봉주르정식 (Bonjour) was a consistent staple of mine when I used to live in Hongdae (홍대) and with good reason. This type of restaurant is called a 백반(Baek Ban) which roughly translates into a home-style restaurant. They serve a set menu that changes daily and the dishes have a very homemade feel to it. That isn’t to say it is bad; in fact, it appropriately falls into the category known as comfort food. The best part is it costs a measly 3500 won and you can virtually get unlimited refills on pretty much anything! It’s located on the outskirts of the Hongdae area, so it might be a bit hard to find. Here is the address:
서울특별시 마포구 서교동 327-10 지하1층
Once you walk down the stairs to the basement you’ll find it. The atmosphere is quite homely and comfortable, albeit lacking the sophistication that so many places have these days. The place is particularly busy during lunch hour, but is quite free during other times. Traffic also seems to depend a bit on the menu selected for the day. My favorites are the stews! Just say how many people are in your party and they will give you the appropriate amount.
The set menu usually consists of a main dish, with an auxiliary dish. There’s usually always 4 sides (반찬) which aren’t terribly great, but still quite edible. Some of the dishes I really like are the pork over rice, stews, and dumpling soups.
My favorite days are when there are stews like Budae Jjigae (부대찌개). It’s always fun to have a burner in front of you and get unlimited rice to make rice soup (국밥)!
As you can see, Bonjour is quite an awesome little place if you want a taste of authentic comfort food without breaking the bank. At 3500 won for all you can eat food, it is quite a steal!