Hi! If you don’t know me already, let me tell you I can write and talk about coffee and cafes for hours. And if you are looking for the best cafes in Seoul and/or the best coffee in the city, you have landed on the right page.
That’s because in early 2021 I plunged into Seoul’s coffee scene and maybe the first thing I ever googled about the city was “where can I find the best coffee in Seoul?”. Since the results weren’t satisfying, I decided to try as many places as I can and to write my own comprehensive guide.
As friends might say, I’m a coffee snob, and I have certain types of coffee that I truly enjoy. That being said, Seoul is a bit different when it comes to coffee and cafes, and I’ll explain why.
Cafes and coffee in Seoul: what should you know?
Before we left Hong Kong and moved to Seoul, one of my friends told me I will love it there because they have thousands of cafes.
I had visited during winter some a few years before, but I couldn’t really remember seeing so many cafes. But I guess I was focused on sightseeing and not as much on cafes.
After we moved to Seoul I understood really quickly that there are 3 types of cafes in town:
- The Instagrammable cafes where you mostly go to for the picture, not so much for the coffee. These are some of the most popular places in town, they show up like mushrooms after the rain and if you try to visit shortly after they are open you might find it challenging even during the week.
- The chain cafes – a Twosome Place, Ediya Coffee, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Cafe, Pascucci, Angel-in-us Coffee, Hollys Coffee, only to name a few. Here you will find so-and-so coffee, at a more reasonable price, together with cake and other pastries. Most of these places also have larger spaces and free internet so that people can come and hang out. Pretty much like Starbucks.
- The cafes with single origin coffee where coffee lovers go. These are pretty much my kind of places. Most of them have an interesting interior design, they are not huge cafes, in some places you can even go to work or just to hang out with your friends. But one thing is sure, you go there for the coffee and nothing else! Most places have something sweet, but don’t usually offer cakes or food.
Since you have now been introduced to the 3 types of cafes in Seoul, let me tell you it is sometimes difficult to know where you are going before you get there. Of course, you will always know that if a cafe is popular for its Instagram charm, coffee won’t be the best.
That’s why I have decided to split this post into 2 sections and guide you through the Instagrammable cafes in Seoul but also help you choose the best coffee in Seoul.
The best cafes in Seoul – Instagrammable cafes in Seoul
As mentioned before, these are mostly Instagram-worthy cafes, mainly because of the interior design, but also because the food can be Instagrammable.
At this kind of cafe, you will find food – mainly “westerner” type of food such as pizza, pasta, or some kind of brunch option. Cakes and sweets will always be an option, even though the taste won’t be as you might expect it.
All neighborhoods have their own cafe streets or areas, but there are some places more popular than others such as Yeonnam-dong, Yeonhui, Gangnam, Hongdae, Buamdong, and others.
Cafe Colline in Hongdae
We went there during the hydrangea season because I absolutely love these flowers and this cafe is well-known especially for this: flowers.
As you step inside its garden you feel like in any flower lover’s paradise, and they even change them based on the season and seasonality.
They have a flowers shop as well, and you can go home (or back to your hotel) with some flowers to make your room joyful.
Food and coffee were not really my favorite, even though I must admit it really looked delicious and Instagrammable. However, everything was sweet even though I got an omelet and some sausage, the french bread had sugar on it and it made everything taste sweet.
The good thing about this place is that it has been around for some time and you won’t have any difficulties in finding a table.
How to find it on Naver: 콜린
Address: 서울특별시 마포구 서교동 어울마당로 45-1 (45-1 Eoulmadang-ro, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul) – walking distance from both Hongik University and Sangsu Subway Station.
See on Instagram here.
The Royal Food and Drink in Yongsan
Another cafe that is not about the coffee but about the area and views. Located in Itaewon, there’s no wonder this place is so popular with expats and tourists.
Getting to the top of the terrace is not a breeze because of the small stairs, but the view will be rewarding enough.
It is also worth knowing that the table you see in all of the pictures is only for that: take your picture and move to a different place inside the cafe.
While we didn’t have coffee there, the food was delicious and they have a few options for vegetarians as well – such a rare thing in South Korea.
Address: 406-58, Huam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 1F (서울특별시 용산구 신흥로20길 37 1F)
See it on Instagram here.
