Cafe Low Roof alfresco dining with a hanok view in seoul. Source: @cafelowroof/Instagram

When you’re planning your itinerary for Seoul, Korea, it’s no surprise that Bukchon Hanok Village takes up the entire day.

Not only is it a cultural center, showcasing traditional houses that date back to the Joseon dynasty, there are interesting finds at every corner. For instance, an old-fashioned monochromatic photo studio, an artistic ceramic gallery, and a hand-crafted traditional Korean mask store.

Furthermore, the area is crowded with popular tourist attractions such as Gyeongbokdong Palace, Changdeokgung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine.

Sightseeing and strolling for the whole day can be taxing, which is why we recommend these nine cafes in the area to relax and refuel.

1. Halff Coffee

Korean barista preparing filter coffee in Halff Coffee, Seoul

Nothing beats a good cup of joe as a mid-day booster.

Offering a view of the hanoks in the area, Halff Coffee brews one of the best cups of coffee in Seoul.

Their Anguk Branch (the metro station beside Bukchon Hanok Village) used to be Halff Coffee’s roasting space. Hence, you’ll find a larger selection of single origins.

The Guatemala Huitz Matig Pacamara Natural (₩7,000) promises notes of walnut, apple and caramel. It was smooth and balanced, with a light acidity that is quickly counteracted by the heavier, sweeter notes.

Other beans originate from Ethiopia, Columbia and Panama, with their own distinct notes that ranges from floral to fruity, and nutty to malty.

Speciality lattes such as the Butter Cream Latte (₩6,500) are also available.

Location: 82 Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu,
서울 종로구 계동길 82
Opening hours: 10am-10pm

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2. Cafe Low Roof

Chestnut Cream Croissant from Cafe Low Roof

If the mere view of hanoks is not enough to satisfy you, how about dining in one?

Cafe Low Roof offers dining spaces in a hanok built in the 1920s.

The hanok is located in the cafe’s backyard, which is accessible through the door beside their counter. You can choose between the outdoor seats in the backyard, where you’ll have a clear view of the facade of the traditional housing, or dine inside the hanok itself.

We recommend the Chestnut Cream Croissant (₩8,000). Crispy, slightly airy, with a generous portion of chestnut cream.

Savoury options include Chili Jam Croissant Sandwich (₩9,000) and Crown Daisy Pesto Cold Pasta (₩9,500).

Location: 46-1 Bukchon-ro, Gahoe-dong, Jongno-gu
서울 종로구 북촌로 46-1 1층
Opening hours: 10am-8pm (Closed on Mondays)

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3. Cafe Layered

Flat lay of Cranberry Cream Cheese Scone at Cafe Layered

Let’s take a break from hanoks.

Within this culturally-rich neighborhood lays a cafe that wields the secret recipe to traditional British scones and cakes.

Cafe Layered’s menu comprises at least ten types of scones. From the classic plain scone, to sinful ones that are loaded with blueberry compote, earl grey cream, chocolate ganache and cream cheese…

The scones are priced between ₩4,500-₩5,500

Cafe Layered also serves traditional British cakes such as the Victoria Homemade British Cake (₩7,500).

Location: 223-20 Yeonnam-dong, Mapo-gu
서울 마포구 성미산로 161-4 연남동 223-20
Opening hours: 11am-11pm

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4. O’sulloc Tea House

We’ve recommended the best coffee in Seoul. Now, let’s talk about the best tea.

O’sulloc Tea House is one of the largest tea house in Korea that houses a matcha-speciality cafe and a storefront for their exclusive tea leaves.

Their menu includes their Signature Green Tea Latte (6,500), Green Tea Double Cheesecake (6,500), and Green Tea Roll Cake (6,000).

