11 Hot Spots In Mangwon-dong For Eats & Treats
The neighborhood isn’t jumping and jiving like Hongdae and requires a bit more of a hunt between the apartment buildings and villas unlike Yeonnam, but the finds can be stellar and the eats delicious.
Mangwon-dong sits just a subway stop away from the night out artsy district known as Hongdae. The districts around this university art and music neighborhood have been getting more and more hype because cool places are moving out of Hongdae, likely due to high rent prices, and moving into Mangwon and other nearby districts. Yeonnam-dong is another nearby neighborhood that has experienced a boom in the past couple of years. The area is now host to a beautiful park as well as foodie hot spots and neat cafes. Mangwon is Yeonnam’s understated little brother, but he’s piping up for attention!
Since my husband has had a studio in the area for numerous years, I’ve walked up, down and all around and here is where I would recommend you head to take a load off. From the new and improved to the back alley Korean food restaurants that have lasted decades. There are stops galore and more.
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1. Social Club Seoul
This “social club” has only been open a couple months but each weekend there are lines out the door even before the doors open. The creamy coffees are exquisite and quite delicious and the shop is also known for their creamy pancakes, though they do require a bit of a wait in order to actually get them most days. The spacious cafe houses just one HUGE table in the center that is decorated with a “fallen” chandelier that is currently flanked by two large vases of flowers though the oddities on the table are often changed out. While the name “Social Club Seoul” and one table would suggest patrons should socialize with each other, this doesn’t seem to happen, but the space is a pretty cool spot to check out just outside of the Mangwon Market.
Address: 414-27 Mangwon-dong Mapo-gu, Seoul (마포구 망원동 414-27 1층)
2. Mangwon Market
Mangwon Market is the farmer’s market of the neighborhood and should certainly not be overlooked for good eats. From the standard Korean street food options done really well to croquettes with all the fixins that often have line ups 30 people long and a kalguksu restaurant with handmade noodles that delight and almost always has a line out the door too, this market is a must-see fixture in the area. Often presented on Korean foodie shows, it’s always hoppin’. The market also has two stalls that serve up some deliciously tender pigs feet that are wrapped up with lettuce and sauces to go perfect for a picnic on the nearby Han River banks. Always full of people and full of action, this market is where everyone goes and should at least be walked through if in the hood.
Address: 411 Mangwon-dong Mapo-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 마포구 망원동 411)
3. Sally Cheong
This little 10 seater shop hasn’t been open terribly long but the hostess Sally Cheong has been making a name for herself with her healthy, no-sugar added fruity concoctions. Known for her berry delicious bowl of natural yogurt with blueberries, strawberries and granola and some other fruity drinks, this is a cute little shop to take a stop in and get some nutritious and scrumptious eats. Nothing is overly filling so it’s more of a snack shop to tide you over, but the cozy atmosphere is cute and inviting. The yogurt bowl is seasonal and she has been known to change it up and top it with other fruits from time to time. Head there now for lots of strawberry madness!
Address: 21 Worldcup-ro 23-gil Mapo-gu, Seoul (서울 마포구 월드컵로 23길 21 1층)
4. Hodoo Coffee
Hodoo Coffee is one of the smallest coffee shops in the area but it has really cleaned up nice. Inside there is one long rustic wooden table with old metal and wooden mismatched chairs set around it. There is a table near the window that has cassette tapes stacked high and a huge wall painted black that keeps the place feeling fresh and clean. All of this points patrons to the counter to grab a refreshing unpretentious cup of Joe that doesn’t need any of those frilly foam decorations to prove it’s worth. Hodoo doesn’t even label his cups because well, he just doesn’t care I guess. His coffee is good though and you’ll remember the spot even without the labels, bells and whistles. Run by one guy that can be seen biking through the area in the morning, if he’s open when you’re around, you’re in for a good drink. We literally get our coffee drinks and then coffee beans to make more coffee from this guy weekly. Hodoo!
Address: 425-1 Mangwon-dong Mapo-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 마포구 망원동 425-1)
Open since 1986, this old hole in the wall is still serving up food that garners lines out the door come meal time. Pork neck bone is boiled for hours and when it’s served up, the bowl is filled and overflowing with a tender meaty concoction that hits all the right spots. There is just one thing on the menu but that’s the only thing you’d want here anyway. This spine bone “hangover” stew is filling and is served up with just a couple kimchi side dishes and a bowl of rice. The meat falls easily off of the spine bones into the bowl, but don’t be afraid to just pick up the bone and go at it to get every last delicious morsel. The stew also has steamed greens and a simple broth that allows the taste of the meat to shine through.
Address: 476-1 Mangwon-dong Mapo-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 마포구 망원동 476-1)
6. Park Nam Coffee (박남커피)
With so many new cafes and coffee shops in the area, it can be difficult to tell which are the real deal with baristas that know a thing or two about coffee and which are just awesomely decorated but lack some coffee bean knowledge. Park Nam Coffee is one of the good ones. His cozy corner cafe has mismatching furniture which is all the rage and artwork hung here and there to peruse. Between me and my husband who have different coffee taste buds, our friendly local barista was able to figure out what suited each of us and we were impressed with our javas not to mention the interior is rustic and a cool shop to chill in to people watch. Because there are oh so many new people headed to this little off the beaten path district these days.
