The Allure of Romance Papa: A Traditional Korean Cafe in Daegu

Romancing Papa Cafe glass collection

I decided to take the metro to Romance Papa, a traditional hanok cafe in the Seomun Market area that serves coffee and traditional teas too. I thought arriving at the cafe after 4 pm would be a great idea, but I was wrong. Romance Papa is a trendy traditional cafe in Daegu with locals and foreigners known for its relaxing atmosphere. And it’s probably busy from the moment it opens at noon until the lights are turned off at 10 p.m. And now that I’ve visited, I understand why. There is an Instagram post in every photograph.

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The Decor at Romance Papa

Romance Papa is traditional yet cozy. There are only seven tables in the entire cafe. A cute loft with two bean bag chairs is in front of a large window facing the center courtyard. That’s where you’ll find the ordering counter and three or four pillow-top bench seats– more overflow than actual seating.

The cafe’s theme is organic– wood, glass-top rattan tables and chairs, polished concrete, and mother-of-pearl inlaid surfaces. There are also remnants of yesteryear with small black and white TVs and LP stereos. The hard edges are softened with many large potted plants and surrounded by towering bamboo trees.

The Menu at Romance Papa

The menu at Romance Papa is not huge. And it’s primarily in Korean, so you will most likely need to translate it. The menu’s first page has hand-drip coffees from Central and South America, Asia, and Africa. The second page has a few lattes, matcha, and a Vietnamese Coconut smoothie. There is also a seasonal selection of tea, peach ade, and peach milk.

The last page features the desserts. They include a jam scone, apple crumble, vanilla ice cream, chocolate brownie, and Basque cheesecake. There are a couple of signature Papa cakes with chocolate and walnuts. The seasonal dessert is a fig tiramisu.

I ordered the peach smoothie and apple crumble. The smoothie was creamy and loaded with chunks of peaches. And although crumbles aren’t my go-to dessert because they are usually dry, hence the name. This one wasn’t. It was more like an apple-filled cake with crumbles on top.

The Ambiance

I’ve been here listening to music and writing for an hour now, and the traffic has finally slowed down enough to take pictures without disturbing anyone. I hope to find this when I return to the United States. I don’t expect to see a hanok cafe.

But I hope to discover a neighborhood, family-run cafe with great ambiance and music like Romance Papa, where I can sit and chill without servers asking if I want something else. A place where the locals instantly come out of their shoes and inevitably kick that knee up into the chair.

Yeah, I’m jealous of the flexibility. I love that here in Asia and Europe, once you sit down at a table, more than likely, you can sit there all day long without anyone rushing you out. Of course, I wouldn’t do that, but I like having the option.

The Neighborhood

If you visit the Romance Papa Cafe, give yourself time to explore the neighborhood. This part of downtown Daegu has a lot of historical and cultural significance. It has several hanok cafes, Daegu Gyesan Catholic Church, Mural Alley, the Daegu Yangnyeongsi Museum of Oriental Medicine, and other Seomun Market, to name just a few.

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[KakaoMap] Romance Papa
492-6, Gukchaebosang-ro, Jung-gu, Daegu


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