Thursday, August 4, 2011


Anthracite Coffee – 357-6 Hapjeong (Mapo); 011-82-02-322-0009;; located in old, transformed shoe factory in popular Hongdae; famous for high quality coffee; every order fresh-ground.
Bastille Ice Cream Parlour – 118-19 Itaewon (Yongsan); 011-82-02-274-96641; ice cream & shakes; uber-chic, cereal-centric hangout; open-air dessert spot melds black-&-white-stripe prison style with posh, foodie ambiance; orders taken in front of over-top glass showcase loaded with heaps of pink salt and mint-green macaroons; soft serve in double-layered, dry-ice-lined cup; shop is cereal bar with breakfast overarching concept; soft serve and milkshakes infused with corn-, cinnamon- & chocolate-flavored cereals (in winter will do other cereal-based stuff like cereal tea); 4 topping combinations elevate experience, ranging from bacon & maple syrup to Italian macaroons & raw Bolivian cane sugar.
Bloom & Goute – 545-24 Sinsa-dong (Gangnam); 011-82-02-545-6659;; quaint cafe, seemingly in flower garden; coffees, flowers, and teas; cute knick-knacks abound; known for cheesecakes, especially strawberry; try cool red bean ice sherbet on hot summer day.
Cafe Comma – 155-27 Seogyo (Mapo, Seopo Building, 1st floor); 011-82-02-332-1457;; at Exit 3 Hongdae subway station; run by publishing company; 4 different stories; comfortable for study and work, too.
Cat Cafe – 36-1 Myeongnyun 2-ga (Jongno); 011-82-02-766-3123;; 20 cats, various breeds, reside in this scrupulously clean cafe.
Cafe Comics – 7 Myeongnyun 4-ga (Jongno, in basement); 011-82-02-747-6708; sliding shelves house Ks comics for browsing.
Coco Bruni – 666-10 Shinsa, 1F-2F (Gangnam); 011-82-02-517-1875;; cute spot for affordable-ish coffee.
Coffeesmith – 536-12 Sinsa (Gangnam); 011-82-02-3445-3372;; multi-tiered space for well-heeled coffee drinkers.
Dorothy and Pie – 58-1 Samcheong (Jongno); 011-82-02-734-5531; ; on one of Seoul’s coolest cafe streets; popular pecan pies; good coffee.
Cafe Famous Lamb – 203-30 Donggyo (Mapo, down alley in Hongdae, few blocks down exit #1); great outdoor seating, fantastic pastries and sandwiches, free drip coffee refills & lamb; high-end coffee & excellent fruit smoothies; free refills.
Fell & Cole – 310-11 Sangsu-dong (Mapo); 011-82-70-4411-1434;; artisanal ice cream; uses organic ingredients; unusual flavors.
Hello Kitty – 58-2 Myeongnyun 4-ga (Jongno); 011-82-02-744-6570;; cappuccinos topped with Hello Kitty image in cocoa powder; also tchotchkes.
Paul & Lina Cafe – 413-18 Hapjeong-dong (Mapo); 011-82-02-336-0934;; coffee house specializing in drip coffees and some snacks; also furniture store.
Princess Diary Cafe – 54-9 Ewha, B/D, Daehyeon (Seodaemun, near Ehwa Womens University); 011-82-02-313-3323; coffee shop where you can dress up in wedding gowns and/or tuxedos and have your make-up done and picture taken.
Quad – 622-3 Shinsa (Gangnam); ice cream with free refills.

Café des Arts – 545 Sinsa, 2F (Gangnam); 011-82-02-541-0507; beer and flea market vibe.
Chumchuneun Dal – 94-17 Nonhyeon (Gangnam); 011-82-02-511-7088; housed in 2-story building with large, modern, interior; lively place that features approximately 20 makgeolli (Korean rice wine) varieties; numerous elegantly served appetizers, including cabbage wraps; during warmer weather (April to October), added seating outside.
Eden – 602 Yeoksam (Gangnam); 011-82-10-9081-9290;
Factory – 402-13 Seogyo-dong, B1 (Mapo); 011-82-02-337-3133;; craft cocktail bar focusing on whiskeys.
Lound – 83-13 Cheongdam (Gangnam); 011-82-02-517-4712;; fashionable, hyper-slick.
Luxury Norebang – 367-39 Seogyo (Mapo); 011-82-02-322-3111; multistory karaoke palace that looks like Pee Wee Herman’s playhouse done up by Laura Ashley; free ice-cream.
