Sunday, February 21, 2016

10 of The Best Cafés and Dessert Spots in Banpo-dong Seoul (2016)

When people talk about Banpo-dong (盤浦洞) and the Express Bus Terminal station, most often than not, the talks would be surrounding its underground shopping streets, shopping malls (such as Famille Street) and perhaps the Banpo-dong Bridge Rainbow Fountain. But the fact that the area also houses Seorae Village, Seoul's "Little France", has made it an unbelievably popular landing spot for European influenced cafés and dessert spots. Here is a list of our favorite cafés and dessert spots that should make your trip to Banpo-dong worthwhile.

(1) Gontran Cherrier
With all the success Gontran Cherrier had in Tokyo, it was just a matter of time before the famed French baker expands to the rest of the Asian mega-cities. He made the right call picking Seoul to be his next destination as the city is slowly and gradually growing into a gourmet capital. Situated in the heart of Seorae Village, Gontran Cherrier is the place where you will find some of the best French bread and pastries in Seoul including its opera cakes and cream puffs.

Address: 25 Seorae-ro, Vision Tower G/F, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 02-599-0225

(2) Beverly Hills Cheesecakes
Don't let the name fool you coz Beverly Hills Cheesecakes has more to offer than just your typical New York cheesecakes. Apart from their American-style sliced cakes, the café also offers a number of Korean desserts for anyone interested in a blend of American and Korean sweet flavors.

Address: 91-10 Banpo 4(sa)-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: N/A 

(3) Napoleon Bakery Café 1968
Napoleon Bakery Café is a luxury French bakery and dessert café that started back in 1968. The premium bakery brand has a number of branches in Seoul and is known for its list of exquisite (and expensive) French pastries which include my personal favorite ganache bouche (7,000 won) and mont blanc cake.

Address: 797-18 Bangbaebon-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 02-536-5546

(4) Queens Park
Located just next door to Napoleon Bakery Café 1968 on Bangbaebon-dong, Queens Park is a cake shop and casual diner all under one roof. Personally, I have always enjoyed their desserts far more than their savory food with the fig tarts and carrot cheese cakes highlighting one of the most exciting dessert menu in Banpo-dong.

Address: 797-13 Bangbaebon-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 2534-4054

(5) Patisserie Kim Young Mo
Home grown French pastry shops (patisserie) are tough to come by in Seoul and out of the very limited options, the eponymous patisserie by awarding-winning Korean patissier Kim Young Mo is considered one of the top five in the business. Hidden inside a residential area in Sinbanpo, Patisserie Kim Young Mo offers some of the best French influenced pastries in town with its chiffon cakes, chocolate cakes, fruit cakes and tiramisu leading the charge. Plan your visit to this place early coz their bread and cakes do go fast and furious.

Address: Shop 111, 10 Sinbanpo-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 02-3481-2004

(6) Boutikery Mielle (Coffee and Dessert Café)
Boutikery Mielle may not win you over with its small selection of homemade cakes but its all-wood interior and rustic European design will. Stepping through those doors at Mielle allows you to travel back in time to Medieval Europe for a relaxing culinary journey.

Address: 93 Donggwang-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 02-522-3464

(7) FIKA Swedish Coffee Break
FIKA is primarily a Scandinavian style coffee shop but it also chips in as a serviceable dessert spot offering traditional Swedish beverages (think Scandinavian Ade, Swedish herb smoothie etc.), dessert and bakery ranging from savory cinnamon buns to special Swedish style cakes. For an authentic Swedish dessert experience, try their Gramu cheese tart, Swedish carrot cake and red velvet cake.

Address: Central City 1 Basement, 19-3 Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 02-6013-2402

(8) Paris Croissant Café
Like its famous sister chain Paris Baguette, Paris Croissant has been an instant hit ever since its first opening in 1986. These days, they have more than 20 branches spread all over Seoul and the one in Banpo-dong was housed in a 2-storey building with the bakery shop on the ground floor and café on the first floor. Their selection of cakes is largely limited to cream puffs and fromage cakes only but most recently, they have included a series of éclairs in their repertoire. This is a place where you can easily spend a relaxed afternoon chilling out.

Address: 95-9 Banpo 4(sa)-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 02-3478-9139

(9) Gelati Gelati
The number of artisanal gelateria is growing rapidly in Seoul but in Banpo-dong, I still pretty much rely on Gelati Gelati to provide me some of the freshest homemade gelato. Their selection of gelato might not be as exciting or funky as those from places like Fell+Cole but their quality is among the best in the field. 

Address: Shop 11, Famille Station, Express Bus Terminal, Seoul, South Korea

(10) Billy Angel Cake Company
Of course, I would never leave one of my favorite cake shops, Billy Angel Cake Company, in the dark. Located in the food hall of Shinsegae Department Store at the Express Bus Terminal, Billy Angel Cake Company offers some of the best chiffon cakes the city has to offer. But if you're into crepe cakes like me, you should be all over their rainbow crepe cakes.

Address: Food Hall, Shinsegae Department Store Gangnam Branch, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 02-3479-6040

Other travel tips in Seoul:

(Also see: 10 of The Best Cafés and Dessert Spots in Hongdae Seoul)

(Also see: 10 of The Best Cafés and Dessert Spots in Sinsa Seoul)

(Also see: 10 of The Best Cafés and Dessert Spots in Itaewon Seoul)

How to get there:
Take Subway Line 3, 7 or 9 to Express Bus Terminal Station or Line 9 to Sinbanpo Station.

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