Category: Mexican Food

Best of Ulsan – Occidental Food

By , May 20, 2012 1:43 am

The word “western” makes me think of cowboy movies, and doesn’t really encapsulate the variety of cultures involved in this category. Occidental, meaning “from European roots” seems to better encapsulate categories that include buffet, hamburgers, Italian, Mexican, sandwiches, steak, and vegetarian. In alphabetical order, here are the results for Occidental Food:

Best Buffet – The buffets here tend to be a mixture of foods from various cultures, but since the style of eating “buffet” is definitely Western, it falls in this category. The winner of the best buffet in Ulsan is DeMaris, in Samsandong, in the Sky Rex building, with 69% of the vote. No other submission ranked close.

Best Hamburger – The results were close here. 30% of the voters chose Toolbox, in Ggotbawi, while 28% chose Hungry Kitchen in Mugeodong. Some people suggested that if you didn’t vote for Toolbox it was only because you hadn’t eaten there yet (which is entirely likely, since you can’t get much further apart in Ulsan-proper than Ggotbawi and Mugeodong), and others suggested that Hungry Kitchen should lose points because they are often out of burgers at lunch time, which seems like a bad business model for a restaurant. Let’s put aside our beefs, and agree that there are at least two great burger joints in Ulsan now. A special thanks goes out to the kind soul who voted for “Dee’s grill” as the best burger in town, though those are usually from Costco, or made by Rocy Martinez. And to the voters who chose McDonald’s or Lotteria, do you not have taste buds?!

Best Italian Restaurant – With 74% of the vote, it’s pretty clear that UlsanOnline readers love Bella di Notte, and are thrilled that Ray has decided to open up his bigger and better restaurant in the heart of Samsandong. But we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge Bocca dela Verita, in Mugeodong, which was the probably the first in Ulsan to serve proper wood-fire baked, slim crust pizzas with no corn on top. Honourable mention goes to the person who voted “my kitchen”.

Best Mexican Restaurant – We may have jumped the gun including this category in the vote, as the only Mexican restaurant in Ulsan opened after voting had closed, but readers still polled their favourite places. The largest vote went to Gringos Burritos, who, while not actually located in Ulsan, deliver their delicious food to your house. O’Taco, the new restaurant in Ggotbawi did actually get one vote, which shows a lot of faith. They have since opened, so next year, they may legitimately be in the running.

Best Sandwich – Another close race here, but this time Hungry Kitchen comes in on top, with 28% of the vote, closely followed by B-Stove with 25%. Honourable mention goes to Big Bite in Ggotbawi who received 14%. Just hope Hungry Kitchen has bread, as they often run out at lunchtime.

Best Steak – Despite being a new to the restaurant scene, Dr. Im’s Cafe la Nuit cleaned up in this category, with 50% of the vote. Several other restaurants were mentioned, but failed to generate more than a handful of votes each.

Best Vegetarian Restaurant- Since Korean food generally involves a fair amount of pork or beef, vegetarian fare can be difficult to suss out. Loving Hut comes in as the first choice among our readers, with 50% of the vote. Bella di Notte received 25% of the vote in a solid, but understandably 2nd place finish. Loving Hut is a dedicated vegan restaurant, after all, while Bella only offers vegetarian choices. Cocky and Namaskar also received votes for offering veggie dishes.

One thing this survey has shown us is that there are lots of great restaurants around Ulsan, serving a wide variety of good food. No longer is “Occidental food” a shady version of what you’re used to from home. Plenty of places are now offering legitimate cuisine from numerous cultures.

O’Taco: Oh My Gawt! It’s Finally Here!

By , May 15, 2012 3:47 am

What started as another “Ulsan Online Facebook Phenomena” the readers of Ulsan Online’s popular facebook page were anxiously waiting the arrival of this establishment. If there was one thing that Ulsan lacked it was a proper mexican restaurant. For years Ulsan people went to Seoul, Busan, Masan and Daegu to get their fix but the wait is now over. O’Taco is here and their menu is bursting with South-of-the-border goodness. That would be the American border in case you were confused…

Nice Views!! A great place to spend a weekend afternoon

O’Taco sits along the seaside road just down from Cocky Bar and across from Splash Bar in Bangeojin. While I was sort of annoyed that it was located in waaaay out in Bangeojin of all places, the seaside view and the outdoor patio quickly made me forget any notions of annoyance on this beautiful day. Looking out over the ocean made for a great lunch and I will totally be back to enjoy the views at night.

O’Taco is a chain, but one that I am not familiar with, but they are in Busan, Seoul and a few other places. Also, I am not going to get into whether or not this is “authentic Mexican” or “Tex-Mex” because frankly I am a Canadian that has lived here too long and I no longer know or care what the difference is, as long as it tastes good and is not filled with cabbage and thousand island dressing. What I will compare it to are the other restaurants that call themselves “Mexican” in Korea.

My yardstick for measuring any Mexican place is the burrito. So on this day, I ordered the chicken burrito to see how it stacked up against the likes of Gringo’s and Dos Tacos, two of the more recent burritos that I have had. Upon first bite you could taste the delicious spiced chicken and cilantro. the cheese was ample and definitely not “pizza cheese” like what most of us are forced to use ate home.

The chicken burrito was more of a wrapped taco than a burrito, so it was a little looser than what I would have liked it to be. Thus, eating was a bit of a sloppy affair and one that I am glad that I did alone. Had they tightly rolled it, this burrito would have gotten top scores. The other downfall was that it was a little on the saucy side, but only a little. Again, I like my burritos in a tightly rolled package. However, O’Taco still made a damn fine burrito loaded with flavor and deliciousness.  Loosely packed or not, they still have me craving more and that is the main thing!

Great service and good grasp of English

Their menu is packed with loads of the expat favorites such as enchiladas, tacos and burritos of all flavors from shrimp to cheese and bean. There are lots of items to choose from and you can check out their extensive menu here. The staff recommends trying the enchilada and the nachos as they are popular in the Seoul location.

All in all, O’Taco will be a welcomed addition to the new breed of restaurants in Ulsan. The outdoor patio will be a real treat once the warmer weather arrives like it did today. On Friday there will be an opening event, as to the times and the details, at this time, they are unknown.

Price: Enchiladas 10,000 won, Burritos 8,000 won, Tacos 5,000 won

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11 am to 10 pm

Location: Bangeojin, Just down from Cocky Bar and across the street from Splash Bar

Directions: Take buses 1104, 114, 107, 106, 401, 108, etc. Get off at Useong Hyundai APT (우성 현대 아파트). Cross the road at the crossing behind you and walk down the hill towards the ocean, turn right at the bottom and follow the instructions above. It’s about a 5 minute walk from the bus stop.(HT to Hannah Rogers)

You can also get off at Hyundai Beach Apartments the stop will be called “Beach-ee Town Ahp” or (비치타운앞)  Take buses 104,107,112,114,122,123,127,132,133,401, and 1104 to get there. Walk towards the Hyundai Beach apartments and take a right at the Carpos garage (blue sign) and head right to the end of the street. Here is the Daum Maps link to help you