Great Mexican Food in Seoul for Travel Photo Thursday

Posted by on Nov 13, 2014 in Destinations, Featured, Food, Korea, Korea, Travel Photo Thursday | 24 comments

Great Mexican food in Seoul does exist, and I want to take you to my newly found favorite Mexican joint. Welcome to week 201 of Travel Photo Thursday. Anyone who follows me on Faceback may be aware that I traveled into Seoul yesterday to apply for my Thai tourist visa. I’ve been wanting to try Vatos Urban Tacos for a while, so what better time than yesterday.

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Easy  to find on Itaewan’s main drag…


Mexican Food in Seoul

Mexican Food in Seoul

Located in an older renovated property with lots of exposed brick and pipe. Polished wood and black trim give the eatery an air of sophistication. Walking in, I was impressed with the hostess when she didn’t react negatively to me eating alone. Koreans like to eat in groups (nothing wrong with that), but solo diners have to eat too! Kudos to Vatos for welcoming me to their busy restaurant. It was much busier than this photo suggests. The main dining area is at the back.


Dining Room, Vatos Urban Tacos, Seoul

Dining Room, Vatos Urban Tacos, Seoul


I sat down and was immediately welcomed by a lovely English speaking server. I quickly discovered that the menu does not cater to older eyes. Server to the rescue! I had decided on the burritos and she was kind enough to explain the 3 different burritos on offer. Without her I think I would have ended up ordering the Koreanized version…(that would not have made me happy).


I didn’t order an appetizer, and was glad that I had refrained. Immediately after taking my order the server returned with these delicious flat taco shells and two dipping sauces. PART OF THE SERVICE!, and so much nicer than the usual tortilla chips.


Vatos Urban Tacos, Seoul Appetizer

Vatos Urban Tacos, Seoul


There was a short intermission between the appetizer and the main course, which I like. Who wants to feel like they are eating at MacDonald’s, right?  When my much anticipated beef burrito did arrive I was a little underwhelmed. However as soon as I took the first bite I understood why my beef burrito didn’t need any company on the plate. This is probably one of the best burritos I have ever eaten, and definitely the best in Korea. The beans, the rice, the beef, and the wrapper screamed delicious perfection! I was in burrito heaven.


Vatos Urban Tacos, Seoul, Korea

Vatos Urban Tacos, Seoul, Korea


Living in Korea for a long time, I need a good “fix” of foreign food now and again. Vatos Urban Tacos definitely answers my craving for Mexican.

Remember the appetizer was free, free water the table, and the burrito was a surprising 10,000 Korean Won (about $10.US) and NO TAX. There seemed to be lots of fancy drinks hanging around, which could easily double the bill. If I hadn’t been catching a train I might have been tempted, but I stuck with the water.


Travelers Tip

Itaewan Location

Yongsan-gu, Seoul 181-8 Itaewon second floor (Itaewon 15 road 1)

Telephone: 02-797-8226

Sunday – Thursday: 11:30 to 23:00 – the kitchen closed at 22:00 –

Friday – Saturday: 11: 30-24: 00 Finish Kitchen 23:00]

There are other locations in Seoul, and you can get full details from their website.


Vatos Korea


This is the 201st edition of Travel Photo Thursday. You can browse the archives here.


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What kind of food do you crave when you travel?

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  1. Wow, finding good Mexican food in Asia is difficult. Decent Mexican food has only recently come to Penang, so it’s a cuisine we usually look for when traveling. Vatos looks wonderful and a place I would make a point of stopping at.

    • It definitely is. We have a couple of Mexican restaurant in Daejeon, but they are usually disappointing. I almost always wait until I am in Seoul, and them make a point of trying something new, like Vatcos, or somewhere that I have been before. I never looked for Mexican in Penang, and nothing popped out at me 🙂

  2. Great found… I love Mexican food too….

    • Can never go wrong with food Mexican, I say! 🙂

  3. Nancie, I know exactly what you mean about missing Mexican food while living overseas. It’s always the first thing that I want when I go home in the summers. I just haven’t found that Mexican food in the rest of the world is as good…yet! Seoul always does seem to have some of the best “foreign food” restaurants. Oh, you are making me hungry.

