In Seoul there are a million different neighbourhoods, or dongs as the Koreans call them. While I tend to spend the majority of my time in my local Itaewon-dong and the neighbouring Haebangchon and Gyeongridan, there seems to be new places emerging all the time. The ‘it’ neighbourhoods have a high turn over, a few years back it was Itaewon, the place was rammed on the weekend with young trendy Koreans (YTKs) looking to explore the local cafes, restaurants and stores. But now our neighbourhood is no longer as popular it left me wondering where did all the YTKs go? Clearly there are new pockets of the city that I just didn’t know about. So when one of my faithful readers told me about a place called Ikseondong, I was excited to go and check it out.
My morning had been shopping at the Bangsan Baker’s Market , so by the time we got to Ikseon-dong I was ravenous after an afternoon of hard core shopping for baking supplies. The first place we came across serving food was Montungee so we went straight in. The menu is a mix of sandwiches and salads. Sadly as it was late in the afternoon they had run out of avocado, so we were unable to get their delicious looking avocado sandwich. We settled on a Cobb salad (sans avocado) and the Caprese salad. Both salads were tasty, nothing special compared to some of the speciality salad places that are everywhere these day, but they were exactly what we fancied and pretty cheap at 8,500 each. I also had a delicious homemade lemonade, (that I may or may not have added vodka to).
After lunch we set about exploring the myriad of alleyways. There was so much here, cute coffee shops, dessert, jewellery, and clothes stores. One place I would have loved to have tried is Seoul Coffee. Their Vienna coffee looked amazing, along with their ice cream and butter stuffed breads. There was also a dessert shop called France Ange Dessert which was packed to the rafters, again it was in an old hanok, really well done with cute nooks and crannies to sit in. Probably the most popular place that we found was the mandu shop called 창화당. Man was that place packed. The queue to get in was insane and at least two pages on a Friday afternoon, so who knows what it would be like on a weekends, but I’m guessing they serve some damn fine mandu. There are a couple of places next door where you could wait with a coffee or an ice cream though.
We were in the the drinking mood, so when we came across a French bistro offering happy hour from 5-7 Mon – Fri we couldn’t resist. Maison de Paris was a beautiful restaurant set in another restored hanok. All their beers were on happy hour, along with the house wine. We went for a very delightful french sauvignon blanc that was 5,500 a glass. But as it was happy hour we got two for that price. Which is practically unheard of, wine for 2,750 won! We were still a bit peckish so ordered some truffle fries and garlic bread to snack on. However everyone else around us seemed to be feasting on tasty looking platters of food, so I will certainly be going back for a full meal next time.
Overall I loved my afternoon at Ikseon-dong. When the weather is nice my favourite thing to do is explore a new area stopping for coffee, having lunch and maybe a cocktail or two and this is a lovely place to do it. There were lots of fun places to explore all in very close proximity, and plenty of bars and cafes with outside seating where you could soak up the sun. The closest subway station is Jong-no 3, and the closest exits are 4 & 6. See the map below for the individual restaurants.