Unique Restaurants in Seoul: 12 Quirky Cafes and Dining Spots

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Seoul
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From cafes that transport you into cartoons to eateries where sheep are your companions, the unique restaurants in Seoul redefine quirkiness. Dive in, and let’s explore these extraordinary dining experiences together!

Seoul, a city in South Korea where ancient palaces stand tall amidst skyscrapers, is a culinary paradise waiting to be explored. Picture this: bustling streets filled with tantalizing aromas, night markets offering a symphony of flavors, and hidden gems that promise a dining experience like no other. From the traditional to the quirky, Seoul’s dining scene is a delightful blend of the old and the new.

Imagine sipping tea in a centuries-old teahouse, or indulging in a meal in complete darkness, heightening your senses. How about cafes where furry friends accompany your coffee breaks? Intrigued? That’s the magic of Seoul. Every corner, every alley, holds a surprise, making every meal an unforgettable journey.

From themed cafes that transport you to another world, to eateries that serve dishes with a modern twist on traditional Korean cuisine, Seoul has something for every palate. So, grab your appetite and come along as we explore the most unique dining spots in this vibrant city. Ready to embark on a gastronomic adventure? Let’s dive in!

The top restaurants to visit in Seoul right now
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Unique Restaurants in Seoul, South Korea: 12 Unforgettable Dining Experiences

Are you ready to explore the most fun restaurants in Seoul? As we’ve touched on before, Seoul’s dining scene is a thrilling mix that’s sure to delight every kind of food lover. Stick with us to discover where to eat in Seoul for an extraordinary culinary adventure.

Craving Korean BBQ with a modern spin? Or maybe a sweet treat that’s as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the taste buds? Seoul’s got you covered, with a diverse array of dining options to satisfy any craving. Here’s your go-to guide to the most unique and exciting restaurants in Seoul.

1. Le Noir Seoul

In the heart of the vibrant Hongdae district lies Le Noir Seoul, a restaurant that offers more than just a meal. Here, guests embark on a “blind dining” adventure, where the entire meal unfolds in complete darkness. This unique concept aims to heighten the food’s flavors and aromas, making it one of the best places to eat in Seoul for those seeking a sensory experience.

The diverse menu ranges from salads to steaks, with dishes priced affordably in the mid-teens. For a comprehensive experience, many opt for the three-course sets, starting at 35,000 won. And for those who love surprises, the “Chef’s Surprise” offers a daily-changing three-course meal, ensuring every visit is distinct.

What sets Le Noir apart from other coolest restaurants in Seoul is its attentive service. While the dining room is pitch-black, servers equipped with night-vision apparatus ensure guests are well taken care of. From the moment you step in and lock away your electronics to the delightful challenge of identifying dishes by taste alone, every moment at Le Noir promises to be memorable.

For those looking to extend the fun, the restaurant is attached to The Vault, an escape room concept. Pairing a unique dining experience with an exciting game makes for an unforgettable evening. And before you leave, don’t miss out on their “Spiked Coffee” – a testament to the owner’s passion for blending coffee and alcohol.

Le Noir Seoul is one of the unique restaurants in Seoul.
Le Noir Seoul offers a sensory dining adventure in complete darkness, enhancing the food’s flavors and aromas. | Source: https://10mag.com/

2. Ddong Café

Situated in Seoul’s traditional Insadong district, Ddong Café (또옹카페) offers a hilariously unique dining experience that’s hard to find anywhere else. Embracing the art of turning poop into a theme, this café has become a favorite among both locals and tourists. From poo-shaped ice cream and waffles served in toilet-shaped bowls to coffee sipped from toilet bowl mugs, every aspect of this café is designed to tickle your funny bone.

Among the themed restaurants in Seoul, Ddong Café stands out for its whimsical decor. Poo-shaped pillows grace the chairs, and the walls are adorned with cheerful poo-based art. Even the ceiling is decorated with poo-shaped smiley faces, creating a lighthearted atmosphere that’s perfect for letting loose and embracing the silliness.

The treats here are as delightful as they are quirky. Picture this: devouring a poop-shaped dessert that’s as tasty as it is hilarious. And if you’re looking to snap some Instagram-worthy photos, those toilet bowl mugs are perfect. For those who want to try traditional Korean pastries with a twist, the “ddong-bang” or a variation of bungeo-bbang (fish-shaped pastry) is available in poop shape, filled with either red bean paste or Nutella. One of the unique restaurants in Seoul, Ddong Café is a destination that promises laughter, fun, and plenty of memorable moments.

