Last year, PSY pretty much put Gangnam on the international radar as Korea’s Beverly Hills.
My first time around Gangnam Station, I was kind of surprised because I was expecting it feel more 5th Avenuey, but it just looked like the rest of Seoul. Though, later I learned about Apgujeong, the ritzy district within Gangnam that houses The Galleria.
The Galleria is a Neiman Marcus type depart store that carries a bunch of designer labels and caters to the ultra-wealthy (to clarify: not me). I walked around once and decided that The Galleria is actually a step above Nieman Marcus. There’re leather and velvet couches scattered about for patrons and overly attentive personnel at each corner, who I’m sure pour champagne for shoppers to sip on while they peruse the racks. Yeah. That type of department store… There were however some cool vintage-looking refrigerators on the home floor that were actually normal household appliance price.
Anyway, there’s a food court in the basement of The Galleria called Gourmet 494 that dishes food of the same quality as the clothes upstairs but at a price that won’t make you feel guilty or cause you to lose hope in the human race. Kind of Grand Centralesque but nicer… and clean. A bunch of restaurant-islands, each offering their own unique menu.
When I heard about Gourmet 494, I had to go. Of course, I researched the dining options and knew exactly what I was going to order before heading over (a burger from The Burger Joint). However, upon arriving and seeing the udon, the tacos, and the crisp vegetables, my stomach changed its mind, and I ordered this amazing salad from Cafe Mamas with mascarpone cheese, fresh French bread, almonds, and dried cranberries — basically all my favorite things. I was planning for that exact salad to be one of my first meals back in America, but most graciously, I no longer have to consider it a delicacy.
Gourmet 494 has options to please all palates and boasts an impressive range of international cuisine. The dessert hall is also of note: churros* and gastronomic ice cream. That’s really all that needs to be said about that. There’s also a Dean & DeLuca type market if expensive groceries are your thing…
Because the food’s so great, Gourmet 494 is usually packed, but the dishes still come out relatively quickly. Once you order, you’re given a cool “smart finder,” so you can sit wherever, and someone will find you and bring you your food. Technology.
I’ll for sure be making return visits to Gourmet 494. Definitely recommended.