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(Some) Great Cafés in Gangneung

If you like slow-roasted, hand-drip coffee, Gangneung is the place to be. I’m quite a fan of the coffee shop culture here, so I spend a lot of my free time checking out new places to write and enjoy a cuppa. 

Though I can hardly say that this is a comprehensive collection of great cafés in the city, these ones are special to me. I attempted to cover a fair geographic range in this guide, but also tried to focus on places that are easily accessible via public transportation.

I’ve included the price of an Americano at every place in order to give an idea of general cost. Some cafés offer only coffee and tea, while some have food items; I’ve attempted to distinguish which is which. 

 

1. Terarosa Forest Café

 

TF_Outside

Terarosa is a luxury coffee shop chain that, as far as I know, originated in Gangneung. It also has branches in other parts of Korea; their website lists locations in Seoul, Gyeonggi Province, Jeju and Busan. Of the branches in Gangneung, their Forest Café across from Sacheon Beach is the most lauded.

TF_Inside again

Although it might seem like an expensive purchase, Terarosa does offer a nice ambience. It’s a great place to go alone or with a friend. 

What they serve: Coffee, tea, juice, lemonade, milk, dessert items like cheesecake and muffins 

English menu: Yes

Price of an Americano (hot): 4,500 won

Hours: 10 AM to 11 PM Mon.-Sun.

Stamp card: Being discontinued on 31 March 2016.

TF_Drink

Pictured: Earl grey tea with lemon cheesecake. 

Address: 강원도 강릉시 사천면 산대월리 158-4

Directions: Take bus 312 or 313 to the stop Sandaewolri / Soonpo (산대월리 / 순포). Walk across the street to the café.

 

If you can’t make it to Sacheon, there’s a Terarosa branch in downtown Gangneung:

TD_Outside

TD_Counter

What they serve: Coffee, tea, bread, dessert items

English menu: Yes

Price of an Americano (hot): 4,500 won

Hours: 9 AM to 10 PM Mon.-Sun.

Stamp card: Being discontinued on 31 March 2016.

Address: 강원도 강릉시 임당동 74-4

Directions: In downtown Gangneung, walk down the Culture Street (문화의길) from the main road, Gyeonggang-ro (경강로), northeast of the post office but southwest of the McDonald’s. The nearest bus stops are Hana Dae-too Securities (하나대투증권, southbound) and Shin-young Market (신영극장, northbound). Most buses ride through these stops.

 

2. Coffee Sun 

S-outside

Image1

Located in Taekji, the university neighborhood, Coffee Sun is a popular place for college students to hang out. It has a laid-back atmosphere, quality menu items, and notebooks on every table that exist for customers to doodle in. Some people come here to study or read, but others come to catch up with a friend. 

What they serve: Espresso beverages, tea, sandwiches, homemade gelato, and dessert items such as cheesecake, cookies and scones

English menu: Only for some items. However, staff generally speak English well.

Price of an Americano (hot): There is hand drip coffee, which is 5,000 won. Other espresso-based items (such as lattes) are around the 4,500 won mark.

Hours: 9 AM – 3 AM Mon.-Sun. 

Stamp card: Yes

S_Drink

Pictured: Latté. 

Address: 강원도 강릉시 교동 1843-6

Directions: Go to the Kyodong / Taekji neighborhood and head toward WA Bar. Coffee Sun is just behind it. The nearest bus stop is Gureumdari (구름다리). The 206, 207, 227, 230, 230-1, 302, 308-1, 312, and 315 buses all ride in this direction. 

 

3. Café Dalli

D_Outside

D_4

Café Dalli is has the menu of a dessert café and the interior design of an art museum. It’s popular and offers a lot of seating, but I’ve never been there at a time when it’s crowded. You can chat or read, but it’s hard to do either when you see what’s available on the dessert counter. All the cakes are incredible, but the banana chocolate cake comes highly recommended.

What they serve: Espresso beverages, tea, juice, macarons, caramel apples, cake

English menu: No

Price of an Americano (hot): 3,500 won

Hours: 8 AM to 11 PM all week

Stamp card: No

D_Food

Pictured: Chamomile tea (brewing) and carrot cake. 

Address: 강원도 강릉시 율곡로 2836

Directions: From the large intersection outside the HomePlus complex, take the road going north (in the opposite direction of the river). Café Dalli is about a block away, across the street from the bowling alley. The nearest bus stops are Kyobo Life Insurance (교보생면, southbound) or Shin-young Market (신영극장, northbound). Most of the local buses ride through here. 

 

4. Kikrus 

K_Outside

Anmok beach has so many coffee shops that you could walk into whichever suits your fancy and be pleasantly surprised. If your exploration time is limited and want to enjoy one all-encompassing coffee shop, though, I’d go for Kikrus.

What they serve: Coffee, non-espresso beverages (e.g. smoothies, shakes), breads, sandwiches, salads, and desserts.

