L'Usine

Bearing in mind we think our readership is close to three-quarters expat, and that our judging panel reflects this, there are probably some names missing from this list that we think locals here would quickly pick as their number one or two.

 

For example, we think Kujuz in Ho Chi Minh City’s Station 3A is worth mentioning. Judging by our last couple of visits, it is consistently packed with what you might describe as the ‘new Vietnam’; hip kids with DSLR cameras and a penchant for posting mood pics to Instagram, as far away from the chain-store freak art as they can get. Though we think they probably go there with Mum and Dad too. As a relatively small team, we can’t be everywhere, but we still think it’s important to acknowledge those who are doing a good job and who may not get the recognition they deserve.

 

That said, it doesn’t make our list any less valid. A total of 75 judges have spoken on their favourite place to get coffee, more than likely get some work done, or simply shoot the breeze with friends in air-conditioned comfort.

Workshop. Photo by Kyle Phanroy 

Mekong Merchant. Photo by Francis Xavier

Ho Chi Minh City

 

Topping the commercial capital’s list again this year, and by a clear margin this time is L’Usine. Well-heeled Vietnamese and expats alike just can’t seem to get enough of it, and it has become part of any visitor’s must-do list. Whether it’s a touch of well-done Western fare, a great spot to hook up and — let’s be honest — people watch, the design-centric café and boutique continues to lead the pack down south, clearly doing a great job at branding itself at the same time. Moving into the top end for the first time is District 2’s Mekong Merchant, a continual favourite of Thao Dien residents looking for a familiar and relaxing place to connect in. It’s joined by consistent performer The Workshop, they of multiple brew options, which rounds out the podium finishers. Café RuNam was tied for votes with the first chain on our list, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, who were closely followed closely by counterparts Starbucks and Highlands, dare we even speak their names.

 

Also in District 2 is a new top ten entrant, and another prime people watching spot; Dolphy, which has quickly established itself as part of the community after a refurb, and The Loop, which also extended its premises this year. Falling out of the upper echelons was Work Saigon, which opened a new location in Bitexco Tower, ID Café (rather surprisingly in our opinion), Fly Cupcake Garden and Mockingbird Café, which tumbled in terms of the votes they received, though we doubt in originality of style or quality. There’s never an exact science to these things. Completing the top ten was M2C Café, which it’s fair to say takes heavy cues from our top spot, and remains popular with tourists fresh from their must-do trip to the War Museum.

Cong Caphe. Photo by Julie Vola 

Hanoi

 

Topping the list of the capital’s coffee spots is Cong Caphe. The mini-chain now boasts 16 locations, all consistently decked out in Communist-inspired garb and still whipping up delicious coconut coffees since their start in 2007.

 

Knocked from the top this year is Hanoi Social Club, loved for its cozy vibes and veggie-friendly fare, and the occasional night of intimate live music that you’ll probably miss if you don’t have your finger on the pulse.

 

Self-professed advocate of all things fair trade, Tay Ho’s Oriberry has risen in the ranks to third place. Is it that locally-sourced array of coffees and teas? Or the unique handmade pottery for sale? Or could it be those epic views of West Lake we can’t get enough of?

 

Coffee awareness seems to be a growing trend, with Maison de Tet Decor Cafe hot on the heels of its West Lake neighbour. Occupying a beautiful villa filled to the brim with flawless decor, the cafe has recently begun roasting its own locally-sourced beans on site.

 

The creative among us prefer Manzi Artspace, a café on a mission to be Hanoi’s home for all things art. When you want to sip a smoothie and discuss aesthetics, head to this quaint Ba Dinh villa.

 

Vietnam’s first ‘urban fusion café chain’ (whatever that means), KAfe is spreading like wildfire. Featuring trendy global fare complete with a photograph-heavy menu that feels like a food magazine, the brand recently landed US$5.5 million worth of foreign financing for expansion.

 

Another wildly popular chain, Joma, holds its own on the list with its white-bread, all-American values. But you know, there’s something about a BLT and a two-for-one Americano that we still just can’t resist.

 

The only French patisserie to make the cut, O’Douceurs, makes a mean cake. We’re talking oh-my-God, angels-in-your-mouth, ready-to-die-happy cake. This place didn’t make it to the #1 Dessert spot on Tripadvisor for nothing.

 

And though we’re mostly talking about consumables here, Spacebar is the only café famous around town for a non-edible reason: its WiFi. Co-working is taking off across the urban landscape, and on any given day, you’ll find a whole host of Hanoi’s young professionals here, clattering away on their keyboards with a home-made banana bread in arm’s reach.

 

Rounding out the list is the Kitchen, Tay Ho’s family-friendly brunch mecca, featuring all-day breakfast and quality Mexican fare. Not just a pretty café, they also host regular quiz nights popular with the expat crowd.

 


 

The Top 10*

  

Ho Chi Minh City

Cafe RuNam

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

Dolphy

Highlands

L'Usine

M2C Cafe

Mekong Merchant

Starbucks

The Loop

The Workshop 

 

Hanoi

Cong Caphe

Joma

KAfe

Kitchen

Maison de Tet Decor Cafe

Manzi

O'Douceurs

Oriberry

SpaceBar

The Hanoi Social Club

  

*The cafés in these lists have been organized in alphabetical order

 


 

Cafes in The Top 20*

  

Ho Chi Minh City

Cafe Centro

Caffe Bene

Cuc Gach Cafe

ID Cafe

La Rotonde

Loft Cafe

Phuc Long

The Coffee Factory

Urban Station

Vintage Emporium

  

Hanoi

Annam Cafe

Bohemia

Café Duy Tri

Cafe Pho Co

D'Alice

KAfe village

Les Amis

Nha San

Puku

Six Degrees

 

*The cafés in these lists have been organized in alphabetical order

The Word

Yes, that's us! Word Vietnam. And here's our tagline: Everything you need to know about Vietnam and a little bit more. Any comments, drop us a line on info@wordvietnam.com.

Website: wordvietnam.com

4 comments

  • Comment Link Minh1 Minh1 Dec 16, 2015

    What about Dalat, Hoi An and other places (and that's not the entire Vietnam either, but places that are also popular with Westerners)? And indeed, you guys missed out Café Đinh, Café Giảng and Café Lâm - they are part of the heart and soul of Hanoian coffee culture.

  • Comment Link Uydo Uydo Dec 15, 2015

    We have NGON Coffee & Juice with pure coffee at 267 Cao Dat Street, Ward 1, District 5, HCM city

  • Comment Link boring boring Dec 14, 2015

    o god, please new content

  • Comment Link Phillip Phillip Dec 14, 2015

    That's only 2 cities ,nowhere covers Vietnam shit, get out of your box.

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