Our theatre company has made the short hop, skip and jump down to Cheonan this weekend and so I'm trying to fit in as many culinary delights as possible. Tonight thanks to the very useful Cheonan Where To Eat site, run by Jackie Bolen from Just Wandering, we were able to track down a very interesting little Italian restaurant near the Cheonan Bus Terminal.
Dono Marco is an odd looking place, seating only about twenty or so in a very stark white room filled with old racing posters and greenery. They offer the usual range of pastas, pizzas and risottos and tonight our merry group of thespians needed some cheesy goodness to brighten our evening. Three of us chose the "Baked Lasagne with meat sauce Bolognese"(12,000 won), one chose the "Spinach Fettucine with Salmon" (12,000 won) and the final member of our party selected the "Linguine with crab and broccoli". We also ordered a plate of cheese sticks for 7,000 won.
First out were some rather uninspiring salads, not too bad for a free little extra, but nothing to write home about.
The garlic bread, on the other hand, was a refreshing surprise. There was no hint of sugar in these buttery chunks of garlicky goodness. A much higher quality of garlic bread than almost all of the Italian restaurants I've tried in Korea.
Then came the cheese sticks...
One of my bugbears with Korean attempts at Italian cuisine is the need to squirt balsamic vinegar on or around my food. Vinegar has its places, but on top of cheese sticks is not one of them. The sticks themselves were perfectly cooked and wonderfully gooey, but the overpowering balsamic stole the cheese's thunder and turned a naughty little appetizer into a depressing brown mess.
Fortunately there were no sour notes in the main courses. The lasagnes were incredibly cheesy and more than a little reminiscent of the oft found "oven spaghetti", but were tasty enough.
A generous portion of crab meat topped this creamy dish...
And large chunks of fresh salmon adorned the other...
Both cream pastas were well received and gobbled down to the last strand.
I couldn't resist trying Dono Marco's special dessert, a Basil sorbet for only 3,000 won. I've not had one before and I was impressed with this sweet and peppery sherbet. The Basil held its own, but worked well with the sweetness of the dish.
Dono Marco's is worth visiting if only for the excellent garlic bread and basil sorbet, just stay away from the cheese sticks... To get to this little Italian gem go down the alley way next to Dunkin Donuts opposite the Cheonan Bus Terminal and head up the hill. Dono Marco is about three minutes walk away on the right hand side. You can call them on 041 553 4554.