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Restaurants shipped over from the States

Missing the taste of home? Get a taste of the West from these imported restaurants!

Texas de Brazil

When anything is “all you can eat,” the fear for most foodies is that the quantity of the food will outweigh its quality. Texas de Brazil Churrascaria, Seoul’s newest addition (and Asia’s first), is a Brazilian-American steak company first founded in 1998 in Addision, Texas. It’s an eatery that attempts to eliminate the fears of foodies with its high-end buffet. Located near the Express Bus Terminal, the high-ceiling venue is bright and large with a salad bar in the center and “passadores” (meat servers) donned in blue slicing juicy cuts of meat. Visitors to the restaurant in the first few weeks might also have noticed staff from the main franchise, such as Corporate Training Manager Carlos Restrepo, greeting customers and giving out pointers. In true Brazilian style, the meat is cooked over charcoal, giving it a slightly charred and smoky taste. For dinner, one can choose from 15 different kinds of meat—ranging from filet mignon to pork ribs, lamb, chicken, sausage and two different kinds of picanha (the cow’s rump region). The server suggests having the Brazilian picanha, the restaurant’s specialty and a rarity here in Seoul, as soon as it’s cut because it tastes best when it’s hot. Surprisingly, our personal favorite was the slow-roasted leg of lamb, which was especially tender. Those not particularly carnivorous can find refuge in the salad bar (a point in and of itself). In keeping with its American branches, there are items one would not find at an average Korean salad

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Banpo-dong

The Original Pancake House

For many Western expats, the issue of finding a good pancake is a puzzling one for sure. How can there be so many waffle kiosks in Seoul but nary a pancake to be found? Coming to the rescue for all the pancake-deprived here in Seoul is the pancake place you might already know—the Original Pancake House from Portland, Oregon. While the restaurant has more than 100 franchises all over the U.S., this Apgujeong location was their first outside of the country. Especially for Americans, the menu items of Dollar Pancakes, Banana Pancakes and French Toast might do more than ring a bell—they’ll remind you of home. Many of the items, such as Boyd’s Coffee and Daily’s Premium Bacon are imported from the U.S. (even the faded yellow of the menu feels as if it were brought over from Portland). One of the most popular options at the restaurant is the Fresh Fruit Dutch Baby, a German style pancake served with a generous helping of seasonal fruits, whipped cream and fruit syrup. (Note: serving sizes are “American,” so those looking for smaller portions can opt for a “half” order and get three pancakes instead of six.)

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Mr.Horlmes Bake House

If New Yorkers talk about Magnolia Bakery, then Californians talk about Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. Originally from San Francisco, this Seoul location is the first to branch outside the U.S. Customers are limited to a max of two products each and this place doesn’t even have a signboard. But people still stand in line to eat here. In their bakery in San Francisco, people stand in two different lines—one for cruffins and the other for baked goods. The cruffin has a Croissant-like texture and the flavor of a muffin. Meanwhile, their brioche donut (a French donut made of butter, eggs and sugar) comes in at a close second favorite. To ensure likeness in quality, the bakers working in Seoul received two months of training in San Francisco. The neon sign inside mimics the one in San Francisco reading, “I got Baked in Seoul,” reflecting the atmosphere and wit of its main branch in the U.S. 

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Magnolia Bakery

First opened in New York back in 1996, dessert fanatics are crazy for this bakery. People line up all day just to get a hold of a small cupcake. There are so many customers that they limited the purchase of their signature red velvet cupcakes and banana puddings to only one per person a day. They make everything, from the cupcakes to the icing, right here in this bakery.

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Wolfgang's Steakhouse

Wolfgang’s Steakhouse opened here in March, bringing fans of the famed New York City venue flocking to its doors. (And yes, it helps that Seoul is really, really into dry aged steak right now.) Inside, you’re transported to New York: every detail has been painstakingly selected to match the original, from the American walnut floors to the chandelier. Compromising neither saltiness, doneness or portion sizes to fit the local market, the flavors are also most definitely American. They’re Korea’s biggest importers of USDA Prime Beef, a grade given to just 2% of beef in the U.S., and extremely difficult to import.   In fact, all of the beef on the menu is USDA Prime, and is aged on-site for 22–28 days, creating a more concentrated flavor than dry-aged hanwoo (Korean beef) which tends to have more marbling. That meat is taken to the broiler, where it sees 871°C temperatures for a hot minute, locking in the remaining moisture, and servers shout “Table 13, sizzle!” as they bring out the meat, surrounded by popping hot butter you can hear across the room. The porterhouse, a Wolfgang classic, is the best (and priciest) steak on the menu. Must-have sides include the thickcut bacon, creamed spinach, and buttery mashed potatoes. It’s the kind of menu that transports you to a time when shoulder pads and Ronald Reagan were in, and the American economy was thriving. All this being said, Wolfgang’s Steakhouse is high-end, but fine dining it is not. Presentation is disarmingly simple. And w

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Cheongdam-dong

Eataly

Eataly was first established back in 2007 in Torino, Italy. The restaurant and bar comes with a market where you can purchase the very ingredients you are eating off your plate. You can purchase the finest pasta, olive oil, cheese, wine, kitchen utensils and even Italian cookbooks at this market that resembles a plaza. On the other side is the restaurant where you can enjoy some Italian cuisine.

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Sarabeth’s

This brunch spot gained a lot of publicity through the hit TV series Sex and the City, as you would often see shots of the girls dining here. Their signature dish is eggs benedict. This is the second Sarabeth’s to open up overseas (the first being in Japan) and it took a full year until this place was ready to open for customers. It unprecedentedly opened up in the middle of all the clothing stores on the second floor of the department store. They open at 9am on the weekends.

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