8 of the Best Cafes in Hanoi
The big cities in Vietnam have a cafe culture that is virtually unknown to the rest of the world. Don’t expect a Chemex of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe with hints of blueberry and strawberry or an Aeropressed Kenyan. You might be able to locate one eventually, but not before tripping over scores of cafes serving up tumblers of coffee so dark it looks like used motor oil and smells like the most intense mocha you’ve ever had. It’s no secret that we love Vietnamese coffee and as a follow up to our very popular Saigon cafes list, we offer a list of some of our favorites in the northern capital city. Also be sure to check out our handy guide to ordering coffee in Vietnam.
So, in the event that you can’t find this guy rolling around town, keep scrolling and we’ve got you covered with the list below. Feel free to share with your friends.
8. The Note
6:30am – 11pm
A cafe located right next to the top of Hoan Kiem Lake with long hours and covered pretty much floor to ceiling in post-it notes.
7. Cong Caphe Nha Chung
Cong is busy creating a cafe empire in Hanoi. When we started writing this they had six locations and by the time we finished it they had ten. Luckily, their drinks are great at all locations and their communist-era concrete walled minimalist decor is actually quite comfy in its own way. This location is a popular spot to hang out in the evenings.
6. Ca Phe Pho Co
8:00am – midnight
You’ll find Ca Phe Pho Co on lists from the NY Times and CNN, among others. It has the allure of being tucked above and behind a small boutique and also has a great view of the lake from its multiple levels of overlooking terraces. The coffee isn’t our favorite and you’re paying a high premium for the view (it’s the most expensive coffee we’ve had in Hanoi), but it is a nice view and worth a look if you’re in the area. The building is interesting and we’re generally ok paying a premium for drinks when they come with any sort of view.
5. Cong Caphe Westlake
Have a seat facing the lake, tuck into a coconut ca phe, and enjoy life.
4. Hanoi Social Club
8:00am – 11:00pm
Hanoi Social Club is a great spot with multiple floors of different spaces and plenty of room to relax and hang out for a while. Good place to get some work done or just enjoy a coffee in a hipster hangout. It’s no secret that we have an affinity for rooftops so, naturally, we like to head to the third floor terrace and have an egg coffee in the plant-filled oasis overlooking street life below.
When you ask anyone about Hanoi’s famous egg coffee aka ca phe trung, Giang comes up every time as one of the best places to try it. We agree, the ca phe trung at Giang is great as is the minimal decor that creates the full experience of a true local Hanoi cafe.
2. Cong Caphe Hang Mam
The upper floors of this location of Cong are one of our favorite places to sit and watch Hanoi street life roll by if you can snag a seat by the windows. Similar decor and ambiance as the rest of their locations and the same great drink menu. Treat yourself to a frozen coconut ca phe (basically an amazing Vietnamese version of a frappucino) and sit back and relax and watch in amazement as the intersection below plays out a real life game of Frogger.
7:30am – 9pm
Dinh is easily our favorite spot in Hanoi. You’ll pretty much only see locals in there, the coffee is great, and the ambiance is just about as local as it gets. An approach that begins in a bootleg bag shop, down a hallway to a stairway that looks like you’re heading into someone’s apartment and then opens onto a smokey room filled with local kids sipping coffee in tiny seats on rusty diamond plate metal floors.
We admit fully to not having spent nearly as much time in the north so please feel free to offer up your favorites in the comments and we’ll be sure to add them to our list to check out next time we’re in Hanoi.