Monday, September 20, 2010

Samgyetang near Gyeongbokgung Palace, 토속촌삼계탕

토속촌삼계탕 is famous in South Korea for its Samgyetang. You can see the popularity of this restaurant by the enormous line-up that forms outside during peak lunch and dinner times. If you can try to avoid these rushes, but if not possible at least the line moves fairly quickly. The best thing about Korean restaurants like this (other than the food) that focus on one main kind of dish is the speedy service. If you don't know what samgyetang is, it's a soup made with a whole chicken that has been stuffed with rice, pine nuts, chestnuts, Korean jujubes and ginseng. It's considered very healthy and to be eaten especially during Sambok, the month-long hottest period of the summer.

Here is the menu and prices. We were able to split one soup between the two of us although if you have a large appetite you may want to get your own. The group beside us ordered the spring onion pancake with their soups and it looked delicious. The serving portion was huge and so we asked the waiter if they offered a smaller sized serving. They didn't but the Chinese tourists overheard and offered to give us each a piece which was really nice of them.

The restaurant sits inside a series of traditional hanok (Korean style houses) that are used for seating areas.

This is the entrance.

And look, you know it's a "good restaurant" because it's guaranteed on the front entrance!

Directions: Leave Gyeongbokgung station exit 2. Walk straight for a few minutes and take your second left. You should see the restaurant immediately on the left hand side of the street.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mercado, Brazilian Churrascaria in Apgujeong

What's nice about this Churrascaria place is they skip the filler and go right to the quality meats. Sit back and enjoy a parade of skewers come by your table offering you the juicy hot options of rump roast, bacon-wrapped and garlic steaks. They also come by with chicken legs and hearts as well, but they don't weigh you down with the cheaper pork and sausage options.

There's no buffet here but side dishes are kept on the table and replenished throughout your meal. Potato salad, cabbage salad, vinegary chopped onions and tomatoes, garlic rice and house hot sauce.

Check out how beautifully this meat is cooked! This all-you-can-eat extravaganza costs 29,000 won plus VAT.

Directions: coming soon


Sunday, September 5, 2010

All-you-can-eat Sushi in 40 minutes, Gangnam Station

Check out 자연산 회 in Gangnam. It's the best place to get all you can eat sushi in Seoul. Okay, so it's possible that I have not visited any other all-you-can-eat sushi places in Seoul and have absolutely no basis for that statement but will continue to stand by it anyways. 자연산 translates to natural and 회 translates to time. The name helps to explain a little about the place because it's a timed buffet. All the sushi you can pack away in 40 minutes for 17,000 won.

The best place to be seated is around the center table. You get to watch the sushi chefs at work, view all the different kinds of sushi available as they are transported around the conveyor-belt and help yourself to as much as you want. The super-sushi-chef in front of our spot was able to tell us the names of the fish we couldn't distinguish on our own. He also took requests and made sure to keep our favorites coming.

When you're seated the waiter will drop a bill on your table with the time you started eating. There's a clock over the front counter to keep track of your time. Your area is set up with wasabi and soy sauce and the waiters bring miso soup and cold barley tea. They'll signal when your time is nearing to an end by bringing some cold cinnamon tea or fruit. If you go over time for a minute or two they won't forcefully escort you out but you may begin to feel the nudge-nudge eye a little. Once you pass 5 minutes over you'll be charged 1,000 won.

It's open for lunch and dinner, from 11:30am to 2pm and 5pm to 9pm. I've only ever been for lunch or early dinners on weekends and its never been to busy to sit at the center table. I've been told it can get rather busy during the week with all the business men and women coming in for lunch.

Directions: Gangnam Station exit 8. Walk straight for 5 or so minutes and it's on your left. Look for the door above. Inside there are stairs going down into the restaurant.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Buccella, bakery and cafe

Visited Buccella at its Cheongdam location and enjoyed a delicious sandwich with a friend. The menu is filled with drool-enducing pastas, salads, and sandwiches, however, the usual rule of ordering different meals in an effort to taste as many dishes as possible went straight out the window, apparently the grilled salmon camembert sandwich was calling to both of us that day. The salmon was grilled and covered with a delicious camembert sauce enclosed in a soft airy ciabatta-like bread. While waiting for your meal you can help yourself to even more bread as you enjoy the beautiful interior and relaxed vibe Buccella has to offer.

