There are sushi lovers, and then there are sushi buffet lovers. Hidden away between Gangnam Station and Yeoksam Station is Makino Chaya, a decently-priced seafood buffet offering a wide array of fresh and cooked seafood and non-seafood items.
I was pleasantly surprised by the restaurants decor and setup. Once we were escorted to our seats, it was game on. In terms of food items, I’d have to say Makino Chaya wasn’t that far off from places like Todai, which most of us have frequented once or twice. But for a slightly more expensive buffet, I was hoping to see something different. One thing I did notice that was different from other Seafood buffets was the large selection of traditional Korean food items. In fact they had a whole section dedicated to just that. Was I thrilled? Well, let’s just say they had three different kinds of Makeoli. Something you don’t normally see included in the buffet price — alcohol.
But if you do want wine, beer or sake, expect to pay a little more than what you would normally. 5,500won gets you 330ml (a small glass) of Asahi beer on tap.
I didn’t see any crab legs on the menu. I’m not sure if Makino Chaya offers them or if they hide them away like they do at Todai. Regardless, I was expecting to eat crab, but went home disappointed.
Getting a table on a Sunday afternoon wasn’t difficult. We didn’t need a reservation but I suggest you get there earlier in the evening and reserve plenty of time to get your “rounds” in since the kitchen will stop preparing food at around 7:45pm.
There are two Makino Chaya branches, but I suggest the one near Gangnam Station for you train commuters. From there, Makino Chaya is about 150m once you get out of Gangnam Station Exit 1. You have to turn into a smaller street off of Teheran Blvd but once you do, the restaurant is easy to spot. Makino Chaya also, conveniently offers valet service for those of you who prefer to drive.