Mitaniya: Eating in Seoul's "Little Tokyo"

Ichon-dong (이촌동) may be deemed Seoul's "Little Tokyo," but the name's a bit deceiving. Sure, there's a Japanese mini-mart or two, and even a few signs in Hiragana, but if you're really expecting, well, a smaller version of Tokyo, you won't find it here (as I discovered my first time around.) Rather, Ichon-dong is quiet, filled with residential high rises and a few smart looking cafes. And if you take a close enough look, you're bound to find some good eats. After hearing about Mitaniya (02-797-4060), a small Japanese restaurant in the basement of the Samik Shopping Mall, I went with 4 other pals (from Japan) to find it, and see if it'd pass the test.

I have to say, they were quite pleased upon receiving the menu alone, seeing that it was 4 pages long, and in Japanese (of course, with Korean descriptions). It took us a while to figure out a plan, but as soon as the neighboring table's plates arrived, everyone confirmed their decision - the curry and tonkatsu looked, smelled - and we soon discovered - tasted pretty damn good. (I, on the other hand, opted for the kitsune udon, which was perfectly cooked in a mild, refreshing broth.) Overall, Mitaniya gets a thumbs up - a satisfactory, no-frills place to satiate your non-Koreanized, Japanese meal needs.

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