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Paolo Italian Restaurant

Outside Paolo

Ulsan has never really been starved for “italian” food. It is something that has been picked up by local chefs and has become popular with people here. Ask any kids and guaranteed their top 3 choices for food will be most likely “pizza, chicken, and spaghetti” So then why is it that so many of the restaurants in Ulsan make pasta that is so bad that any self-respecting Italian would cry on the first bite? I feel it is because most chefs have no idea how real Italian food should taste like.

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Talking to the chef at Paolo, who has trained at one of the top culinary schools in Italy. I got the feeling that he really understood how italian food is supposed to taste. He noted that there are separate menu items because many Koreans have become used to the “fusion-style”  pasta and demand that when they come. If you are not sure what that means, it is usually a mixture of either cream sauce or seafood with a spicy addition. Thus, the bright flavours of basil and tomato are overpowered by seafood and gochu garu (spicy dried hot peppers). However, you can find a more authentic flavours at Paolo than in many other places around Ulsan.

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What really got me when I came to Paolo was the menu. Having a lot of dishes that are simply unheard of in Ulsan. For example, ravioli, cannelloni, and lasagna. Dishes like these are all handmade and subject to availability but there are there and you must check them out. I had a chance to taste the lasagna and it blew me away.

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The bright flavours of the sauce and the seasonings were perfect. Not to mention that it was baked to perfection. While other places offer a version of lasagna which is simply “baked spaghetti with thicker noodles”  Paolo gets it right, at least from my perspective.

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The pizza there was also pretty good. Offering more of a thin crust style than that of the typical “goggu-ma honey butter snow cheese shrimp” monstrosity that other places are calling “pizza” Paolo offers a delicious pizza that is satisfying and traditional. For that I have to thank the chef because I have almost given up on pizza here. If it were not for places this this and Grappa(link), Costco would be my only option.

Paolo Map

Located about a block down and kitty-corner to the McDonalds in Bangeojin, Paolo offers a great location and even a patio when the temperatures warm up. It’s close proximity to Ilsan Beach also means that you can take an evening stroll to walk off your delicious dinner.

Jason Teale is the Editor of Ulsan Online. He has also been a resident of Ulsan for almost 13 years. His photos can be found at www.jasonteale.com and they have been featured in National Geographic, Travel + Leisure Asia and Seoul Magazine.
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