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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Restaurant Write Up: Vatos Urban Tacos in Itaewon

This is a guest post written and photographed by the fabulous Megan O'Brien. 
Vatos Tacos in Itaewon
Vatos Tacos in Itaewon
Vatos Tacos in Itaewon
Vatos Tacos in Itaewon
It is a fact that Korean food is up and coming on the world food scene. It is also a well known that tacos have been making a triumphant comeback for a couple years now. In the U.S., food trucks have been popping up in cities offering a combination of the two in the form of Korean tacos. The simple presentation of tacos provides an opportunity to be creative and artistic with ingredients and the distinct flavors of Korean BBQ is the perfect filling. 


Recently in Seoul, two guys from California and Texas, respectively, have been able to successfully offer Korean tacos in a casual, sit-down restaurant format. With the hip name, Vatos Urban Tacos, you get the impression that the guys know a thing or two about what people in Seoul are looking for in a taco and have given taco enthusiasts in Seoul an opportunity to try well crafted food in a nice yet accessible setting.

Presently, there are 5 styles of tacos on their menu. They offer the tried and true carne asada as well as very impressive carnitas. For Korean tacos they have samgyeopsal and galbi-two Korean BBQ favorites and they have recently added fish tacos to their menu. I think that the carnitas, which is phenomenal, really stood out. The galbi taco, also delicious, was a perfect match with the cilantro, chilies and cabbage filling. The flavor of the fish tacos were on par with the famous street tacos you can find down in Baja.

Along with tacos, the menu also offers excellent appetizers. The most unique are Kimchi Carnitas Fries and Kimchi Quesadillas- a great option for vegetarians. They also have made a great tortilla soup, which is the ultimate comfort food for a homesick Californian like myself.
 
Vatos offers a highly creative and exciting drink menu. In addition to having local and craft beers, they have a mean Bloody Mary. Their ultimate drink for those of us in South Korea is the Makgeollita. A drink that combines the popular Korean beverage, makgeolli with the classic margarita. The Makgeollita is offered in different fruit flavors; mango and strawberry being my favorite.

In addition to the great food and a cool setting, I have been really impressed by the two gentlemen that run the place. Having been there a handful of times now I have had the opportunity to chat with the guys a bit. They definitely know what goes into making a good taco and they are enthusiastic to supply high-quality food to their patrons.

Vatos Tacos in Itaewon
Address : Itaewon-dong 66-8 2F, Seoul, South Korea 140-200 ·
Phone :02-797-8226
Website : http://www.vatoskorea.com
Vatos Tacos is located on the same street as Wolfhound and JR’s, just farther down the hill. Behind where Dillinger’s and Outback would be. Across from the Family Mart.

Megan is from San Diego, CA. She’s interested in things involving cycling, food politics, coffee, taking photos, whiskey, music that incorporates a peddle steel, overalls and cut-offs. When she’s not riding a bike around Seoul or taking photos, she teaches. Her blog is: http://www.thetoohugeworld.wordpress.com


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