Hanoi inherited France’s café culture during their colonial period and nowhere is this more apparent than in the capital. Whatever your style there is something for everyone, from modern trendy coffee shops to quaint little cafes, it’s a huge part of Hanoian culture. Expect free wifi in all of the cafes listed below and in most around the city. We’re sure you’ll find your own favourites eventually but until then here are some TFV favourites.
The Note Coffee
64 Luong Van Can, Hoan Kiem District
This wonderful café is right in the heart of Hoan Kiem District. It has a few tiny little balconies to watch the world go by, although you may have to squeeze yourself into them, they certainly weren’t designed for Western sized people. The real charm of this café though is the post-it notes that cover every surface; each one written or drawn on by previous customers. The messages on these notes vary from praise for the cappuccinos to confessions of undying love. They are enough to keep you entertained for hours.
22 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem District
A Western style chain of cafes in both Vietnam and Cambodia which serve some of the best cakes and drinks in Asia. Whilst they are a little expensive and not exactly traditional they are very nice, cool working environments for people doing some work whilst listening to some quiet Motown.
32 Dien Bien Phu, Ba Dinh District
Another trendy chain with a bit more atmosphere are the Cong Caphe chains, there are a few around the city and each one is in a rustic old building and decorated with a nostalgic 70’s era decorations.
21B Dien Bien Phu, Ba Dinh District
This cool new café wouldn’t look out of space in Brooklyn. It has four floors, each trendier than the last. It is definitely a space for the creative and on one floor they remove tables and chairs completely, instead opting for an abstract pile of wooden boxes and cushions designed by wacky interior decorators. It is actually all done rather well so if you’re into your writing then it comes highly recommended.
168 Ven Ho, Tay Ho District
It’s nearly impossible to choose between the hundreds of cafés surrounding West Lake. But this one has friendly staff, a wide selection of drinks and a huge glass window on the second floor with stunning views.
25 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho District
The coffee lover’s paradise. This modern, suave café has stunning panoramic views over the North side of Hanoi’s biggest lake. Whilst it’s more expensive, if you fancy yourself a bit of a coffee coinesseur then give it a try because all the coffee is carefully sourced from indigenous farmers.
Cup of Tea
Number 8, Ngo 81, Linh Lang, Ba Dinh District
Cup of Tea is a quaint little café with a charming garden, vintage decorations and a lovely homely feel about it. As well as selling a few nibbles they have a unique drinks menu featuring options such as ‘Milk with aloe vera and orange’ or ‘Iced jasmine tea with mango and passion fruit’.
Ca Phe Pho Cu
Cafe Phố Cũ, 1 Hàng Gai, Hoàn Kiếm
Whilst this ‘secret café’ isn’t so secret anymore, it’s still a real treat. The un-signposted entrance is nestled at the back of a clothes shop. From there you climb several winding sets of stairs until you find a set of charming roof terraces overlooking the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake. Their café trung – tiramisu style egg coffee is divine.
170 Doi Can, Ba Dinh District
This artistically designed, super-chilled out café is run by a lovely Vietnamese woman and her European partner. Guitars, books and board games line the shelves in case you ever want somewhere to spend a rainy afternoon. As well as a great selection of teas and juices, they do a good selection of reasonably priced tasty Western food.
Written by Alex Sinclair Lack for Teacher’s Friend – Vietnam. All rights reserved.
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