Greem Cafe – 연남동 223-14 (Yeonnam 223 Cafe)
When I first visited Seoul for 3 days as a tourist on a cold December, this place was high on my list of things to see in the city. It wasn’t easy to find it because the cafe had moved its location and the taxi driver took us to the previous place, since they haven’t updated the address on Instagram.
A few minutes later and after getting a bit lost on the streets of Yeonnam-dong we finally managed to find it.
However, the place had a huge line in front (mostly tourists and foreigners) and we couldn’t get in since we only had limited time on our hands.
Fast forward to one year and a half later, I went during the week just after the place opened and was one of the few customers inside.
The interior of this place is quite unique and interesting – designed to look 2D, and I could easily understand why so many people would wait in line for hours to get inside. However, drinks and food weren’t incredible and you could only take pictures after you bought something.
You can choose from coffee, ade (the Korean sweet type of lemonade), frape, fruit juice, and some sandwiches or sweets.
How to find it in Naver: 연남동 223-14
Address: 서울 마포구 성미산로 161-10 그림카페
Find it on Instagram here.
Opening hours: 12 – 21
Happy Bear Day Cafe in Hapjeong
In between Hongik University and Hapjeong Subway Station on a hidden street, we found this very colorful cafe.
Best known for its beautifully decorated cakes, this place attracts color-loving people alike. The whole building is a splash of color, both on the outside and on the inside.
When we went there on a weekday it wasn’t crowded at all, and because it was rather cold outside nobody was standing on the terrace.
The cake was nice, and the coffee was ok, but I think this place can easily be part of the Instagrammable cafes in Seoul.
How to find it on Naver: 해피베어데이
Address: 16-6 Yanghwa-ro 12-gil, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu | In Korean: 양화로12길 16-6 입니다
See it on Instagram here.
Cafe Layered – several locations around Seoul
In full honesty, I haven’t been to this place but have passed by it several times. With so many cafes around town, it is hard to try them all.
However, this couldn’t be skipped from any list of the best cafes in Seoul. It has a girly interior and design, plenty of great-looking pastries, and no matter the location, it was always full every time I’ve passed it by.
It is for sure one of the popular cafes both with locals and with tourists alike.
Addresses: Layered Yeonnam – 223-20 Yeonnam-dong
Layered Bukchon – 2-3 Bukchon-ro 2-gil
Layered Hyundai Department Store – inside one of the most popular shopping mall located in Yeoeuido.
See it on Instagram here.
StyleNanda Pink Hotel and Pink Pool Cafe
Tucked away on a narrow street in the heart of Myeongdong, this place used to be one of the most popular cafes in Seoul. Every girl traveling to Seoul would end up one way or another in the land of cosmetics, Myeongdong.
That’s why, the location and the design of this pink cafe were a great choice.
Undoutebly, these are some of the most popular cafes in Seoul, and if you have been researching things to do and see, StyleNanda cafe has poped up for sure until now.
It is worth knowing that StyleNanda has 2 different cafes located miles from each other:
- the Pink Hotel Cafe in Myeongdong – in small narrow building, on top of their shop, with a beautiful rooftop terrace. How to find it on Naver: 스타일난다 핑크호텔 | Address in Korean: 서울 중구 명동8길 37-8 (우)04536
- the Pink Pool Cafe in Hongdae – with a unique design, a must-see in the city. How to find it on Naver: 스타일난다 홍대플래그쉽스토어 | Address in Korean: 서울 마포구 와우산로29다길 23 (우)04053
Find the official Instagram account here.
Cafe Mamma Mia in Apgujeong
Once the hot spot of Apgujeong, Cafe Mamma Mia will remain one of the places that draws girls to the area.
With a pink exterior and a girly interior, colorful and tasty cakes, brunches, and coffee, anyone could easily understand why.
How to find it on Naver: 도산공원 카페 맘마미아
Address: 압구정로 42길 45
Find them on Instagram here.
The cafe at Ader Error Flagship store in Seongsu
Ok, let’s not talk about the fashion available at this store, because I’m obviously not an expert and the Korean brand is not my cup of tea.
However, a visit to their flagship store in Seongsu should be a must because the interior is amazingly cool. On top of that, on the last floor, they have a pretty cool cafe and a rooftop terrace.
