So far, I have learned that Vietnamese restaurants in Korea generally fall into the same aesthetic and offer similar menus. However, Phomantico stands apart from the rest. This restaurant has a unique interior and interesting menu that is sure to pique anyone’s interest.
Romantic at Phomantico
When you walk into a Vietnamese restaurant in Korea, you are generally met with one of two styles. There are cheaper Vietnamese restaurants that have a simple decor and serve Korean favorites like beef Pho. Or, there are the Instagram-ready Vietnamese restaurants with an over-the-top Vietnamese vibe. These places are usually pretty expensive despite having almost identical menus to the cheaper restaurants.
However, at Phomantico, the vibe is completely different. The interior design of this restaurant makes references to Vietnam’s French colonial past. It has a sort of romantic but worn French countryside feel to it. At first glance, you really wouldn’t expect it to be a Vietnamese restaurant. Nevertheless, it is eye-catching.
The Food at Phomantico
Phomantico had a simple but really delicious menu:
- Original beef tenderloin noodle soup for ₩10000
- Beef noodle and tenderloin and brisket for ₩10500
- Beef noodle brisket for ₩10500
- Pineapple fried rice for ₩9500
- BEEF NOODLE SALAD WITH FISH SAUCE FOR ₩10500
- Beef salad with soy sauce for ₩19000
- Chicken wings with soy sauce for ₩19000
- Spicy fried rice fro ₩10500
- Spring rolls for ₩6000
- Egg rolls for ₩7500
- Fried shrimps for ₩9000
- Croquette for ₩5500 or ₩7500
The menu would best be described as Korean-Vietnamese fusion. Although their menu did differ from most Vietnamese restaurants in Korea, I wouldn’t say it had an entirely authentic menu either.
However, everything on the menu looked and smelled delicious. In the case of not knowing what to order, I honestly just wanted to try as much as possible. Phomantico offers food sets for one or two people. So that is what I decided to go with. That way, I could get to try one main dish with some side dishes.
The most popular set for two people was the pineapple fried rice with the original beef tenderloin noodle, accompanied by one spring roll and two egg rolls.
Taste wise, in my opinion, it is really good! The pineapple fried rice came with some shrimp, coconut chips and a flower for decoration. It was a feast for the eyes, but it tasted even better. As for the noodles, I enjoyed the strong lemongrass flavor and the meat was really soft.
One surprise at this restaurant was the sauces. They had two original dipping sauces, one sweet and spicy and the other one that was really spicy. Beware the spicy one! Just a little dot of it and I was red and asking for help. Plus, if you really love their house sauces, you can buy some to take home!
I really enjoyed the unique French-style romantic decor. All of the furniture was natural wood and there was lovely art and flowers decorating the place. Even the menu was made to match the style of the place.
However, a downside of the place is the seating. The separation between you and other customers is little to nothing. Chances are, you will end up sharing the table. But if you don’t mind, it is comfortable and relaxing otherwise.
The place gets packed during rush hours, it is so popular it even has some chairs outside for the waiting line. I recommend getting there with some time before or after rush hour.
Photomantico (포맨티코) Address: 16 Jangjeon-ro 12(sibi)beon-gil, Jangjeon-dong, Geumjeong-gu, Busan Korean Address: 부산 금정구 장전로12번길 16 1층 포맨티코 Operating Hours: 111:30 AM - 08:30 PM Closed: Wednesdays
If you are in Busan and want to try more South East Asian food, be sure to stop by Thaibin! Click Here to learn more about this Thai vacation-themed restaurant on Korea’s southern coast.