** Update 8/12/2011: Macro Cafe is officially Closed! :(
There are few times in all my restaurant and cafe-hopping in Korea where I feel that a place is truly special. I’m not exactly a gourmet foodie critic (give me plain rice, gim, and kimchi and I’m one happy camper), however, I think I’ve been to enough eateries here that I can recognize when one stands out above the others. And that ‘one’ is Macro Cafe.
This restaurant has been on my list of places to check out for the loooongest time, but I kept putting it off because, well, it’s very out-of-the-way. It’s not even within Seoul! And truth be told, I couldn’t be bothered to try to figure out the complicated directions on my own. But lucky for me, Eunpah, a Korean blogger-friend, offered to take me. Yay, a personal guide!
Getting there was like going on a mini adventure. We first met up at Gangnam Station, where we then caught one of those special red commuter buses and went for a 30-minute ride to a remote town just outside of Seoul. Once we arrived at the right stop, it was a 5-minute walk to Macro. Total travel time from my house: 1hour, 30 minutes. My stomach was growling by the time we arrived!
Before I talk about the restaurant, something has to be said about the neighborhood BangSong-Dong. Getting off the bus was like stepping into some weird twilight zone. The entire town is very new, and it all looks like a fake, toy village. All the buildings are new, modern, and almost too clean, and the streets are also eerily empty and calm. I had to question whether I was still in Korea.
Once I was able to pull myself away from ogling all the baked goods, it was time to order lunch! Although everything on the menu looked and sounded pretty incredible, it wasn’t difficult to decide what we both wanted:
In my humble opinion, this is the best vegan burger in Korea. Hands down. Sorry ‘Honest Loving Hut’, but your burgers just got pwned. The wholewheat bun (baked in-store) was incredibly soft- it pretty much just melted in my mouth, and it had a nice little crunchiness from the black sesame seeds. As for the patty, I think it was made of beans, but I’m not sure… who cares, really. It was good. Even though it was slightly on the mushier side, I can’t imagine it being any other way. It was thick, soft, non-greasy, and very filling. It had an ever so slight bitterness which was complemented with some deliciously sweet bbq sauce. Oh, and as if that weren’t delicious enough, on top of that, there was some kind of cheezy shmear. Again, I have no idea how they made it or what was in it, but it took the burger to a new stratosphere of yum!!
Open wide! Okay, I’m probably raving about this burger a bit too much, and someone else might go there and not feel the same way, but really, I don’t think I’ll ever order any thing else on the menu. This burger is craveable on all counts, and it makes me want to move and set up a tent right next to the restaurant.
If you haven’t yet been to Macro, you absolutely must make the pilgrimage there because ohmyword, if there were ever a reason to trek 1:30 hours for a meal, this would be it. I know I have a bad habit of over-hyping a lot of veg-friendly restaurants, but this time, I’m not exaggerating when I say that I love Macro.
Directions to Macro Cafe from Gangnam Station:
Gangnam Station, Line 2. Walk straight out of exit 3. When you get to the first cross-walk along the main Gangnam street, cross the road half-way, so that you’re at the bus stop in the middle of the street. Catch the M4403 bus (should come every 5-10 minutes). The ride will be about 30 minutes. Get off at 한빛마을 석우중학교 (‘Han-bit Ma-eul Suk-woo Middle School’). When you get off the bus, you will see a curved overpass up ahead of you. Turn to your right and cross the road, and take the road into the apartment complex. Follow the curvy path and you will pass an elementary school on your right. Keep walking til you reach a street. Cross the road and immediately turn left. Walk about 50 meters, and Cafe Macro will be on your right. About a 5-7 minute walk from the bus stop.
Here is a crude map for your viewing pleasure…
경기도 화성시 동탄신도시 반송동 22-5 103호
Cafe hours: 12-10pm
Lunch service: 12-3pm
Dinner service: 5-9pm
Closed on Sundays
*Important Note: if you’re going for dinner, you must make a reservation.