Coffee was surprisingly strong and good, and the interior design is something else. Torn from a Wes Anderson movie, you will have coffee next to colorful beds. Oh, and the lamps have wigs.
Address: 82 Seongsui-ro, Seongdong-gu
Melting Pom in Dongdaemun
Ok, this place! I haven’t said a thing about the cat cafes in Seoul – there are literally tens of them and I’ve been to a few myself.
But this place is a pink cafe, where you get to sit on a bed, sip out of your coffee, and play with pomeranian dogs.
Yes, you read that right!
As with any animal cafe, make sure to bring socks with you, because you will need to take off your shoes.
Address: 서울 동대문구 천장산로7길 10-3 지하 | 264-410, Imun-dong, Dongdaemun-gu
Find them on Instagram here.
The Innisfree Flagship Store Green Cafe in Myeongdong
Innisfree is one of the largest skincare brands in South Korea, and you will find their stores everywhere around town. However, the largest one is their flagship store in Myeongdong, right across the street from Zara.
Apart from the large variety of skincare products and great offers, they also have a cafe on the 2nd level. Inspired by nature, with a clean design and a great atmosphere, they offer mainly sweets, fresh juice and tea, but also coffee.
Because of its central location, the place opens at 9 AM and closes at 11 PM.
Address: 64-2 Myeongdong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu | 서울특별시 중구 명동길 13 2-3F
Dear Dahlia Flagship Store Cafe in Dosan
On top of the Dear Dahlia Flagship store next to Dosan park in Gangnam, this cafe is pink, girly, and packed with makeup.
I loved the sparkling interior, the cool lipstick panel in the women’s bathroom, but mostly the big window and the tables with a view.
As I was there a few minutes after they opened, I was lucky to get the best table and enjoy the view. I also thought to myself that the ginko tree in front of the window will offer a stunning view during fall in Seoul.
I chose a mushroom sandwich and it was pretty decent, with the closest bread I got to the one back home. However, coffee was not my thing.
The cafe is perfectly located in a hip area, close to cosmetic stores, big brands, and the Han River.
Address: 14, Dosan-daero 45-gil, Gangnam-gu
See them on Instagram here.
Adela Bailey in Jogno
Even though this place is actually a restaurant, they also have a cafe area and a wonderful garden with a view.
We would love to drive here during the weekend and spend a few hours in the tranquil garden, with a cup of coffee and a mile feuille cake.
Set up on the Bugaksan Mountain, from here you will have a breathtaking view over the city. It is worth knowing that most people come here by car, and it might be a bit tricky, yet not impossible, to get here by public transportation.
Address: 48 Bugaksan-ro, Jongno-gu
The Floating Hangang River Starbucks
One of the newest Instagrammable cafes in town, the floating Hangang Starbucks is set right on the river that diveds Seoul in 2.
Even though the cafe is not big, you must come here for the stunning view it offers both over the river and the Namsan Mountain.
While I’m not usually a Starbucks fan, I still had to go because I must admit the location is one-of-a-kind.
Address: 145-35 Jamwon-ro, Seocho-gu
Opening hours: 8 AM until 10 PM
Where to go for the best coffee in Seoul
If you’ve come this far, I’m glad you did it because I’ve saved the best for last.
As I’ve said before, I’m a coffee snob and coming from Hong Kong where the coffee culture is strong, I couldn’t leave Seoul without finding good coffee.
I also know that not everyone is as picky as I am, and it is also a matter of taste, but here are my favorite places with great coffee in Seoul.
Tailor Coffee – various locations
My all-time number 1 favorite coffee in Seoul!
The coffee is strong, and you can choose from various types and origins. I always go for the flat white Purple Rain and I also used to get it for home.
The cafe in Yeonnam-dong is my favorite, just make sure to go during the week because it can get really crowded during the weekend, especially after lunch.
Because of its popularity, you will see the place is hosted in 2 buildings one next to the other. One has a more cozy vibe, while the other has tables on the second floor only.
As you would expect from such a cafe, they don’t serve food, and you can only choose between a few sweets.
They have another open-space location in the Hyundai Department Store in Yeouido. This place was always crowded when I visited, and almost impossible to find a table. I would take a coffee to go and would drink it by the Han River in the Hangang Park.