Ddong Café, a restaurant in Seoul, offers a uniquely hilarious dining experience with a poop-themed decor and menu.
Ddong Café offers a uniquely hilarious dining experience with a poop-themed decor and menu.

3. 123F Lounge in Lotte World Tower

Perched high above the Lotte World Tower, 123F Lounge offers one of the most scenic places in Seoul to eat. The journey to the highest restaurant in South Korea, the 123F Lounge, is an experience in itself. Starting with a mesmerizing whale display, visitors are taken through a series of themed rooms, each designed to captivate and intrigue. By the time you reach the elevator, the anticipation is palpable.

Once you ascend to the Seoul Sky observatory, the breathtaking 360-degree view of the metropolis awaits. Iconic landmarks like the N Seoul Tower and the winding Han River come into view, painting a picturesque panorama of Seoul’s beauty. The observatory itself spans multiple floors, each offering unique attractions, from the Sky Deck’s glass floor to the Sky Terrace’s outdoor balcony.

Finally, on the 123rd floor, you’ll find the 123F Lounge. This restaurant seamlessly blends spaciousness with coziness. As part of your Seoul restaurant guide, it’s worth noting that while the menu might lean towards the pricier side by Korean standards, the view, especially during sunset, is priceless. From beef stew to tomato spaghetti, the dishes are as delightful as the vista outside. And as the city lights up after dusk, the lounge becomes a beacon of warmth and luxury, making 123F one of the most unique restaurants in Seoul for dinner.

123F Lounge at Lotte World Tower in Seoul offers a breathtaking dining experience on the highest floor.
123F Lounge at Lotte World Tower in Seoul offers a breathtaking dining experience on the highest floor.

4. Bau House

In the bustling streets of Seoul’s traditional Insadong district, a delightful surprise awaits animal lovers. Bau House, a renowned dog café, offers a heartwarming experience that combines the joy of interacting with furry friends and the pleasure of sipping on delicious beverages. It’s one of those fun places to eat in Seoul where the ambiance is as delightful as the menu.

Upon entering, guests are greeted by a plethora of dogs, each with its unique personality. From the playful Kkambi, an “x-file” mix-breed, to the majestic Afghan Hound, every dog is eager for some attention. The café is spacious, divided into two sections: one for smaller dogs and another for medium to large-sized ones. This ensures that both the dogs and the guests have a comfortable and enjoyable time.

For those wondering about the menu, each visitor is required to order at least one drink. While the drinks might seem a tad pricey, they’re delicious and well worth it. After all, where else can you enjoy a Banana Yogurt Shake while a Brittany dog naps on your lap?

This unique restaurant in Seoul is a haven for dog lovers. Whether you’re looking to relax with a cup of coffee, make some furry friends, or simply enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, Bau House promises an experience that’s both heartwarming and memorable.

Bau House in Seoul combines furry friends and delicious beverages.
Bau House combines furry friends and delicious beverages.

5. Cat’s Playground

Tucked away in the bustling shopping district of Myeongdong, Cat’s Playground offers a delightful escape for both cat enthusiasts and casual visitors alike. As one of the unique Seoul restaurants, this café invites guests to immerse themselves in a world filled with 36 charming felines, each eagerly awaiting some attention and playtime.

Before you get lost in the mesmerizing antics of these adorable cats, there’s a small ritual to follow. Swap your outdoor shoes for the provided slippers and sanitize your hands. With the ambiance set, order the mandatory admission drink and let the feline fun begin.

For those eager to bond with the cats, consider purchasing cat food from the menu. A little tip: these playful creatures have a preference for being fed with a spoon! Such delightful quirks make Cat’s Playground stand out as one of the unique places in Seoul to eat. Operating daily from 12:00 to 23:00, this café, nestled on the 3rd floor of a Myeongdong building, promises an experience that’s both heartwarming and memorable.

Cat's Playground invites guests to immerse themselves in a world filled with 36 charming felines.
Cat’s Playground invites guests to immerse themselves in a world filled with 36 charming felines.

6. Garden Poete

Amidst the urban hustle of Mapo-gu, a serene oasis beckons the weary traveler. Garden Poete is a delightful café that offers a tranquil escape from the city’s relentless pace. As one of the hidden gem restaurants in Seoul, this establishment is a testament to the harmonious blend of nature and urbanity.

