New York Pizza in Gangnam?
Café Kudeta (카페쿠데타) in Apgujeong Rodeo area closed recently, much to my friends’ chagrin. I work between the Apgujeong and Rodeo subway stations. Even though we have an hour for lunch, it’s not always enough time to have a Korean meal. We have grown tired of many of the Western-style restaurants, so imagine our surprise when Itaewon favourite Gino’s Pizza arrived around the corner from school!
Gino’s Pizza – First Impressions
The first thing that struck me about Gino’s Pizza in Gangnam is that when we walked in all the staff were super laid back and addressed us in English. Not only were we spoken to in English, any of the timid (sometimes rude) traits of Apgujeong Rodeo service staff were gone. While all the staff were friendly, everyone working at Gino’s Pizza seemed busy, on a mission… straight outta Brooklyn vibes.
In Crust We Trust
Their Itaewon (Noksapyeong) location boasts imported “high quality unbleached flour and California plum tomatoes. [Their] NY style dough is made from scratch, aged in-house, hand-tossed, and topped with [their] hand-crushed plum tomato sauce and house-shredded mozzarella. [They] bake each pizza to order in a brick deck to get that perfect thin crust.” I’ve had their pizza before (taken out fresh and through delivery via Shuttle Delivery), but I didn’t think it was anything incredibly special. Next time we head out in Apgujeong we’ll call ahead so we can try one of their pies.
The Vibe @ Gino’s Pizza
The vibe of Gino’s Pizza in Apgujeong is definitely more Gangnam Style than Itaewon chill. Various craft beers are advertised as well as Jarritos’ soda and its accompanying swag. While the Itaewon location is reminiscent of Little Italy, Gino’s Pizza south of the Han almost has surf vibes. It fits in well with its neighbours. The service at Gino’s is great, but you’d never know it unless you worked in hospitality. I personally love silent check-ins. Each member of staff made sure to eye us from afar. They manicured the table impeccably without interrupting our conversation.
Date Night in Seoul
This spot would be great for group dinners as it has a large table in the back. Banquettes make it easy to shift around tables for groups large and small, and the space by the window is perfect for date night and people-watching. I always find it romantic to be near orchids…and crushed red-pepper flakes.
Gino’s Pizza – Caesar Salad (KRW 8,000)
My lunch date and I were in the mood to be very unfriendly with our diets. We ordered a few starters and an entree for lunch. The Caesar Salad (crispy romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, Parmesan cheese, Croutons & 2 Breadsticks) came out first. I always seem to take decent salad dressing for granted (although I always cringe when I get some horrid yuja-mayonnaise concoction). This salad was exactly what I’d expect from a hole-in-the-wall mom and pop joint back home. The breadsticks erred on the fancy side (hello garlic, my old friend…), but the rest was classic summer camp Caesar. Not elevated, but it hit the spot.
Gino’s Famous (Lemon Pepper) Wings (KRW 10,000)
I’d definitely come back to Gino’s Pizza just for the wings. The Lemon Pepper wings (Lemon citrus and a punch of Black Pepper dry rub seasoning) came out right after the salad. We were both impressed by the wealth of meat on the wings and drumettes. The skin was quite thin, very crispy, and there wasn’t much gristle at all. I find wings in Korea to be either bare or fatty/ soggy. These wings were bomb. They weren’t kidding about the punch of black pepper and lemon citrus. I’ll be back to try their Hot Buffalo, Honey Sriracha, Creamy Parmesan Garlic, Honey BBQ, and Blazin Asian wings . Anyone down for a wing buffet soon?
We’ve since returned for the Honey Sriracha Wings (once) and Creamy Parmesan Garlic (twice). The honey sriracha had a really nice spicy kick, but I just don’t think it worked well with the honey. I dig a good honey garlic, but the sriracha was not a match. The creamy Parmesan garlic wings, however, knocked our socks off. I’ve had some bad experiences with sweet cheese fried chicken seasoning in Korea. Gino’s Pizza uses proper Parm – nothing sweet here. The rich, creamy sauce works perfectly on the meaty, crispy wings. Nailed it.
Animal-Style, er – Gino’s Sloppy Fries (KRW 8,000)
A far cry from the cheap and cheerful price at Cry Cheeseburger, Gino’s Pizza has jumped on board Seoul’s latest foodie trend: Animal-Style Fries. A close dupe to In-N-Out, these crispy fries are loaded with American cheese, grilled onions, and Thousand Island sauce. The dressing always reminds me of home (I went to University near the archipelago of the same name), and I feel absolutely filthy dunking fries into this medley.
Gino’s Pizza Homestyle Italian Lasagna (1/2 Size KRW 9,000)
At lunchtime only, you can save yourself some calories and order a half size of the ooey-gooey lasagna. Gino’s version includes Lasagna noodles, House-made pasta sauce, ground beef, ricotta cheese, and “Mozza cheese baked to Perfection and served with 2 bread sticks”. I think I’ve been ruined by Brera‘s Béchamel dreams lasagne. The lasagna dish didn’t do much for me, but my dining companion liked it just fine. I could see it tasting great reheated as a hangover cure.
We tried the baked ziti on our 3rd trip (KRW 13,000) and again – wasn’t impressed with the simple tomato sauce. The lasagna and ziti only truly differed in the type of pasta used. For me, it just lacked flavour altogether.
I gave Gino’s Pizza Apgujeong’s pizza a true shot on our second visit. We had the pesto primavera and I was surprised at the difference between the Itaewon and Apgujeong locations. I’ve found the Itaewon branch of Gino’s Pizza to be kind of soggy when laden with primo ingredients. Our pizza was cooked perfectly. No soggy crust here, our pesto pizza was loaded up with mushrooms, real black olives, red onion, tomato, arugula, pesto, and plenty of feta cheese. We rolled ourselves back to school after crushing this pie.
The Menu @ Gino’s Pizza
Click any of the above images for a look at the menu at Gino’s Pizza in Apgujeong!
Think Twice for a Slice – Wouldn’t it be nice?
Gino’s Pizza is a happy addition to the Apgujeong Rodeo/ Dosan Park/ Gangnam area. It’s nice to have quick and easy options nearby for lunch or after work socials. My only request is that they consider selling slices. Monster Pizza is always packed. It sells slices. With Monkey Beach just down the way, I think these guys would make a killing with the office lunch crowd, the expat teachers guild, and the drunky monkeys on Friday and Saturday nights.
Contact Gino’s Pizza
- Phone: 02-3444-2234 (Take-out/ Delivery)
- Address: 655-3, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea
- Open: Hours 11:30AM – 3:00PM, 5:00PM – 10:00PM
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: Gino’s Apgujeong
- Instagram ID: @ginospizza
With hotspots like Gino’s Pizza and Caravan Seoul popping up in Apgujeong Rodeo, the area might just be returning to its pre-Garosugil glory!
What’s your favourite restaurant in the area? In Gangnam? Let us know in the comments!