Here's the phone numbers for all locations:

Not the best picture ever (the sandwich is much bigger than it looks here) but you can see how airy the bread is... yum. Also the menu didn't state it but you get a generous side salad.



Monday, August 30, 2010

산너머 남촌, Duck Restaurant near Sanbon Station

The name of this restaurant translates to NamChon (name of the town) over the mountain. I visited here for a teacher's dinner. The food was delicious and the presentation beautiful. The main entree consists of roasted squash cut open to look like the petals of a flower. They place a mound of rice with pine nuts and Korean jujubes in the center and then pile a heaping mound of roasted duck meat on top. Everyone gets honey mustard for dipping. One of these platters will feed 3 or 4 people with healthy appetites (sorry couples and singles, they don't offer anything smaller). Not bad for 55,000 won plus you get a sweet squash soup to start, side dishes and sujaebi.

There are several more of these restaurants in the Seoul area as well. Enter the name into naver maps to find the closest location.

Directions: From Sanbon Station leave the main entrance/exit (exit number 3). Walk all the way across the plaza and turn left when you hit the road after E-mart. Walk straight. You will pass a Lotte grocery store and continue up into a more residential area that runs along the side of the mountain. Eventually you will see the restaurant in a plaza on the right side of the road. It's about a 15 minute walk from the station or a short bus ride on the number 2 (the bus stop is outside exit 3 as well). If you take the bus get off at the stop you see in the picture above. The restaurant is behind this bus stop.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Crafty Burger

Crafty Burger's ordering area opens out onto the street. A ladder leads the way upstairs to the seating area. The kitchen (complete with giant rotating burger grill) is crammed into the tiny downstairs ordering area. Note that Crafty is also quite venerable, having been apparently established in 1894.

The burgers cover all the bases: juicy, fairly large, not too complicated when it comes to toppings. On the whole, a fine discovery in the Gwanghwamun area. My only complaint is that the burger patty was not as juicy as some of the better burgers in Seoul.

Here's the burger itself:

And their rotating grill:

Directions: Go out Anguk Station Exit 2 and walk straight. You should eventually see Crafty Burger on the lefthand side of the street. Zoom out on the map below to see its location in relation to Gyeongbokgung Palace and other nearby subway stops:

View Crafty Burger Location in a larger map


Copacabana, Brazilian in Itaewon

Copacabana is an all-you-can-eat Brazilian meat restaurant. This means that waiters bring around large skewers of meat (beef, lamb, pork, sausage, chicken, etc.) to your table and cut off pieces for you to eat, until you tell them to stop. As at most Brazilian places in Seoul, there is also a salad bar/buffet.

What sets Copacabana aside from Seoul's other Brazilian places is its salad bar/buffet. Indeed, you could probably leave satisfied if you just got the buffet. There are several hot dishes, including a stroganoff and a meat chili. In addition, there are the usual ingredients necessary to make up a half-decent salad.

(an example plate from the buffet)

When it comes to the meat, Copacabana follows all the standard Brazilian cooking procedures. In other words, the meat is amazing! As at most Brazilian places, the price comes out to about 27,000-30,000 per person with the VAT tax included (I forget the exact figure at the moment).

The only downsides that I noticed at my visit were (1) the caipirinha (Brazil's national cocktail) was extremely watered/iced down, only yielding a few lackluster sips for its hefty 9,000 won price tag, and (2) no air conditioning. The restaurant is already very small and cramped, but combine that with hot July temperatures and only a tiny fan to cool down the place, and it makes for a mildly uncomfortable dining experience.

But, would I visit Copacabana again? You bet! The food was wonderful, and their buffet dishes were superb.

Directions: Copacabana is on the dining street behind the Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon. Leave Itaewon Exit 1. Turn right and then turn left. It should be on the lefthand side of the street.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP