If you’ve grown up in the UK you’ll know that a full English breakfast is more a national institution than a meal. The breakfast menu in Korea on the other hand took a bit of getting used to, swapping bacon butties and fry ups for bowls of rice and a side of kimchi.
Well fear not fellow expats because Seoul has well and truly arrived to the brunch party – better late than never, right? Head to Korea’s capital and you’ll find the city brimming with bistros and bakeries serving up the best meal of the day.
Over the past two years we’ve made it our mission to scout out the best brunches in town – from french toast to fine dining, let us guide you to the 10 best places to brunch in Seoul.
The Beastro is a trendy American-style restaurant located in the heart of Hongdae and without doubt, one of the best places to brunch in Seoul.
Located in the hip and happening university district, the weekend brunch menu is available from 11:00AM-15:00PM and our ultimate go-to spot to cure the dreaded Hongdae hangover.
There’s a great selection of brunch dishes on the menu as well as salads, sandwiches and pasta dishes. The star of the show has got to be the Biscuits & Gravy, one of the restaurant’s signature dishes. It’s the perfect brunch dish consisting of two fluffy homemade biscuits, sage sausage gravy, thick house cured bacon and two eggs any style. Don’t leave without trying the buffalo chicken mac’n’cheese – you can thank us later.
Hearing hair of the dog? The Beastro also has an awesome list of inventive cocktails – some of the best we’ve had in Seoul.
It’s worth mentioning that the service here has been fantastic every time we’ve visited, something that can be hard to come by in Seoul.
Cost: 9,000 – 15,000 won per dish
Nestled between Apgujeong and Garosugil, MADE is an Italian-American restaurant serving up brunch every single day of the week and an extra special brunch menu on the weekend (awesome, right?)
It can be quite the task trying to decide what to order from MADE’s heavenly brunch selection with so many delicious dishes on offer. If you’re looking for some guidance, we’d recommend the pork belly hash topped with two fried eggs, thin caramelised onions and sautéed potatoes; the perfect combination of sweet and salty.
After living in NYC for more than two years, the chef has mastered adding Italian-American flavours and flare to her dishes. So if you fancy trying a more italian-esque brunch, the baked eggs and pork meatballs finished with a generous topping of mozzarella cheese make the perfect combination.
One of our favourite things about MADE is that the brunch menu is available all day, and with cocktails and wine on the menu this cosy restaurant makes for the perfect date night too.
Cost: 13,000 – 18,000 won per dish
The Flying Pan
The Flying Pan is one of the most popular brunch spots in Itaewon, and for good reason.
Boasting an extensive brunch menu featuring everything from full breakfasts to french toast, there’s something in this quaint restaurant to please all palettes.
The portions are big enough to share and the ingredients are fresh and tasty. We’re still dreaming about the deliciously sweet bacon french toast served with mascarpone, berry compote and drizzled with a generous helping of maple syrup.
We’d recommend washing your meal down with one of the restaurant’s homemade smoothies, but there’s also ciders and champagne on offer if you fancy adding some bubbles to your brunch.
Located downstairs in the basement, it can be easy to miss this hidden gem. You’ll soon spot the line of brunch enthusiasts waiting to get a table, so arrive early on the weekend to avoid disappointment.
Cost: 14,000 – 20,000 won per dish
Normal by Ryunique
Celebrating a special occasion or simply want to brunch in style? Normal by Ryunique has got you covered.
Ryunique was listed as one of Asia’s 50 best restaurants in 2015, and now it’s sister restaurant, ‘Normal,’ is giving you the chance to dine in luxury with a more affordable price tag.
The talented Chef Ryu has created an incredible 7 course menu full of gastro-scientific surprises that will leave you in awe of the meal that’s set in front of you. We were blown away by the intricate details that went into each dish; our Amuse alone featured edible flowers – it looked too good to eat!
The whole dining experience is made extra special by the courteous and very knowledgeable waiting staff who take time to explain each course to you as they serve it at your table – along with adding a final dash of theatre before you tuck in.
If you have a sweet tooth like us, you’ll love the final course of home-made yoghurt with vanilla pudding, lemon meringue chips, rose water jelly, strawberries and apple mint.
At 80,000 won for the 7 course set menu, Normal by Ryunique really is one of the best places to brunch in Seoul if you’re looking for beautifully presented food that tastes as good as it looks.
Cost: 80,000 won for 7 course set menu (menu is seasonal)
The Royal Food & Drink
Open a little over a year, The Royal Food & Drink has quickly earnt the reputation of being one of the best places to brunch in Seoul and after sampling their delicious brunch menu, it’s easy to see why.
This Gastropub in HBC offers a mouthwatering brunch menu along delicious cocktails and homemade smoothies. One of the restaurant’s most popular dishes is the Guacamole Breakfast – a breakfast bagel fit enough for the brunch Gods.
This guacamole breakfast bagel is served oozing with creamy quacamole, stacked with crispy bacon, cheese, an over easy egg and topped with tomatoes and a sprinkle of paprika – YUM.
Another standout dish was the chickpea salmon salad made with onions, tomatoes, cucumber, chopped avocado and sprinted with feta; the perfect brunch to enjoy in the warm weather. Vegetarians can indulge in the Green Breakfast, a plate filled with eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, avocado, spinach and a round of toast.