    • Hi Corrine! Sorry…lol. I know, food posts always make me hungry, too. Over the years I have found that if I want to eat foreign food, it is best to go to Seoul. I am almost always disappointed when I eat at any of the foreign restaurants here in Daejeon.

  4. An English-speaker server. That’s great! Is that becoming common in Seoul. I remember when I was there, no a very long time ago, very few people spoke English.

    • Hi Denise. Yes, very common in Seoul now and especially in Itaewan. In fact, my server wasn’t Korean. She could have been Mexican (not sure).

  5. I’m in Germany, and one of the biggest things I miss is good Mexican food. Even when I can find it, people here seem to have a very low tolerance for spicy food, that without the excitement its just not the same. I’ve tried making it myself, but without reliable access to things like cilantro, any kind of spicy pepper and even a good, creamy cheese it’s been tough.

    • Hi Claire. No issue with spicy food here. Korean food is very spicy (or usually just mouth burning hot). I love spice and prefer spicy Mexican or spicy Thai.

  6. Hi Nancie, It’s interesting to learn that Koreans react negatively to solo diners. It must have been truly refreshing for you to find a place that’s welcoming. It’s great that you find a nice foreign cuisine to change things up. I’ll probably crave them too if I eat the local cuisine all the time.

    • Hi Marisol. Koreans are very much into communal dining. They even eat out of the same dish. Although the practice of sharing drinks is less common now, when I first came to Korea you’d order water and they’s bring 2 glasses for 6 people! I’ve gotten use to sharing dishes, but not drinks!

  7. it’s always fun seeing local spins on non-local food in other countries. I’ve head great Indian in Hong Kong, Great Italian in Germany and a killer hamburger at an Irish pub in Indonesia.

    • A hamburger in an Irish Pub in Indonesia, what a combination!!

  8. That’s something I do notice when I’m traveling outside of North America – is that it’s much harder to get the full range of restaurant choices. I wonder if the Mexican restaurant is a big hit with the Koreans – or is it more of an expat thing?

    • Hi Leigh. Actually, Koreans do go for foreign food, but there is a catch. They want it to be Koreanized. Vatos has a burrito that the Koreans love because it contains Kimchi! There’s a Thai restaurant here in Daejeon that Koreans love. To me, it’s the worse Thai food I have ever eaten. Even though the chef is Thai, he cooks the food to suit Korean taste buds.

  9. The spice of life must be on all our minds this week as we’ve been stuffing ourselves with Mexican and southwestern flavors since hitting town last Sunday. This post has me thinking that a few more servings of salsa, chips, and tacos are in order before we head north! An excellent find it appears you found! Nancie, I want to add your badge to the homepage of the blog and will attempt that after I get back — I am about to ditch my Amazon book wheel as it just takes up space.

    • Hi Jackie. Enjoy your Mexican food while you can! I’m looking forward to seeing the Travel Photo Thursday badge on your website. Happy travels!

  10. What a great find. Who would have thought you would get great Mexican food in Korea? We travel to Asia a fair bit as well and we do get tired of Asian Food, so we normally are on the lookout for a place that serves good Western style food. The Three Brothers Restaurant in Phuket never disappoints.

    • Hi Kathy. When I’m in Chiang Mai I’m always on the look out for good Western fare, and there are some good western restaurants in the city. I have never been to Phuket, and should I get there I will remember The Three Brothers.

  11. Yum! I suddenly have some craving for Mexican food. I\’m glad your cravings were satisfied and I never would have expected Mexican food done right in Asia. I guess I never really look since we always try to eat local. That\’s very interesting about their attitudes on solo diners. Glad you enjoyed your food!

    • Hi Mary. When I’m out of Korea it’s almost always local eating for me. However, I eat Korean all the time here, so when I go out I want something else (at least sometimes!). Although, here in Daejeon, I almost never eat in the western restaurants. For the most part they aren’t very good, and they’re expensive!

  12. I once had great sushi in Seoul but not Mexican. I was there for 6 weeks and never got tired of Korean food!

  13. Great post. I love mexican food and from the pics that look so delicious. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.


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