With a name like 생선 대가리 – Fish Head, in English – this small restaurant in a back alley of Seomyeon might not seem like the best dinner pick. However, the English name is a bit deceiving, as fish heads are not on the menu. Provided you like seafood, you might find that Fish Head actually has quite a lot to offer in both taste and its laid-back atmosphere.
Owner Jang Jinho used to run an Italian restaurant at the same location, but recently reopened the restaurant as a more laid-back beer and fish joint. In fact, Fish Head is so laid-back that guests can write and draw on the walls, which are layered with newspaper, while they wait for their food. Jang runs Fish Head almost single-handedly, waiting tables and doing all of the cooking by himself. He does have a little bit of help, though.
Meet Pasuni, the butler cat. Every day, without fail, Pasuni dons a bowtie and lounges about the restaurant, taking sporadic breaks from his arduous day of napping to welcome customers and stare wistfully at their table as they eat delicious grilled mackerel. While Pasuni’s life might seem exceedingly easy, it has its challenges: Jang didn’t realize the kitten was a male when he first got him, so he gave him the girl-cat’s name Pasuni. By the time Jang realized his mistake, the name had already taken and it was too late. On top of that, Jang’s Valentine’s Day gift to Pasuni one year was to have him neutered. Understandably, Pasuni was not impressed.
With only about six or seven dishes available, the menu at Fish Head is not extensive. That said, the grilled fish is delicious. Both the 고등어구이 (grilled mackerel) and 모듬생선구이 (assorted grilled fish) are highly recommended. Jang cooks the fish on a grill outside the restaurant so that it is perfectly crispy on the outside, and he doesn’t add unnecessary oil so, unlike other fish dishes in Korea, it’s never greasy. Fish Head doesn’t normally open on weekdays until about 8 PM, but if you’ve got a late-night appetite for seafood and drinks, then stop by Fish Head for a bite to eat – the only restaurant in Korea with a cat butler.
Directions: From Seomyeon Station exit 2, take the first left (you’ll see a women’s swimsuit/ dance costume store). Walk straight ahead and take the slight left at the convenience store. From there, take the first right (you’ll see a secondhand clothing shop) and walk straight to the end of the street. You’ll find yourself on the same street as The Spot, with the Soph clothing store straight ahead. Take the alley just to the right of Soph. Take the first right in the alley, just before the giant wooden statue of a penis on the left (and no, this is not a joke). Fish Head is a few buildings down on the left side (look for the생선 대가리 sign).
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