I hardly ever go to Dongdaemun (동대문 / 東大門) area. If I do, it is for two reasons only: (1) when my Asian female friends visit Korea, most of them choose to stay in that area; (2) Russian food! …and booze.
Gostiniy Dvor is a Russian restaurant that was recommended by an ex-colleague of mine who is Russian-Canadian. According to him, it is one of the few restaurants in Seoul that serve authentic Russian cuisine. Unlike most foreign restaurants in Itaewon, the prices here are VERY reasonable.
Gostiniy Dvor is located in “Little Russia.” The area is located south of Dongdaemun Market (동대문종합시장) and is home to a large population of migrants from Central Asian nations particularly Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
HOW DO I GET THERE?
You can take the subway (lines 2, 4, and 5) to Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station. Go to exit 7. Make sure that you do NOT walk out of the station just yet. If you take line 5, it should be a 5 to 7-minute walk. As for lines 2 and 4, it’s probably a 15-minute walk.
Once you’re at exit 7, make a U-turn.
Go straight for about 50 meters, and you should be able to see a “Russian mart” on your left. Gostiniy Dvor is on the second floor.
Walk up the tiny staircase next to the Russian mart. The first thing you'll see is a big flat screen TV above the staircase. Gostiniy Dvor may remind you of your grandmother’s living room. It’s small but has a warm feeling to it. The lady that served us spoke very little English, and some Korean. Bonus: They have English menus.
As soon as my buddy and I sat down, we each ordered a beer. He ordered a Baltika #4, which is a dark lager and is pleasant as a starter beer. If you like the type of beer that is loaded with good caramel malt, then this would be a great choice. (₩ 5,000 for 1 bottle of beer)
We shared a bowl of Solyanka, it is also known as the “Russian pizza soup.” A mix of beef, sausage, black olives, tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, two slices of lemon, and sour cream gives this soup a refreshing flavor with a classic sweet after taste.
For the main dish, we both ordered beef stroganoff (₩ 10,000). For the side, you can choose to have mashed potatoes or fries. This is a dish of sautéed pieces of beef served in a creamy brown sauce. Heaven!
Of course, we had to order more beers to go with the scrumptious food. My buddy prefers lighter lagers, so he went with a #3.
Later, a #7.
Later, a #7.
I had a #9, then a #4. If you like stronger beers, you may want to try #9.