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DAEGU, South Korea — Daegu’s downtown district can be overwhelming for a hungry diner, and downright intimidating for anyone trying to impress a first date.

There’s plenty of street food for the adventurous, coffee shops for the conventional and the basement of the Shinsegae Department Store for those who want to sample Korean foods without having to pay.

And, of course, it’s easy to be lured in by the familiar, namely the bright green and white signs indicating the Bennigan’s on the second floor across from Shinsegae.

But we’re in Korea, right? So why not try the dish that Koreans crave more than Americans crave hot wings at halftime? If you’ve been in Korea for two weeks you know I’m talking about spaghetti and pizza.

Italian eateries abound in this little downtown area, and I found one recently that offered hearty portions at cheap prices, all under soft lights at tables for two.

Little Italya offers about a dozen spaghetti entrees, all in medium or large sizes, ranging from 4,500 won to 10,000 won, or about $4.75 to $10.53. Salad is only 500 won, 53 cents, and garlic bread 1,000 won, $1.05.

Some dishes you’ll recognize — meat sauce, tomato sauce, pesto, alfredo, olive oil with chili and garlic. But some are a bit different — cream and cheese sauce, or, more daring, tuna and cream sauce. My favorite menu listing was the very honest pasta simply labeled “Korean style,” which I assume comes with fiery red gravy.

I settled for the olive oil with chili and garlic, which was light on chili but heavy on garlic. It was more than I could eat for less than $6, so I couldn’t complain.

The menu also offers pizza, most pies for 12,000 won, or $12.64. Yes, there’s the option of corn as a topping, but you can also pick from sausage, peppers, olives, mushrooms and fresh garlic.

I will admit that while I ate dinner at about 6 p.m., most of the tables were filled with young women, girlfriends meeting after work. But as I left I saw three separate couples walk in and order wine.

So it might be those cheap eats you’re looking for with that special someone. And, yes, my spaghetti did come with a side of pickles, but when in Korea, why not?

See previous After Hours reviews here.

Little Italya

Prices: Food runs from 5,000 to 12,000 won; drinks 1,000 won to 4,000 won.

Specialties: Spaghetti pasta, pizza.

English menu: Yes.

Dress: Casual.

Clientele: Small date place, also good for casual lunch with friends.

Location: Take a taxi to the Shinsegae Department Store in downtown Daegu. This will deposit you at the intersection of five alleys. Walk down the alley with the Body Shop on one side and the Bean Pole store on the other. Turn left at the first alleyway and Little Italya will be on the left, first flow.

Web site: None.

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