Gangnam: 521-17, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 1F | 서울특별시 강남구 강남대로160길 31 1F Opening hours: 10 – 23
Hongade: 224-41, Yeonnam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul 1F | 서울특별시 마포구 성미산로 189 1F. Opening hours: 12 – 23
Yeouido: 22, Yeouido-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul The Hyundai Seoul B1 Opening hours: 10:30 – 23
Onion Cafe Anguk
Set in a hanok traditional building, in the heart of the city, we would often take the bus and go here for the atmosphere and the great coffee.
Its interior is minimalistic and you will have to take off your shoes if you want to sit inside, but they also have a few tables outside.
I would always go for the flat white (yes, I almost never take anything else) no matter the season, but they do also the traditional ice coffee Koreans love so much.
Additionally, they have lots of sweets to choose from, and a few savory pastry.
Just make sure to go as early as you can, because this is another popular place where you will find it hard to find a table.
Address: Gyedong-gil 5, Jongno-gu
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 7AM-10PM, Sat & Sun 9AM-10PM
Coffee Nap Roasters in Yeonnam-dong
A very small coffee place in a unique building on a small corner in between houses in Yeonnam-dong. This place was almost walking distance to our place, so I would go there often because I really enjoyed their coffee.
They are pet friendly, in a quite area, and bake cookies you can smell as you approach. Their chairs aren’t the most comfortable, but the interior is unique and interesting with a small hill made of 7000 bricks.
Address: 453-32 Yeonnam-ro, Yeonnam-dong, Mapo-gu
Opening hours: 9 – 22
Deep Blue Lake Cafe in Mangwon-dong
In a blue building right next to the Mangwon Market and minutes away from the Mangwon subway station, you will find this great cafe.
People here have a love for coffee and you can even see how they roast their beans as soon as you enter the place. Since it is a popular cafe, sometimes you might have to wait a bit for your coffee, but it will be all worth it!
They have 3 floors where you can sit back and enjoy your coffee.
Address: 9 Poeun-ro 6-gil, Mangwon-dong
Opening hours: 11 – 21:30
Anthracite Coffee Seogyo in Mangwon-dong
Another great cafe close to the Mangwon subway station, where you can choose from different types of beans.
The building looks like it isn’t finished yet, but its garden is typically Korean – a tranquility oasis.
The big windows let just the right amount of sun in for this place to be one of the coziest in town. Come here after you have eaten, because they only serve sweets and coffee.
How ro find it on Naver: 앤트러사이트 서교점
Address: 서울 마포구 월드컵로12길 11
Opening hours: 9 – 23, only during weekdays
Greyt Coffee next to Seoul Forest
Coffee here was amazing! And their croffle was delicious as well, one of the best I’ve had in Seoul – and the first one I’ve tried.
Located in a small building, with only a few seating areas, this cafe is not particularly popular among tourists. The lady who served us was clearly not the owner because she wasn’t too joyful, but all in all I really loved this place.
The place is Instagrammable, especially the seat by the round window, and they are well-known for their Vienna coffee – even though I’ve tried the flar white, as always.
Address: 6 Seoulsup 2(i)-gil, Seongdong-gu
Opening hours: 12 – 22 daily
See them on Instagram here.
Space Coffee in Yeonhui
This cafe looks more like a furniture shop, but they do have coffee and they are hidden on a street in Yeonhui.
Even though we went on a weekend day, we didn’t have any problem in finding a table.
Stainpark Cafe in Itaewon
Join the dolpin at this small cafe tucked away on a small street in Itaewon. Hidden from the eye, this is a place for those who know and love coffee.
With a simple and sleek interior design, I’ve seen people pose in front of this cafe, but I would rather come here for the coffee.
Address: 635, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu
Opening hours: daily from 11 until 22, and from 12 to 20 on Sundays
Coloured Bean in Yeonhui
Another great coffee place in one of my favorite areas to explore, the hip neighborhood of Yeonhui.
Hosted in a corner building, with an inside area and a small patio, this is a tranquil hidden gem.
Address: 8-8, Yeonhui-ro 11ga-gil, Seodaemun-gu
Opening hours: 9 – 20 during the week, 10 – 21 on weekends, closed on Tuesdays
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