Do you love donkas (돈가스), ribs and steak? Do you like interestingly shaped restaurants with a Korean historical twist? If you answered 'yes' to both of these questions then a visit to
Jeonju's turtle ship restaurant is for you! Located in a city known throughout Korea for its excellent Korean cuisine (some say the best in the land), the restaurant is a very large stones throw from the main bus terminal and is adorned with a statue of the famed Korean gastronome, admiral Yi Sun Shin. Get yourself down from the big smoke and come and experience the food of the decade. If that decade was the 70's that is.
The reality of the restaurant isn't too far off the sarcastic and slightly critical intro. I have never been a fan of theme bars, pubs orrestaurants as I find the theme is generally to hide something lacking in the establishment. As is the case with the turtle restaurant. If you do ever intend to visit then be sure to ask any taxi driver for 'Turtle restaurant' with the usual Konglish accent as saying the actual name of the famous turtle ship seems to get you nowhere.
The menu is pretty much as I described in the intro and consists of 70's staples like ribs and steaks that all come with a salad and soup starter, which is nice in its own kind of sad way. The seats around the tables take the form of booths but with a sofa either side of each table, making for a slightly uncomfortable dining experience and the carpeted floor was covered with ground in dirt which didn't really add much to the charm of the place, which it was lacking to begin with.
I know the point of the Seoul eats blog is to champion food and to share and share alike all the delicious little places we have discovered and to generally contribute to a Korean food database that will enrich all our lives like good butter does to...well everything. And those reviews and little secrets from Jeonju and the surrounding towns and cities will come but I had to warn anyone that thought, on passing a ship moored on the side of a main road, that they might like to look out of one of the windows whilst simultaneously looking down on admiral Yi and eating a delicious steak (for the steak, ribs and chicken salad were all nicely cooked and not really overpriced) to carry on driving. Don't be fooled by what after all is a replica of a warship that is probably life size given that the actual turtle ship was only around 100 feet long.