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
My favorite reason for working in Itaewon is the abundance of great food available and Gino’s Pizzeria is a great addition to the neighborhood. Gino’s restaurant, which is across the street, has been open for slightly more than a year now, but that is a dine-in restaurant. Gino’s Pizzeria focuses on slices, some different menu options, and delicious expediency. When you are hungry, you can pop in, pick a slice, and be on your way in a few minutes, or you can dine in, crush a slice, and people watch from the seating along the window.
Today was my first time going to Gino’s Pizzeria and my girlfriend and I ordered: three cheese slices, one pepperoni, and two grandma slices. The grandma slices reminded me of Sicilian pizza and we enjoyed the crispy crust, the fresh tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, and basil. The cheese and pepperoni slices were thin, slightly crispy, slightly greasy, and exactly what we wanted from a New York style slice of pizza. Overall, everything tasted great, the service was excellent, the owner and the staff were very kind, and the pizza was high quality and fantastic. I will definitely be making my way to Gino’s Pizzeria more often.
Directions: Noksapyeong Station Exit 1 (Or Take the Elevator and then step out walk to your left and go over the bridge)
From Exit 1: Take an immediate left and cross the street
Cross the Bridge
Take a right on the other side and walk up the hill
After the road bends to the left
Take the first left turn and Gino's Pizzeria will be on your left
You can enter on the second floor
by Ashley Heil
Linus' Bama Style BBQ is the best BBQ I've had in Seoul, and maybe, ever. Tucked away in a back street of Itaewon, when I first saw this restaurant I thought, "oh, it's just going to be another overpriced American BBQ restaurant with small portion sizes". But after seeing it mentioned as possibly the best American Southern BBQ restaurant in all of East Asia, I had to check it out for myself.
Being as active as my boyfriend and I are, as we walked in, we were a little skeptical about how the meal would turn out, and if we would even end up full after our whole meal without having to spend a fortune. Now we've had some good BBQ in Seoul, including Austin's BBQ in Hongdae, and Manimal in Itaewon, but were were never completely blown away. Austin's BBQ was good, as well as Manimal, but the portions were so small and expensive at Manimal we were disappointed there. So we didn't know what to expect going into Linus'.
Michael and I got the "For Twos" platter (27,000), and split a side of Fried Okra with our friend (4000 won). My friend ordered the brisket sandwich (16000 won). The For Two's platter comes with your choice of 3 sides, a mound of pulled pork, and a mound of brisket. For sides we chose the potato salad, cole slaw, and the pork n' beans. When we received our food, we immediately started to dig in. The pulled pork is probably the best pulled pork I have ever had in my life. It was so tender and juicy, and melted in your mouth when you ate it. It didn't even need any bbq sauce or the slider buns that come with it, but those were delicious too. The brisket was amazing as well, but being a pork fan, it was the pulled pork that really blew me away. All of the sides were amazing as well, especially the potato salad. The fried okra was awesome, and for only 4,000 its a great side to split between a few friends. I wish I could have tried the mac n'cheese as well, because I'm sure its amazing. My friend loved his brisket sandwich, and I've heard its a must try at Linus'. Although Linus is more expensive than your typical cheap Korean meal out, this time, it was clearly worth it. We left full and extremely satisfied and happy. Linus' Bama style BBQ is definitely the place to visit if you want to satisfy your craving for some southern BBQ.
Noksapyeong, line 6, go out of exit 3. Keep walking a little bit then cross the road to the left (towards Itaewon). Turn right after you've crossed the road. Turn left on the first little road, and walk down a little bit. Then, you'll see the little ally way that leads to the entrance of Linus' BBQ.
Take exit 4 of Itaewon Station on Line 6. From the exit, continue on foot for about 350 meters until you see the McDonald’s on your left hand side.Immediately to the left of the McDonald’s is a door with a staircase leading downstairs. Follow these stairs down and continue through the small corridor past the custom tailor shop. When you emerge on the other side, you will see the restaurant on your right.
by Ashley Heil
Guhl Goo Nae Wang Gob Chang (걸구네 왕 곱창) is without a doubt my favorite samgyeopsal (삼겹살)place in Korea. Because of its location in Itaewon, I think a lot of people think there could never be good Korean food in an area with such a strong focus on foreign foods. But after discovering this place I have learned that some of the best pork in Seoul can be found here. Sure, there are some other good places that are famous and delicious such as Palsaek Samgyeopsal, but I find I like this restaurant more for its focus on serving the samgyeopsal simply with just a side of some ssamjang paste, salt, and a light sauce on the side. The samgyeopsal (11,000 for 220g) is also served on a sloped grill with delicious marinated vegetables below, so the pork fat can be captured in the vegetables for extra deliciousness. After you've tried the samgyeopsal, you can try their marinated pork ribs (available in mild and spicy, 10,000 won). While me and my boyfriend were never big fans of ribs before we moved to Seoul, these ribs are tender, succulent, and simply irresistible. If you want more to eat, they also offer pork skin, doen jang jjigae (5000 won), gyeran jjim(an egg casserole), fried rice (2000 won), and a few other items. If you're looking for a new samgyeopsal or pork rib restaurant to try, then this place is for you.
Directions: From the subway: Itaewon line 6, exit 4-take an immediate left, and then turn right on the main street. Take another right on the first smaller street. Walk down a little until you see the "Hwang So ma eul" sign, and then the restaurant is to the right of that sign tucked a way a little bit.
We're just a couple addicted to great food. We love Anthony Bourdain!