An International Feast
Just as famous as Sinsa’s boutiques are its atmospheric restaurants and there are plenty of options for the hungry shopper.
Bordering Serosu-gil offers enough dining options to cater to even the pickiest of palates. Here, the restaurants are a bit pricier than those in other parts in Seoul, but many offer lunch specials on weekdays.
If you’re in the mood for Italian, Pizza Di Napoli does a great lunch set that includes focaccia, salad, soup, an entree, and coffee or tea. Their olive oil pasta, which brims with clams, is quite tasty, but the servers claim their pizzas are the most popular among diners.
For authentic New Orleans cuisine, head to Pier 17, which also has affordable lunch deals. Their specialties include gumbo, jambalaya and boiled seafood, as well as some very creative cocktails. Try the Shark Attack, a blue margarita topped with a plastic shark that oozes strawberry daiquiri “blood” when squeezed.
If you’re in need of a coffee break, or a quiet place to do some reading, settle into a comfy seat at Cafe Oui, a tucked-away afternoon hangout. This multi-story cafe oozes feminine charm: pastel stuffed animals, dainty desserts and adorable teddy bear cappuccino foam art. If the ethereal decor doesn’t keep your attention, then the handsome servers in bow-ties most definitely will.
Makeup junkies will be happy to know that Garosu-gil is brimming with beauty shops that cater to just about every budget. And although it’s easy to spend all day shop-hopping, sampling hair oils, lip masks and BB cream, the product that put Korean cosmetics on the map, Olive Young and Lohb’s are undoubtedly Sinsa’s best one-stop shops for all your beauty needs.
The latter is the bigger of the two, but both offer an endless array of domestic and international brands of toiletries, cosmetics and even specialty snacks. There are also entire sections dedicated to male grooming, so men can enjoy the experience just as much as women.
The Simone Handbag Museum is housed in unique building with a glass facade and a roof constructed to resemble purse handles. Inside, guests can browse an impressive collection of handbags from some of the most luxurious brands in the world; one floor is dedicated to contemporary styles of the West while the other features historical handbags dating back to as early as the 1500s.
Mannequins are placed strategically throughout the museum to illustrate how handbags were worn throughout history as well as how the lifestyles of the eras influenced handbag design. The bags are beautiful to look at but even more interesting are the stories that each tells, explained thoroughly in the museum brochure.
The building also boasts special exhibits, a cafe complete with adorable handbag decor and a workshop where Korean artisans can be watched cutting, stripping and sewing the latest designs. Fashion enthusiasts can also create their own handbags with the gorgeous high-quality materials for sale in the Material Bazaar.
Near by is Galley Yeh. Founded in 1978, and re-launched in 2005 in its current space that has become a landmark in Sinsa, the gallery has established a solid track record of popular exhibits featuring both traditional and modern works of art by Korean and international artists, including Arman, Jesus Raphael Soto, Lynn Chadwick, Niki de Saint-phalle, Frank Stella, Alberto Giacometti, Nam Jun-paik and Alex Katz.
In the next part of this series, you’ll explore Sinsa’s most delicious and eye-appealing dessert cafes, as well as some cool nightlife spots.
To Get There: Take the Seoul subway to Sinsa Station (Line 3, Exit 8).
Guide Map (Includes locations in entire Seoul Walks: Sweets & Shopping in Sinsa)