New sushi lounge Aligato opens in Itaewon
By John Redmond
For a taste of good sushi and the chance to chill out in a lounge atmosphere, Aligato in Itaewon has opened its doors boasting the newest venue in the expat neighborhood.
Holding its opening party on Jan. 14 with a guest list featuring a who’s who of establishment owners and entertainers in Seoul, the evening was attended by a wealth of foreign and local celebrities.
Established by Dayeon Lee, the idea was to provide good food and cocktails in a relaxed atmosphere at good prices with an added bonus of good music plus a retro style lounge.
With this concept, Lee put two ideas into one.
Downstairs is a sushi bar where guests can enjoy a variety of choices including tuna, salmon and yellowtail, while upstairs people can relax in a retro style lounge and enjoy cocktails till the early hours.
The sushi menu is comprised of individual dishes including assorted sashimi accompanied with miso soup and green tea.
The rectangular shaped sushi bar that seats about 30 people also features a conveyor belt system, known locally as “revolving sushi,” where the plates with the food are placed on a rotating conveyor that winds through the bar and moves past every counter seat.
The price for these choices varies from 2,500 won to 4,000 won. Each plate has a color code with a corresponding price that is listed on the menu.
Also available are lunch sets starting at around 13,000 won.
Along with sushi and sashimi, rolls and tempura dishes are also served at selected prices.
The downstairs menu is available from midday till 10 p.m.
The upstairs section is a little cozier with 50’s style furniture and deco that comfortably seats about 14 people.
This section kicks off at around 10 p.m. and stays open till 3 a.m.
As well as sushi chefs and waiters, Aligato also employs fully trained cocktail waitresses who mix drinks from an extensive selection.
Using top brands the cocktail menu includes apple and ginger martinis, and cucumber and sake tini for 12,000 won.
Wine, champagne and beer choices are also available as are a choice of non alcoholic drinks including Evian and Perrier mineral water, and orange and cranberry juice.
Lee is the owner of a number of popular restaurants and nightspots in the area including La Cigale Montmartre and Bungalow.
She stressed that she wanted to give people a choice of the best of both options.
“We like the idea of a place that provides good food at lunch and in the evening,” she said.
“We also cater to the late night crowd, that’s why we have the lounge music and the upstairs section,” she continued.
The end result is a good mix of both worlds.
To get to Aligato leave Itaewon station (line 6) at exit 2. Turn left near the Hamilton hotel and right at the lane that runs parallel to the main street. Aligato is on the left at ground level.