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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

Grappa – Italian Restaurant Review

UPDATE 2013 -Grappa has moved out to Ilsan Beach. Please read the newer review for details.

So, the other day I got a tip from a Korean friend of mine that a new Italian place was opening up in the Downtown area.  She claimed that the owners both lived in Italy for a few years and knew how to bake a proper pizza.  Now, given that the majority of “pijja” places all over Korea seem to consider a pizza to be an odd assortment of dough, sweet potatoes, and other random ingredients shoved into a moving oven; I was a bit skeptical.  Still, I journeyed out with a few friends to see if her claim held any truth.

The first thing I noticed walking up the stairs to Grappa was wood…A lot of wood.  In fact, they have an actual wood fire oven to bake their pizzas in and they know how to use it.  Although it is a small detail, to me, that slightly burnt smoky smell you get off a properly baked pizza was something I’ve been missing here in Korea.  The interior had a nice homey feel to it.  A lot of thoughtful small touches made the regular stale restaurant atmosphere disappear.  The full map of Italy with regional breakdown on the wall was beautiful.  I also noticed there were a few good cookbooks on the shelves.

Bismarck Pizza

We started off by ordering a few pizzas to check out what they had.  First was the standard Margherita: quite simple-the tomato sauce was sweet and the cheese gooey.  The Diablo pizza was next and, as the name implies, it had a bit of heat to it.  The meat combination on the Diablo was nice, and not over the top.  Finally, there was the Bismarck pizza.  That was a strange one.  The egg in the center is traditional but, I have to admit, it took a bit of convincing from friends to give it a try.   The crust was slightly chewy but still had a nice crunch to it.  I was pleasantly surprised as it turned out to be a great pizza.   While we were there, we also sampled a few of their pastas and other random items as well.  The Carbonara was nice and creamy, with a rich sauce and a good bit of bacon mixed in.  The Lasagna was made fresh that day and might have been a bit too fresh- I would have preferred they let it sit for a day or two to really soak up the flavors.  The Prosciutto and Melon was great and their House Salad had a few pieces of salty ham mixed in, coupled with a nice light vinaigrette.

Melon and Prosciutto

They also have Erdinger on tap, as well as other standard bar options.  Round everything out with a small selection of wine, and you have Grappa in a nutshell.   Overall, Grappa has some great flavors and good execution on their dishes.  If anything, they have amazing pizzas.  A bit pricey at 22,000 won per pizza, but totally worth it in my opinion.  Pastas and the like range from 12,000 to 17,000 won.  The staff speaks English and was very pleasent.  I had no problem ordering and they were able to answer all my questions quickly.

To get there, start at the KFC near Hyundai department store.  From there, walk down the smaller street away from the department store.  The apartment complex should be to your right as you walk down.  You will be parallel with Samsan-ro Street.  Go down a few blocks, and Grappa is on the second floor.  It’s painted bright yellow.  Buses that will take you to Hyundai Department store from Ulsan college are : 401, 307, and 733.  You can call them at   052-256-2112  or     010-3388-5475 to get more information.