Meanwhile, their storefront offers a wider range of products. Singaporeans who enjoy the fruity teas from Antea Social, a tea house in Lavender, might enjoy O’sulloc’s Moon Walk and Coral Island which boast nuances of pear and muscat grape respectively

Location: 45 Bukchon-ro, Jongno-gu
서울 종로구 북촌로 45 오설록
Opening hours: 11am-9pm

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5. Thanks, Oat

Flat lay of Banana Pudding yogurt bowl at Thanks, Oat at Bukchon Hanok Village

There are a couple of dishes I will never get at cafes because of how easy it is to replicate at home: avocado toasts, matcha latte and… yogurt bowls.

But who can resist this?

Thanks, Oats specialises in yogurt and granola bowls that ranges from ₩6,500-₩7,900.

The Banana Pudding Bowl (₩7,500) features a mix of thinly-sliced bananas, cacao nibs, roasted nuts and caramel.

As the cafe only has a Korean menu, we recommend taking a look at our review for the translated version.

Location: Bukchon-do, 21-10, Jongno-gu
서울 종로구 북촌로 21-10
Opening hours: 11am-8pm

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6. RUYS

Photo credit: @ruys_cafe/Instagram

An acronym for Rest Unto Your Souls, RUYS offers a refuge from the bustling tourist attractions in the area.

Its humble menu offers a small selection of coffee and cakes.

Coffee starts from ₩4,500, with a ₩500 discount if you opt for takeaway. Meanwhile ,their desserts include Vanilla Cheesecake (₩6,500), Victoria Cake (W6,500) and Lemon Bar (W4,000).

Location: 98 Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu
서울 종로구 계동길 98 1층
Opening hours: 11am-7pm (weekdays); 11am-8pm (weekends)

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7. Basket12

Photo credit: @basket12_seoul/Instagram

If time is of the essence, hit up Basket12 for a quick-bite of sinful loaded cookies at ₩3,800 each.

To order, select between a Basic or Choco cookie as the base. Next, you can choose among the following toppings:

  • Cream cheese toppings: Raspberry Jam, Apricot Jam, Mugwort (injeolmi), Fig Earl Grey Cream Cheese, Tiramisu Cream Cheese, Pecan Choco Cream Cheese
  • Choco/Peanut toppings: Nutella S’mores, Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Oatmeal
  • Misc. toppings: Whole Wheat, Lemon Earl Grey, Creme Brûlée

Location: 54 Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu
서울 종로구 계동길 54 1층
Opening hours: 10:30am-7pm

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8. Wolyeongdang

Photo credit: @wolyeongdang/Instagram

Wolyeongdang is another hanok-cafe in the area.

Coffee starts from ₩5,500 for an Americano, and the cafe offers a small selection of madeleines and financiers.

For something a little more special, try their signature Andong Hemp Latte (₩7,500) and Andong Hemp Madeleine (₩4,300).

Andong is a cultural city in northern Korea, known for its open-air heritage museums. It is a producer of hemp, which is a class of cannabis that is legal for consumption, and is supposed to have a grassy flavour.

Location: 62 Bukchon-ro 5 gil, Jungno-gu
서울 종로구 북촌로5길 62
Opening hours: 10am-10pm

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9. Blue Bottle Cafe

Blue Bottle Cafe is a franchise from Vienna with 300 years of history.

At the end of the Turkish occupation, the founder, Franz George Kolshitsky, picked up a bag of strange looking brown pods left behind by the Turkish army. Vienna never had coffee, but Kolshitsky, with his experience in Arab countries, knew what it was. With that, he opened the first coffee house in Central Europe.

This is a story that’s better told in detail over a cup of coffee, which starts from ₩5,200 for an Americano.

Blue Bottle Cafe’s speciality coffee includes the New Orleans (₩6,200), Nola Float (₩7,500), Cold Brew (₩5,800) and Cold Brew Blueberry Fizz (₩6,000).

Location: 40-3 Samcheong-ro 2 gil, Jongno-gu
서울 종로구 삼청로2길 40-3
Opening hours: 12pm-7:30pm

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*Featured photo credits: @cafelowroof/Instagram

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