People have been talking about Coreanos for months now, and I have heard from several different sources that they have the best Mexican in Seoul! With a claim like that I was more than eager to try it. But once again my laziness got in the way of me leaving my hood to actually go and eat there. But if Mohammed wont go to the mountain, the mountain will come to Mohammed and they very fortunately opened up a second store in Itaewon. Hurrah, all roads lead to Itaewon!
I visited during their soft opening launch last week. We got there early, in just enough time to snag ourselves a window seat. Luckily the queuers hadn’t taken up their spots yet, but I’m sure it shan’t be long. The restaurant is large and set over two floors. Located on the hill just next to Berlin. After a good old gander of the menu we ordered up a whole host of tacos, a burrito, and a couple of cocktails.
While we were waiting for our drinks we were presented with our complimentary chips and salsa. As you can see from the picture there are four kinds and it’s served in those adorable dishes. The spoons are probably a bit redundant, but it looks nice. The salsas varied in flavour and were rather scrumptious.
After quickly devouring the chips, I glanced over to see our drinks being made. The bartender was using Rose’s lime cordial, a perfectly fine mixer if its going in a vodka soda lime, but not in a margarita (9,000) or a mojito (9,000). When my drink was presented my heart just fell. I tasted a sip and it fell even further. The manager asked me what I thought and I asked if they had any crushed ice. He said he would blend it for me and throw in some extra rum. It was better, but it still awful. There is just no excuse for such a poorly made drink. I wish I had just sent it back, but it was busy and I didn’t want to cause a fuss (which strangely is very unlike me). I know the price of limes in Korea is ridiculous, and that most mojitos in Seoul using them cost around 15,000. Which I think is fine as long as they are exceptionally good. But there just isn’t any come back from using generic rum, uncrushed ice, and synthetic lime syrup and calling it a mojito because there are a few mint leaves floating it it. You can get lime concentrate juice, frozen limes, or special mojito mixes and still make a decent drink and turn a good profit. So owners of Coreanos you owe me a drink, and I beg of you change the recipe or take it off the menu because its just not acceptable right now.
The Margarita (9,000) tasted better than the mojito but really isn’t anywhere where it should be at that price. On the Border’s margaritas are cheaper and about 10,000 times better. So take note and work on the recipes. If need be I’m willing to offer my skills as a taste tester to help you improve!
Thankfully the first round of tacos and showed up and really bucked up our spirits. We had ordered one of every flavour, as to not miss out on anything delicious. Above are the Galbi Beef (3,300) and the Braised Pork belly (3,600). I really enjoyed the braised pork belly, the meat was tender and and well flavoured, though combined with the taco it was a touch dry. A blob of sour cream or some dressing on top and it would be perfect. The Galbi one was nice enough too, though I can’t really say it was all that memorable.
The Battered Fish taco (3,600) was the star of the day taco wise. You can’t beat a good bit of battered fish. The tartar sauce on top was delightfully fresh, and the red pickled onions balanced out the dish well. I would certainly get another one of these next time.
We also ordered the Todos Burrito (12,000), which was tremendous! Stuffed with extra meat, beans, salad, sour cream, and guacamole. It was incredibly well balanced and tasty. It’s undisputedly the best burrito I have ever had in Korea, possible one of the best ever. Either way it was amazeballs.
We waited quite a while for the second set of tacos as they had lost our order, it being their soft opening and all I could live with that, if I hadn’t had to listen to the angry man at the next table screaming at the poor waitress as their order got mixed up too. Having been a waitress for a number of years in my youth I am fully aware that these things happen, especially during training. but it did dampen the evening a little. I have noticed a real trend towards soft opening these days, and I think its a great idea while everything gets perfected. However I do think if service and food aren’t quite up to standard yet restaurants should lower their prices by 10 or 20% to compensate for this. Our whole meal took over an hour and a half, which was frankly just too long for 5 tacos, a burrito, and a drink each.
Eventually the second set of tacos arrived. We got the Citrus chicken (3,300) and the Grilled shrimp (4,000). The shrimp was nice enough but couldn’t compare to the Vatos shrimp taco which I would sell my own babies to eat. The chicken was the better of the two, a good mix between the zingy dressing and the flavour of spice braised chicken. I think after trying them at several different restaurants I’m just not sure if I’m sold on the whole corn tortillas thing. Call me crazy but I just prefer the wheat ones. I’m sure Mexican enthusiasts everywhere are calling me a culinary cretin but I just find them too thick and claggy. The wheat ones are what I know and love. I also enjoy the wafer thin ones you get at Vatos, but it’s horses for courses and just a matter of taste on my part.
All in all I would give Coreanos another shot if only to get another burrito, in fact I would probably get two as they really are that good. But unless they get their cocktails up to par I would probably get it to go. Life’s too short for bad cocktails and for me they are integral part of the Mexican food experience.
Coreanos Vista is located at 457-3 Itaewon-Dong, Yongsan-Gu , Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong station (line 6). Use the elevator to exit the building so you come out by the bridge. Walk over the bridge and turn right and follow the alley way around. Coreanos will be on your right just before Berlin and Buddha’s Belly.