I love Burgers, I guess I’m not helping dispel American stereotypes, and yesterday I found a great burger. The shop is called 별버거 and it’s located in the Sangsu area. I've also seen it mentioned as Star Burger on reviews because of the star symbol on their sign. Anyway, I’ve been to a lot of burger places in Seoul and although there are some good ones, oftentimes they are either too expensive, small, or both. What I miss about the burgers back home is the focus on the essentials. I miss perfectly grilled burger patties, baked in house buns, American cheese, crispy bacon, lettuce, and juicy tomato. These simple ingredients done well combine to make one of the greatest foods on the planet. I don’t want a wildly expensive burger with a sprinkle of truffles and some rare cheese that leaves me ravenous. I want a greasy, simple mess that spills all over the place and makes you close your eyes it’s so good. This is the type of burger I found yesterday. It’s extremely delicious, cheap, and easy to get to. We are in the Sangsu area a lot because or gym is there and we’re always on the lookout for something new to eat. Lately we’ve been eating a lot of Bibimbap since we found a place that serves it buffet style for only 5,000 won. I will do a review of this place soon, but despite the phenomenal deal, I can only handle rice, veggies, and eggs for so long before I snap. So when we walked by this little unassuming burger place and I saw the prices I figured it would be worth a try. The place is small, there are about 12 seats, and it’s decorated in Americana. The smell of baking burger buns was intoxicating and this made us hopeful for the burger. I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the double with bacon (8,800) and Ashley enjoyed the single cheeseburger with a fried egg for (6,800). The stock prices without extras like bacon and the fried eggs, were (7800) for the double and (5300) for the single with no cheese (5800 with cheese). I heard this place used to be slightly more expensive. These are the best prices for a good burger we’ve come across in Seoul. We also ordered fries, and they were very good, but the portion size was a little too small (2,500). The burger, however, was extraordinary. The bun was golden brown, warm, and slightly crunchy. The patties, Australian beef I believe, were juicy and perfectly seasoned, the cheese was gooey, the bacon was crispy and full of flavor, and the tomatoes and lettuce tasted fresh. I made a mess while I ate it, but it was a beautiful mess. The burger left me full and I will definitely be a frequent customer. For the price, I would say this is my favorite burger place. It’s a great version of the classic, no frills, American burger.
Sangsu Station Exit 1
Walk straight out of the exit for about 2-3 minutes
The shop will be on your right. On the sign there is a star symbol and then the word burger, but its real name is 별버거 ;)
We're just a couple addicted to great food. We love Anthony Bourdain!