The unofficial Korean motto for restaurants is “cheap with large portions”. While in the US, that may mean $5 pizzas at Little Caesar’s or the $1 menu at McDonalds, in Korea it usually means buffets.
Personally I prefer sushi buffets and I’ve been to several in Korea; I still count O’Hills and Todai among my favorite here. Unfortunately, they’ll cost around 35,000-40,000 Won a person so I only visit every once in a while. But I’m always on the lookout for cheaper sushi buffets, and since I’m always finding myself in different parts of Seoul I try to mark them on my Google Maps to make sure I always have one near by when I’m out and about.
A new one that I found to be a good bang for my buck (so to speak, since its technically Won) is “In” out in Shinchon. Found about a five minute walk from Shinchon Station (신촌역) and Yidae Station (이대역), it’s a small sushi buffet out away from most of the college crowd that roams the area.
Look up at the dirty and well worn sign and you won’t be impressed, it advertises a cheap sushi bar (about 12,000 Won) and misspells Japanese Fusion as “Japaness Fusion”. But walk in and find a nice pair of older Korean ladies and a modest but clean sushi bar. Let me emphasize on the CLEAN, because I looked at the sign and had to force myself upstairs to see what it actually looked like. Only about 16 different dishes line the first table with rolls with a sushi/sashimi bar at the end with two nice gentlemen slicing up different fish every hour.
It may not be Todai or O’Hills, but it was definitely a meal that I felt great paying for. Food was good, drinks were free and refillable, sashimi tasted decently fresh and the place over looks a park with a nice view.
Directions, follow the map above and start from Shinchon Station Exit 2 or Yidae Station exit one.
There’s a failing mall up the street about a block, head there to find a great movie theater on the top floor and have easy access to good seats. Buy tickets 1-2 hours ahead of show time and make your way back to the buffet for a nice and easy lunch. Then head back to your primo seats without having to catch a late-night showing or order tickets online.
Or if you’re into urban art like me, there’s an overpass across the street by the park with what looks like some pretty impressive work on the walls not to mention the blocks of stores and nearby malls for shopping.