10 Best Restaurants in Seoul’s Mangwon-dong Neighborhood

From burgers to Balinese classics, the restaurants of Mangwon-dong serve up something for every palate.
From burgers to Balinese classics, the restaurants of Mangwon-dong serve up something for every palate. | © Niklas Rhöse / Unsplash
Mimsie Ladner

Teeming with restaurants known for their Instagram-worthy interiors, novelty dishes and unique plating techniques, the gentrifying neighborhood of Mangwon-dong has become a mecca for Seoul’s foodies. Here are the 10 best restaurants to check out in the area.

1. Lao Piak (라오삐약)

Restaurant, Asian

Adorned with colorful lanterns and quirky knick-knacks that punctuate the edges of an open-air kitchen, Lao Piak brings a little bit of Laos to Seoul’s Mangwon-dong neighborhood. Featuring a selection of Lao cuisine and beverages, the restaurant was opened by a few young Korean women who fell in love with the Southeast Asian country during their travels there. Everything on the menu here is worth trying, but the beef tendon noodle soup (9,500 won / $9) is our favorite. Flavorful broth and ultra-tender beef make the dish incredibly addictive, and the refillable noodles make it one of the best deals in the area. Wash it down with a cold Beer Lao and you’ve got yourself the perfect dinner.

2. Pizzeria E.Go (피쩨리아 이고)

Restaurant, Italian, Fusion

Serving up some of the best handmade pizza in western Seoul, Pizzeria E.Go has become a go-to for diners seeking tasty pie. Although the exterior of the place is a bit foreboding, its small but charming interior boasts a wood burning pizza oven, demonstrating that E.Go is serious about their slices. The menu here is limited with just a few options to choose from (try the margherita!) but even the pickiest of pizza snobs will agree that E.Go is worth the visit.

3. Hula Hula (훌라훌라)

Restaurant, Asian, Fusion, American

Hawaiian-themed cafés and restaurants have recently become a bit of trend in Seoul, but Hula Hula stands out from the rest, thanks to its relaxing atmosphere, pastel-perfect interior, and, of course, its food. Delicious as they are Instagram-worthy, the poke bowls and musubi dishes on offer here are quite filling, but not so much that you won’t be able to squeeze in dessert at one of the nearby cafés. As an added bonus, Hula Hula is pet-friendly, so feel free to bring along your pup.

4. J’s Curry (제이커리)

Restaurant, Thai, Fusion

Marked by a bright orange façade, J’s Curry can’t be missed on your walk through eclectic Mangwon-dong. Here, Thai classics are served up in a tiny dining space that seats no more than 10. Despite the restaurant’s small size, the dishes on offer pack big flavor. For example, the chicken curry – poached chicken breast, butternut squash, broccoli, eggplant, almonds, and fresh coriander – is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. The English-speaking owner is incredibly friendly and is more than willing to customize orders based on your preferences.

5. Happy Burger (행벅식당)

Restaurant, Fast Food, American

With almost no signage, it’s a wonder how Happy Burger gets any business at all – until you’ve tried their perfectly cooked patties. Modest yet memorable, the eatery attracts a diverse clientele ranging from the young hipsters to the ajumma (auntie) squads. Expect a grilled-to-perfection cheeseburger, a half order of fries and a soft drink to set you back about 12,000 won ($11).

6. Cobra Pasta Club (코브라파스타클럽)

Restaurant, Italian, Fusion

From the outside looking in, one might find it difficult to determine what exactly Cobra Pasta Club is. Ornamented with records, stereos, and vintage movie posters (and no signboard in sight), this hidden gem is often confused as a studio of sorts. Yet, Cobra Pasta Club, as its name suggests, offers up an array of fusion pasta dishes and a rather unique dessert: blueberry cream pizza. The restaurant enjoys a cult following, thanks its unorthodox reservation system, which requires diners to make a reservation via a direct message to owner and chef Yun Ji Sang’s Instagram page. Reservations are then confirmed in Yun’s own Instagram posts.

7. Sally Cheong (샐리청)

Restaurant, Healthy, Dessert

If you need a healthy snack to tide you over until dinner, check out Sally Cheong, where no-sugar-added fruity concoctions are the specialty. Perhaps the most popular item on offer is the berry delicious bowl, a generous serving of natural yogurt topped with blueberries, strawberries, and granola, or other fruits depending on the season. Bring along a book or a buddy, as the snack shop boasts the perfect atmosphere for a bit of relaxation.

8. Bali in Mangwon (발리인망원)

Restaurant, Indonesian

Transport yourself to the islands of Indonesia at Bali in Mangwon, a bohemian-esque eatery serving up tasty treats and beachy vibes. The restaurant serves up what it refers to as ‘surfer-made Balinese food and drink,’ including Indonesian classics such as Nasi Goreng, Bakwan Jagung, and Padang Chicken Curry. The gorgeous interior replete with wooden accents, rattan placements and macramé wall hangings adds to the restaurant’s appeal, making it a neighborhood favorite.

9. Mangwon Market (망원시장)

Market, Street Food, Korean

As a traditional Korean market packed with produce vendors and street food stalls, Mangwon Market should not be overlooked for good eats. From classic snacks like tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) and sundae (blood sausage) to traditional sweets like old-fashioned doughnuts covered in sugar, this is the place to go to sample a number of Korean dishes. If the weather is nice, request that your meal be wrapped up, and enjoy it picnic-style on the nearby banks of the Han River.

10. Ildeung Shikdang (일등식당)

Restaurant, Korean

Established in 1986, this no-frills hole-in-the-wall has been serving up hearty haejangguk to loyal patrons for three decades. To create the spicy broth of this popular ‘hangover soup‘, pork bones are boiled for hours. Slabs of meat and steamed greens are added to the still-boiling concoction before being delivered to the table. Served with kimchi and rice, the meal makes for the perfect lunch after a long night out on the tow.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,656 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article