CONTRIBUTED BY CHRISTINE BRUNS
The other day, while I was in Itaewon for my son’s taekwondo class at TMAS, I remembered that I needed to bring home dessert. I grumbled for about 5 seconds, as I didn’t want to have to make an additional stop at the commissary, and then inspiration hit. I headed around the corner to one of my favorite sweet spots, Tartine Bakery and Pie Cafe.
After we enjoyed our pie that evening, I realized there was no write-up about Tartine’s for Korea Ye – what?! Off I went the next week, with the added bonus of an AFN crew tagging along, to eat more pie. It was hard work, but I was willing to make the sacrifice for our readers.
If you haven’t been to Tartine’s before, you’re in for a treat. The Itaewon location was opened in 2008 and reached the “2 million pies sold” milestone in September of 2014. They offer a nice selection of American styled pies, cakes, cookies, brownies, and beverages. It’s a popular little place, with some seating inside (and additional benches in the alley), but they ask that you remember your Tartine seating etiquette: limit your visit to an hour and a half. The glass pie case is open to both the street and shop, so you can contemplate your purchase beforehand. If you want a banana cream or lemon meringue pie, be sure to go on the weekend. And don’t forget to take advantage of their Valued Customer Card system – every fourth purchase can earn you a free cookie, square, or pie!
There is also a companion restaurant across the alley called Tartine too… It has the same menu as the pie shop but also serves brunch on the weekends. Brunch includes traditional American breakfast fare – biscuits, cornbread, sausage, waffles, and pancakes, with free coffee refills.
This trip, I brought home three different options to try: a Cranberry Cream Cheese Pie (top), the Chocolate Cream Pie (bottom left), and a Paradise Pie.
All three tasted pretty good. The chocolate was smooth and creamy, while the cranberry cheese cake had actual clumps of dried cranberries hidden inside. The Paradise pie was a bit drier, like a pecan and coconut granola bar in a pie crust, so you’ll definitely want to pair it with a beverage (milk was our go-to choice this time around).
Bonus: the Tartine’s folks just opened a new shop across the alley from the pie shop, called Astoria’s Old Town Bakery. The online menu features some scrumptious looking breads, quiches, and pot pies. I’m looking forward to giving those a try very soon!
Daily: 10:00 am – 10:30 pm
Traditional American BRUNCH served at Tartine too…
Saturday & Sunday: 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Price: $$ Check out the MENU http://www.tartine.co.kr/shop/main/html.php?htmid=proc/pie.htm
Itaewon Address: 서울시 용산구 이태원동 119-15
119-15 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Bus #421 or #110, Itaewon/Hamilton Hotel Stop
Seoul Subway Line #6, Itaewon Station, exit # 1. Walk past the Hamilton shopping center, cross over one side street, and then turn right into the next cobble-stoned alleyway.
Note: there are also locations Pangyo, Apgujeong, and at Shinsegae at the Express Bus Terminal
Google Map coordinates: 37.5346579,126.9927875