If you tell me that the word “café hopping” was created in South Korea, I would totally believe you. Their massive collection of coffee shops have set the bar so high, for when you visit the country you wouldn’t be able to avoid the café craze. With around 17,000 coffee shops to choose from in Seoul alone (source), coffee addicts and dessert junkies wont have a hard time getting their fix.
We love a street that smells like freshly ground coffee heaven; in Seoul there are several of them. That’s why we’ve decided to do a series of blog posts about Seoul Café Streets featuring our favorite coffee shops. Well then scoot over Starbucks, here comes the first batch of our new café discoveries.
First is Garosu-gil in Gangnam; the street itself is an amazing revelation (more so in autumn) with charming shop-fronts that will make you feel like you’re walking straight into an instagram feed. Here you will also find some of the most interesting coffee shop concepts there is.
Feb the birthday girl
Kei from 2016
In this land of coffee coma, a coffee shop needs to be a little extra to catch the attention of customers and to stand out from the rest. There are two café’s in Garosu-gil Road that catches our attention, Banana Tree and Skin Food Café. With their charming aesthetics (food, drinks and shop) that match heavily with autumn, these two café’s absolutely won us over.
Skinfood is known as one of the leading brands for skincare in all South Korea. Being a brand whose skincare and cosmetic products uniquely revolves around healthy food (“Good food for health is also good for the skin” they said); it’s not a surprise that they’ve decided to venture in uhm well, food. And they are the first ever-cosmetic brand to do so. That reason, for us is what makes this café exceptional.
Their flagship storefront in Garosu-gil is probably the most photographed in the area. The exteriors are so eye catching and blends well with autumn. The café that is located in the second floor is all about sunshine, brightness and calm clean charming interior. Perfect place to unwind and de-stress.
The café offers a wide variety of dishes. From salads and sandwiches to drinks and desserts. Feb and I was in mood for sugar stupor so we’ve tried their Honey Meringue Latte, Caramel Macchiato and Waffles.
Look at that Honey Meringue Latte, the most aesthetically pleasing latte ever. It is actually piercingly sweet and we’re probably gonna get diabetes, but YOLO right?
Directions: From Sinsa Station exit 8 – Store is located along the main street.
Banana Tree Café
A little bit rustic and a little bit unusual, Banana Tree is located in a corner far from the main street of Garosu-gil. The shop is warm, cozy and tiny (maybe 4-5 tables) with adorable old school-ish decorations. We have a high regard on this café because of the creativity in food and drinks.
Be it tiramisu or banana pudding, your dessert will be served to you in the most creative way. And I don’t mean whipped-cream-and-sprinkles-creative but an eat-dirt-and-chew-rock-creative. Desserts in a form of potted plants? Yes please.
We’ve had their banana pudding complete with dirt (Choco crumbles) tiny rocks (candy pebbles) and cute flower sprouts (which is not edible) to be eaten using a tiny shovel like spoon.
Banana Tree Café is also famous for their cotton candy covered drinks. Our choices of poison are cotton-candy-covered iced and hot lattes. Both are intensely sweet but who can resist cotton candy? we can’t.
Directions: From Sinsa Station exit 8, make a U-turn and take the first right, or come out exit 7 and take the first left. Follow this road for about 5 minutes and it will eventually curve towards the right. Keep following the curve and look out for Banana Tree on your right.