Gongdeok used to be kind of boring with just office buildings. But just this year, a lot of new shops have opened down the road off exit 3. Another Star Bucks, Ediya coffee, and the most exciting one for us, Ashley buffet!!! We were diligently waiting for its opening as they were putting the store together. And finally it opened on August.
|View to the salad bar (wine is on the left as shown here)|
|Lunch: 12900won, Dinner: 22900won, Wkend(all day):22900won|
They serve variety of foods from Korean (make yourself bibimbap / smaller menus), bbq ribs, soups (their clam chowder is pretty good), pasta (different kinds), pizza (thin crusted yummy variety), chicken (fried/seasoned/western or Korean style), salads, noodles, rice, fresh fruit (my favorite are their watermelons, bc in Korea they are SO expensive, and I can eat a belly full here) and their dessert specialties (cheesecake and chocolate cake). And unlimited fresh coffee and not the ones dripped out and sitting in hot pots.
|Fresh salad and salmon salad!|
|"Bossam" was pretty good!|
|Chicken - "ttok galbi" - ribs - "bossam"|
Lunch and dinner are different in that they serve more meat dishes/salmon salad and unlimited wine and cake only on dinner time (after 5pm) and on the weekends(lunch & dinner).
Lunch(weekday) price is a lot cheaper, but with less meat and no cakes(their cakes are pretty good!). Despite all that, it's a good deal for fresh food and unlimited coffee, cookies, waffles, and ice cream. But I do prefer the dinner rotation bc the meat dishes are my favorite (especially the bosssam meat and ribs) and their cakes and tasty fresh coffee at the end of the meal just tops it off.
FYI, ordering at these Korean buffets is quite simple. They walk you to your table and before they say anything and before you sit down, just say "SALAD(sel-luh-deu) BAR-yo~" and point at yourself and your friend(s) with a smile or give him/her the number sign with your fingers. This is to simplify if you don't speak Korean well. Koreans are polite and they won't make fun of you for using your hands to communicate. Or just speak in English; Koreans like the challenge. Now you can head out to the salad bar (not just salads of course). That's the usual routine for us.
|Other side of the dining area|
We're usually pretty hungry when we go to buffets, so there's no need for us to chat down and sit and relax. That is unless you want to order additional "dish" with your salad bar. You can then look at the menu. They have seasonal dishes that vary. Say, you're hungry for a chunky steak (I don't even know if they have steak for sure), but whatever is on the menu you can add on and still get your all you can eat salad bar. Salad bar is not a choice. It's kind of backwards(?).
But don't make it anymore complicated, the all you can eat spread is way sufficient, especially the dinner rotation. All you can eat food, desserts, coffee and wine, all for a price less than 23,000won. Btw, not all Ashleys are the same (price/food). They have different levels of Ashleys that serve different kinds of food.
I think the ones in Youido and Gongdeok are the same level, meaning same style of food/prices. Other branches have different levels (I'm not sure what the levels are called) that serve either casual to a more upscale food. Youido and Gongdeok being the higher end.
|Sturdy chairs and tables for hours of dining :)|
Gongdeok branch was a lot fancier. The workers were very professional, dressed in black clean attire. Almost felt like I was in a restaurant than a buffet. They walk around with wet napkins and make sure plates are taken away as soon as possible. It also seats a lot of people to accommodate the "salary men crowd" in Gongdeok. We went there on a Tuesday night and it was FULL. The interior is classy and clean. I loved the hanging pots on the ceiling. The food also tasted slightly better than the one in Youido. Btw, you will rarely see a "dry" food sitting out at the bar.
If you had to ask whether to choose from VIPS or ASHLEY buffet. Easily, Ashley hands down. I just love their freshly grounded coffee and desserts at the end :) You can't have good food without a good finish~AKA dessert.
|Cheesecake and chocolate cake|
Korean buffets are definitely different from the ones at home (US). The buffet chains here mean business, good food and service. You will most likely get a pretty decent food/service from most of the chain buffets here. Although beware of areas like Myungdong and Hongdae, I hear their VIPS restaurants are not so good over those areas.
|self serve coffee w fresh beans - very good!|
If you really want to experience a good Korean buffet, come to the one in Gongdeok or Youido. You will easily easily easily spend 2 hours here. We spend about 2.5 - 3 hrs in between eating the main dishes / desserts / coffee / main dishes / fruit / desserts / coffee. And it's all so relaxing~~ :D
|All you can drink red/white wine|
***I apologize for the "half eaten" plates of photos~ ^^
DIRECTIONS: Gongdeok station, exit 3. Keep walking(about 2 blocks or 3mins) until you see a big blue man statue on your left. Pass the statue but don't walk beyond the end of block, and you will see steps to the restaurants on your left (B1 floor).