Now that we’ve had time to experience and savour a variety of coffee shops Hanoi has to offer, we feel we can make quite well informed recommendations. This post might only be of interest to those planning on visiting Hanoi. But here’s a run down of our favourite spots, in no particular order…
1. Cafe Pho Co
Café Pho Co is impossible to find unless you’re looking for it. Tucked away behind a silk shop in the Old Quarter, you have to walk through the shop in order to climb the spiral staircase to the balcony on the rooftop. The best thing about this hideaway is the view. It’s a great place to sit and overlook Hoan Kiem Lake during the day or at night. It also has the best Caphe Trung around.
2. Cong Caphe
Although Cong Caphe is a chain, it certainly doesn’t feel like one. The interior could be described as a rustic military chic with lots of communist memorabilia and character. The waiters and waitresses are even dressed in mock military gear. They are known for their coconut coffees, which Naomi is addicted to. This place is great if you want a place to work as we can plug in our laptops and get down to lesson planning. There are lots of branches dotted around the city so it’s a very convenient option.
3. Hanoi House
This place is tucked away down a narrow alleyway in the Old Quarter, just opposite St Joseph’s Cathedral. It’s only tiny, but this creates a cosy atmosphere. With dark wood paneling, polished antique furniture and tiles, it’s slightly more atmospheric than the other kiddie-stool-style coffee spots, but you do pay for it.
4. Cafe Thai
This is probably our favourite place when it comes to taste. The coffee is strong here, but that’s why we love it. One night we naively thought we could handle two iced coffees (with a dribble of condensed milk in each) back to back, which you wouldn’t think twice about at home. But we were up all night rolling around in bed until 2am with school the next day. Caphe Thai might not be the most glamorous of settings, but it’s always buzzing and is clearly a go-to for the young, trendy Vietnamese crowd. We’ve been approached several times by friendly English speaking locals wanting to chat and improve their English. It’s a nice escape from the slightly more touristy coffee shops around the Old Quarter, and only a 5-minute walk from where we’re living.