Eclectic buffet selections

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Eclectic buffet selections

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The indoor patio of the steak restaurant, Eddle, has a comfortable ambiance. By Michelle Kang

Generosity is a Korean characteristic and nowhere is it better displayed than in the dining industry.

Owing to the contemporary trend of gourmands migrating to healthier food, most buffet restaurants place an emphasis on fresh, even organic, food including sushi and sashimi, while allowing customers to taste a variety of dishes from Asian and Western countries.

Amid the seafood buffet boom, some all-you-can-eat restaurants offer something a little different to stay competitive.

Whether it’s just been a long week at work or you’re looking for a great dinner to celebrate a special occasion, satisfy your appetite and entice your taste buds at these restaurants.

Appetizer

Pizza: Il Mazzio in Apgujeong

Sitting in an Italian restaurant, you have a sudden craving for thin crust pizza, the perfect appetizer. If it’s all-you-can-eat then all the better.

At Il Mazzio, this is exactly what happens. In the middle of Apgujeong, Gangnam District, is a famous Italian restaurant that provides a fine selection of high-quality food with a stylish atmosphere and reasonable prices.

Ordering a pasta dish entitles you to a variety of freshly baked Italian pizzas, included in the price, such as Gorgonzola, Margherita and quattro formaggi.

The waiters offer you all kinds of pizza to sample. They place a plastic board on your table in the three colors of the Italian flag. If you signal green, it means “keep it coming,” and when you are finished, place the red side up.

Some 20 kinds of pizza and 20 varieties of pasta are available. Thanks to a reputation built on customer satisfaction, Il Mazzio has earned its popularity through word-of-mouth.

It is widely-recognized as one of the best restaurants in Seoul thanks to their endeavors in preserving the original flavors of traditional Italian cuisine, while localizing it to cater to Korean taste buds.

To get to Il Mazzio, take subway exit No. 2 at Apgujeong Station and walk for about 15 minutes towards the Galleria department store. For more information, or to find your nearest branch, visit www.ilmazzio.com or call (02) 511-9445.

Entree

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Steak is served at Eddle.

Steak: Eddle in Hongdae

Sure, pasta or pizza can be a sufficiently pleasing main dish but let’s talk about a bona fide entree: steak, glorious steak! The good news for meat lovers is that the number of all-you-can-eat steak restaurants in Seoul has been on the increase.

Currently, most of those newly-opened steak restaurants offer churrascarias, Brazilian-style meat, which is placed on long skewers and roasted over charcoal.

In the Hongdae area of Seoul, home to many quirky cafes and bars, there is an all-you-can-eat steak restaurant that is gaining popularity for its high-quality meat and ambience. Eddle boasts a cozy, Mediterranean-style street cafe interior, attentive staff and delicious food.

The full course at Eddle consists of about 600g of four styles of steak and chicken, all for the reasonable price of 25,000 won. The chef will cook the steak to your specifications, from tender and bloody rare that melts in your mouth, to well done, if that’s what you actually want.

The course consists of sirloin, bacon beef (imagine a bite-sized filet mignon), chicken drumstick, tenderloin and garlic steak, along with roasted pineapple. After the full course has been served, you are free to order the entire course once again or just your favorite parts - until you’re waddling out the door.

Eddle presents different cuts on different days. Mondays are tenderloin, while brisket is served on Tuesdays, for example. With its specialization and fresh Australian beef, this restaurant makes a good claim to be the epitome of all-you-can-eat steak restaurants in the capital. Not happy eating nothing but meat? Don’t worry, the half-dozen side dishes are worth the price alone.

Eddle is also thinking about the bigger picture. Buffet-style restaurants can lead to an enormous waste of food, with people taking a bite and tossing the rest. Choose carefully - if you can’t finish everything on your plate, a 5,000 won fine will be added to your bill.

Get off at Hongdae Station, line No. 2, and take exit 9. Call (02) 3141-4459 for more information. Eddle is in front of the main entrance of Hongik University.

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An inside view of Sweetier in Hongdae. By Michelle Kang


Dessert

Cake: Sweetier in Hongdae

Sometimes you just have the urge to plunge into a fountain of chocolate and succumb to its greatness.

Going to a buffet but filling up on sweets? It can be done. But due to the recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Korea, Sweetier has stopped its buffet service for the moment but it will begin again in June, according to the cafe.

Normally, though, the buffet is great. At this dessert buffet (20,000 won), the first floor of more than 20 tables fills up quickly.

At Sweetier, you can devour all kinds of rich, sweet cakes without worrying about the clock.

Inside the cafe, you will find a display of different kinds of cake. Your sweet tooth will be answered instantly. An array of hors d’oeuvre-sized treats are available include like cream cake, pound cake, chiffon cake and brownies, as well as another 30 kinds of less-familiar sweets such as tomato comfiture, wine gelee (wine and gelatin pudding) cacao framboise, yoghurt mousse and caramel tarts, spilling out of crystal containers.

The cafe is open from 12 p.m. till 11 p.m. everyday with a break time from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. On Mondays, it runs as a regular cafe, not a buffet, so beverages and cakes are sold individually.

To get to Sweetier, go to Hongdae Station, line No. 2, exit 9. Head for SangSang Madang and turn right at Joe’s Sandwich and then make a left turn at No Stress Kitchen. Go straight from there and the cafe can be found on your right. Call (02) 326-1793 for more information.

Drinks/alcoholic beverages

Cocktail: Aisle in Hongdae

Looking for an after-party now that the main meal is over? Take yourself to this former house, now renovated into a bar and offering bottomless cocktails.

Travel guidebooks and photos from around the world decorate every nook and cranny at Kitchen & Bar, Aisle, as the owner is a travel buff.

Customers can spend an evening socializing with friends in an intimate atmosphere, listening to cool ambient tunes and enjoy customized cocktail delights. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a long day; chill out while sampling a variety of cocktails. Expert mixologists are on hand to create cocktails to your own tastes.

Originally a restaurant specializing in pasta and wine, you can also find also find delicious food to perfectly complement your drinks.

A cocktail typically costs about 8,000 won ($7.40) in Seoul, so if you have three here you’ll break even, and if you push the boat out a bit and have a couple more, you’re getting your money’s worth.

To get to Aisle, walk down the alley next to the Best All store until you reach cafe 405.

Look for a small alley across from the cafe. Walk down the alley and Aisle can be found next to the Gam-sa-rong burger restaurant. Call (02) 322-9392 for more information.

At any of these places, of course, you need to know your limits. And pants with an elastic waistband probably wouldn’t hurt.


By Michelle Kang

Michelle Kang is an editor at Seoul Global Center. To reach her, e-mail michyk@sba.seoul.kr.

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