Activities/ Events

Tomatillo, Wolfhound Pub, and Lugo Specials!

I wanted to give a quick thanks to my sponsors and let you know about the specials going on.

Today is Tuesday and that means Buy 1 get 1 free Fish N Chips at the Wolfhound Pub in Itaewon.

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo and Tomatillo will have specials all day:

Cinco de Mayo specials at the Jongak Store all day:12,000 won Steak Fajita Platters…2,000won Naked Chicken Tacos…4,000won Mini Chili Cheese Nachos…4,000won Mexican Beer…19,000 Lime Marg Pitchers

Lugo Italian Restaurant is Seoul Eats newest sponsor and they have 1/2 price glasses of wine on Monday night. (sorry, you’ll have to go there next week).
Thank you so much to all of the sponsors.

Oh, and other news, the O’ngo Food Cooking Studio will be opening this Saturday! We will be holding classes there soon. More details to follow.


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Non-Korean Eats

Italian Food for all Budgets: Lugo, Dam Dam and J and F Trattoria

This was published in the Friday, March 12th 2010 issue of the Korea Herald.

Italian food isn’t hard to find, but popularity doesn’t mean that just any spaghetti would be something that an Italian would find palatable. 

Of course, there are the reliable standbys such as Sortinos in Itaewon, Seoul, Antonio in Cheongdam and Primo Baci Baci in Hongdae. But for every reliable Italian restaurant, there are at least three duds. So are there any good new Italian restaurants in Seoul? I was determined to find out.
I chose three: Dam Dam in Hongdae, J and T Trattoria near Seoul National University and Lugo in Apgujeong. Each has positives and negatives, and since they are different price ranges, there’s one for everyone’s budget.

Dam Dam 2595

In a hidden Hongdae back alley is a cute little restaurant. It has a brick exterior with moss growing between the cracks – appropriate for a good first impression. Its two-syllable name, “Dam Dam,” is a holler to every artsy Hongdae student. Its facade works because it is generally packed from afternoon to night. 

Here you get something a little better than Konglified Italian cuisine. The pastas are cooked al dente, the tomato sauces aren’t too sweet, and the ingredients are fresh. The salad had very crisp lettuce (but I think they could have dried it off a bit more – evidenced by the puddle of water at the bottom of my salad bowl).They also have excellent curries. The masala based curry is made in-house and I have to say that it showed the chef’s skill. 

The best part is the price. Pastas start at 7,000 won, the curries start at 5,000, and wine at 3,000 a glass.

Phone: (070) 8848-2595 Directions: Go out Sangsu Station, Exit 1. Make a right at the Hongdae Parking Lot and take the second right.

J and F Trattoria

When chef Franco Sommariva invited me to visit his restaurant, I was intrigued. A true Italian chef was in Seoul. Sommariva has worked as the Italian chef at the Marriot Hotels in Seoul, Singapore, Shanghai and other places around the world. He decided to open up his own restaurant in Seoul, because he loves the city and he wants to give people the true taste of the old country.

So, did he succeed? Simply, yes. And the keyword to his success is “fresh.” The sauces, bread, and stocks are made fresh every day. He only makes a day’s worth of tiramisu, which is a labor-intensive dish.

The standout dishes for me were the minestrone soup: soft, clear broth accented with basil and black pepper, and polka dotted with beans; the prosciutto and arugula pizza: the crust was crisp on the outside and cloudy soft inside; and the lasagna: this sizable feast was the best that I’ve had in the city. And we can’t forget about the tiramisu; it’s perfect. 

The prices are mid-range. Pastas start at 11,000, entrees at 14,000, and they have carafes of wine at 12,000 won.

Phone: (02) 887-2825
Directions: Go out Seoul National University Station, Exit 2.


Sometimes you have to treat yourself. Luxury lets us know what is possible and Lugo in Apgujeong is the place to go. The original Lugo restaurant can be found in New York City.

The first thing you will notice as you step into the space is the high ceiling; it makes you feel taller. The second thing is the open kitchen, where tuque adorned chefs make mozzarella to order, and the third is the large sign that reads: Dolce Vita.

As you settle into your posh seat, words such as truffle oil, Roma-style gnocchi, fresh made pasta, citrus panna cotta, and prosciutto wrapped mozzerella topped with figs waft up from the menu.

I say go with your instincts; you can’t go wrong here. The Roma-style gnocchi, shaped like crescent moons, is made from semolina instead of potato. This gives it a slightly nutty texture to balance the racy scent of truffle oil. Their pasta is also exceptional. Fresh-made pasta makes all the difference. Its texture is silky and not as dense as dried pasta. And seriously, with the prices that most Italian restaurants in Seoul charge, it’s an injustice to not make pasta from scratch.

