Immediately as I stepped inside Berlin in Itaewon, I could feel an overwhelming sense that I was back in the 1920’s. The atmosphere of Berlin was carefully designed with all things from glasses to the floors kept in mind. After my first drink came out, I understood that that the atmosphere, which was so carefully crafted, was predictive of the quality the other drinks and dishes that would soon be present.
The tables, chairs, glasses, pictures, music, windows — essentially everything in Berlin gives a great experience in terms of the atmosphere. The wood floor is worn, as you would find in a classic establishment. The chairs are what are known as gilt chairs; although they typically aren’t upholstered in white vinyl, I found this to be a nice touch. The pictures on the wall are obviously from the first half of the 20th century and the music really seals the deal with the feeling of the 1920s.
The first drink that came out was the frozen key lime (10,000 KRW). Crafted from white rum, dark rum, lime, vanilla, and dark cookie, on first taste, I thought I was drinking a key lime pie with Oreos and liquor inside. Basically, it was delightful. The second drink that came out was the mango-mint Martini (8,000 KRW). Rarely have I tasted an original cocktail which captures my attention, but this one was beyond good. It was heavy in alcohol, yet that did not bother the gently sweet flavor of mango and mint. I very badly wanted to finish the entire drink, but it was 5pm and I had work to do after the review. It was indeed unfortunate.
Next, two of Berlin’s platters came out. The Thai platter and the Berlin platter were well laid out and provided ample food for the price considering this is a high-class establishment.
The Thai platter (18,000 KRW) consisted of a Panang curry chicken wing, calamari, Thai garden salad, chicken with basil, and rice. The calamari was finely breaded. This provided an excellent and somewhat new textural experience for me. I was unimpressed by the taste and texture of the chicken with basil but was fond of the Panang curry chicken wing. I could tell that the chef had some experience with Southeast Asian food due to the authentic Panang curry taste blended in such a way that it tasted light, providing a fusion taste.
The Berlin platter was well worth the cost at 22,000 KRW. It featured carrozza (deep fried fresh mozzarella), tomato gratin, chef’s garden salad with feta, roasted pesto chicken, and homemade fries. Although I thought the chicken was somewhat dry, my tasting partner was impressed by its light yet aromatic seasoning, which is difficult to find in Korea. Other than this, I thoroughly enjoyed this platter and recommend it.
Besides having great food and beverages, I have heard that Berlin enhances its atmosphere by having things like burlesque shows, live music, and often bringing in DJs. What’s more is that the owners and staff at Berlin seem to actually care about making sure their restaurant is a restaurant, not just a tool to make money. Thumbs up.
- Excellent drinks
- Great western food
- Reasonable prices
- 1920s atmosphere
- Shows and DJs
- Pleasant staff
- Dry chicken
- Small venue
Mon – Sat 11:30am – 2:00am
Sun 11:30am – 12:00am
서울시 용산구 이태원동 457-1
Come out of Noksapyeong Station Exit 3. Walk across the street to the left side of Itaewon-ro. Walk a little while until you see a street going up the hill on your left hand side. Walk up the street and keep left. Berlin will be on your left hand side.
View Berlin @ Itaewon in a larger map
Photographer: Mike Porto