English menu: Yes, but only for drinks (not desserts)

Price of an Americano (hot): 3,000 won 

Hours: 9 AM to midnight on weekdays; 8 AM to 1 AM on weekends

Stamp card: Yes

K_Desserts

Pictured: Coffee flatccino (sic—a kind of shake), chocolate ganache cake, and fig torte. I swear I did not eat this alone.

Address: 강원도 강릉시 창해로14번길 48-1 (견소동 1)

Directions: From Gangneung Harbor (강릉항), go north along the shore past the public restroom (on your right) and the white, blue-roofed café called Santorini (on your left; also recommended if it’s not crowded). Kikrus is a large gray building almost directly across from the southernmost edge of the beach. The nearest bus stop is Anmok Jongjeom (안목종점), but the best stop is Anmok (안목), which is also the name of the beach. Many bus lines end at this stop.

 

 5Café Kyodong 899 (교동899)

Outside1

Inside5

What they serve: Coffee, non-espresso beverages (teas, fruit juice drinks), yogurt, muffins, cake, cookies

English menu: Not displayed, though it might be available if you ask

Price of an Americano (hot): 4,000 won

Hours: 10:30 AM – 10 PM (summer)

             10:30 AM – 7 PM (winter; closes slightly earlier on Sundays)

Food

Picture: Latté. 

Address: 강원도 강릉시 임영로 223

Directions: The nearest landmark is the Moru Library. Walk south from the library on the street farthest to your right and continue about a block down. Before the next intersection, you should see a small fenced-in courtyard with a coffee shop (past the café with the black façade just a little farther up the street). The nearest bus stop is Gangneung Jay-eel High School (강릉제일고). You will walk uphill to the café from this stop, on the left side of the street.

 

Honorable Mentions:

A. Ffuntoday (sic) Underground Comic Café (뻔뻔지하만화다방)

Manhwa

This was a tip from a friend who loves books. Seeing as I can’t read much Korean beyond the survival level, I wouldn’t typically go to a café where you pay to read comics, but I do like finding a nice quiet place where I can read or write outside of the apartment. The first time I came here was in the middle of a sunny summer day, and there weren’t many people. The second time I went on a rainy evening after school hour, and it was stuffed. Your results might vary, but it’s worth checking out.

What they serve: Coffee, non-espresso beverages, soda, chips, snacks, instant ramen

English menu: No

Price of an Americano (hot): 3,800 won (N.B.: prices of menu items are different from their listing)

Hours: 10 AM – 1 AM all week

Address: 강원도 강릉시 경강로 2106 경일플라자

Directions: In the building where the downtown Lotteria is, head to the basement level. The café is clearly marked. Make sure you switch out your outside shoes for indoor slippers in the lockers out front. There are separate lockers for women (여성) and men (남성).

The nearest bus stop is Kyobo Life Insurance (교보생명, southbound) or Shin-young Market (신영극장, northbound). Most of the local buses ride through there. 

 

B. Café Andromeda 

Andromeda

Not only does Café Andromeda have this awesome space theme, but it also offers items that I haven’t seen in other cafés. The beverage servings are small, but of high quality, and the atmosphere and comfy chairs are perfect for a quiet read or a long chat.

What they serve: Coffee, non-espresso beverages (the chai tea latté is great), wine, paninis, bagels, honey bread 

English menu: Yes, for the names of products (but not their descriptions)

Price of an Americano (hot): 3,500 won. Most other drink items are around the 5,000 won mark.

Hours: noon to midnight Mon-Sat; 1 PM to midnight Sun. (Closed on the first and third Sundays of the month)

Address: 강원도 강릉시 교동 1860-5

Directions: In Taekji, on the north side of Gyodonggwangjang-ro (교동광장로), go behind the first row of shops and walk toward the easternmost part of the street. Look for the blue-gray sign. Café Andromeda is next to a small parking lot. The nearest bus stops are Hyundai Ee-cha Apartments (현대2차아파트) and Ju-gong Sam-cha “A” (주공3차A). The 206, 207, 227, 230, 230-1, 302, 308-1, 312, and 315 buses all ride in this direction.

May 2016 Update: Café Andromeda is no longer at this location; the shop owner hopes to relocate near the bus terminal in the future. Keep your eyes peeled!

 

C. Brick and Brown

Lego

A Lego-themed café. You can sit and enjoy the models on display or play with sets (kept in separate plastic boxes) at your table. Go here for the novelty or the inexpensive food. This place is pretty busy on a weekend, but takeout is available.

What they serve: Coffee, tea, fruit smoothies, personal pizzas, desserts (brownies, muffins, ice cream, cake)

English menu: No

Price of an Americano (hot): 2,500 won

Hours: 9 AM – 10 PM (all week?)

Address: 강원도 강릉시 신대학길 42 1층

Directions: Turn left around the corner from the Lotteria in downtown Gangneung and walk along the wide side-street. You’ll see the three-story Café Teddy (a teddy bear-themed café). Turn right here, and Brick and Brown will be on your right.

The nearest bus stop is Kyobo Life Insurance (교보생명, southbound) or Shin-young Market (신영극장, northbound). Most of the local buses ride through there. 

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