Food News

Italian Food Festival 5/25-6/09

From May 25th to June 9th, the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Peroni Beer, along with several top quality local Italian restaurants, will be hosting an Italian Food Festival. Yesterday I joined the Press Launch Event and go to meet these wonderful chefs, and with the Italian Ambassador, at Spasso Italian Restaurant in Gangnam. Each restaurant will host a custom set menu featuring food from a certain region in Italy. Prices range from 60,000W to over 120,000W.

I want to give a special nod to Chef Sommariva Franco from Trattoria da Franco who kindly invited us to the event. A great guy, and great chef.

Here is the information, will some pictures of the launch event following.

Click here to Download the Brochure




Here’s the press letter:

Italian Food Festival in Korea

From May 25 to June 9 2012 in Seoul

The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Korea and seven Italian restaurants in Seoul, all members of the Chamber and its Food & Beverage Committee, will hold for the first time in Korea an authentic Italian Food Festival, with the aim of presenting to Korean consumers typical dishes of the Italian regional cuisine.

From May 25th to June 9th 2012, each of the seven involved restaurants is going to offer their customers an exclusive course menu including typical and authentic dishes from a specific region of Italy, prepared and selected by their own chefs, and the cost of the set menu will range from 45,000 to 120,000 KRW.

The restaurants joining the Festival are “Buon Posto” in Chungdam-dong, “CasAntonio” in Itaweon, “Elea” in Gocheok-dong, “Esclusivo” in Apgujeong, “Italian Grill Spasso” in Chungdam-dong, “Paolodemaria Fine Trattoria” in Sorae Village, and “Trattoria da Franco” located in Bongcheon-dong, near Seoul National University.

All the menus will present a series of different courses, following the Italian proper serving order, and they will also include an “Aperitivo” offered by Italy’s super premium beer Peroni Nastro Azzurro. In Italy, the “Aperitivo” ritual is a relaxing prelude to winding down for dinner, by combining delicious, bite-sized food with refreshing light alcoholic drinks, such as beer Peroni Nastro Azzurro.

The Embassy of Italy in Korea is also supporting the festival, and H.E. Sergio Mercuri, Ambassador of Italy in Seoul, said: “the ‘Italian Food Festival’ will soon take place with the support of some of the most well known Italian restaurants in Seoul, of the outstanding brand Peroni and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Korea. This event will be an important opportunity to promote the image of Italy as well as our regional cuisine and culture. Beyond the worldwide famous and imitated pizza and pasta, our country has an important historical tradition and a valuable heritage considering the regional food culture that has to be fully recognized and appreciated for its great value. “

For further information about the Italian Food Festival, it is possible to contact the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Korea at [email protected] or 02-402-4379. Reservations for the event can be made at each restaurant.

The regions of Italy represented by the restaurants will be:

Buon Posto: Veneto
Chungdam-dong, www.buonposto.com) 

CasAntonio: Puglia
124-6 www.casantonio.co.kr)

Elea: Campania/Napoli
7F, 2001 Outlet, 76-41 Gocheok-dong, Guro-gu, Seoul (tel. 02-2687-1311, website: www.elea.kr) 

Esclusivo: Emilia Romagna
B1, Lump Bldg., 626-78 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (tel. 02-540-5542, website: www.esclusivo.co.kr) 

Italian Grill Spasso: Sicilia

Dosandaero 64 Gil 14, 1F, Gangnam-gu, Seoul www.thespasso.com)

Paolodemaria Fine Trattoria: Piemonte
Seoraemaul 91-3 Banpo-dong Seocho-gu, Seoul (tel.02-599-9936 , website: www.paolodemaria.com)

Trattoria Da Franco: Toscana
206, Daewon The Osuperium 1 Danji, Bongcheon-dong, Gwanak-gu, Seoul (tel. 02-887-2825, website: www.dafranco.co.kr)



And some photos from the launch event.







Apparently Armani makes some damn delicious chocolate. I was hesitant to take some and Chef Franco saw my hesitation, grabbed a large handful, and sent me away with it. Score.






The Italian Ambassador.



The dashing young Adam Sandburg impersonator on the left is the Peroni Beer Ambassador. Chef Franco on the right.












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Korean Adoption

Hello Seoul Eaters. Lately I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to photograph the moment adopting parents meet and pick up their new children here in Seoul. As you know our site founder Daniel is an adoptee so he’s asked me to share my work. It’s been very interesting, rewarding, and emotionally charged work. The process takes around two years and I just get the apex of a two year build up of emotion, expectation, excitement, and nervousness. All that spills out in a one hour meeting where the new parents finally meet a child they’ve only read about and seen pictures of, and the foster parents give up a child they’ve spent years caring for and getting to know. Needless to say there are tears on all sides, and thankfully I’m not in any of the pictures because I’d be embarrassing. The pictures in the small room with big windows are the initial meeting, and the outdoor shots are post-adoption family shoots. Enjoy. For more photos check out my site.

Update: Dustin has since moved back to the United States to be the best San Diego wedding photographer. He thanks everyone for the amazing time he had in Korea.

Restaurant Reviews

Bonbon – A Very Welcome Italian Restaurant and Lounge in Hongdae

Last week I was invited to check out a new Italian Restaurant and Lounge in the heart of Hongdae. Bonbon was first started in Daejeon several years back where it quickly expanded to two locations. Building on the success enjoyed in Daejon, Bonbon Hongdae was opened in May of this year.

First of all, the location is great. Located directly next to the infamous music park, it’s not hard to find. In fact, it’s hard to miss if you’re heading over to NB, Club Naked, or many of the other clubs located near by.

