Posted by: Matt Kelley | 10 April 2009

Brunch in Seoul


Although eating comes easy here in Seoul, instead of traditional Korean fare, let’s take a look at a new favorite: brunch. Located in Seoul’s trendiest neighborhoods, many Koreans are eager to incorporate foreign cultures into their own. So, whether it’s the posh Cheongdam neighborhood of Southern Seoul, or Hongdae and Edae located north of the Han River, brunch is hot.

Come to think of it, brunch and Seoul are a good fit, because on the weekends, Seoul stays up late, and wakes up late, too.  So if you’re among the reluctant weekend risers, don’t worry about missing breakfast, because I’ve got five wonderful brunch options for you. 

1. The Flying Pan Blue
127-3 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu (Itaewon); Ph: +82-2-793-5285
Via subway, exit #2 from line 6’s Itaewon Station
Hours: 10:30-22:00 Su-Sa

20090407_flyingpan1Tasty food and charming presentation make a great combination at The Flying Pan Blue, located in Seoul’s Itaewon neighborhood. 

Our first stop is a charming spot in Seoul’s multicultural neighborhood of Itaewon. The Flying Pan Blue serves a diverse menu of waffles, sandwiches and egg fare, often incorporating foods less common in Seoul, like hummus and foccacia. My favorite is a plate of saucer-sized pancakes topped with banana slices, walnuts, syrup and powdered sugar. But what sets these pancakes apart is the generous twin dollops of whipped cream and ricotta cheese.

20090407_flyingpan_foodThe Flying Pan Blue’s sweet and savory selections are beautifully prepared and delicious.

2. Butterfinger Pancakes
88-9 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu (Cheongdam); Ph: +82-2-3448-1070
Via subway, exit #4 from line 7’s Gangnam District Office Station
Note: the station is nearly 1 km from the restaurant)
Hours: 07:00-15:00 Su-Sa

20090410_butterfingerA great place for (overpriced) pancakes and other popular “American-style” breakfasts.

Next up, Butterfinger Pancakes in Cheongdam was one of Seoul’s earliest purveyors of the so-called “American-style brunch.” The popular restaurant wants to feel like a typical U.S. diner, but, this being ritzy Cheongdam, it doesn’t offer typical diner prices. So while you’re paying heaps to enjoy a deliberately un-fancy meal, menu items like the “Waffle Lovers Special,” which combines waffles and eggs with pan-fried potatoes and sausage links, are still quite tasty.

3. D’avant
411-16 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu (Hongdae); Ph: +82-2-325-5510
Via subway, exit #2 from line 6’s Sangsu Station
Hours: 11:00-23:00 Su-Sa

20090410_davantD’avant is where brunch fanciers can find Seoul’s best match of food quality and cool décor (photos from D’avant’s web site).

D’Avant in Hongdae is a neighborhood favorite that has enjoyed international media plaudits for its Belgian waffles and very cool décor. It’s definitely Seoul’s brunch spot for the design-connoisseur, but its fickle hours of operation can be frustrating. Nevertheless, it’s granola is very yummy and we all know that accommodations must be made for creative types, right? (joke).

4. The Parkview at The Shilla
202 Jangchung-dong 2-ga, Jung-gu, First floor; Ph: +82-2-2230-3374
Via subway, exit #5 from line 3’s Dongguk University Station
Hours: Weekend brunch and lunch: 11:30-13:30 and 14:00-16:00

20090407_shillaThe view of the beautiful Shilla Hotel from the roof-top area of the hotel’s popular duty-free complex.

If you feel like indulging yourself, I highly suggest The Parkview‘s weekend brunch. Located inside the impeccable Shilla Hotel, The Parkview’s extensive array of meats, sushi, salads and soups are delicious and beautifully presented. What’s great about the Parkview is that it incorporates western food with Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean cuisine. The mounds of ice topped with huge king crab legs were especially popular, but my favorites are the custom cheese plates and a dessert area offering pies, cheesecake, pudding, frozen yogurt and unlimited lattés. It’s fantastic, but it doesn’t come cheap. Including VAT and service charges, the weekend buffet will run you 60,000 won ($46) per person.

20090407_shilla_food1The Parkview’s remarkable brunch demands shameless gluttony.

5. Egg and Spoon Race
54-9 Daehyun-dong, Seodaemun-gu (Edae); Ph: +82-2-312-5234
Via subway, exit #3 from line 2’s Edae Station
Hours: 10:00-22:00 Su-Sa  

20090407_eggspoon_foodFor the past year, Edae’s Egg and Spoon Race has served perfectly-prepared meals at reasonable prices.

Finally, my most recent discovery is a tiny restaurant in Seoul’s Edae neighborhood. There are just seven tables inside The Egg and Spoon Race. And for a very reasonable 9,000 won (or under $7), the phenomenal “Potato Omelet Plate,” which includes three very fluffy eggs filled with spinach, tomatoes, bacon, cheese and, of course, potatoes, can be yours. It doesn’t sound remarkable, but it is. The waffles were also excellent, and I’m eager to sample their dinner fare.

picture-9Getting There:
→ All locations are in Seoul. See each profile for contact information and how to reach the locations via subway. Refer to the map at right to get general bearings. Click here for a detailed, interactive version via Google Maps.

(A version of this text aired on KBS World Radio on April 8, 2009.)



  1. mmm, making me hungry!

  2. wow great blog. I def. want to check these places out on my next trip to seoul.

    thanks for the great info.

  3. Hi Jojiqua and Stella,
    Thanks for your notes. It’s been great to see the expanding selection of food in Seoul. Of course, the next time you come here, I’m sure there will be even more fantastic restaurants to choose from!

    Best, Matt

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