The 10 Best Cafes in Gangnam, Seoul

Coffee, Gangnam-style | © Semenov Ivan / Unsplash
Coffee, Gangnam-style | © Semenov Ivan / Unsplash
Photo of Mimsie Ladner
11 July 2017

Gangnam, a district situated just to the south of Seoul’s Han River, is synonymous with luxury, extravagance, and modernity. These attributes are evident in the area’s glitzy shopping facilities, contemporary architectural structures, upscale dining establishments and, unsurprisingly, its chic cafés. Experience Seoul’s coffee culture in true Gangnam Style at these top cafés.


Cafe, Dessert, $$$

After having delved into the culinary arts in Paris, Dessertree proprietor and pâtissier Lee Hyun-hee made the decision to bring authentic French chocolates, creams and pastries to Seoul in the way that dessert should always be served: in multiple courses. While diners can order à la carte, dessert enthusiasts should opt for the café’s set menu which includes an amuse-bouche, petit-fours, and a choice of a main dessert with tea or coffee. Each dish stands out in both taste and presentation, and features high quality, seasonal ingredients. Arrive early and grab a spot at the bar to see the pastry chefs at work.

Café Dior by Pierre Hermé

Cafe, Dessert

Situated on the fifth floor of Dior’s Seoul flagship store, Café Dior boasts a sophisticated space to relax after shopping and to explore the unique universe of the Maison Pierre Hermé Paris. The café’s menu transforms with the seasons and is made up of the iconic creations of Pierre Hermé Paris – macaroons, chocolates, cakes, ice creams and pastries, along with a variety of beverages. Perhaps the most notable is the The Cake Ispahan – a delicate rose-flavored almond cake with bursts of raspberry and lychee. Pair it with a cup of Ispahan tea for a perfect teatime treat.

VR Plus Café

Cafe, Dessert, Pastries, Fast Food, Vegetarian, Vegan

Take a break from reality and head to VR Plus Café in the heart of Gangnam Station, one of Seoul’s most technologically advanced neighborhoods. As South Korea’s very first virtual reality café, VR Plus Café is dedicated to exposing this new form of entertainment to the public, offering a number of virtual experiences that visitors can try out for free. Go for a wild ride on the VR coaster or don the HTC Vive headset, which is currently rated one of the best in the industry. Of course, the café also serves up a selection of coffee beverages to ensure that you stay caffeinated as you take on virtual worlds.


Cafe, Pastries, Dessert, Tea , Coffee, Fast Food

Pastry lovers will feel right at home at Backen, a charming European-style coffee shop located a stone’s throw from the bustling streets of the Sinsa-dong fashion district. Loyal patrons flock here for their freshly baked, perfectly flaky custard croissant (limit two per customer) but their savory pastries in particular are some of the best in the city. Try the bacon egg pastry or lamb sausage pastry with tzatziki, which are both fantastically executed.

Ikovox Coffee

Cafe, Dessert

This unassuming café located on an obscure corner street just off Garosu-gil may not look like much from the outside, but what it lacks in decoration, it makes up for in good, strong coffee. Furthermore, Ikovox differentiates itself from the area’s countless dessert shops with its cheesecake and brownies, which are fantastically dense and rich in flavor.

The Pancake Epidemic

Cafe, American, French, Korean, Vegetarian, Vegan, Coffee, Tea

This Los Angeles import does two things especially well: pancakes and coffee. The latter, in particular, is considered by some to be the best in the metropolitan area. The Pancake Epidemic serves up Stumptown coffee – one of America’s top coffee roasters – in various forms, ranging from espresso to pour over to French press. Their cold brew will set you back about 6,500 won, and with a small stack of Nutella pancakes at 8,500 won, you’ve got a standard-priced meal in Gangnam.

Thesis Coffee

Cafe, Dessert, French, Pastries, Fast Food, Coffee, Tea

What differentiates Thesis from the literally thousands of other Gangnam cafes is their impressive brew bar, which utilizes four different brew methods, and assortment of novelty dessert drinks. Created from beans roasted in-house, their cold brew latte is a good introduction for those that dislike the bitterness of espresso. Or, for something a bit sweeter, try the Tiramisu Latte, made with real mascarpone cheese that has been blended with milk using a French press, then topped with a healthy dose of cocoa powder and chocolate flakes.

Lay Bricks Coffee Roasters

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Dessert, Coffee, Tea , Fast Food, Vegetarian

Popular with the city’s trendsetters and taste makers, this industrial-esque brick coffeehouse does a tasty patbingsu (milky shaved ice topped with red beans and fruit), as well as sandwiches and sweets. As their name suggests, Lay Bricks Coffee Roasters also roasts their own coffee, which fills the café with a chocolately, smokey aroma that is sure to keep you wanting to hang around all afternoon.

Rubrica Café

Cafe, Restaurant, Dessert, Korean, Vegan, Vegetarian

The wildly popular Rubrica Café in Cheongdam-dong, located on the fourth floor of Boon the Shop, is known for their tasty cakes, unique pastries and gourmet sandwiches that are served with a simple but sophisticated presentation. Coffee isn’t cheap – it’ll cost you around 10,000 won ($8.70 USD) for a simple iced Americano – but the price also covers a free refill and two hours of complimentary valet parking, which is quite a steal considering the neighborhood. Furthermore, the open view, classy décor and friendly service all add to the delightful setting.

FIKA Swedish Coffee Break

Cafe, Dessert, $$$

Known as the first place to introduce Swedish café culture to Seoul, FIKA serves coffee brewed from Lindvall coffee beans, the coffee suppliers to the Swedish Royal House, as well as various desserts. Gorgeously outfitted with Scandinavian furnishings, the café is a great place to sample novelties such as Swedish style egg coffee and semla, cardamom-spiced wheat buns filled with a mix of milk and almond paste.

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