Green Eats: The Search For Vegetarian Food in Seoul
9 places to go for vegetarian food in Seoul
· 58 min read
Seoul as a food paradise is known for its fried chicken, dalkgalbi, and Korean BBQ. So if you are a vegetarian and thinking about going to Seoul, food options might be one of your biggest concerns. But not to worry, the city also has a thriving vegetarian food scene, with many places that you can get your meals from.
To help you get started, we've put together a guide to some of the best green eats in Seoul.
Plant Cafe & Kitchen
Having been around since 2013, Plant is one of the earliest players in the scene and also one of the most popular vegan cafes in Seoul. They have two branches located conveniently at Yeonnam and Itaewon. This cozy cafe has a mainly-Western menu, with options like vegan burgers, pasta, and sandwiches. If you are looking for something lighter, they also sell salads, smoothie bowls, and baked goods like cakes and cookies.
- Yeonnam branch: 87 World Cup buk-ro 4-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea (Google Map | Naver Map)
- Itaewon branch: 2 floor, 117 Bogwang-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea (Google Map | Naver Map)
🕤 Opening Hours:
- Yeonnam branch: 11am - 10pm from Tuesday to Saturday, closed on Monday
- Itaewon branch: 11am - 10pm from Tuesday to Saturday, closed on Monday
By Tofu is a plant-based cafe located near Namsan Park, and is a good brunch option if you are planning to head to Namsan. However, do note that the cafe is rather small and might not be suitable if you are traveling in big groups. The cafe is best known for their delicious food and fresh bakes, with the menu featuring items like salad bowls, sandwiches, wraps, and banh mi. And of course, tofu is featured in most of their menu items. They also occasionally have special menus or collaborations that feature options that are more Korean-style.
🕤 Opening Hours: 9am - 5pm from Thursday to Sunday, 9am - 9pm on Monday with break time from 5pm - 7pm, closed on Tuesday and Wednesday
Gonggan Nogeum (Nokum Space)
Gonggan Nogeum is a vegan restaurant that sells mainly Western-style food like pasta and burger, but with a tinge of Korean flavours. Their best menu items are the bulgogi burger and the vegan tangsuyuk (vegan Korean-style sweet and sour pork). And if you are looking for a relaxing evening out with friends, there will also occasionally be live music performances held here! Gonggan Nogeum is a little far out from the main tourist attractions in Seoul, but if you will be heading to Gimpo airport, why not consider dropping by for a meal as well?
🕤 Opening Hours: 11.30am - 1am daily, break time from 3pm - 5.30pm
Vegetus is a causal restaurant at Itaewon that serves salads, panini, pastas, burgers, and rice. They also have a selection of desserts that are mostly gluten-free. The Vegetus Burger and the range of paninis are of the most popular items on their menu.
🕤 Opening Hours: 12pm - 9.30pm daily (from Monday to Friday, there is a break time from 3pm-5pm)
Ose Gye Hyang
If you're not in the mood for cafe food and are looking for something more Korean, head to Ose Gye Hyang. This restaurant at Insadong specialises in Korean-style cuisine but adopted for vegetarians. Here, you will be able to find Korean menu items like tteokbokki, vegetarian jajjangmyeon, vegetarian-katsu, and even vegetarian yangnyeom chicken. Some of the must-tries are the jajjangmyeon and kimchi dumplings.
🕤 Opening Hours: 11.30am - 9pm from Friday to Wednesday, break time from 4pm-5pm. Closed on Thursday.
Base Is Nice
Located near Mapo station, Base Is Nice is a small studio that serves plant-based dishes. It has also been recommended in the Michelin Guide 2023. Base Is Nice goes back to the basics, with a fairly simple menu and interior. The menu items mostly include rice items with varying ingredients. Of which, the option of caramelised corn and green radish appears to be the most popular.
🕤 Opening Hours: 11am - 3pm from Tuesday to Sunday, closed on Monday
Balwoo Gongyang is a restaurant serving temple food that's located near Anguk. The restaurant has a simple, minimalist decor that's designed to create a sense of calm and serenity. At the restaurant, you will be able to choose from five different set menus, all of them featuring traditional temple food items. The set menu changes each season.
🕤 Opening Hours: 11.30am - 9.30pm from Monday - Saturday, break time from 3pm - 6pm. Closed on Sunday.
Alt. A is a fairly new player on the block. It only opened in 2022, and specializes in plant-based Chinese cuisine. They have two branches in Seoul, one at Itaewon and another at Dosan Park near Apgujeong Rodeo. At Alt. A, you will be able to find Korean-style Chinese food like jjampon, jajjangmyeon, and tangsuyuk. They also serve other Chinese cuisine like mapo tofu and mala noodles.
- Itaewon Branch: 109 Bogwang-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea (Google Map | Naver Map)
- Dosan Park Branch: South Korea, Seoul, Gangnam-gu, Eonju-ro 164-gil, 34-2 1F (Google Map | Naver Map)
🕤 Opening Hours:
- Itaewon Branch: 11.30am - 10pm daily, break time 3pm - 5pm
- Dosan Park Branch: 11.30am - 10pm daily, break time 3pm - 5pm
Maru Jayeonsik Gimbap
And you don't have to miss out on street food and Korean snack bars either! If you are looking for some street food and some sort of a snack bar experience, head over to Maru Jayeonsik Gimbap at Insadong! Here, you will be able to get your classic Korean street food like tteobokki, gimbap, and *oden, *all vegan!
🕤 Opening Hours: 10.30am - 7pm from Tuesday to Sunday, break time from 3pm - 5pm on weekdays. Closed on Monday.