Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Korea Tip 112: Restaurants near Cheonan Bus Terminal

Sometimes, it's hard to find anything other than Korean food and chain restaurants like McDonalds and Outback.  (Not there's anything wrong with Korean.  Just sometimes it's nice to have a taste of home.)  For folks living in the Cheonan area, here are a few recommendations for good eats near the bus terminal (formerly known as - and still often called - Yawoori).

For starters, don't miss the upper level of the Shinsege building. 
  • I was delighted to see that the former food court area near the movie theater is being remodeled to include a Bennigans and a W-Burger.   
  • The old (and not so good) coffee shop next to the ticket booth has been replaced with a top-notch coffee chain called A Twosome Place, which also has nice gourmet sandwiches.  
  • Also, one floor up from the cinema is Hong Kong - a pretty decent Chinese place, with individual servings for less than 10,000 a plate.    
  • On our last trip to the movies, a serendipitous wrong turn led us to the top floor of the right hand side of the Shinsege Department Store (formerly The Galleria), and we discovered a very interesting Italian place and a Thai/Vietnamese place.  We had already eaten, so we weren't able to try either though.  (Let me know how the food is if you get in there.)
Next to the Shinsege Department Store, under the Arario Art Gallery (and the gargantuan man with his insides showing) is All That Barbecue.  This is a semi-western buffet.  For about 14,000 won, they have some pretty good mixed salads, various pastas and rice dishes, and a few meats. 
Near Tom N Toms, is a relatively new place called Welcoming the Moon.  This is a good Italian place, and it's on the second floor with a great, open-window view of downtown.

In the maze of backstreets on the other side of the street, there are a few can't miss places. 
  • Dono Marco, 3-4 blocks behind Dunkin' Donuts, is owned by the chef.  They make excellent Italian food, and the whole place only seats about 20 people, so it's a pretty intimate environment.  Make sure to try the salmon fettuccine.
  • Riposos is a basement pizza/pasta/bar not far from Dunkin Donuts.  The food is great (especially the Riposo Pizza, with ham, tomatoes, and spinach), but the service is notoriously bad.
  • A Bis has so-so food and a great atmosphere.  It is in a European style house that looks like it was carried over on a ship straight from Switzerland.  Go 1-2 blocks behind Dunkin' Donuts and turn left.
  • Pios has the best carbonara in Cheonan.  It is served in a huge bowl, and the noodles are literally swimming in sauce.  I'm not sure if the name is exactly right.  It has nothing in English, so my brain is blanking.  Turn right at Baskin Robbins, and look to your right after 3-4 blocks.  It has a white brick front and a little patio.
  • The Fry Pan is a heart-attack on a plate, but you'll die happy.  It is near the little park area.  It has the best chicken fingers and french fries in town.
Enjoy.  If you know of any other can't-miss places, let me know. 
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