I’ve touched on this subject slightly while talking about my journey of finding some American comfort foods here in Seoul, but I think many people would agree with me when I say there’s much to be eaten in Seoul besides Korean food. I’m also sorry that so many of my posts are about food, but 50% of the fun here is eating (at least for me). So, in my experiences it really seems like Italian food is the most popular foreign food here and there’s such a wide variety of options. Especially in Hongdae, I’ve seen so many Italian restaurants, ranging from pretty high end expensive to cheap and quick sit downs. I honestly just think it’s so interesting that I came to South Korea, but have been eating so much Italian food. It’s not necessarily a bad thing either! This is also random, but I’ve also seen Carbonara pasta so many times on a menu where I didn’t exactly expect to see it either. I wasn’t even very familiar with Carbonara pasta before this trip, but have been told that the Korean version has cream in it and no egg. I guess at times it’s Italian food without really being Italian food; similar to how American Chinese food is not Chinese food.
Here are 3 different Italian restaurants in Hongdae with different price ranges!
1. Rolling Pasta
My friends and I headed to rolling pasta one day for a cheap eat and we were curious as to how good the quality of the restaurant would be! For a place that’s selling a plate of pasta for around 6 to 8 USD and mini pizzas for around 5 USD, I thought it was a pretty successful trip! It was nothing spectacular, but if you want some pasta and you’re on a tight budget this will do it!
2. Gussine Kitchen
There are so many incidents of me finding a random café or restaurant near my house and becoming really happy that it’s so close to my residence and this is one of them. One of my friends had passed by while walking around the neighborhood one day and had tried it out; they brought me along for another trip and I was just so pleasantly surprised because of how much I enjoyed the meal. This sounds sad, but it was my first time having risotto and I really liked it! Based on what my friends said I’ve confirmed that it was actually good risotto as well. A plate here cost could cost around 12 to 20 USD depending on what you get. All in all, a really great mid-tier option.
3. Al Choc
Definitely a higher end option in Hongdae. I walked in and was really surprised to see what I presumed to be actual Italian people in the kitchen and working behind the counter so I thought “Oh, this should be pretty legitimate” (It’s really not everyday I see a foreigner working anywhere). I think my line of thought was correct as it was definitely one of the best meals I’ve had since coming to Korea! Most things on the menu are over 20 USD so it was definitely a treat! It’s also a pretty small establishment with around 6 or 7 small tables and all of the parties there at the time seemed to be business people!