Mudaeruk – 357-7 Hapjeong-dong (Mapo); 011-82-02-332-8333;; in old industrial building; funky, multilevel complex that functions as all-hours hang-out for creative class; home to art studios, bar, cafe, performance space & roof-top garden.
Club Octagon – 152 Nonhyeon, B1-2 (Gangnam, in New Hilltop Hotel); 011-82-02-516-8847;
Rainbow – 1308-11 Seocho (Gangnam, Seocho); 011-82-02-3481-1869;; little underground hookah lounge; cozy, hippie-ish, with live music on weekends.
Wine & Dine – 535-18 Sinsa (Gangnam); 011-82-02-545-6677; dark and moody, yuppiesh atmosphere.

Banyan Tree Club & Spa – 5-5 Jangchung (Jung); 011-82-02-2250-8074;
Hotel Tea Tree & Co. – 535-12 Sinsa (Gangnam); 011-82-02-542-9954;; 38 spare yet cozy rooms; affordable.
IP Boutique – 737-32 Hannam (Yongsan); 011-82-02-3702-8000;; convenient, Itaewon location; colorful façade; 132 rooms.
Lotte Hotel – 1 Songong (Jung); 011-82-02-771-1000;; excellent restaurant; hotel accommodations receive mixed reviews but definitely clean and modern.
Park Hyatt Seoul – 995-14 Daechi 3 (Gangnam); 011-82-02-2016-1234 or 800-633-7313;; extremely attentive service; 24-story glass and steel building in cental Gangnam; floor-to-ceiling windows, warm wood finishes, granite baths; spacious modern rooms.
Plaza – 23 Taepyeongno (Jung); 011-82-02-771-2200;; massively renovated into uber-modern space; 400 rooms on smaller side but with efficiency apartment feel.
Shilla – 202 Jangchung (Jung); 011-82-02-2233-3131;; Leading Hotels of World member; unparalleled service.
Westin Chosun – 87 Sogong (Jung); 011-82-02-771-0500;; heavy influence in terms of Korean design.

Beastro – 358-32 Seogyo-dong (Mapo-gu); 011-82-02-334-2500;; 3-story eatery; new American standards.
Between – 124-7 Yongsan (Itaewon); 011-82-02-795-6164; multilevel Italian and Spanish tapas restaurant; perfect for brunch; lounge and terrace; great eggs Benedict and prosciutto sandwiches; good people-watching.
Bukchon Son Mandu – 414-16 Hapjeong-dong (Mapo); 011-82-02-335-4414;; Korean mandu dumplings; decorated with original artwork and toys.
La Categorie – 627-21 Shinsa (Gangnam, 2nd Floor); 011-82-02-545-6647;; unmarked, 7-table restaurant; French-Korean fusion.
Cheonjin Poja – 148-5 Sokeuk (Jongro); 011-82-02-739-6086; hole-in-wall with good food; try pork mandoo dumplings.
Chumchuneun Dal – 94-17 Nonhyeon (Gangnam); 011-82-02-511-7088; housed in 2-story building with large, modern, interior; lively place that features approximately 20 makgeolli (Korean rice wine) varieties; numerous elegantly served appetizers, including cabbage wraps; during warmer weather (April to October), added seating outside.
Din Tai Fung – 104 Myeong (Jung); 011-82-02-569-2778;; excellent café chain that elevates street food into something elegant; try xiaolong bao (soup dumplings).
Doramu – 320-3 Omok-ro (Yangcheon-gu); 011-82-02-2061-1292; Korean New-Wave barbecue.
Elbon Table – 530-5 Sinsa (Gangnam); 011-82-02-547-4100;; considered among world’s best restaurants; occupies 2nd and 3rd floors of mod black box on Garusogil (“tree-lined street”); brings “molecular gastronomy” to Korea; try nitrogen apple dessert that, when cracked open, is filled with powdered ice cream, or foie gras with orange chutney, grilled bananas, and truffle ice cream.
L’Espoir – 6 Samsung (Gangnam); 011-82-02-517-6034; French bistro cuisine; in nondescript building; space is darkwood and warm; chef worked under Daniel Boulud.
Haebangchon Kogijib – 46-5 Yongsan (Yongsan, Itaewon); 011-82-02-796-5528; among best barbecue places.
Hansik Olbaan – Shop 3, Famille Station, Banpo-dong 118-5 (Seocho); 011-82-02-6282-2213;; buffet but not what we envision in America; fresh food; excellent introduction to Korean food.
