Went to film a friend’s cousin’s wedding recital the other day, which meant a free meal at Todai! I went to the Junggye location (중계) which is quite a ways north from Seoul, but they also have one in the popular Myeongdong (명동) area. They also happen to have some restaurants in the states, so I was curious to see the differences between them. You can access the Junggye location from Hagye Station (하계역) as seen on the map below. It is located on the 4th floor of the department store.
The Junggye location is open from 11:50 am to 3 pm for lunch and 5:30 pm to 10 pm for dinner on weekdays at 26,000 and 35,000 won respectively. Middle school students can get in for 13,000 and 17,000 won. On the weekends and holidays, they open from 11:30 am to 10 pm without a break in between. The price is 38,000 won for general customers and 17,000 for middle school students with no lunch discounts.
Since I was in one of the event halls, I couldn’t really see the normal seating areas. They did look fairly well polished compared to their American counterparts though. There weren’t too many people when I came and everyone seemed well behaved. You can see pics of the restaurant here. Most people (perhaps especially Asians) seem to go to buffets for special events/occasions, so it was no surprise to see all three event rooms filled with people.
Because I was filming, I couldn’t take too many pics, but I tried to shoot as much food as I could eat. Unfortunately, I couldn’t show everything on the menu as I had to limit my intake to what my stomach could handle. Some sections that I didn’t try were the Korean food section and the hot pot/noodle section. There were a lot more items than what I am showing. What was nice is that all the items had an English translation!
The sushi was pretty ordinary. Some of the rolls were pretty good, but you’re left with that mass production feeling at pretty much all buffets of this type. I regrettably did not eat any nigiri because they didn’t seem to have hamachi (yellow tail) or any types that I liked. Keep in mind though, I didn’t have much time to browse the whole selection (but I did have time to plate my food), so admittedly I may have been a bit sloppy. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a buffet so I am out of practice!
There was a traditional Korean fried section with twigim (튀김) and jeon (전). The squid was good, but heavily battered. The jeon was a bit bland. They even had puffer fish, but I was a bit too scared to try it!
There was an “American BBQ” section which was really just Korean BBQ in my opinion. They had spicy grilled pork (돼지 불고기) and pork belly (삼겹살), along with chicken wings and slice sausages. The food from this area was pretty good. From time to time, they made grilled steak which was hands down my favorite thing in the whole restaurant.
There was a “Western Food” section with baked shrimp, chicken tenders, french fries, pizza, eggplants, meatballs, and spaghetti. The chicken and meatball weren’t bad, but the pizza was rather sad.
There were desserts and fruits as well. They have multiple cakes and pastries. I liked the desserts, but there was nothing special about them.
Todai has the same feeling as it does in the states. It doesn’t serve the best food (the steak was pretty delicious though), but it’s very edible. You usually don’t go to buffets to eat the highest quality food anyways. This is a place to eat till you burst which is typically the reason why I don’t go to buffets. However, it’s a great place for unbeatable variety and when you want to have a little bit of something for everyone in your party.