Saturday, 7 June 2014

Agio Italian Restaurant- Insadong - Seoul, South Korea.

Agio Italian Restaurant

Agio Restaurant specialises in Italian cuisine, namely pizza and pasta dishes. It actually wasn't on our list of places to eat at and I didn't think we would end up eating Italian food in Korea. However, I had the sudden craving for pizza after over indulging in Korean food for many days and my palate was in need of something that didn't have too much rice, meat or vegetables. Though, my expectations of finding excellent Italian food in Seoul was quite low and that proved to be quite the contrary.

After some searches on trusty Google, I stumbled upon a restaurant called Agio and the reviews were pretty good. It's fairly easy to get to, smack bang in the middle of the busy Insadong district, a tourist friendly area. They even have a branch at Hongdae for those who are interested.

Located within the side street that leads off the main street, is this quaint restaurant that occupies two levels of a rustic looking building, and the mere architecture made me reminisce back to the time when I was in Italy.

The kitchen is downstairs and the majority of seating is located upstairs. I loved the nostalgic decor with the antique style furniture that felt homely, yet maintaining that quiet and elegant ambiance away from the crowded streets.

One thing that differentiates this restaurant from other Italian restaurants is how the pizza is cooked. It is cooked in what they call a brick oven or how we Australians like to call it, a wood-fired pizza oven. The pasta here is also made fresh and that is apparently a rarity in Korea.

It's a casual restaurant with prices being quite affordable but I wouldn't say it's a budget restaurant and more towards the mid-range level. We were there at lunch and the crowd was relatively mixed. There were the couples, groups of friends and lots of families. Surprisingly, I didn't see any foreigners on that day and most were local Koreans.

The motto of the restaurant is 'slow food' and that was rather intriguing. The menu was set on a number of pages inside a folder and the menu was very easy to read as items were in both English and Korean. The staff were friendly and they took our orders promptly and food was also served quickly.

The waitress brought out complimentary house bread and pickles. A plus plus from me. The bread was warm and there was a hint of garlic to it which I liked very much. The pickles were nicely pickled in that they were sour and crunchy, but I'm not really a pickle eater so I didn't have much of it.

The 'Arabiata Sauce Spaghetti with Fresh Seafood and Tomato (KRW 12,500)' was absolutely amazing. The fresh pasta was cooked perfectly al-dente and complemented the chunky tomato sauce and the  seafood was tasty. A hearty and mouth-watering meal.

'Chicken Barbecue Pizza with Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella Cheese (KRW $18,500)' is on a crisp thin base topped with loads of mozzarella cheese and shredded chicken. They don't put a lot of toppings on their pizza and this is kept to a minimal, just like how the pizzas are done in Italy. That stringy and melt in your mouth cheese was superb.

The base was crisp, chicken was well marinated and the homemade tomato sauce was pleasant. A wonderful combination of flavours that just hit the spot. My initial reaction while scoffing down the pizza was, this is so good and indeed it was.

Agio is worth a go if you are in the area or looking for authentic Italian cuisine. We really enjoyed the food here and it surpassed our expectations. The pizza and pasta was definitely better than some of the ones I had back in Sydney and even comparable to the ones in Italy. The produce is fresh and that shows in their food.

Jongno-gu Gyeonji-dong 
South Korea

Phone no: 02 334 7311

Opening Hours



  1. Was hoping there'd be kimchi pizza! lol

    1. Oh my, I think I was kimchi-ed out. But I read that many Korean owned pizza restaurants in Seoul would have had kimchi pizzas!