Jung Sik Dang – 649-7 Sinsa 3F (Gangnam, next to Dosan Park); 011-82-02-517-4654;; Korean cuisine with nouvelle treatment; rotating, set menu in modern atmosphere; reservations required because only handful tables.
Kukje Gallery – 59-1 Sokeuk (Jongro); 011-82-02-735-8449;; upscale restaurant; try scallop risotto.
Mapo Jeong Daepo – 183-8 Dohwa-dong (Mapo); 011-82-02-3275-0122;마포-정-대포; barbecue house where diners, seated around circular tables resembling hubcaps, grill salted pork belly & pork cut called galmaegisal (skirt-meat) on hot coals; wrap lettuce-leaf parcels of grilled meat, kimchi & spicy ssamjang paste; chew slowly to avoid choking on impolite mouthfuls.
Mooldongyi – 258-13 Itaewon (Yongsan); 011-82-02-792-0474; intimate spot that serves “royal” fare like seafood salad with pine nut dressing, kimchi “pancakes,” and spicy beef soup.
Okitchen 3 (OK3) – Jongno 1-ga 50 (Jongno); 011-82-02-722-6420;; Yonaguni Susumu is Japanese chef who trained in French restaurants in England & New York & now cranks out Italian; casual & smart.
Sawore Boribap – 610-5 Sinsa, 1st Floor-Basement (Gangnam, in Gujeong Building); 011-82-02-540-5292;; for upscale boribap (barley rice, mixed with red pepper paste and vegetables) and haemul jeon (seafood pancake); under-order because small side dishes (banchan), free and refillable (including extra spicy raw oysters) pick up slack.
Sanchez Makgeolli – B1, 26 Yunboseon-gil (Jongno-gu) (Anguk Station, exit 1, walk down street, going behind & past Starbucks, look to right of 1st street you pass & see Christmas-lit sign); 011-82-02-735-0723;; disco bar that serves food; grab corner table in dimly lit basement spot decorated with glowing Santa ornaments; drink pine-nut makgeolli (think Korean sake) late into night; soak up with potato pancakes with fried eggs & cheese dust.
Songtan Budaejjigae – 153-35 Samseong (Gangnam, Bongeunsaro); 011-82-02-501-8280; sit on floor cushions or chairs at this popular no-frills restaurant that never closes; dark decor; budae jjigae (ham and vegetable stew – means “Army Base Stew,” containing meat products, like Spam, introduced by GIs) cooked table-side; comes with potato side dish, but order rice.
Tadak – 412-29 Hapjeong (Mapo); 011-82-02-333-6564; owned by former Vogue Korea editor; not pretentious; lovely, Korean barbecue; warm and woody; affordable, too.

Dragon Hill Spa & Resort – 40-713 Hangang-ro (Yongsan); 011-82-02-798-0114;; Korean staple is jjimjilbang (bath-house) and this is biggest, most extravagant; 7-stories; something like amusement park with pyramids and Native-American-themed pub; sex-segregated spa areas; shared saunas, outdoor pools, Jacuzzis.
Foot Shop – 737-28 Hannam-dong, 3rd Floor (Yongsan); 011-82-02-749-9991;; have tiny fishes nibble your feet to facilitate pedicure.

aA – 55 Sokeuk (Jongro); 011-82-02-722-1211; new, 4-level temple to vintage modern furniture; skip over-priced, average restaurant.
Arario Seoul – 149-2 Sokyuk (Jongro); 011-82-02-723-6190;; art gallery.
Artsonje Center – 144-2 Sokeuk, 43 Gamgodang-gil (Jongro); 011-82-02-733-8945;; art exhibit and private gallery space, as well as private museum.
Bagazimuri – 535-4 Sinsa (Gangnam, Garusogil); 011-82-02-541-8241;; women’s wear.
Boon the Shop – 89-3 and 79-13 Cheongdam (Gangnam); 011-82-02-542-8006;; homegrown luxury items.
Comme des Garcons – 739-1 Hannam (Yongsan); 011-82-02-749-153;; multi-leveled department store.
Daily Projects – 1-24 Cheongdam (Gangnam); 011-82-02-3218-4075;; edgy, homegrown luxury.
Ann Demeulemeester – 650-14 Sinsa (Gangnam); 011-82-02-3442-2570;; international brand shopping.
Doota – 6 Ulji-ro (Jung); 011-82-02-3398-2386;; some 600 stalls, including “designer” gallery, where up-and-coming designers can present their work; even packed at 2:30 a.m.
