While Seoul has an endless number of places to eat, it can be hard to find the perfect brunch spot amidst the chains and fast food restaurants. These days, young people are discovering trendy spots through social media. We created a list for you of both popular and lesser known, independent cafes that bring you the ultimate trendy brunch experience. For your next weekend plans, you will definitely want to make the best of your day in Seoul exploring these brunch spots with a friend and also visiting these unique cafes after your meal!
In the town of Yeonnam-dong, you can see tiny cafes and stores opening up that cater to the trendy tastes of young people. Different from the bustling streets of Hongdae, Yeonnam-dong offers small, independent stores and you can find many hidden brunch spots here.
If you are looking for a quiet cafe for a nice calming brunch experience, you should definitely try out Grain. Grain is a small brunch cafe that opened about 2 months ago, and is quickly becoming a hot place for people looking for the perfect combination of healthy and tasty food. Grain offers Nordic and Danish style breakfasts. Their Nordic breakfast tray (₩15,000) carries 5 tiny plates with scrambled egg, avocado, sausage, homemade yogurt with fruit, smoked salmon, and their special bread so that you can even make a breakfast sandwich.
They also have open sandwiches with chicken salad, roast beef, smoked salmon, and other options. Just make sure to have your GPS on your phone ready with you at all times, because getting through Yeonnam’s Maze Pathway (known as 미로길) and finding the hidden stores in the allies can get pretty confusing, but definitely worth it.
While it sounds like simple breakfast food, Grain offers a high-quality brunch experience with fresh ingredients and also great taste, and will fill up your stomach while keeping you feel super healthy.
Price: Breakfast trays ₩15,000; Open sandwiches ₩9,500; Coffee ₩4,000~5,500
Although pancakes sound like a typical brunch food, the pancakes at Sarr are nowhere near basic. This tiny store looks ordinary from the outside and can be easy to pass by in the alleyway of Yeonnam-dong. However, once you go in, the nicely designed interior will make you will feel like you are in an upscale, fancy brunch restaurant.
This place is not your basic fast-food brunch place. In the open kitchen, one or two workers cook up the pancakes in the open kitchen with precision and care, and the pancakes take about 20 minutes to come out. However, when I visited the restaurant, no guests were complaining, but rather delighted when the pancakes came out and immediately started taking photos. And don’t worry; they are not just pleasing to look at, but smell and taste wonderful too.
The menu consists of five types of pancakes: the house original Sarr Pancake (₩10,000), Banana Pancake (₩11,000), Tiramisu Pancake (₩13,000), Berry Berry Pancake (₩13,000), and Green (Matcha) Pancake (₩13,000). They are as sweet as they sound and can be more for dessert than a full brunch meal depending on your taste, but you will be thankful to have tasted these pancakes no matter what time of day you have them. Sarr also offers a variety of coffee, tea, and other drinks that are also prepared with care.
If you want to have a taste of the fluffiest pancakes that melt in your mouth, enjoy a nice brunch break with a friend or date here, sharing a plate of pancakes along with a nice cup of coffee.
If you’re looking for another restaurant with a nice atmosphere in Yeonnam-dong, Donatello offers yet another variety of brunch food from the previous restaurants. Like all the stores located in Yeonnam-dong, Donatello has an extremely nice interior that will appeal to young people who love finding unique places and taking aesthetic pictures for social media. The interior has an Audrey Hepburn theme with beautiful portraits of the star that will make for classy photos.
The food also matches the sophisticated, pleasing interior. With typical brunch food such as croissant and bagel sandwiches and french toast, they also offer fresh salads, pizza, and pasta. Some of their delicious dishes include ricotta cheese salad, quattro formaggio pizza, bacon cream pasta, and gambas al ajillo. They even offer cocktails and beer that you can enjoy on a late afternoon for a relaxing meal.
If you are looking for a satisfactory meal in a beautiful brunch restaurant with a group of friends, Donatello offers a wide variety and will not disappoint.
Price: Salads ₩13,000~16,000; American brunch ₩16,000; Coffee ₩4,000~6,500
Recently on social media, trending pictures featured a special kind of bread with unique, colorful fillings made to look like certain shapes and paintings. Bear’s Den, which is actually a bakery and cafe, is the home of those breads.
You can find Starry Night Chestnut Bread which has colorful swirls to look like Van Gogh’s painting, along with other colorful breads that taste as good as they look. The special part about Bear’s Den is that you can ask to have the bread you choose sliced up and eat it along with your brunch that you order in the cafe.
The menu offers simple brunch choices but the plates come filled with food. Depending on what you order, you get the salad of the day, bacon, sausage, and eggs on the side. The dishes also have cute names such as Bear’s Plate or Hidden Honey Pot which adds to the quirky experience of eating at Bear’s Den.
If you can’t imagine what rainbow-colored breads taste like, you can give it a try and expect to be surprised at Bear’s Den.
Price: Starry Night Chestnut Bread₩5,300; Bear’s Plate₩12,000; Coffee ₩4,000~5,000
If you need a restaurant with a nice view and atmosphere along with a filling brunch made from fresh ingredients, Bimbom is the place to go. Located in the center of Gyeongnidan-gil in Itaewon, Bimbom is currently one of the most popular places for brunch. It was also featured on a popular food talk program, Wednesday Food Talk (수요미식회), which is known to feature only the best quality restaurants in Korea.
