Adrien Lee needs no introduction. You’ve probably seen or heard him on Arirang TV and radio, or at one of his many appearances at concerts and events. He’s a well-known man about town—but where about does he go? Here are some of this dashing French-Korean emcee’s favorite Seoul spots (fangirls, take note!).
Favorite bakery: Guillaume
“Guillaume is a boulangerie located at the entrance of UN Village in Hannam-dong. I usually go there when I miss Paris and its delicious pastries. This place offers a wide range of products: traditional baguette, croissant, pain au chocolat, macaron, eclair, mille-feuille and more. Everything is authentic and homemade. The prices are a bit higher than at other bakeries in Seoul, but if you’re looking for taste and quality for a special occasion, you won’t be disappointed.” Guillaume (기욤), 28-11 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu (Tel 02-792-6701).
Favorite pizza place: Pizzeria D’Buzza (부자피자)
“As a half-Korean myself, I love hansik, Korean cuisine. However, from time to time my palate needs a change, and pizza is one of my favorites. For some people, a thick American pizza with extra cheese can do the trick, but personally, coming from Europe, I have a slight preference for a thin traditional Italian pizza cooked in a real brick oven. Need I say more? Basta!” Pizzeria D’Buzza, 743-33 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu (Tel 02-794-9474).
Favorite Korean restaurant: San Deul Hae (산들해)
“If you have friends coming to Seoul, this is a must-go restaurant. This place serves traditional Korean food with lots of side dishes everywhere. And when I say everywhere, I really mean everywhere—to the point where sometimes your arm is just too short for you to try the delicacies at the other end of the table! The basic menu costs only 14,000 won per person and is well worth the price. The food is tasty and healthy, with unlimited refills if you ask. The best aspect of this restaurant is its sliding table system. Basically, your table comes preset with all the food on it, and the waiter slides it in on top of your existing tabletop. It’s hard to describe, so go check it out yourself (and watch your fingers when they slide in the table!).” San Deul Hae (산들해), 18-3 Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu (Tel 02-537-0113).
Favorite cafe: Glamorous Penguin
“If you are looking for a cozy place to chill, Glamourous Penguin is the perfect place. They offer healthy hot and cold beverages, but people usually go there for the delicious cakes they bake according to some secret recipes. So far, the red velvet is my favorite. Girls, if you are into desserts and cakes, you will fall in love with this place. (Men, n.b.—this could be a nice option for a sweet date.) The venue itself is very cute and well decorated. If the weather is nice, make sure you also check out their rooftop. And last but not least, don’t forget to take a photo with their adorable penguin mascot before you leave.” Glamorous Penguin, 743-41 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu (Tel 02-790-7178)
Favorite Lounge: 2
“2 is a quiet lounge that just opened this summer in the Itaewon area. It is not located in the crazy central part of Itaewon, but in the more up-and-coming trendy district near the Leeum Museum. The place offers recreation for all your senses. The interior is simple yet stylish with great taste. I like this place because the atmosphere is very cozy with some quality lounge music to please your ears. A great place to hang out after a stressful day! 2 also offers a variety of drinks: beers, cocktails, champagne, etc. This is definitely a great place for a date or just to chill with some friends before going somewhere more ‘wild’ in Itaewon.” Lounge 2, 743-31 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu (map).
Favorite outdoor activity: Hangang hanging
“What surprised me the most when I first moved to Seoul was the size of the city. Growing up in Paris, I was used to walking, rollerblading and cycling everywhere, but I very quickly realized that things were going to be different here in Seoul—it’s just too big and too spread out. If you want to enjoy some outdoor activities in Seoul, the river banks are ideal. They’re easy to access, and you can safely and freely play sports, bicycle, jog, etc. You can also enjoy some snacks and drinks in front of the convenience stores while taking advantage of the nice view. Or you can even order food and have it delivered to you! I especially recommend the Banpo bridge area with the floating islands, and go at night.” Banpo Bridge, Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu (accessible via Dongjak station, exit 1 or 2).
Favorite mountain: Maebongsan (매봉산)
“As you probably noticed, Korea is full of mountains, and hiking here is like a national sport. You have small mountains everywhere around Seoul, but also within the capital itself. Personally, when I want to reconnect with nature and get some fresh air, I usually go up Maebongsan (or Maebong mountain) because I can walk there, and because once you reach the top (after about a 40 minute hike), the panoramic view over Gangnam is amazing. The Han River is at your feet, with skyscrapers in the middle and mountains in the backdrop. Just make sure you go on a clear day.” The entrance to Maebongsan Park is in Hannam-dong and accessible via Hangangjin station exit 2 (map).