Looking for Geckos?
When Gecko’s opened late last year, it was a revelation. It was like being lost in the desert and God pouring manna down from heaven. It was one of the first (another being LaVie) restaurant on the island to offer a menu of genuine Western food in a great, home-style atmosphere. For years, other establishments on Jeju had offered what they claimed was Western or Italian food, but never seemed to get it right. When friends told me about a new place on the island with actual American and European food and drinks, I was skeptical.
What’s on the menu?
But this is the real deal. There’s no corn in the spaghetti, no pizza topped with sweet potatoes, but rather an entire menu filled with the type of food you would expect from a quality bar and grill back home. There’s a cheeseburger made from real beef (yes beef, that stuff in Korea that’s worth more than most black market organs), Philly cheese steak, fish ‘n’ chips, steak and Guinness pie, meatball subs, a terrific selection of steaks, pastas and pizzas and, my personal favorite, the buffalo chicken sandwich. To wash it down, Gecko’s offers Guinness, Red Rock, Heineken and Erdinger on tap, along with a number of different imported and domestic beers, shots and mixed drinks.
The sandwiches run at about 10,000 won apiece while steaks are around 22,000. When you’re done with dinner, there are darts and pool to pass the time. Completing the mood is Gecko’s musical selection, playing nothing but your favorite tunes from back home. They’ve even compiled a music list of frequent ex-pat requests, and will find any other songs you may be yearning to hear.
Gecko’s problematic location
But those aren’t the only reasons Gecko’s could be considered a Mecca for Western food on Jeju. Like most meaningful religious experiences (whether they come in the form of a cheeseburger and Guinness or otherwise) there first must come a long and demanding demonstration of one’s faith, like a penance or pilgrimage. Gecko’s is no different. Having been built on the western outskirts of Jungmun, it lies far from Jeju’s major population centres.
– It’s approximately a 50-minute journey from Jeju-si.
– 25 minutes from Seogwipo by car.
– A taxi from Seogwipo currently costs 11,000 won.
– The nearest bus stop is just off the Jungmun Tourist Complex (serviced by the 120 bus).
– A 10-15 minute walk westwards to follow.
The location seems to have been chosen to take advantage of convention and tourist business, but it makes all but weekend visits difficult for local ex-pats.
Nevertheless, Gecko’s dreadful winter time location may become a boon in the summer. Its sprawling deck and barbeque pit will no doubt be an inviting way to end a day at the beaches in Jungmun or for a post game drink after a Jeju United match.
So if a taste of home is what you crave, be sure to make the trip out to Gecko’s.
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