As you can see from the pictures the interior decorations are bright, modern, and tasteful. High ceilings, plenty of floor space, ample room between tables, and an open patio all help to open up the interior and make it feel very spacious. Have no fear though, the AC is blasting on the inside and kept us at a nice temperature.

DJ Spencer was spinning tracks all night, and during the two hours I was there from 6-8 on a Friday night I noticed the rhythm distinctly quicken. During a brief chat I found out that he is Bonbon’s in house DJ and rotates his week playing between all the Bonbon’s in Daejeon and Seoul. He is usually in Seoul on weekends. It’s an interesting and unique idea to have a DJ in an Italian restaurant; I don’t think I’ve seen it before. The music is well put together, and fits the ambiance.

What’s that ambiance? Bonbon is going for an Italian restaurant without the pomp. The prices are reasonable, the wine menu is short, the drinks are strong, and the food is simple and delicious. I want to guess that their past restaurants emphasize the restaurant more than bar. But in my opinion, I’d prefer if they dimmed the lights, upped the bass, pushed the drinks, and emphasized the lounge side. The neighborhood is loud, raucous, and drunk more often than not.

On to the Food!

Mediterranean Salad
15,000Won | Assorted Cheese, Chicken Breast, Onion and bonbon house dressing

Margerita Pizza
11,500KRW – Mozzarella, Ricotta, Onion
The pizza is interesting. The bread is very French pastry-ish. My buddy Mike called it a croissant. Overall very good.

Risotto Mare
11,500KRW – Assorted Sea Food, Tomato Cream Sauce
Very nice as well. Good flavor, nicely cooked, fresh seafood. The only unfortunate part is the presentation. Risotto outside of a bowl almost looks pre digested.

Linguine Capitano
10,000KRW – Cherry Tomato, Bacon, Spinach, Basil, Onion
Awesome. Pure heaven. Bacon just makes everything better.

Linguine Chicken Alfredo
11,500KRW – Chicken Breast, Onion, Cream Sauce

Suntory Beer
I loved this beer! I’ve never heard of it before. It reminds me of a nice strong IPA from the States. It’s a real beer that kicks you in the throat and makes you bite back a bitter beer snarl. Love

I forget what that third drink was, but the house red wasn’t bad. Not bad at all.

Overall I’m a big fan. The food is good, the prices are reasonable, and the ambiance is nice. Seems like a nice place to have a birthday or going away party.

Follow them on facebook.

Pictures and Menus
[email protected]

Mon-Thu: 12:00 pm – 2:00 am
Fri-Sat: 12:00 pm – 3:00 am
Sun: 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm

마포구 서교동 364-2, Seoul, Korea 121-893
Mapo-gu Seogyo-dong 364-2, Seoul, Korea 121-893
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Update: Dustin has since moved back to the United States to be the best San Diego wedding photographer. He thanks everyone for the amazing time he had in Korea.

Cafes/Bars, Food News, Non-Korean Eats, Restaurant Reviews

Comfort Zone – Now Serving Brunch!

I had the chance to visit Comfort Zone yesterday and check out their brand new brunch menu and I must say, I was very happy to be there. I grew up eating this kind of food on the weekends and I miss it. I can only count about a handful of places that offer good American style breakfast food, and I’m glad that Comfort Zone is going to be another spot on that list.

The decor shows that it’s been a lounge for the past 10 years, no one is going to mistake it for a romantic brunch location, but it’s cozy and friendly. Also, there is a very nice patio area that we were unfortunately unable to enjoy due to some relentless rain. But I plan to make it back there and drink a Bloody Mary out there.

Comfort Zone has been a happening lounge around Hyehwa for the last 11 years, but they just started serving brunch three weeks ago. They have a nice selection. Check here for the full brunch menu.

To kick off their brunch offering, they have made a coupon available through daum.net. Be sure to check that out if you can speak Korean.

More pictures are available here.

Here’s what we had:

Taro Bubble Milk Tea and Bloody Mary

Eggs Benedict

Breakfast Burrito

Big Man’s Brunch Set

Every brunch item comes with your choice of two drinks: coffee, orange juice, or milk. We just had coffee.

Some more pictures.

Like Comfort Zone on facebook to stay up to date with future events. I heard their last event was a DJ party where 11 DJs performed and over 800 people showed up.

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More pictures are available here.

Update: Dustin has since moved back to the United States to be the best San Diego wedding photographer. He thanks everyone for the amazing time he had in Korea.

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Food News

Revamped Map Feature

I’m proud to announce that the MAP has been revamped, updated, and organized. In addition to providing excellent news and information on Korean food, it’s our goal for this website to be an excellent resource to answer the question: “Where should I eat today?”. So before the next time you head out to eat, check the map for something in your neighborhood. On the map we only list our favorite places, so everything there comes highly recommended.

And it doesn’t only have restaurants. Bars, cafes, and even some activities are there as well. In the future this map can be found on the link on the right side of this homepage, and at the bottom of most restaurant reviews.

Each link has a brief summary of our review, and a link to our full review. icons are sorted by color. The cuisine is indicated by the picture, and price by color. Also bars, cafes, bakeries, and activities have unique colors.
$ = BLUE | $$ = ORANGE | $$$ = RED | $$$$ = PURPLE
Cafes/Bakeries = TEAL | Bars/Pubs = MAROON | Activities = GREEN

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please let me know in the comments. I apologize for the delay, there were lots of technical bugs I had to work out and I’ve also been very busy these days. Also a few of the links are broken, because those reviews will be coming up on this site within the next week. They’re already written and posted, just scheduled to arrive once a day.

Check out the new map here.