When looking for decent Western food in Korea, the severity of the Konglish in a restaurant’s name is inversely proportional to the quality of its food. I’m glad to report that HOTPLACE Burrito N Bowls, located in Jeongja-dong, breaks this rule. I’m even happier to note that it’s a proper burrito joint in the tradition of Chipotle.
They have a limited menu — burritos, burrito bowls, quesadillas, and a salad — but a focus on quality. Even by American burrito standards, it’s pretty good. By American-in-Korea standards, it’s above and beyond any other Mexican/Tex-Mex I’ve had in this country. Sorry Dos Tacos.
On my first trip I had the barbacoa burrito, made with spiced beef brisket, while my buddy had chicken. Aside from the lettuce — at least it wasn’t cabbage — all the ingredients were real, normal burrito ingredients, including long-grain rice and pinto beans, topped off with salsa, giving it the perfect combination of flavor and heat.
My next trip, I got the veggie. Instead of meat, they give you a lot of guacamole and some black olives for flavor. They also add a mix of corn and onions, which give it a sweeter taste than the barbacoa.
My only complaint about the place is they skimp on the cheese. Then again, at KRW7,000, the prices are as fair as they come for decent foreign food.
Why haven’t you heard of it? Two reasons: Location and poor marketing. As a result, both times I’ve ventured into the place, I found the dining area completely deserted. This is a problem because their rent is probably high and I have a feeling they’re going to have to close shop. The staff seem a little too happy to see me.
If you haven’t been there yet, hurry up before they go under!
From Jeongja Station take exit 3 or 4 and walk westward (away from the river) to the Intelli Building. You will see a building with a sky bridge over the street. Cross the street (or take the sky bridge) and you’ll find it on the second floor. See the map below for clarification.
HOTPLACE Burrito N Bowls:
- Prices: Burritos start at KRW7,000; sides start at KRW1,000; beers KRW3,000/6,000
- Hours: 10:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
- Phone: 070 7753 7397 (for pick-up & take-out)