The pizza is just pizza. It’s good, but something we’ve all had. I recommend you get the “Spigola in Cartoccio.” It’s sea bass roasted with mushrooms and sweet onions baked in parchment paper.

And we can’t forget about dessert. The vanilla bean rich panna cotta topped with an orange caramel sauce is fantastic. Like I said, sometimes you just have to live the sweet life.

Phone: (02) 512-0578
Directions: Take a taxi to Ansae Hospital and make a right down the street. It’s across the street from the Family Mart.

Daniel Gray works for O’ngo Food Communications. You can follow his adventures at; the opinions expressed here are the author’s only and do not necessarily represent those of The Korea Herald. – Ed.

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Original: Seoul Eats/ Blogger Version

Reminder! Seoul Eats Meet-Up at Lugo Tomorrow at 12:30

Dear Seoul Eats Readers,

I hope you are all eating well. The last Seoul Eats Meet-up with the 2S2 Seoul Community group went very well. We had over 30 people come out. We started with Tteok Mandu-guk (Rice Cake and Dumpling Soup) then went and had corn hotteok, and then we went to a cafe. Everyone had a good time.

I wanted to let you know that I would like to do another Seoul Eats meet-up this Saturday on Janurary 23, 2010 at 12:30pm. This week it will be at Lugo Italian Restaurant in Apgujeong. Recently, I met the chef, Mark Battle and I was totally impressed with his philosophy of cooking and the cuisine that he is bringing to Seoul.

The interior of Lugo has a kinetic New York feel to it and his menu doesn’t have your typical, boring Italian Fare. The thing I found most impressive on his menu was his mozzarella made to order and topped with figs or topped with prosciutto and roasted peppers. Because the mozzarella is made seconds before arriving at your table, it retains all of the rich milk, the texture is firmer- not grainy, and the warmth of the cheese is simply provocative.

He also makes his pasta in house and his desserts, like his vanilla bean panna cotta, are to die for. This would be a great place to check out before making reservations for Valentine’s Day.

This Saturday starting at 12:30pm, he will be offering Seoul Eats a special menu:

-A pre-app sampler of the two mozzarella dishes, one ball of each.
-An individual appetizer plate with tasting portions of the gnocchi and tuna tartare dishes, and a small
  tri-colore salad
-Spaghetti Pomodoro, Taglietelle Bolognese, and Margherita Pizza served family style
-Sea Bass and Pork chop entrees served family style
-Platters of all of our desserts served family style, coffee included

The cost is 35,000 per person. Please send me an e-mail to reserve your spot. Also, please if you make a reservation, please don’t cancel because that means I’ll probably have to cover you. You can prepay by sending money via bank transfer to my account:

Bank: 외환은행 KEB
Name: Daniel Lee Gray
Account Number: 620-166405-828

If you plan on paying while there, please bring cash.

Lugo is located in Apgujeong near Club Circle and Ansae Pyeongwon (Ansae Hospital). At Club Circle, make a right down the street. Lugo is across from the Buy the Way.

Attached is a map and a naver map link.

Lugo 02-512-0572-3

Original: Seoul Eats/ Blogger Version

CLOSED: Lugo. “La dolce vita”, in Seoul! (a photoblog)

As the Lugo Caffe website states, “Since the 1950’s of Fellini’s Rome, the world over has been captured by the dream of ‘la dolce vita’. As the cornerstone of Lugo Tailored Lifestyle, Lugo Caffé brings that very dream to life.”

Oh– and was it ever so dolce~ yum.

Thanks to this man, executive chef, Mark Battle

and his right hand man, sous-chef Jeff.

Greeted with some bubbly prosecco and a delightful spread of pepper infused olive oil and white bean spread.

Next, an impressive line-up from the antipasto section:
Fresh mozzarella made to order with perreroncini-roasted peppers, salumi and
fresh mozzarella with prosciutto de parma, fig jam.

insalata cesare with ricotta ravioli croutons

Now for the secondi -
Costolette di mailale (Pork chops with an apple mustard seed sauce)

Spigola in cartoccio (Sea bass with carmalized onions, roasted wild mushrooms and lemon)

Fettuccine ai frutti di mare (homemade fettuccine, clams, shrimp, mussels, crab, diavolo sauce)

Roma-style gnocchi with wild mushrooms.

And of course, for dessert, I’ll let your eyes do the telling. Buon Appetito!

The Lugo lifestyle

Dan enjoying “la doce vita”, in true Fellini fashion.

1F, Seungwon B/D. 91
Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.
T. 02-512-0578