Seongsu-dong is one of my favorite areas in Seoul: closer to the quiet Seoul Forest, and away from the bustle one can expect from busier areas. Seongsu-dong has been my go-to place to relax and take it easy for a day.
Here I introduce a route I took with some friends on a recent night out, which made for a relaxing, fun adventure.
Midoin is a Japanese-style restaurant serving deopbap, or rice bowls. It’s a relatively well-known dinner place. We arrived before sunset and got seated immediately. However, as we were leaving, we noticed a queue forming outside the door. Come early if you can!
Decorated with warm lighting and plush upholstery, the restaurant has a vintage feel to it. The overall furnishing doesn’t stand out among the many concept eateries in Seongsu, but it was definitely cozy and inviting.
Based on the Naver reviews, their star mains are the steak and gopchang dishes. We heeded the advice of the reviewers and ordered the steak rice bowl, the gopchang rice bowl and gopchang ramen, which did end up being a little light for three people, but was truly satisfying.
We all agreed by the end of the night that the steak rice bowl was our favorite of all. It’s worth mentioning that Midoin does a special steak rice bowl dish (an upgraded version of the one I had, if you will) that is limited to seven bowls a day – it’s said to always sell out before lunchtime, which really piques my curiosity now that I’ve had it’s ‘lesser’ cousin, which was honestly already really memorable to me. The gopchang rice bowl was slightly spicy and very flavorful, and is also worth recommending! The gopchang ramen was good, but the noodles weren’t what we expected – they were closer to the Southeast Asian noodles I’m used to from the dishes of my hometown than the typical Korean ramyun or Japanese ramen noodles.
The addition, gopchang in ramen was new to us, but we enjoyed it as a whole, as the soup has a certain sense of addictiveness to it. Definitely a restaurant worth trying!
Midoin has ten different branches around Korea, including branches in Uijeongbu, Daejeon, and Gwangju.
We went straight to our second destination of the night – cafe Kanto, which is known widely on social media as the black-and-white cafe. They’re so loyal to the concept, to the point of even serving their drinks and pastries in black and white.
All three of us opted for the Flat Black coffee from their special Black menu. Per the server’s explanation, Kanto’s black coffee has ground hazelnuts and almonds added to the grounds, which gives it a lovely flavor.
The Flat Black consists of this special espresso with milk – essentially a latte. Meanwhile, the other caffeinated drink on the Black menu, the Black Cream, tops it off with an extra serving of cream. The third and last drink is the Black Ade, made from blackberry and blueberry extract and sparkling ade. Regular coffees (albeit in regular colors) are also available for the less adventurous. As it was already late in the day, they had run out of pastries, so we opted for drinks only.
I daresay Kanto’s Flat Black is the best coffee I have ever had in Seoul. The ground hazelnut gives it a distinct flavor that immediately reminds me of a Ferrero Rocher, which happens to be one of my favorite kinds of chocolate. Pair that with the winning combination of my favorite colors and I’m sold. I originally believed Kanto was a ‘visit once for the ‘gram’ kind of cafe. However, now I’d be willing to travel there just to get takeout coffee. It’s that good.
One of my friends had a similar reaction to mine. But the other, who favors iced Americanos at any time of the year, wasn’t so bowled over. I’d recommend it to people with a strong sweet tooth!
We were feeling a little peckish from the light dinner we had and craving cake, so we decided to move on to our third destination.
My friends and I aren’t the types to plan beforehand. We like to take our chances by walking into places we see on our way and spontaneously following Naver’s recommendations. While walking, we decided to duck into a somewhat-unassuming cafe with a glass storefront and wood-toned interior.
We didn’t know the cafe’s name. Literally. In place of a logo or a signboard were paper printouts of a QR code. which led us to the cafe’s Naver page when scanned. It was a very roundabout way of figuring out the cafe name but made for a good memory nonetheless.
The cafe is very spacious, housing two floors and an outside veranda. The veranda was pretty and we originally wanted to sit outside, but the cold weather did not permit us to. We made our way upstairs to the second floor, which was decorated in plain white with low-hanging pendant lights.
We decided to try the S’more cookie and Basque Burnt Cheesecake as well as a Green Grape Mojito and Peach Tea. The cookie was hard to share. We lost quite a few chunks to the floor trying to cut into it with the forks they gave us. The cheesecake was the usual cafe fare, not stunningly good, but still okay. The Grape Mojito stood out most to us. It was fizzy and refreshing, especially after all the caffeine we had had that day.
Three different rounds of food and drink made us happy and relaxed – more than anything, I loved just walking around and exploring Seongsu, ducking into any shop we found interesting, and spending time together. Seongsu’s always been my go-to place for adventure, and I daresay it’ll continue to be.
Want to discover more places in Seongsu-Dong? Click Here!