Gyeongnidan’s Best New Eats and Shops

  • Photo by Photo by Ji Sun Chong for Seoulist

    Macaron cafe Caron Caron opened in April in Gyeongnidan, near the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Photo by Ji Sun Chong for Seoulist

In Gyeongnidan, an eclectic neighborhood close to Noksapyeong Station, newly opened restaurants, bars and shops are quickly gaining notice. There’s an immediate appeal to Gyeongnidan’s recent attractions, mostly owned by young and attentive Korean entrepreneurs who are committed to their skills and visions. Wander around the neighborhood and check out some of its newest additions. Photo by Ji Sun Chong for Seoulist 1. Flower Gin As the name would imply, Seo Hyun Kim has combined two things she loves and opened a tiny and tasteful gin cocktail bar and floral shop in one. Her attention to sensory details—a rose-scented candle, elegant bouquets, stylish lighting—is chic and cohesive. Seo Hyun decided to serve only Hendrick’s Gin since it is infused with rose petals, which complemented her vision of a flower bar. Photo by Ji Sun Chong for Seoulist Choose between the Gin Buck with ginger ale and lemon and the classic Gin and Tonic, each garnished with cucumber and a sweetheart rose. Floral bouquets range in size and price from 5,000 to over 50,000 won. Tuesday–Sunday from 12 pm–12 am. Take-out available. 666 Itaewon-Dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul 02-412-1983 Line 6, Noksapyeong Station, exit 2 Photo by Ji Sun Chong for Seoulist 2. Salon Fried Owner Tae Yeon Kim took the European concept of a salon and created Salon Fried, a place for friends to gather over fried foods and drinks. This is not your typical fried food locale. With its vinyl-cushioned oversized vintage chairs and lace embroidered light orbs, there’s an undeniable nostalgic appeal about the place. Using the recipes she learned from her sister, Tae Yeon offers snack-sized portions of crisp pumpkin and mushroom, tender chicken, squid and shrimp. An individual order of three pieces is 2,000 won or 9,000 won for a combination plate. These foods are made to order, so while you wait during busy times, enjoy a tart grape beer (6,500 won) or a sweet blueberry beer (7,000 won); beers are blended with pureed fruits. Salon Fried also offers sangria and vin chaud, or mulled wine. Photo by Ji Sun Chong for Seoulist Tuesday–Sunday, 5 pm–12 am. Takeout available. 225-112 Itaewon 2-Dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul 010-5413-8251 Line 6, Noksapyeong Station, exit 2 Photo by Ji Sun Chong for Seoulist3. Moon Oh Ri (문오리) When four good friends, Jin Oo Jang, Jeong Hyun Han, Tae Hoon Yi and Dong Ook Yi went on a trip to Jeju last year, they were struck with the idea of bringing authentic flavors of the island to Seoul. Along with the cuisine, Moon Oh Ri emphasizes traditional Korean dining customs with floor seating and communal eating and focuses on exposing lesser-known Jeju foods typically passed down among families to a younger, busier generation. You are invited to come and enjoy, undistracted and unrushed. Enter the restaurant and it feels like you’ve stepped into a simple and lovely home, with ajumma-approved pastel wallpaper and jars of ginseng infused spirits lining the walls. Moon Oh Ri is a combination of squid (문어) and duck (오리) and these are two key ingredients in the restaurant’s signature dish of the same name. A heaping pile of squid and duck in a savory, spicy broth with carrots, potatoes and sesame comes in three sizes and serves two to three (40,000 won), three to five (50,000 won) and five to seven (60,000 won) people. Kimchi jjigae with Jeju black pork is a must-try (7,000 won for a single serving) and soju fans should also imbibe the smooth Halla-san brand. Tuesday–Sunday, lunch 12–3 pm, dinner 5–11 pm 255-39 Itaewon 2-Dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul 070-8153-5252 Line 6, Noksapyeong Station, exit 2 Photo by Ji Sun Chong for Seoulist 4. Caron Caron Co-owners Ji Soo Hyun and Na Yeon Kim opened their charming macaron atelier at a nondescript corner on the back streets of Gyeongnidan. Na Yeon learned the tricks of the Parisian trade first, taught Ji Soo, and after two years of perfecting the craft together, they unveiled Caron Caron in April of this year. Choose from 15 flavors for 2,000 won each, including traditional chocolate and raspberry and bolder flavors like the best-selling wasabi. Drip coffee and lemon and black tea are also available. Want to learn how to make macarons? Caron Caron offers classes that meet once on the weekend from 10am-1pm for a two-week duration for 200,000 won. Photo by Ji Sun Chong for Seoulist Tuesday–Sunday, 11:30 am–10 pm 258-167 Itaewon-Dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul 070-8223-0808 Line 6, Noksapyeong Station, exit 2 Photo by Ji Sun Chong for Seoulist 5. GolMok Vinyl and Pub Back in the day, golmok (골목), or alleyways, were places where the livelihood of creative minds and philosophers thrived. These days, such passageways are disappearing and being replaced with corporate logos and copycat blandness. Co-owners Jina Kim and Se Hun Hwang opened Golmok Vinyl and Pub to revive the golmok spirit. They wanted to create an independent space that would showcases Se Hun’s vast record collection and serves as a neighborhood gathering spot. Resident and guest deejays spin everything from classic rock and roll like that of Tom Waits and Bob Dylan to R&B grooves from Roberta Flack and Toni Braxton. Photo by Ji Sun Chong for Seoulist Enjoy an Indica or Great White draft brew, order some quesadillas or grilled sausages, and listen to the best of the best of records. Welcome to the neighborhood. Open seven days a week, 7 pm–2 am 557 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 02-790-5979 Line 6, Noksapyeong Station, exit 2

Ji Sun Chong

About Ji Chong

Born in the year of the sheep and in the month of Aquarius, Ji Sun is curious, free spirited, and easily inspired. She embraces bright colors, quirky misadventures, and bold foods. Sample her recipes on eatthisitsgood.blogspot.com.

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