Step inside, and you’re immediately enveloped in a world of lush greenery and calming vibes. The café is divided into three distinct areas: a spacious indoor dining room, a picturesque outdoor garden, and a quaint cottage. Each space provides a unique ambiance, ensuring every visit feels fresh and invigorating.

The indoor dining room, bathed in natural light, exudes a clean and airy vibe. White walls adorned with potted plants and vintage knick knacks create a timeless charm. Meanwhile, the outdoor garden is a verdant paradise, with birch trees, blooming shrubs, and winding vines offering a refreshing retreat from urban life. And for those seeking a more intimate setting, the garden’s Summer House provides a cozy nook perfect for larger groups.

Their menu boasts a range of delectable treats, from indulgent brunch plates to a curated selection of wines. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty burger, a refreshing salad, or a glass of fine wine, there’s something to tantalize every palate. For those exploring unique restaurants in Seoul, Garden Poete stands out as a must-visit destination.

Garden Poete offers a tranquil escape from the city's relentless pace with a harmonious blend of nature and urbanity.
Garden Poete offers a tranquil escape from the city’s relentless pace with a harmonious blend of nature and urbanity. | Source: https://ployslittleatlas.com/

7. Thanks Nature Cafe

Thanks Nature Café offers a delightful twist to the usual café experience. Nestled close to the Hongik University’s campus in the trendy neighborhood of Hongdae, this cafe is among the coolest places to eat in Seoul, this café lets you enjoy delicious treats in the company of two fluffy sheep named Honey and Sugar. These adorable creatures love to interact with guests, making every visit a heartwarming experience.

The café’s ambiance is a blend of urban chic and rustic charm. Inside, you’ll find walls adorned with playful sheep, airplane, and cow paintings, while sheep toys pepper the space, adding to the whimsical vibe. The menu is as delightful as the setting, offering a range of refreshing drinks, coffee, and light snacks. From Banana to Strawberry waffles and the Traditional Ice Flake Bingsu, every dish promises a burst of flavor. And if you’re lucky, you might even get a scoop of Haagen Dazs ice cream with your dessert.

For those on the hunt for the best restaurants in Seoul, Thanks Nature Café is a must-visit. The café operates from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm daily. If you’re planning a visit during summer, remember that the sheep might be at the farm due to the humid weather conditions.

Thanks Nature Café offers delicious treats in the company of two fluffy sheep named Honey and Sugar.
Thanks Nature Café offers delicious treats in the company of two fluffy sheep named Honey and Sugar.

8. Shin Old Tea House

Away from the bustling streets of Insadong, a serene haven awaits those in search of a traditional Korean experience. Shin Old Tea House is a charming establishment that transports you back in time, offering a glimpse into Korea’s rich cultural heritage. Among the unique restaurants in Seoul, this tea house stands out with its authentic ambiance and delightful offerings.

The entrance is discreet, with a small wooden sign that reads “신옛찻집” – Shin Old Tea House. As you step inside, the warmth of the heated floors and dim lighting welcomes you. The interior is adorned with colorful tapestries, ceramic teapots, and quirky sculptures, creating a cozy atmosphere that’s perfect for relaxation. Seated on silk pillows, guests are treated to a variety of teas, from refreshing iced versions to aromatic hot brews.

For those seeking fun restaurants in Seoul, the experience here is unmatched. The sweet ajumma, or older lady, serves up delicious beverages like plum and ginger tea, accompanied by traditional Korean snacks like sticky rice cakes and puffed rice. While the main strip of Insadong buzzes with activity, this tea house offers a tranquil escape, making you feel miles away from the city’s hustle.

Shin Old Tea House transports you back in time and providing a glimpse into Korea's rich cultural heritage.
Shin Old Tea House transports you back in time and providing a glimpse into Korea’s rich cultural heritage.

9. Cheese Industry

Cheese Industry is a haven for cheese aficionados. Tucked away in the charming alleys of Ikseondong, this countryside-looking cafe stands out with its unique theme. It offers guests a delightful journey through the world of cheese. From moving wooden cow installations to a cheese-making display, every corner of this cafe is a testament to the love for this dairy delight.