Oh and take our advice and treat yourself to a pineapple margarita, you won’t be disappointed.
Cost: 10,000 – 16,000 won per dish
If you’re in search of some American comfort food, Brotherhood Kitchen near Gangnam has got you covered.
Bright and lively, the interior of this restaurant has an American-diner feel as if you’ve stepped back in time to a scene from ‘Grease.’
Don’t leave without sampling Brotherhood’s chicken and waffles, without doubt the restaurant’s signature dish. Two succulent pieces of boneless fried chicken placed on top of a crispy waffle served with maple syrup, berries and sweet mayo; and yes, it tastes as good as it looks. In fact, we’d be offended if you went and didn’t order it.
Wash it down with a thick strawberry milkshake and a side of mac’n’cheese balls.
If you’re after something a little lighter, the cheese omelette is packed with peppers and onions and topped with black olives. With fast service and a reasonable price tag, it’s easy to see why Brotherhood Kitchen has become a popular brunch hangout in the city.
Cost: 13,000 – 17,000 won per dish
With Summer just around the corner, start your weekend with a guilt-free brunch at Bad Farmers, a trendy restaurant in Sinsa serving up healthy food bowls.
Finding a tasty, filling salad can be hard to come by in Korea, but Bad Farmers has nailed it.
We loved the house salad bowl which was full to the brim with quinoa, roast chicken, rucola, grated cheese, cherry tomatoes, sweetcorn and broccoli and finished with a basil pesto dressing – the best salad we’ve eaten in Seoul. With all of the salad bowls made fresh in front of your eyes, it’s easy to ask for no meat or fish if you’re looking for a vegetarian option.
The open sandwiches are also a must-try and make the perfect accompaniment to the salad bowls. The shrimp and tofu mayonnaise arrived on two thick slices of bread with juicy prawns, tomatoes and fresh lime to squeeze over the top. If tofu isn’t your thing, choose from beet hummus, blueberries, salmon guacamole and feta.
The interior is quirky and cosy, with 10 small tables along with 2 long tables for community seating. There’s also a seating area outside if you want to enjoy your brunch in the sun. It’s worth noting that you can’t make a reservation here, so arrive early if you want to skip the queues.
Cost: 11,000 – 14,000 won per dish
Don’t be fooled by Cafe Able’s cutesy interior because this place cooks up a mean brunch.
The two-storey building in Sinsa had us feeling like we were brunching in a cafe in Paris; the renovated house features rustic brick walls and fresh decor with wicker baskets, flowers and watering cans lining the shelves.
The omelette frittata was unexpectedly filling; packed with peppers, broccoli, onions and cheese. The dish was finished with a dollop of sour cream and chives and served with a side of toast and jam. Presented to us in the most adorable frying pan, it was definitely one of the most instagrammable brunches we’ve had to date.
Cafe Able is the only restaurant we’ve found in Seoul with Eggs Florentine on the menu. The dish was served piping hot with a thick and creamy sauce filled with sun-dried tomatoes, wilted spinach, potatoes and bacon. On top sat two perfectly poached eggs along with crunchy asparagus.
The restaurant focuses on serving wholesome food made with fresh and organic ingredients, some of which are grown on their own farm. That does come with a higher price tag, with most dishes on the menu being slightly more expensive than other restaurants on our list.
As well as the array of brunch items, you’ll also find pizzas, and salads and sandwiches along with a huge selection of homemade juices, smoothies and teas, served hot or iced.
Cost: 12,000 – 17,000 won per dish
Original Pancake House
This American-style pancake house has made it’s way from Portland Oregon to Seoul, bringing America’s famous portion sizes with it and creating quite the stir amongst expats in the city.
The Original Pancake House is undoubtedly the best place in Seoul to get your brunch fix of fluffy pancakes and waffles. We loved the 1950s style decor and if you don’t fancy pancakes, the menu offers an extensive list of brunch options including country fried chicken, Italian-style hash, waffles and salads.
Slightly on the expensive side, but that’s the price you’ll have to pay if you’re looking for authentic pancakes in Korea. Make sure you come with a big appetite, as we found that most dishes on the menu were big enough to share – the omelette is served with a side of pancakes!
Cost: 13,000 – 17,000 won per dish
WinK Kitchen & Taphouse
Alas! We’ve finally found a restaurant in Seoul where you can brunch and booze, our favourite combination.
For 2 hours, enjoy unlimited mimosas (20,000 won), champagne (25,000 won), or bloody mary’s (30,000 won) inclusive with your brunch at WinK Kitchen & Taphouse, one of our favourite places to brunch in Seoul right next to Seoul National University.
Now I know you’ve already been sold by the bottomless part, but the brunch is pretty awesome too. We’d recommend trying the crispy fried chicken leg, sat on top of thick cut french toast and served with a generous helping of maple syrup.
If you’re feeling hungry, go for the ‘Big Breakfast.’ A plate full of house-cured bacon, chorizo home fries, 3 eggs (any style), seared mushrooms, Mexican pinto beans and a grilled tomato with a side of toast and strawberry jam – but make sure you leave some room for those bottomless mimosas.
If neither of the above tickle your fancy, the brunch menu includes all of the classics as well as a long list of cocktails.
Cost: 12,000 – 16,000 won per dish
Where’s your favourite place to brunch in Seoul?
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