Address: 395-19 Mangwon-dong Mapo-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 마포구 망원동 395-19)
7. Jeonju Kongnamul Haejangguk
This little hole in the wall has been open since 2005 and specializes in one dish: Jeonju style bean sprout soup. Anyone that knows a bit of Korean can guess from the name that refers to hangover soup that this spot is for some hearty stew especially appealing to those looking to get over a good night of drinking. Patrons usually consist of old Korean men throwing a few more back as they reminisce on the late night they are coming off of. Whether or not you’re hungover, this soup will hit the spot. For some authentic Korean cuisine with no fuss and no muss and made by one old grandmother that works day in and day out, check out this place. You might even be asked to join in on a bowl of makkoli or a shot of soju by a fun table of old gents sitting nearby. No this place isn’t new, but with the prices you’ll be paying for coffee at some other joints, you might as well save money on the food and stop here for some delicious Korean soup. This was my go-to haunt when I was prego and needed some stew.
Address: 481-5 Mangwon-dong Mapo-gu Seoul (마포구 망원동 481-5)
8. J’s Curry
J’s Curry is a chic shop with a vibrant orange sign shouting for attention from the street corner. The chef and owner whips up some of his Thai favorites and they really are pleasing to the palate and deserve that loud orange sign out front. This little shop seats no more than 10, but allows any patron to get up close and personal and watch as the food is delicately pieced together on the bar. Eat in or take it to go and enjoy it for a picnic on the nearby banks of the Han River. Not heavy but just the right amount of filling to eat and continue walking the alleys of Mangwon. The owner, having lived in Canada for a time, is also super foreigner friendly and will give you a fabulous meal too. The curry and pork rice bowl are our favorite but he recently introduced some new oyster dishes that were oh so pleasing.
Address: 435-1 Mangwon-dong Mapo-gu Seoul (서울시 마포구 망원동 435-1)
9. Happy Burger
Happy Burger is one of those places that is just fine with being off the beaten path and they almost seem to try to be with a small paper sign being the only visual cue inviting people in from the street. It’s easy enough to walk right by and never even see this unpretentious burger grilling delight. The interior is almost too cool for school with the all white decor, hints of color and retro glass soda bottles and while you’d expect hipsters to be lining up out the door, ajjumas and mother’s and their daughters are perfectly comfortable eating up these delicious perfectly cooked burgers too. Weekdays the locals take over and enjoy a grilled burger with an aoli sauce and on the weekends those from near and far head out to find this burger joint. You will find lines on the weekends so head there a bit earlier or later than normal eating hours to get right in to eat up.
Address: 414-83 Mangwon-dong Mapo-gu, Seoul (서울시 마포구 망원동 414-83)
10. Ego Pizzeria
This pizzeria is just next door to the popular Happy Burger and gets a bit of overflow traffic from there on busy days, but they deserve a visit in their own right. With a wood fired pizza oven taking up most of the kitchen, this couple of cooks is whipping up some mighty delicious slices and salads and meatballs to go along with them. The exterior is a bit boding with dark windows and it was clear as we sat inside that numerous people were unsure whether they should come in or not because of that. But, this place should definitely be checked out as they’re definitely serving up some of the best handmade pizzas in the area… and they might have a bit of an ego about that too. Ego Pizzeria also has great meatballs that I was especially pleased with as well.
Address: 414-83 Mangwon-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul (망원동 414-83 1층) (THIS LOCATION IS NOW CLOSED!)
11. Deep Blue Lake
This very chic cafe sits just outside of Mangwon Market and is the perfect spot to grab an Australian style cup of coffee after eating it up somewhere else. The exterior of the building is painted in a gorgeous shade of blue that is immediately calming. The first floor is where the coffee beans are prepared and drinks are ordered and then the next two floors up are decorated with chic tables and chairs and plenty of greenery. This is a respite near the chaos that the traditional market can sometimes be home to.
Address: 411-12 Mangwon-dong Mapo-gu Seoul (서울특별시 마포구 망원1동 411-12)
Want to stay in this area with great cafes, restaurants and a night life of live music and art? Stay in the Hongdae district. This district is known for live music venues, restaurants and art. One place that you should check out is L7 Hotel. It’s easy to get to from the subway and has all of the amenities you would want in a chic stay. Lotte Hotel is renowned for its quality services and friendly staff, and L7 Hongdae lives up to expectations. Another great option in the area is Nine Brick Hotel. Not only is this hotel chic, but gorgeous inside and out and a bit different than many spots to stay in the area. Also easy to find on the main road and near a subway station. Guests can choose from 94 rooms, all of which exude an atmosphere of total peace and harmony.
These 11 spots in Mangwon-dong are where I like to hang out for some delicious eats and treats.
There are more popping up every day and more that have lasted decades that still need to be checked out by yours truly. But, if you’re headed to the new hippity hopping area, this is a good start. Want even more? Here are MORE Eats & Treats in the Mangwon District.