Top 5 best cafés in Seoul - according to Koreans!

When you set foot in SeoulOne thing becomes immediately clear: the city is overflowing with cafés, each offering a setting more Instagrammable than the last. With a plethora to choose from, all these places stand out for their uniqueness and their ability to offer much more than just a coffee. But among this abundance, how do you distinguish the real nuggets from overpriced tourist attractions like the famous Harry Potter café, often deemed too expensive and not up to local expectations?

Korea Exploration focuses on cafés that have captured the essence of what Koreans are really looking for: unique places offering a memorable experience at a reasonable price. The reviews listed here are taken from Naver Map, Korea's leading platform, ensuring that the recommendations are authentic and reflect local preferences. These establishments are not just great spots for your Instagram photos, but also spaces where coffee and culture meet to create an unforgettable experience.

Dive in with us in this guide to the five best cafés in Seoul, chosen not for their international renown, but for their popularity with Seoul locals. Here's a journey through themed cafés and original spaces, all selected for their quality and accessibility.

1. 어니언 안국 (Onion Anguk)

Located in a traditional Hanok building, Onion Anguk is not just a café, but a true cultural experience. This place combines impressive architecture with quality patisserie that is the pride of the historic Anguk district. With an impressive 4.44 based on online reviews and a steady stream of visitors and rave reviews, Onion Anguk stands out as the undisputed leader of cafés in Seoul.

Why is Onion Anguk number one?

  • Address: 서울 종로구 계동길 5
  • AccessEasily accessible by metro, just 69 meters from Exit 3 at Anguk station.
  • Opening hoursOpen every day from 07:00 until late, making it perfect for early risers and night owls alike.
  • AtmosphereThe atmosphere is unique, combining the charm of old and new with traditional wooden interiors and modern minimalist decor.
  • MenuSpecializing in homemade pastries, often described as the best in town.

What are the locals saying?

Most rave reviews of Onion Anguk focus on its unique pastries and high-quality artisan coffee. Visitors also appreciate the tranquil setting, allowing them to escape the hustle and bustle of the city while enjoying a breathtaking view of Seoul's traditional rooftops.

2. 마운틴누크 송리단길점 (Mountain Nook Songridan-gil)

Mountain Nook, located in Songridan-gil, is renowned for its relaxed atmosphere and innovative approach to coffee. With a customer satisfaction score of 4.41 and more 11,000 visitor reviewsWith its welcoming atmosphere and creative menu options, this café attracts a diverse crowd.

Mountain Nook highlights

  • Address: 서울 송파구 백제고분로45길 32, 2층, 3층
  • AccessJust a few steps from Songpa Naru and Seokchon subway stations, offering easy accessibility for residents and visitors alike.
  • Opening hoursOpening at 11:00 am, ideal for brunches and late lunches.
  • SpecialtiesBest known for its specialty coffee options and brunch dishes that fuse international culinary influences with local ingredients.

Local returns

Customers often praise Mountain Nook for its friendly setting, perfect for friendly get-togethers or informal business meetings. The quality of the coffee and the creativity of the dishes available are also points often highlighted in reviews.

3. 몰또 이탈리안 에스프레소바 (Molto Italian Espresso Bar)

Molto Italian Espresso Bar, nestled in the heart of Myeongdongis famous for its Italian-style espresso and elegant ambience. With a 4.41 rating and a steady stream of positive reviews, this café is a must for those seeking an authentic taste of Italy in Seoul.

Molto Italian Espresso Bar attractions

  • Address: 서울 중구 명동길 73, 3층
  • AccessLocation: Just a few minutes' walk from Myeongdong subway station, providing easy access for tourists and locals alike.
  • Opening hoursOur opening hours are from 11:00 a.m., making it an ideal spot for a coffee after shopping or before lunch.
  • AtmosphereA sophisticated ambience with a touch of Italian elegance, perfect for those who want to enjoy a moment of relaxation.
  • SpecialtiesEspresso: Renowned for its authentic Italian espresso and a selection of fine pastries.

Experiences Shared by Visitors

Visitors to Molto often remark on the superior quality of the espresso, comparable to what can be found in the best cafés in Rome or Milan. The quiet atmosphere and chic decor are also highly appreciated, offering a peaceful refuge from the hustle and bustle of Myeongdong.

앤티크커피 잠실점 (Antique Coffee Jamsil)

Antique Coffee Jamsil is a café that combines vintage charm and modernity, located near Lake Seokchon in Jamsil. With an interior that evokes a bygone era and a touch of 4.50 for visitors, this café is a real gem for coffee lovers and nostalgia buffs alike.

Key points of Antique Coffee Jamsil

  • Address: 서울 송파구 백제고분로41길 21-16, 1층
  • AccessEasy to reach on foot from Seokchon subway station, just a 5-minute walk away.
  • Opening hoursOpen from 10:00 am, ideal for early-morning visitors or those looking for a pleasant place to work.
  • DecorA unique antique decor, offering a warm, welcoming atmosphere that transports visitors to another era.
  • MenuThe retro ambience is perfectly complemented by an assortment of artisan coffees and homemade desserts.

Customer reviews

Antique Coffee Jamsil's customers are often impressed by the café's unique setting, which offers a visual experience as rewarding as enjoying their drinks. The friendly staff and quality coffee are also frequently cited in positive reviews.

5. 아쿠아가든카페 롯데월드몰점 – (CAFE AQUARIUM LOTTE TOWER)

Lotte Tower's CAFE AQUARIUM is unlike any other café on this list. Located in the Lotte World Mall complex, this café offers a breathtaking view of the aquarium, allowing visitors to enjoy their coffee while observing a variety of sea creatures. With an exceptional rating of 4.67 and rave reviews for its unique setting and quality coffee, this café is a must-visit destination for coffee and nature lovers.


  • Address: 서울 송파구 올림픽로 300 롯데월드몰 지하1층
  • Access: Very accessible, located close to the Jamsil metro station, making it easy for local residents and tourists to visit.
  • Opening hoursStart welcoming customers at 10:30 a.m., perfect for a morning coffee or afternoon break.
  • Unique featureLotte World: offers an immersive experience with views over the Lotte World aquarium, combining relaxation and wonder.
  • MenuIn addition to top-quality coffee, we offer a range of snacks and desserts that are perfect for a gourmet break.

Visitor feedback

Visitors to CAFE AQUARIUM are often captivated by the soothing atmosphere created by the aquarium's proximity. Families with children and couples find it a perfect place for a relaxing outing. The café is regularly praised for its excellent service and unique setting, offering a beautiful escape from the urban hustle and bustle.

Through this five best cafés in Seoul, we saw how each café offers a distinct experience, from the traditional hanok interiors at Onion Anguk to the incredible aquarium café at Lotte Tower. Seoul proves once again that it is a city of diversity and innovation, where each café tells a different story and offers a new way to enjoy a good cup of coffee.

Whether you're looking for the authenticity of an Italian espresso, the charm of an antique café or a unique coffee experience in a modern setting, these establishments are must-stops for all visitors and residents of Seoul.

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