The cafe’s menu is a dream come true for cheese lovers. With offerings like the Cheese Industry foam coffee, Blue Cheese Honey Shake, and Cream Cheese Milk, every sip promises a burst of creamy goodness. And for those with a sweet tooth, the Brie Cheese Cake, which looks exactly like Brie, is a must-try. Made with a blend of cream cheese and whipped cream, this cake is as fluffy as it is delicious.

The best food in Seoul often comes with a story, and Cheese Industry is no exception. The cafe’s dedication to crafting the perfect cheese experience is evident in every dish, from the Honey Brown Pastry with its caramel-like cheese to the savory offerings like Bacon Mac & Cheese and Gorgonzola Honey Panini.

For those seeking a unique restaurant in Seoul, Cheese Industry is a must-visit. The combination of a cozy ambiance, delightful menu, and the charm of Ikseondong makes it a perfect spot for a memorable dining experience.

Cheese Industry offers a delightful cheese-themed journey with moving wooden cow installations and a cheese-making display.
Cheese Industry offers a delightful cheese-themed journey with moving wooden cow installations and a cheese-making display. | Source: https://middleclass.sg/

10. Greem Cafe

Step into Greem Café and you’ll feel like you’ve walked straight into a cartoon. This coffee shop offers an experience that’s truly one-of-a-kind. Every corner of the café, from the walls and counters to the furniture and cutlery, resembles two-dimensional drawings. The dark outlines and matte white surfaces create an illusion, making everything appear as if it’s been sketched onto the scene.

Inspired by the popular Korean animated Web series “W,” the café captures the essence of a story where a man finds himself caught between our world and a cartoon reality. The name “Greem” is a Korean word that can mean both a cartoon and a painting. This unique design isn’t just for show; it’s the very essence of the café. As J.S. Lee, the marketing manager, points out, while many coffee brands offer similar tastes, it’s the unique memories in memorable places that truly matter.

Among the unique restaurants in Seoul, Greem Café stands out not just for its coffee but for the unparalleled experience it offers. Visitors flock to the café to capture the surreal ambiance, with many taking to social media to share their adventures in this cartoon-like setting. However, there’s a catch: photography is only allowed after making a purchase. So, if you’re looking to immerse yourself in a world where reality meets fantasy, Greem Café is the place to be.

Greem Café is a unique cartoon-like experience with two-dimensional drawings on walls, furniture, and more.
Greem Café is a unique cartoon-like experience with two-dimensional drawings on walls, furniture, and more. | Source: https://english.visitseoul.net/

11. Nudake

In the vibrant Apgujeong neighborhood of Seoul, NUDAKE stands as a testament to the art of dessert-making. An extension of the renowned Gentle Monster brand, this five-story flagship store seamlessly blends fashion, art, and gourmet pastries. As you step inside, you’ll see desserts that are nothing short of art pieces, each crafted into unique shapes that captivate the senses.

The café’s ambiance is a blend of industrial chic, with a dominant grey theme punctuated by black track lights. Amidst this modern setting, a vibrant fruit basket centerpiece draws the eye, showcasing the café’s signature item, the Picnic. This innovative creation, shaped like a basket, is from multigrain bread and filled with almond cream and seasonal fruits. It’s a delightful representation of what Seoul’s best restaurants have to offer.

But the Picnic is just the beginning. The dessert lineup at NUDAKE is a visual spectacle, with creations shaped like cauliflowers, dogs, and even intricate art sculptures. The Peak, for instance, stands out with its black layered croissant tart shape, filled with a striking green matcha milk spread. And then there’s the FOG, a dessert that transitions from black to white, reminiscent of a misty landscape.

NUDAKE seamlessly combines fashion, art, and gourmet pastries.
NUDAKE seamlessly combines fashion, art, and gourmet pastries.

12. Stylenanda Pink Pool Cafe

Imagine sipping your favorite drink in a space that feels like a dreamy, cotton candy-hued paradise. That’s the experience Stylenanda Pink Pool Cafe in Seoul promises. Located in the trendy Hongdae area, this establishment is a visual treat, making it one of the unique restaurants in Seoul. With its pastel interiors and playful design, every corner of the café is Instagram-worthy.

The café is part of Stylenanda, a popular Korean fast-fashion and beauty brand known for its chic and trendy offerings. Spanning three floors of fashion finds, the café sits proudly on the fourth floor. The space is divided into a lounge-type room and a pool area. And while the pool is shallow and only for show (no dipping your toes!), it provides a perfect backdrop for those memorable photos.