Farmer – 554-13 Sinsa, 2nd floor (Gangnam); 011-82-02-514-2543;; handmade accessories for women.
Gallery Hyundai – 80 Sagan (Jongro); 011-82-02-2287-3570;; “blue chip” work.
Gallery SEOMI – 97-19 Cheongdam (Gangnam); 011-82-02-511-7305;; art.
Gallery 2 – 118-17 Chungdam (Gangnam); 011-82-02-3448-2112;; art gallery.
Ggooll – 683-31 Hannam (Yongsan); 011-82-70-4127-6468;; alternative art gallery-hovel.
Hansoonrye – 530-2 Sinsa (Gangnam); 011-82-02-3443-6375;; traditional clothing and bedding.
Hermes – 630-26 Sinsa (Gangnam); 011-82-02-542-6622;
Humantree – 653-1 Sinsa 4F (Gangnam); 011-82-02-514-3464;; skate-wear.
Ilmo Outlet & Cafe – 535-13 Sinsa (Gangnam); 011-82-02-515-0970; high-end products outlet.
Jardin de Chouette – 25-15 Cheongdam (Gangnam); 011-82-02-3444-4007;; Kim Jaehyun’s high-end brand.
Kukje Gallery – 59-1 Sokeuk (Jongro); 011-82-02-735-8449;; “blue chip” work; also, upscale restaurant.
Mogoolworks – 542-2 Sinsa (Gangnam); 011-82-02-3445-6211;; unique, handcrafted headwear.
103 – 545-14 Sinsa (Gangnam); 011-82-02-599-5661;; stylish women’s clothing.
Paul & Lina Cafe – 413-18 Hapjeong-dong (Mapo); 011-82-02-336-0934;; handmade furniture store; also, coffee house specializing in drip coffees and some snacks.
Rick Owens – 651 Sinsa (Gangnam); 011-82-02-516-2217;; international brands shopping.
p. 532 – 532 Sinsa (Gangnam); 011-82-02-516-5320; modern airy bookstore and café; good place to study.
Michael Schultz Gallery – 118-17 Chungdam (Gangnam); 011-82-02-546-7955;; amazing art.
Namdaemun Market – 32-51 Hoehyeon (Jung, near Seoul Station); street vendors.
10 Corso Como – 79 Cheongdam (Gangnam); 011-82-02-3018-1010;; bookstore, café, and general shopping; based originally out of Milan.

Artsonje Center – 144-2 Sokeuk (Jongro); 011-82-02-733-8945;; founded in 1998; experimental art.
Bongeunsa Temple – Samsung (Gangnam); 011-82-02-511-6070;; Buddhist temple founded in 794 by monk Yeon-hoe.
Cheonggyecheon Stream – downtown; 011-82-21-330-5352; 8.4 km long, modern public recreation space; massive urban renewal project on stream that flowed before rapid post-war, economic development required it to be covered by transportation infrastructure.
Choonwondang Museum of Korean Medicine – 27 Donhwa-mun-ro (Jongno); 011-82-02-3672-2005;; getting there is part of adventure; medicine collection that date to 1847.
Deoksugung Palace – 5-1 Jeong (Jung-gu); 011-82-02-771-9951;; walled palace(s) compound; inhabited by various Korean royalties until colonial period around 20th Century’s turn; 1 of “5 Grand Palaces” built by Joseon Dynasty kings; in addition to traditional palace buildings, also forested gardens, King Sejong statue, and National Museum of Art.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza – 2 Eulji-ro (Jung); 011-82-02-2266-7330;; massive plaza complex designed by Zaha Hadid; surrounded by Hadid-designed park, which incorporates recently discovered ruins.
Ewha Women’s University – 11-1 Daehyun (Seodaemun); 011-82-02-362-6076;; Dominique Perrault’s architecture worth special visit.
Floating Island – Han River; 011-82-02-3447-3100;; man-made island that houses impressive modern architecture that includes café, concert halls, restaurant, and water sports center.
Gahoe Museum – 11-103 Gahoe (Jongno); 011-82-02-741-0466;; ancient amulet, folk paintings, and shamanistic objects museum.
Gyeongbokgung Palace – 161 Sajik (Bukchon, Jongno); 011-82-02-3700-3900;; royal palace 1st constructed in 1395, later burned and abandoned for almost 300 years and then reconstructed in 1867; main and largest palace of 5 Grand Palaces built by Joseon Dynasty; name means “Palace” (Gung) “Greatly Blessed by Heaven” (Gyeongbok); in early 20th Century, much of palace destroyed by Japanese; since then, gradually restored back to original form.
