Romantic dining for the slightly inebriatedWell, Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and some of us got some (chocolate) and some of us didn’t.
But everyone was able to at least talk about love, and food. On a recent weekend night, a gaggle of expats at Bar Nana opined on which Itaewon restaurant they considered the most romantic, and why. Their answers are below. In cases where names aren’t mentioned, it’s because they’re working here illegally and don’t want to tip off the immigration officials.
A Canadian woman from Niagara Falls suggested the restaurant Pishon, which is up from the Swiss Chalet on the road to the Grand Hyatt hotel. “The atmosphere there is so cozy,” she said. “The lighting is just right, with candles on the tables and everything.” Her boyfriend, also from Niagara Falls, had a different idea: “Hollywood Grill, in the back booth with the beef stew and the club sandwich,” he said. “It really gets me in the mood.”
Another Canadian, Joel Scott from Prince Rupert (or was it the other way around?), nominated Shah Kebap, a new Turkish joint near Pizza Hut. “I know the people there, so I know I’ll be treated well,” he said.
Charles, from a little place in New Zealand called Oakura Bay, likes Cafe T8, a little coffee and sandwich place in Gyeongnidan, just off the road to Namsan Tunnel. “They have a great selection of wines, and ― oh ― real Italian coffee!” He added that the staff is cute and friendly, and that his house is nearby.
A married couple - girl from Canada, guy from New Zealand - insisted on Le Saint-Ex, that little bistro up from Bar Nana. “The French have a term, la jouissance, they use to refer to intense pleasure,” the wife said. “That’s what I get at Le Saint-Ex. With the delicious appetizers, salads and desserts, it’s like... full-body satiation.”
The husband’s reasons were less eroticized. “Le Saint-Ex is good because you can look out the windows at the drunk Americans leaving 3-Alley Pub, and be glad you’re not them,” he said. “You can be a snob for a night.”
Marcel, a German, recommended Papas, a coffee shop near the King Club. “It’s the most romantic because if you’re there, it’s gonna be past 3 in the morning,” he explained. “And since no guy would ever go there by himself, you can be pretty sure you’re with a chick you dragged off from the King.”
David Carlson, from New York City, suggests the Loft pub, noting that he’s a close friend of the German owner. “If you like Germans and GIs and really bad music, go there and get a schnitzel,” he stammered. “If you’re with the girl from hell, she’ll be in paradise.”
Last but not least of all, a tall English girl who was pretty far gone recommended the egg sandwich stand at the very bottom of Hooker Hill. “I met a guy from New Zealand there once while waiting in line ― he was a hottie,” she said. “I don’t even want to have kids, but I’d have his.” There’s a handy and reasonably-priced little yeogwan just around the corner, she added.
by Mike Ferrin