Location: Dunsan, Daejeon (Timeworld Galleria)
How To Get There: Get off at City Hall Station, Exit 3. Walk straight down the street for about 20 minutes until you hit Timeworld Galleria. Vatos Express is located on the 11th floor in the food court.
A few months back, Timeworld Galleria remodeled and added a new food court to the 11th floor of the department store. The big news was that Butterfinger Pancakes, Vatos, Locos, and D’Buzza were coming to town. I always joked that I wouldn’t move back to Seoul if Vatos or Taco Bell came to town. Since I don’t care to wait in long lines, I waited a few months before going to try out some of the restaurants. First up… VATOS!
Much different from the flagship location in Itaewon, this Vatos was located in a very sterile-looking food court. The actual restaurant in Seoul is dark, trendy, and has a grungy feeling to it. The one at Galleria is strangely located right next to Locos Tacos… two taco joints next to each other? Hmmm. The menu is definitely much smaller since it is an “express” location:
It has all the favorites including kimchi carnita fries and most of the street tacos. My favorite menu item was missing – TAMALES! I chose two basic menu items to do a taste test – kimchi carnita fries and galbi tacos. It took about 10 minutes for my food to arrive. This is much quicker than the times I’ve waited for my food in Seoul. Then again, it was a Monday afternoon in an empty food court…
I took my food to-go since I had work and didn’t want to sit in an empty food court by myself. The galbi tacos were different. It felt like regular beef tacos. I could not taste the “갈비” flavor at all. Also, I notice these char marks on the individual pieces of meat. The galbi short rib meat I remember from Seoul was super flavorful. The one in Daejeon was drier and lacked any hint of galbi marinade. The kimchi carnita fries were on point. They were exactly what they needed to be. Overall, I think it’s pretty cool that Daejeon now has Vatos. I always bragged about my trips to Seoul because it was a chance for me to eat at Vatos. It’s a good place to get my taco fix… but, I still prefer the actual restaurant in Seoul. The menu has more variety and the ambiance is much better.