Chipotle restaurant clones in Seoul Korea

I love Mexican food. I guess that’s what happens when you grow up in California. California is basically Mexico, northern Mexican. Living is Korea can get frustrating if you love Mexican food. First of all the so called Mexican restaurants in Korea leave out certain ingredients. Cilantro and lime. These two key ingredients are lacking in most Korean tacos and burritos.

We are in Seoul, South Korea. Don’t see a lot of Mexican faces here. I get it. It’s different from Mexico…errr….California. But i don’t even expect real Mexican food. I would gladly settle for Tex-Mex style food like Chipotle. I love Chipotle. There are a few Chipotle clones here in Seoul. But they don’t come close in taste. I’ll talk about Tomatillo and Grill5 here in this blog post.

Tomatillo in Seoul has the look of Chipotle. The interior of the one at Gangnam Finance Center is basically a poor man’s version of Chipotle. They just need to slap some Native American art figures (made of steel and wood) up on the wall. But the taste is something different. Considering that we are in Seoul, the chicken burrito that i ordered wasn’t half bad. Wasn’t that good tho.

Grill5 in Sinsa dong seemed like a nice little Mexican restaurant. I walked in with mild to semi-high expectation. The restaurant was packed. It was Sunday around 5pm. Galosookgil is always packed. Anyway, i walked up to place my order and i saw 8 guys working in the back. Nice. They are going to wrap up my burrito real fast right? Wrong! I waited like 8 minutes for my burrito. And the thing was tiny. Did i order half a burrito? Nope i paid 11,000 won for a whole burrito and a cider to wash it down. The burrito was wrapped in aluminum foil. Check. I open it up and take a bite. The fuckin thing is cold. Nuff said about this place. They should take the “grill” out of the restaurant name. Just called the place 5.

Well if you haven’t guessed out of the two, i pick Tomatillo.

I’m too tired after this rant to write a positive review of a good Mexican restaurant in Seoul. I will review some other places later.

13 thoughts on “Chipotle restaurant clones in Seoul Korea

  1. Tomatillo is the closest it gets to Chipotle in Korea. They use cilantro (but not lime). I think their California-style burrito is the best burrito I’ve ever had in Korea. It’s got french fries in it instead of rice and it’s awesome.

  2. What a nice review! I haven’t tried Mexican foods many times but I fell in love with them especially burritos when I visited California. Like you said there aren’t such decent Mexican food restaurants, except Tomatillo. California burrito they sell is not the perfect one that I ate in Cali, but good. But you need to put sour cream instead of their sauce. Their sauce was too hot to me and my family.

    But it’s too expensive! I can’t remember exactly but a burrito looks like a half size is 7000 won and their California burrito is 8000 won. And you need to pay another 1000 won for sour cream.

    Anyway I hope to see the next review asap! 🙂

  3. Seoulfoodyo-I would like tomatillo more if they added a lot of sour cream and if the meat marinade was better. The rice needs work too. I still in search of a good burrito restaurant in Seoul. I will keep posting more restaurant reviews. Thanks for checking my blog yo!

    Seung-won-Thanks again for visiting and comment on my blog Seung! Where did you stay while you visited Cali? Yeah Mexican food is pretty expensive in Korea. But thats the issue with burgers and pizza and etc. I don’t really get it. Maybe the supply chain for ingredients for western food is expensive. Anyway i’ll try to get more reviews up asap.

    • I visited San Diego and LA for 2 weeks. I’m missing In & Out burgers, and burritos from Lolita’s taco shop. And of course nice weather!

  4. hey, wake up, this is Seoul and 11,000 aint that expensive.
    If you couldnt afford to pay tat much, mcdonalds prob a good choice for you,.

  5. Have you tried Gringos? Not a restaurant but still the best burrito Ive had in Korea to date! gringoskorea.com and they’re on facebook.

  6. Most all Mexican food in Korea can not compete with Mexican food from Mexico and the US. Pretty much all salsa and anything that should have more of a tomato taste ends up tasting slightly like kimchi.

  7. Grill5 sucks. Actually, do not expect to have a decent Mexican plate in Seoul. Not even Itaewon where there is the US army base nearby does not have one. They call it Mexican with no lime anywhere!! And I don’t even wanna start with Guacamole.

  8. try dos tacos near kyobo tower in gangnam i dont know if u already tried but so far dos tacos was best mexican food i have tried in korea

    • yah that one seems to be the best one i’ve ever tried Mexican food here!! I miss Chipotle so much 🙁 I was searching for where chipotle rests are here in Korea caus I just realised that there were 25 coldstones here

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