Seoul seems to be packed with uniquely hip cafes practically every city’s nook and cranny and, now that South Korea reopens to tourists after two years, there’s no better time to check them out. Here are some of the best cafes in Seoul for all you cafe hoppers to hit up while you’re there.
Viennoiseries is king at this petit cafe-slash-bakery in Seocho-gu, Seoul. It’s a favourite among locals seeking top-quality pastries and coffee. Here, the menu is a true delight, featuring classics such as Chocolate Croissants and Fresh Fruit Danishes, as well as innovative bakes like Yuzu Almond Croissants, Banoffee Pie Danishes and Sesame Twist Pastries. For those with a serious sweet tooth, don’t leave without trying the Canelé, a tiny French pastry flavoured with rum and vanilla, with a soft and custardy centre.
Green Mile Coffee is reminiscent of a Korean past, with its setting overlooking a cluster of well-preserved Hanok villages (traditional Korean houses with iconic tiled roofs and stone structures you’d see on many grand architectural works of Korea’s royal palaces and Buddhist temples).
Here, eat-in diners can take in the peaceful view on the cafe’s rooftop while scarfing down the cafe’s crowd-pleasers: Tiramisu and Green Mile Latte that layers espresso and milk on top of a concentrated green tea.
Stepping into Ongozisin and you’ll instantly feel like you’re in a chashitsu (tea room) somewhere in Japan, thanks to the neat stoneworks, tatami seatings and blond wood furnishings that give the concrete space a simple and rustic feel.
A long counter near the entrance doles out cups of delicate, meticulously-prepared teas of various kinds. Though, if tea isn’t your thing, you can opt for coffee with a few options to choose from. As for desserts, the menu tends to change seasonally. However, you can always expect the cafe’s signature Ongo bread that is filled with three different fillings: sweet corn, black sesame and green tea.
Behind an exposed brick wall of a two-story building in the Yeonnam-dong neighbourhood sits Cafe Layered. The pocket-sized cafe looks like an old English cottage, with an interior adorned with vintage finds and old cookery books.
Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted with a generous assortment of classic British bakes that are jewelled throughout the dining room. Think scones of various flavours and toppings, retro-style cakes, fruit tarts and much more. Besides sweet treats, there are also savoury scones on offer, with toppings like jambon & butter, spring onion cream cheese and pesto.
Sweden Coffee Bjorklands is a cafe that’s slightly unconventional, a little traditional and very charming. It’s not all about fairly dark Swedish coffee and appealing sweet treats; the venue also serves as a library, a shop and an exhibition space.
To resonate with the Scandinavian interior design, the cafe’s decorated in neutral colours, with wood fittings and striking modern furniture, to achieve that minimal and functional aesthetic. It makes a perfect, serene spot, where you can brighten your day with good ambience and good food.