California Pizza Kitchen’s menu focused on health
U.S. chain California Pizza Kitchen launched a new, revamped menu at its Jamsil Lotte World Mall location in Seoul, making it a perfect stop for some American favorites after a day of shopping and exploring the capital.
Located on the 6th floor of the mall, CPK offers a variety of healthy choices and classic favorites, including low carb and high fiber ingredients.
My friends and I had to try the new menu and made my way for lunch to find the spacious restaurant teeming with tourists and shoppers, bags in hands taking a shopping break for a slice of good pizza.
Despite the lunch rush, we were seated quickly, and I soon had a white sangria in hand. This refreshing concoction at 8,900 won (about $7.44) came loaded with blueberries, orange and lime slices. It was the perfect combination of white wine and fruity flavors, plus a nice departure from my usual tea or soda.
For our appetizer we decided on something new and addictive – the spicy buffalo cauliflower (9,900 won). Despite its name, the round and cute fried florets came coated with red Sriracha sauce but were not spicy at all to me, perhaps because I’m Korean. The texture of fried cauliflower topped with julienned scallions was soft enough and the scent of the sprinkled cilantro and lime stimulated my palate. The cauliflower’s lightness and fresh flavor was pretty incredible! This was the best dish using this vegetable I’ve ever tried.
For my main dish, I ordered cedar plank salmon (28,900 won), one of California Pizza Kitchen’s new, non-pizza menu items. As the name suggests, the salmon was, in fact, roasted on a cedar plank in a hearth oven and came beautifully-presented on the same wooden piece. On the side, there was a mound of sautéed corn and spinach succotash topped with feta cheese. The fish had a nice sweetness to it and the sliced limes on the plate gave the salmon extra zest. Though the delicate fish was a little overcooked and had a firm, dry texture, the flavors and wood scent were still a delight.
We couldn’t leave CPK without trying their staple item. So, for our final entrées, we ordered one of their new offerings – the roasted garlic chicken pizza (19,500 won) - and the Original BBQ Chicken Pizza, a signature menu item.
The garlic version was topped with sweet caramelized onions, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, slivered scallions, and cracked black pepper. I loved that this pizza had just the right amount of cheese and its light dough was made of cauliflower and rice flour. It was better than a regular pizza you can get anywhere else. The thin crust’s consistency had a perfect blend of chewiness and crispness which reminded me of a Korean pancake. It was delicious!
The barbecue-inspired Original BBQ Chicken Pizza (18,900 won) was an example of why this is a go-to for CPK fans. The bread wasn’t covered with tons of sauce, instead the flavorful BBQ sauce was spread thinly and evenly across the pizza. The pie was topped off with sweeter elements like smoked Gouda cheese, fresh cilantro, and red onions. The scrumptious pizza was perfectly crisp yet soft enough to melt in my mouth.
CPK has something for everyone. The menu is large enough to meet the picky or gluten-sensitive diners’ dietary needs. Don’t like pizza? There’s Sonoma grilled chicken, crispy fish tacos, or even grilled squid egg pilaf.
Their innovative offerings and friendly staff gave us more reason to return another time we find ourselves on a busy shopping trip to Seoul.
Address: Jamsil 6(yuk)-dong, Songpa-gu Seoul
Operation Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
Website: http://www.icpk.co.kr/ (ENG/KOR)
Price range: 6900 – 36,900 won
* NOTE: You can get a 20-percent discount if you show your own Military ID (or civilian CAC card) or in uniform.
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