I Spent a Week Café Hopping in Seoul — These Spots Were the Standouts

seoul cafes nudake

The room had red-and-white gingham tablecloths, baby pink chairs, and, in a corner, a glass cupboard filled with stuffed animals, mainly Care Bears. A pink, blue, and yellow chandelier hung from an egg-shell-blue ceiling.

I was in Birthday To Me, a café in the neighbourhood of Yeonnam-dong in Seoul, South Korea. I’d stumbled on it, enticed by its open blue door, contrasting against its yellow awning and the pink building wall. Inside the entrance was a pink pine tree. Astroturf stairs lead up to the café.

I knew Seoul had a few themed cafés, but I didn’t realise the sheer number. Or that you only had to track down one themed café and could easily find a handful more just by wandering nearby laneways.

I spent two almost entirely dedicated days in Seoul, the day before and after a press preview of Intrepid’s Essentials South Korea tour, café-hopping. The three main areas I visited for some of the city’s best cafés, and where I recommend you go too if you’re keen to experience them, were Hongdae, Gangnam, and Itaweon.

There are also some themed cafés in Ikseon-Dong, Seongsu-Dong, and Myeongdong, home to the biggest Olive Young in South Korea.

Ahead are all the best Seoul cafés I visited, from a rain-themed spot to another focused on strawberries. Seek these out, but then walk around them after. You’ll no doubt find some other incredible spots I missed on this list.

Also, a few things to note. Firstly, be sure to get a SIM card so you can use data on your phone for its map apps — some cafés can be tricky to find. Google Maps doesn’t work in the country, so download Korea’s version: the Naver app.

Also, note that cafés in Seoul, along with its shops, don’t open until 10am or later. And finally, Koreans will order whatever drink they’re craving, regardless of the weather. So, don’t be surprised to see them sipping an iced latte on a winter’s day.

Birthday To Me

This was the café I mentioned I stumbled on. Walking into Birthday To Me, I smelt baked cookies. It comprised two rooms and a hallway with a cashier and oven on one side. The café was Care Bears-themed and sold desserts like cakes, cookies, and, of course, coffee drinks.

Seoul cafes birthday to me
Image: Instagram @birth.day.to.me

Rain Report

Rain Report has two locations: One in Yongsan-gu and another in Seongsu. Both have rain themes, with waterfall features outside and Rain Report-branded umbrellas you could use to stand under them for a photo. The café is two levels with a bamboo tree display at its centre. Choose from croissants, desserts, and hot and cold coffees. 

Seoul cafes Rain Report
Image: Instagram @rainreport_official

Over Deep  

Over Deep in Yeonnan is underwater-themed, with blue lighting, a floor of sand, and scenes of jellyfish playing on screens. The café specialises in French cookie dessert, madeleine, with all kinds of flavours of them, including corn cream, blue lemon, and churros. Order from a hot and cold coffee menu including a salted caramel latte.

Seoul cafes Overdeep
Image: Instagram @overdeep_yeonnam

Mint Heim  

If you like mint chocolate, Mint Heim, also called Mint Choco World, in Yeonnam, is a must-visit in Seoul. It’s an open-plan café with a mint chocolate theme for its desserts, drinks, and décor. Tuck into mint croissants and cookies, soft serve ice cream, and pre-bottled mint chocolate lattes.

Mint Heim Seoul cafes
Image: Instagram @mint_heim


Gentle Monster’s café brand Nudake takes over two floors in Gangnam. The first floor where you order is dedicated to the croissant with two life-size croissant statues and two couches with croissants for feet. Upstairs, you’ll find white statues of women reaching to the ceiling. Visit perfume shop Tamburins around the corner.

Seoul cafes Nudake
Image: Instagram @nu_dake


Minimalist café Arabica itself isn’t too noteworthy (by Seoul standards, that is), but its location makes it deserving of a mention. It’s next to Starfield Library in COEX Mall, one of the world’s most beautiful libraries with two-floor-high bookshelves of reads.


Mocomoco in Hongdae is a tiny café with red and white gingham curtains, a record player at the entrance, and a handful of teddy bears decorating its interiors. Drinks are served in tulip-shaped cups, and you can order freshly made custards.

Mocomoco Seoul cafes
Image: Instagram @mocomoco.seoul

Berry Berry Very Much

Berry Berry Very Much is a sprawling café dedicated to the strawberries down a stone pathway in Yongsan. It comprises a handful of rooms where you can order and eat strawberry desserts and drinks. In one room, a bookshelf showcases jars of congealed strawberries.

Image: Instagram @berryberryverymuch

New York Bagel Avenue

New York Bagel Avenue in Hondae is slightly kitsch, but still worth a visit for those who love bagels. It’s New York City-themed with a small-size Statue of Library, exposed brick walls and bistro-style seating. Bagel flavours range from plain to cranberry walnut and cheddar jalapeno.

New York Bagel Avenue Seoul cafes
Image: Instagram @ny_bagel_ave

Related: What’s Behind the Korean Cuisine Boom in Sydney?

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