Their menu features an all day brunch menu, along with coffee, tea, ades, beer, and even dessert. The most popular menu is the Brunch Tasting Menu (₩44,000) which comes on 3 tiers of plates, and for each tier you can choose something different you want to try.
The first tier is a crepe, the second tier you can choose between eggs benedict, a quiche, or tomato meatball stew, and the third tier is french toast. This menu is popular because it can be shared by 2 or more people and comes with 2 free cups of Americano.
While the price is not cheap, if you are looking for a fancier brunch with your group of friends on a nice day, Bimbom is the place to go.
Located in Itaewon, Little Neck is a cute little restaurant that focuses on healthy, fresh ingredients. Inside, there are posters and drawings of fruits and vegetables on the walls that only make you feel healthier while eating delicious food.
While the restaurant is not very big and not too fancy, you can tell they definitely put an effort into the aesthetics. The plants, decorations, walls, and furniture all go very well together and make you want to sit in the restaurant forever, sipping on coffee and chatting with your friends.
The menu is also very intricate and has something for anyone at any time of day. They have fresh salads (fresh ricotta cheese salad, salmon salad, caprese salad), sandwiches, various pastas, and risotto. The menu lists each ingredient, some of which are homemade and organic. At dinner they have a special dinner set for two which comes with steak, pasta of your choice, ricotta cheese salad, organic bread, and the dessert of the day.
Little Neck is definitely a unique place that will make you want to come back when you are craving fresh, homemade food in a cozy atmosphere. Be ready to expect a wait at popular times.
Price: Sandwiches ₩9,000~11,500; Pastas ₩15,000~16,000; Dinner set ₩39,000 Coffee ₩3,500~5,000
If health is your priority when choosing brunch foods, Root is the ideal place for you. This small restaurant is located on the second floor and a huge avocado by the entrance gives you a hint of the main ingredient used in their dishes. Root focuses on fresh, healthy salad bowls and uses the freshest avocados which are expensive and hard to find in Korea.
If you are an avocado and avocado toast lover, Root will satisfy your healthy taste buds. Their Green Bowl comes with chicken, kale, romaine, avocado, cherry tomato, parmesan cheese, lemon, and caesar dressing. They also sell yogurt with granola and fresh juices. The price is also fairly affordable compared to the quality of the ingredients that they use.
If you want to start off your day with a healthy and nutritious but delicious meal, Root will surely become your favorite brunch/breakfast place.
If you’re the type of person that can have pancakes at any time of day, you must have heard of Hongdae’s Buttermilk. While there are not many pancake specialty places in Seoul, Buttermilk is known to have the most delicious, traditional-style pancakes you can find here. You can expect waits of up to an hour as this is the place all Korean pancake lovers come to.
The store is tiny with only about five or six tables, and not many guests can fit in at once. There is nothing strikingly special about this place, except that you can satisfy your stomach with cheap but delicious homemade pancakes that you might have missed after coming to Korea.
The menu consists of toast sets, pancake sets, which all come with sides and coffee, and plain yogurt, soup, cereal, and sandwiches. They offer plain buttermilk pancakes, but you can also try ricotta cheese pancakes or triple cheese pancakes that are filled with gouda, gorgonzola, and ricotta. While the cheese pancakes are definitely unique and worth trying, the plain old pancakes remain everyone’s favorite choice.
If you are a pancake fanatic, definitely find Buttermilk in Hongdae. Price: Buttermilk pancakes ₩5,800; Pancakes set ₩7,800; Coffee ₩4,000
In the trendy area of Sinsa-dong, Able is one of the most well known restaurants for a healthy, fancy brunch. It is known for its nice atmosphere and its menu offering a wide variety of brunch options. Its logo is “Farm to table, fresh to go,” which proves that the restaurant focuses on fresh, organic ingredients and healthy choices. Their menu shows pictures of each dish which makes it easier to make your decision. They offer salads, paninis, pasta, pizza, fresh juices, and also various desserts, from roll cakes to bingsoo.
While its prices are pretty high, Able offers healthy and filling brunch options. They also take reservations on weekdays.
Think of all the brunch food that you can and imagine you can enjoy it at midnight or even after midnight. That goes against the idea of brunch, but why not try breaking the rules at Butterfinger Pancakes? Last on this list but definitely not the least, this place for the ultimate brunch feast is open from 7am to 3am everyday.
Along with the delicious, traditional options, they also offer an unending list of unique creations that you can only find here, such as the T-bone steak pancake. Their menu is so huge that regardless of what you go in craving, once you see the menu you will take forever to decide on your order. One of their most popular dish is the Giant Alligator that comes with four different flavors of ice cream between layers of waffles, with jam and whipped cream. Now that is a snack appropriate for any time of the day. Butterfinger Pancakes was voted Best Breakfast/Brunch in the 10 Magazine Best of Seoul 2018 competition.
If you’re looking for a casual, most American-style brunch feast with as many options as possible, Butterfinger Pancakes is the place to go. Price: Buttermilk pancake ₩4,900; Eggs benedict ₩17,800; Giant Alligator ₩31,400; Coffee ₩5,000~7,000
Now there you have a list of 10 places – some you may have been to, and some new spots you definitely need to check out this weekend. The best part about Seoul is that you can always discover new, fun places to eat and we hope you may have found some places to put on your list!