Woo Hoo, Spring is finally here and now is the perfect time to get out of the house and spend your weekends exploring new neighbourhoods. I love spending the day checking out cute cafes, vintage stores, and stopping somewhere nice for lunch. Last year I started writing a series of neighbourhood posts of Seoul’s best places to explore; Mangwon, Sharosugil, Ikseon-Dong, and Haebangchon and I really want to continue that now the weather is nice again. One neighbourhood that really needs to be written about is Yeonnam-dong. Located by Hongdae Station exit 3, this area has been transformed into a cute and quirky neighbourhood filled with cool independently owned businesses. There is also a strip of grass in the middle of it which optimists like to refer to as ‘the park’. However any of you who have actually visited a real park may be sorely disappointed. However don’t let that put you off, Yeonnam-dong has a lot to offer.
Cafe Yeonnam-dong 239-20 – One place in Yeonnam-dong that blew up around the world last year is Cafe Yeonnam-dong 239-20. The cafe which shares its name with its address, became the talk of Instagram all thanks to its cartoon themed decor. It’s like stepping into a picture, the cafe is super small but offers a medley of beverages all around 5,000 won a piece. If you can avoid peak times its well worth stopping by for a picture and a drink.
Everything Bagel – New Yorkers will easily feel at home in Yeonnam-dong as it is the unofficial home to quite a few bagel shops. My absolute favourite of these being Everything Bagel, which is is small shop selling legit NY style bagels. If you more of West Coast bagel eater then you will probably enjoy SF Bagels which serves San Francisco style bagels. We found them to be much than their east coast counterparts.
Ha Ha – I recently found out, that Yeonnam-dong has a couple of amazing Chinese restaurants that specialize in dumplings. I recently headed to Ha Ha and although the restaurant is nothing fancy the food was amazing. the dumplings, the shrimp sandwich and the amazing batter covered eggplant are not to be missed!
L’Empreinte Bistro – For those who fancy something a little bit heavy for lunch. L’Empreinte bistro is a fabulous french restaurant that doesn’t break the bank. They have lots of French classics such as onion soup, goats cheese salad, and harder to find meats such as lamb and venison. There is also a decent wine and cocktail list if you want to make it a liquid lunch.
Salad Bros – If you are feeling in the mood for something healthy then Salad Bros is the perfect place to stop by. They have an array of salad bowls, all made to order. You can also tailor them by swapping in and out ingredients to suit your tastes. When Summer comes around all I want to eat is salad, so this is the perfect place for me to grab a light lunch and not feel so guilty when I have a slice of cake or two later in the day.
Dinga Cake House – I am always on the look out for a really good slice of cake and had heard wonderful things about the colourful and quirky Dinga Cake House which is a renovated and brightly painted traditional Korean Villa. Their cakes are a lot of fun and designed to resemble pizza, burger and watermelon. However one word of warning if you want to eat cake you need to buy a drink which to be honest are not as good as the cakes.
Yeonnam-dong seems to grow every time I go back, so this is in no way a definitive list, but there are a few spots that can get you started. Just head out of Hongdae Exit 3, walk straight and see what you come across. For the addresses of the places I have mentioned. See the map below.