Han River Citizens’ Park (Gangdong) – to get to Gangdong section, take Seoul Metro 5 or 8 to Cheonho station (exit 1) and walk over Cheonho Daegyo (bridge), to get to Songpa section, take Seoul Metro 2 or 8 to Jamsil station (exit 5) or line 2 to Sincheon station (exit 6); encompasses nearly entire river’s shoreline; popular place to bike, jog, rollerblade, or walk, or just sit by water and talk with friends, especially on hot summer evenings.
Jongmyo Shrine – 1 Kamjung (Chongro); 011-82-02-765-0195;; Confucian shrine dedicated to memorial services for Joseon Dynasty’s deceased kings and queens; oldest royal Confucian shrine preserved and ritual ceremonies continue since 14th Century.
Kyobo Gangnam Tower – 1203-22 Seocho (Gangnam-Seocho); 011-82-02-3480-4773;; landmark; by Mario Botta.
Kyongbok Palace – 22 Bunji (Sajikno, Jongho – take Gyeongbokgung Station); 011-82-02-3700-9900;; royal palace built at Chosun Dynasty’s beginning when Yi Dynasty moved capital to Seoul; this palace remains Korea king’s main seat throughout much of time to present; Gyeongbok means “Shining Happiness”; when done, take side trip to Gahoi (traditional neighborhood), then head back to Insadong, wander into alleys for dinner or lunch; also near Dragon Hill Spa.
Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art – 747-18 Hannam (Yongsan); 011-82-02-2014-6900;; Korean and Western architecture and art converge; in hilly, residential Itaewon area; buildings by Mario Botta, Rem Koolhaas, and Jean Nouvel; collection includes celadon ceramics and Korean Buddhist paintings up to Nam June Paik and Mark Rothko.
Lock Museum – 187-8 Dongsung (Jongno, on 4th Floor); 011-82-02-766-6494;; like name, this is lock museum.
Mokin Museum – 82 Gyeonji (Insadong); 011-82-02-722-5066;; dedicated to Korean funerary dolls, kkoktu.
Mudaeruk – 357-7 Hapjeong-dong (Mapo); 011-82-02-332-8333;; in old industrial building; funky, multilevel complex that functions as all-hours hang-out for creative class; home to art studios, bar, cafe, performance space & roof-top garden.
National Folk Museum of Korea – 37 Samcheong (Jongno); 011-82-2-3704-3114;; located within Gyeongbokgung Palace grounds; uses historical object replicas to illustrate Korean people’s traditional lives throughout history.
National Museum of Contemporary Art – 313 Gwangmyeong (Gwacheon); 011-82-02-2188-6000;; large and impressive gallery spread over 3 floors, with sculptures in garden; outstanding exhibit is More Better (1988 installation, 1K flickering TV screens piled up into pagoda shape, by Nam June Paik).
Platoon Kunsthalle – 97-22 Nonhyeon (Gangnam); 011-82-02-3447-1191;; alternative art space built from shipping containers.
Pulmuone Kimchi Museum – 159 Samseong (Gangnam); 011-82-02-6002-6456;; dedicated to quintessential Korea dish, kimchi; earn about this staple’s history and many ways it can be made.
Seodaemun Prison History Hall – 101 Hyeonjeo (Seodaemun); 011-82-02-303-9750; built in 1908, symbolizes Japanese cruelty and oppression during colonial rule (1910-1945); main hall has 3 exhibition floors, including lifelike re-creations of torture scenes in basement’s nightmarish interrogation cells; in another building, can see what prisoners suffered (spiked box that prisoners put inside and execution chair); most famous victim was Ryu Gwan-sun, 18 year-old Ewha High School student, tortured to death in 1920.
Seonjeongneung Royal Tombs – 135-4 Samseong (Gangnam); 011-82-02-568-1291;; Seonjeongneung refers to names Seolleung & Jeongneung, royal tombs of King Seongjong (9th Joseon Dynasty king), Queen Jeonghyeon (King Seongjong’s 2nd wife), and King Jungjong (their son); UNESCO World Heritage site; ideal place for public to stroll.
Seoul Museum of Chicken Art – 12 Gahoe (Jongno); 011-82-763-9995;
Seoul Tower – 2 Yongsan (Yongsan); 011-82-02-3455-9277;; is communication and observation tower in Namsan Mountain; rises to 1.6K' above sea level; ride Namsan cable car up mountain and then walk to tower; most of city of Seoul seen from top.

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