I apologize for being a bit slack with the restaurant reviews here lately. It’s been long overdue that I post on one of the classic tourist restaurants in Gyeongju: Dosol Maeul (도솔 마을). And, unlike a lot of over-hyped tourist restaurants around here, Dosol Maeul is well deserving of its reputation.
Literally meaning “Stone Pot Village,” Dosol Maeul is located in a lovely “hanok” (한옥) style home and walking through its gates is almost like stepping back in time. You’re often greeted by the warmth of a fire burning in the courtyard. Antiques and farm tools hang on the surrounding traditional buildings where guests dine and, in the summer months, you can eat outside on platforms and soak up the ambiance. Dosol Maeul has expanded over the past several years and the new overflow dining rooms in the back include one with tables and chairs, which is great for westerners with an aversion to sitting on the floor.
If you come here for the atmosphere, then you’ll definitely stay for the food. Dosol Maeul serves “han jeongshik” (한정식), or a full course Korean meal, for 8,000 won a person. The owners defy this regions poor culinary reputation by bringing out wave after wave of delicious dishes and “banchan”, or sides. There are, of course, the requisite varieties of kimchi, pickled veggies and spicy seafood dishes, plus several delicious servings of soups, stews and fried fish. My favorites though are the spicy chicken stew and the dubu (두부), or tofu, wrapped in pickled cabbage leaves. Don’t be shy about asking for seconds (or thirds) of the dishes you like.
If you’re with more than a few people, I’d also recommend ordering the additional mixed tempura plate, or “modeum jeon” (모듬전). It’s big wicker platter of fried tofu, veggies and fish for about 15,000 won and adds a bit of variety to the meal. Of course, after a long day of site-seeing, it all goes down well with a pot of sweet and milky “dongdong ju” (동동주), or Korean rice wine.
Dosol Maeul is located smack in the middle of central Gyeongju and is an easy walk from downtown, or any of the central tourist sites in the city. In fact, it’s literally next to the eastern wall of the Daereundwon Tombs Park, just a block down from Sarangchae Guest House. To get there from the Daereungwon south gate and parking lot, face the gate, turn left and follow the road along the outside wall of the park. Pass Sunghyejone Confucian Shrine, then the back wall of Sarangchae Guest House, and Dosol Maeul will soon be on your left.
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Or, if you’re not so sure about your ability to navigate the back streets of Gyeongju, just give a taxi driver a copy of their card below: