For Shrimp on the Barbie And a Poolside Seat, Head For One of Seoul's HotelsNothing says "summer barbeque" like the sound of sizzling meat, a cool drink in one hand and good company with whom to enjoy the day. The smell of cut grass and a variety of insect nuisances are also synonymous with a barbeque, but fortunately there is a way to take the hassle out of your summer feasts in Seoul.
A typical Korean barbeque consists of galbi, or Korean-style marinated meat. Seoul has plenty of galbi restaurants, and some provide outdoor settings － complete with mosquitoes. But for those looking for a different style of grilled food, especially with Canada Day (July 1) and U.S. Independence Day (July 4) just around the corner, there are other options.
Several hotels in Seoul have set up grills by the pool or on patios for the summer months. Just remember to check the weather before heading out, as most of the restaurants will close on account of rain. Also be prepared to spend a little extra money since many of these restaurants are at upscale hotels, and the dining bills are significantly more expensive than the usual barbeque fare of hot dogs and hamburgers.
Next to the Hyatt hotel pool, 02-799-8495/6.
On weekends, a crowd of young professionals eager to party swamps the hotel's famed nightclub, J.J. Mahoney's. The poolside barbeque is a different story.
Sitting alongside the hotel's Olympic-sized pool and offering a stunning view of the city, the barbeque is a place to go and relax. Children are also welcome at the dinner buffet, called the "Midsummer Night's Dream."
The menu is as grandiose as the theme indicates. On the grill, you'll find lamb marinated in galbi sauce, prawn, calamari, pork chops, lobster tail and a variety of fish. The buffet includes a salad bar with plenty of choices for vegetarians; from a chickpea and mushroom salad to penne pasta with roasted eggplant, basil and cherry tomatoes. To top off the meal, there are a variety of desserts such as rice pudding with berry compote and fruit flan.
The barbeque is open daily from 6:30 to 10 p.m. The buffet costs 39,000 ($30) won for adults and 22,000 won for children.
PATIO BEER GARDEN
Oak Room at the Seoul Hilton hotel, 02-317-3235.
In the heart of downtown Seoul, the Hilton hotel has set up a dining area with parasols and chairs outside the Oak Room. During lunch time, the suit-and-tie crowd usually files in for a work break. From July 1, a dinner barbeque will also be available from 7 to 10:30 p.m. for 33,000 won.
The lunch menu includes shrimp, fish, meat, pork and chicken. For the more adventurous, the chef offers a house wine sauce to go with the selection of meats. The lunch buffet is from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and costs 27,000 won.
Gardenland at the Holiday Inn, 02-710-7254/5.
Since the opening of this barbeque on June 11, the outdoor garden on the fourth floor has become a popular site for family meetings and company dinners. Though the Holiday Inn has one of the more inexpensive barbeque alternatives, the hotel has jazzed up its menu with a Hawaiian theme. The buffet is 22,000 won; Fruit-based cocktails cost 1,000 won. The barbeque is available from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday until Aug. 31.
Though the Swiss Grand hotel usually offers a barbeque at this time, due to hotel construction there have been no announcements of one yet.
by Joe Yong-hee