City Guide Review: Cafe Gilssalong (Cheonan)

Photos and Review by Neal Singleton, ETA ’12-14

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City: Cheonan (천안)
Restaurant Name: Cafe Gilssalong (카페 길싸롱)
Food Served: Wine, cocktails, and dishes to go with both
Restaurant address: 충청남도 천안시 동남구 신부동 464-7 / 464-7 Sinbu-dong (29 Meokgeori 9-gil) Dongnam-gu, Cheonan, Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea

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Directions: If you are at the Cheonan Bus Terminal/Shinsaegae Department Store, look for the giant flower statue and cross the street at that crosswalk. Once across, go left along the main road. Take the first road on your right; there is a Baskin Robbins on the corner. If you get to the major intersection, you’ve gone too far. Once you turn at the Baskin Robbins, walk three blocks. You’ll pass a Cafe Bene, a small park area, and an Angel-in-us Cafe. Take your third left and go straight for a bit. You will pass the Art Cafe on the right side of the road, and the Gilssalong Cafe will be on the left just past it. Look for a unicorn.
Cost: Wine: ₩10,000-50,000. Entrees: ₩10,000-30,000
Payment: Cash or credit card

Also referred to as the wine bar by some, Cafe Gilssalong is located in the constantly bustling area across the street from the bus terminal and Shinsaegae. With that in mind, if you’re going on a weekend night, there is a real possibility that there will not be any tables free when you arrive. There is floor and chair seating available. Among the floor seating, some of the tables are dimly lit. It’s a great atmosphere for a date or a group get-together. The music isn’t obnoxiously loud and the service is great, although the waiting staff don’t really speak English. Men have to walk outside and use a stairwell bathroom adjacent to the restaurant which isn’t the cleanest, but women have a bathroom inside (that I can’t vouch for).

I’ve only ever gotten the cheaper wine, but they have several different wines that run the gamut…dry or sweet, cheap or expensive, so if you’re a wine kind of person, you can find something that you’ll like. The menu lists the various details of each wine so you know more or less what you’ll get as far as taste goes. They also offer several cocktails: White Russians, Long Island Iced Tea, etc.

The only entree I’ve ordered (both times, because it was so good) is labelled as “Many Kinds Cheese” on the menu and costs around ₩28,000. It’s expensive, but they bring out three platters of food, each successively larger. The last of these is a wooden cutting board covered with several different cheeses, crackers, bits of salami, a few cherry tomatoes, and real flowers. There is also a melted cheese and cherry tomato dish with some fruits on the side (pineapple and pear). Everything is absolutely delicious.

This isn’t the kind of cafe that you would want to bring a book to or lesson plan in, but if you want to meet up with some friends or take that special someone on a date, it’s a wonderful place to sit down and relax for a while with some good food and your favorite wine or cocktail. Check out the random graffiti and art scattered around the place while you’re there.