El Pino 323 has relocated from their Mapo-gu location and moved into Itaewon. The restaurant is a welcome addition with their delicious authentic Mexican dishes. We decided to visit El Pino 323 last Saturday and of course were not surprised that the restaurant was packed. The restaurant is currently undergoing it’s soft opening, but the service and food was great, and I look forward to their grand opening!
El Pino 323
220 Noksapyeong-daero, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul (서울 용산구 녹사평대로 220 (2층))
Hours: Wednesday – Monday: 6 PM – 9 PM, Tuesday: Closed
(Take exit 2 of Noksapyeong Station and walk straight until you get to the underpass to cross the street. Take the underpass, go up the stairs towards the right and walk back towards Noksapyeong and you will see the restaurant on your left, make sure you look up).
The interior of the restaurant is nice. When you first walk in you will see a small area to your right with a few tables and a bar.
The main dining area has standard table seating and small open air bar style seating as well. I think on a rainy day they will probably have the windows closed and the bar seating will not be accessible.
Even though they are only undergoing a soft opening, they have an extensive menu including quite a selection of drinks. We ended up ordering a 323 Classic Margarita, Beef Enchilada with Pork Rojas Chile, and Carnitas Tacos.
We were given a small basket of salsa and a tiny bit of salsa. The chips seemed homemade and the salsa was fresh and had a good smokey flavor to it.
Here is the 323 Classic Margarita (₩10,000). There aren’t many places that we have found in Korea that can get a margarita quite right, and unfortunately neither did El Pino. It did not have a bad taste, however it didn’t have much flavor either. Usually when margaritas are off, they taste either too sweet (too much mix, not enough alcohol) or too much alcohol and all you taste is tequila. El Pino’s margarita was neither of these, and unfortunately didn’t taste like much at all. They do have multiple frozen margaritas on the menu that we did not try, however based upon the classic, I would stick with beer or maybe try one of their cocktails if you are looking for an alcoholic beverage.
A single order of the Carnitas Tacos (₩12,500) consisted of 3 pieces. You can tell the tortillas are homemade and the tacos were filled with meat, onions, cilantro and a tasty sauce. We have had some of their other tacos before at their other location, and these did not disappoint.
The Beef Enchilada with Pork Rojas Chile was a nice portion which made me feel better about the ₩22,500 price tag. It came with 2 enchiladas, mexican rice and beans. The sauce had a lot of pork chunks and the enchiladas were filled with meat, not other random fillers which made me happy.
All of the food was very tasty and we left pretty stuffed. We are looking forward to trying some more dishes in the future, especially the tortas. I am excited to have another authentic mexican option close by and will return soon and recommend that you pop in for a visit as well!