True to its name, the Pink Pool Cafe is all about the aesthetics. From the blush decor to the pink and blue tiles, every detail is meticulously curated. And if you’re looking for a tip: visiting on a weekday right when they open at 11am is the best way to enjoy the space without the usual crowd, especially since it’s near a university and tends to get busy. For those on a quest to discover Seoul’s best restaurants, the Stylenanda Pink Pool Cafe is a delightful pit stop.

Stylenanda Pink Pool Cafe offers a dreamy, pastel-hued paradise for a unique and visually captivating dining experience.
Stylenanda Pink Pool Cafe offers a dreamy, pastel-hued paradise for a unique and visually captivating dining experience.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Unique Places to Eat in Seoul

Looking for the most unique restaurants in Seoul might spark some questions, so let’s address them!

What should you eat in Seoul?

Seoul offers a culinary journey that’s both traditional and modern. From sizzling barbecued meats to comforting bowls of bibimbap, the city’s food scene is diverse and flavorful. Among the must-try dishes are kimchi, bulgogi, and tteokbokki. And if you’re looking to elevate your dining experience, exploring unique restaurants in Seoul like the ones mentioned in this article can offer a delightful twist to the usual fare.

What is the oldest restaurant in Korea?

Imun Seolnongtang in Seoul holds the title of being the oldest restaurant in Korea. Established in 1904, this eatery is famous for its seolnongtang, a milky beef bone soup that’s both hearty and delicious. Over the years, it has maintained its traditional flavors, making it a beloved spot for both locals and tourists.

What is the famous street food in South Korea?

South Korea, especially Seoul, is a haven for street food enthusiasts. Some of the most popular items include odeng (fish cake skewers), hotteok (sweet pancakes), and kimbap (seaweed rice rolls). But the star of the show is undoubtedly tteokbokki, spicy rice cakes simmered in a fiery sauce, often found in bustling street markets.

What makes Korean food unique?

Korean cuisine stands out for its bold flavors, diverse ingredients, and rich history. It’s a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, spicy, and savory elements. Fermentation is a key technique, giving rise to dishes like kimchi. The communal dining culture, where dishes are shared among diners, adds to the uniqueness of the Korean dining experience.

Kimchi, a popular Korean dish, represents traditional fermented food with vegetables and spices.
Kimchi, a popular Korean dish, represents traditional fermented food with vegetables and spices.

What is Korea’s national dish?

Korea’s national dish is kimchi, a fermented vegetable preparation, usually made with napa cabbage and Korean radishes. It’s seasoned with a mix of chili powder, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce, among other ingredients. Kimchi is not just a dish; it’s a symbol of Korean culture in almost every meal.

Are there vegetarian options in Seoul’s restaurants?

Absolutely! While Korean cuisine is famous for its meat dishes, many restaurants in Seoul offer vegetarian and even vegan options. Traditional dishes like bibimbap can be made without meat, and there are also establishments dedicated solely to vegetarian fare. Exploring a unique restaurant in Seoul can often lead to discovering delightful plant-based delights.

How do I find the best places to dine in Seoul?

Seoul is a city brimming with culinary gems. From bustling street markets to upscale dining establishments, there’s something for every palate. To find the best spots, it’s a good idea to do some research, read reviews, and even ask locals for recommendations. And of course, exploring unique restaurants in Seoul, as highlighted in this article, can offer unforgettable dining experiences.

Is Korean food spicy?

Korean food is known for its bold flavors, and yes, many dishes have a spicy kick. Ingredients like gochugaru (red chili flakes) and gochujang (red chili paste) are staples in Korean cooking. However, not all Korean dishes are spicy, and many restaurants offer milder versions of popular dishes to cater to different taste preferences.

Final Thoughts on Unique Seoul Restaurants

Seoul is a city that never ceases to amaze. From its rich history and vibrant culture to its bustling streets and serene parks, there’s always something new to discover. And when it comes to dining, the city truly shines. The unique restaurants in Seoul offer a blend of traditional flavors and modern twists, making every meal an adventure.

Whether you’re a foodie looking to explore new culinary horizons or a traveler seeking unforgettable experiences, Seoul’s dining scene has something for everyone. So, the next time you fly to South Korea and find yourself in this dynamic city, make sure to embark on a gastronomic journey that promises memories to last a lifetime.

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