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“Feels like home” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Da Franco Italian Trattoria

Da Franco Italian Trattoria
Daewon The Osuperium 1 Danji, 856-5, Nakseongdae-dong, Gwanak-gu, Seoul, South Korea
02-887-2825
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Ranked #438 of 12,934 Restaurants in Seoul
Price range: $16 - $40
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Entertaining clients
Dining options: Reservations
Description: Classic Italian Trattoria Certificate: Ospitalita ItalianaCosy Italian ambience whit resonable price extensive Italian Wine list Chef Owner Italian Nationality Sommariva Franco
Italy
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Feels like home”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2013

How nice was it to find this place with real authentic Italian food. We had the spaghetti vongole, la frittura di pesce and tiramisu. The pasta was cooked just al dente like it should be and the sauce couldn't be better. The frittura was just like I had in Italy. Concluded by a perfect tiramisu.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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8 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    5
    3
    0
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Very nice”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2013 via mobile

It was a nice surprise this restaurant! The owner is warm and kind, so much like italian style and the food is def yummy!!! I love finding true italian places all arpud the world, just to taste a bit of home even abroad! Molto buono!!!!

  • Visited October 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sao Paulo, SP
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“A piece of the western world in Seoul”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2013

I live in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which has perhaps more italian restaurants than many cities in Italy, since a lot of italians have emigrated to Brazil in the 19th century. Da Franco trattoria is however one of the best trattorias I've ever been in. It is perfect for those that, as me, are not very fond of Eastern food, and after a few days in Seoul just can't take it anymore. Also the price is very reasonable, and the service is great. Couldn't recommend it more.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
86 reviews 86 reviews
54 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“De Franco is the Italian mother you wish you had.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2013

Finding this second floor restaurant isn’t that hard, you just have to look for it and it is worth the trek. Relatively small, but close to the subway station on the second floor less than 30 yards from the corner of the subway.

A relatively quaint restaurant that seats about 40 people with floor to ceiling windows and a bar at one end and the kitchen at the other.

I opened the menu with hesitant expectations as there is A LOT of choices here. Usually with an ambitious menu I often see great failures. There are better restaurants for Italian food in Seoul, but not at this price point (8,000-19,500 won a dish). Spasso is a good example of quality food for a higher price, and a few other hotel Italian restaurants are very good, but also very pricy (expect to pay 25-50,000 a plate).

I visited the restaurant three times now, and will be returning when I am in the area and craving some Italian food. Given that I really enjoy Italian food and taken cooking courses at some culinary institutes in NYC, I can see the ambition of the menu of Chef Franco Sommariva.

He is trying to bring the flavor of Rome to Korea. He executes his dishes on the most part successfully and makes them correctly, but I could see consistency as possibly being a problem for some of harder dishes given the ambitious menu.

I basically skipped the antipasto menu and went for Da Franco’s two soups. Typically Italian antipasto is about the quality of the ingredients, so I went to some of the more unique items on the appetizers which was a minestrone soup and straciatella soup. I usually don’t find minestrone soup on menu’s in Korea and it was average.

On to the straciatella soup, chicken stock base with egg soup, traditionally more of a home cooked dish than a menu item, another example of the ambitiousness of the chef trying to bring real Italian food to Korea. This was actually pretty good, The floating egg bits in the soup were executed well, though this is not a hard dish to do, just to give a cook that extra job to get this done correctly is ambitious.

I loved the fact that it was included on the menu, and part of the reason why I will go visit this location again. Da Franco is really trying to bring Italian cuisine to Korea.

Got a Pizza Rughetta, which is simply prosciutto and rucola (arugula) leaves with cheese, and the crust was Italy good. Let me explain this crust (because based on your region you all know your pizza’s differently here.) This is not your NY pizza crust that is slightly dusted with semolina flour, with that slightly burned gestalt of the crust before hitting a slightly bready part that soaks up just enough of whatever topping you have without losing form. This is your thin crust that you get from Italy, all flatly laid out without the NY crust handle at the end.

This crust is well executed. Since this is a thin crust pizza, not a flat bread, but a true crisp crust that doesn’t have the bread texture that is traditional Roma style. The crust was good, the cheese was good, prosciutto was salty and a little too generously applied making this too salty for the rucola leaves to help. If you gave me a lemon I might have been happier for the acidity, but not sure if it would have been able to counteract the salt. But given the quality of the crust other pizzas should be better. And thank goodness the size of the pizza’s are sized correctly for the price, one pizza here will feed two with some apps and maybe a dessert. I would eat any of the other pizzas and would recommend all without the processed product.

On to the pasta menu, usually a big time fail in Korea, especially at this price point. This is your typical pricing that you find at your Izakaya for pasta, and that isn’t a misstatement because in Korea at foreign restaurants there is almost always a pasta dish. (there was a restaurant next door called London Japanese Izakaya, which is idiotically named and bet will be one of those restaurants.)

But here is where Da Franco started to really shine for me. This is not home made Michelin pasta from famous chefs, and also you aren’t paying that price either. Had Da Franco’s Tagliatelle Casereccie Alfredo, Mushroom and Ham cream sauce, and this was a good dish. I mean just the right amount of sauce and at the right thickness. The ham was crisped and gave the dish a little texture, the little flecks of basil, creamy parm sauce, with the pasta that was cooked just right.

I mean if I went to my Italian friend’s home for a meal, it was the best dish that the mother could do there and it would be stored into my memories. I have food porn memories of old Italian friend’s mother’s cooking that came out tasting this cream pasta dish. Would this stand up to my Michelin 2 star restaurant I visit in NY?, Simply, the answer is no. But is this better than 95% of pasta served in Korea, and the answer is simply yes. This is how pasta is supposed to come out, and not adjusted for Korean taste.

On to the risotto, another usual fail at restaurants, and given that they used Asian rice, it came out pretty damn good. Had the Risotto mare chiaro, seafood risotto with tomatoes, and the shellfish came out well and imparted the taste into rice with the tomatoes. Given that they were using the small probably precooked shrimp and mini calamari which was probably the most disappointing part, the mussels and clams tasted great. But if you consider that it was 15 dollars retail on a menu that has appetizers, antipasto, soups, pizza, pasta, meat, and fish on the menu, this couldn’t be better executed given the ingredients given. Making Asian rice al dente, and not overcooking the rice, with the shellfish sauce permeating through the rice with the rich sweetness from the tomatoes is a feat of cooking. I would probably go to the pasta first, pizza second, but I wouldn’t be scared to eat this dish. Wasn’t exceptional but again the execution was there.

Finally had their tiramisu and ice cream for dessert. Tiramisu was a fail being heavy. Ice cream which was hand made was great, strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. Chocolate they didn’t temper the chocolate at the in the double boiler right so it was a little grainy, but rich. Strawberry was awesome and light and I could take a pint of that home. Vanilla was well executed, but then again just vanilla ice cream.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Busto Arsizio, Italy
Top Contributor
153 reviews 153 reviews
58 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 59 cities Reviews in 59 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
“a "BIG" chef”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012

Franco is the owner of the restaurant, a BIG size of italian chef.
Very warm atmosphere tipical simple italian cousine, you can enjoy the real home home made gnocchi.. I can said as my grandma' where made when I was child.
Good wine price resonable..

  • Visited December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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