중앙데일리

Authentic Italian cuisine out on the terrace

Chef ’s Special

June 11,2009
Ciaran Hickey, Cuisine Director W Seoul-Walkerhill
Early summer days bring to mind thoughts of escaping the daily grind and sipping an espresso while sitting under the sun at an outdoor cafe.

But where to find such a place in Seoul?

Ciaran Hickey, 44, cuisine director of W Seoul-Walkerhill in Gwangjin District, eastern Seoul, recommends a visit to La Bocca, a casual eatery just down the street from the Itaewon Hotel. It is owned and operated by the Sortino family, which runs Villa Sortino and Sortino’s, both also in Itaewon. Hickey has high compliments for the Sortinos, saying they are great cooks and warm and friendly hosts.

“I love the terrace outside La Bocca, where you can sit and enjoy watching the world pass by,” he says.

Italian sausage sandwich on ciabatta bread Provided by La Bocca
Ordering an antipasti platter and a bottle of wine out on the terrace is “the best way to enjoy a warm evening in Seoul,” he says.

Hickey recommends the restaurant, which has a menu of salads, sandwiches and pastas, for its simplicity and authenticity.

“Everything [at La Bocca] is homemade and tastes that way,” he said. “They have well-made, authentic food, which is usually hard to find.”

The interior is also not too fussy, he says, adding that it has the feel of a real Italian neighborhood restaurant. He described a display counter with Italian cured meats and cheeses as well as cakes and pastries.

“The restaurant has an amazing Italian sausage sandwich on ciabatta bread that is better than most I’ve had in New York,” he says.

To reach La Bocca, take Itaewon Subway Station, line No. 6, exit 2. For information, call (02) 790-5907.



Irish chef Ciaran Hickey was named cuisine director at the W Seoul-Walkerhill in 2007. Before then, he worked in Zurich, London, Nevis, New York and the Bahamas. The restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel in Istanbul, where he worked from 1999 to 2003, was selected as the best in that city by Zagat in 2001.


By Lee Eun-joo [angie@joongang.co.kr]



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