Saturday, June 17, 2017

10 of The Best Cafés and Dessert Spots in Banpo-dong Seoul (2017)

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) Maison M'O Patisserie
The brainchild of pastry chefs Tetsuya Otsuka (大塚哲也) and Lee Min-sun who got to know each other during their time at Pierre Hermé Tokyo, Maison M'O Patisserie has quietly established themselves as the best French patisserie in Seoul. Nestled in a calm residential area near Naebang station, they offer one of the widest selection of French desserts in the city with over 40 different varieties ranging from classic French pastries like mille feuille and Paris-brest to some of their own creations like their signature Mont blanc M'O (I heard they only make 6 pieces of those per day). If you have just enough for one dessert spot in Banpo-dong, this is the place you should be visiting for sure.

Address: 22, Bangbae-ro 26-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 070-4239-3335

(2) Maillet
Maillet was already one of my favorites before they made their move from Itaewon to the buzzing Seorae Village. The husband and wife team there continued to dazzle us with some of the best authentic French pastries including their choux pastry and citron tart. On most days, it's impossible to get a table there without waiting at least half an hour or so but it's definitely worth the wait.

Address: 106-6 Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 02-749-1411

(3) 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 as his next destination after realizing the city's slow but gradual growth into a gourmet capital. Situated in the heart of Seorae Village, Gontran Cherrier is the place where you are guaranteed to find some of the best quality French bread and pastries in Seoul.

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

(4) 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

(5) 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

(6) 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 tend to go fast and furious.

Address: 100 Sinbanpo-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 02-3481-2004

(7) Thank you Cake by DORE DORE
DORE DORE is one of the most popular dessert chains in Seoul and it's virtually impossible to find a shopping mall without their presence. Located inside Central City where the Express Bus Terminal station is housed, Thank you Cake is yet another concept brought to us by DORE DORE with some of their signature creations including the always popular rainbow cake series, giving us another option to spend our afternoon tea time.

Address: Shop 120, 1/F Central City, 176 Sinbanpo-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 02-6282-2060

(8) Frank's
Frank's signature rainbow series have finally arrived at Famille Street (or Express Bus Terminal) giving their fans a much more convenient location to work with. While their rainbow roll cakes continue to be their best seller, we have reasons to believe that their cheesecakes also deserve some love from those with a sweet tooth.

Address: Famille Street, 176 Sinbanpo-ro, Banpo 4(sa)-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 02-3479-1092

(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

Tel: +82 02-6282-3281

(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

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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