Một Thoáng Cafe Độc Đáo ở Sài Gòn

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District 1 Cosmo Cafe Cosmo Cafe was the first cafe I went to on this trip to Ho Chi Minh City. I met up with Jon Myers here, who ended up being my cafe recommendation machine as he had been living in the city for the previous six months. I was last in HCMC in 2005 and […]

District 1

Cosmo Cafe


Cosmo Cafe: Ho Chi Minh City

Cosmo Cafe was the first cafe I went to on this trip to Ho Chi Minh City. I met up with Jon Myers here, who ended up being my cafe recommendation machine as he had been living in the city for the previous six months. I was last in HCMC in 2005 and do not remember the city having anything as modern as this place. Good coffee and vibe here and as it turned out, a harbinger of good cafes to come.

Location: Corner of Le Thanh Ton and Le Pasteur Street, Dist. 1

Id Cafe – District 1


ID Cafe: Ho Chi Minh City

“OMG this is my new favourite cafe!” is something I exclaimed a number of times in Saigon, and I said that as I entered Id cafe as well. There is a downstairs cafe which is quite small, so make sure to go upstairs.

Location: 34D Thu Khoa Huan St, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/pages/id-cafe/304123939618119

L’usine – Dong Khoi


L'usine: Ho Chi Minh City

By now I was starting to realise that there is a fairly awesome cafe scene going on in Ho Chi Minh City. Coming to L’usine confirmed that. This cafe is on the first floor of a building with an entrance via an arcade. Once you arrive upstairs you are greeted with a cafe that is truly world class. This is another cafe I ended up at more than a few times. After revisiting this cafe a number of times I realised that I wasn’t going to be able to visit 30 cafes in 30 days. Oh well, I’ll just have to come back for further research.

Location: 151 Dong Khoi (1st floor), Dist. 1
Website: www.lusinespace.com

L’usine – Le Loi


L'usine - Le Loi

L’usine has a second branch Le Loi St, not far from Ben Thanh Market. This cafe equal in its coolness to the Dong Khoi branch, so I have a hard time picking a favourite out of the two.

Location: 70B Le Loi St, (1st floor), Dist. 1
Website: www.lusinespace.com

The Workshop


The Workshop

The evolution of cafes in Ho Chi Minh City continues with the addition of The Workshop. Located in an old building with a beautiful staircase, this cafe has quality espresso coffee as well as serving pour over and aeropress coffee.

Location: 27 Ngo Duc Ke, (top floor, just off Dong Khoi), Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/the.workshop.coffee

M2C Cafe


M2C Cafe

M2C is another cafe from the owners of ID cafe, so you know it is going to be stylish.

Location: 44B Ly Tu Trong, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/m2ccafe

The Morning Cafe


The Morning Cafe

Off Le Loi and down a little alley, this is another one of those hidden away surprises. Their business card says “writers hideout, book lovers corner”, which are always good qualities of a working cafe.

Location: 2nd Floor, 36 Le Loi, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/themorningcafe.saigon

Lobean the Coffee


Lobean the Coffee

A popular option for those living in 18A Nguyen Thi Minh Khai (the street with lots of rooms for rent), this cafe serves some of the cheapest espresso coffee in D1 and upstairs has a bench that can double as a standing desk.

Location: 18AB Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/LobeantheCoffee

Bang Khuang Cafe


Bang Khuang Cafe

This cafe is hidden away in an old apartment block that has been better days. Once you go upstairs though you are greeted with an a cafe with lots of artistic flair and natural light.

Location: 2 – 9 Thai Van Lung, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/BangkhuangCafe

Shelter


Shelter

Located in the heart of Japantown on Le Thanh Ton, Shelter is a skinny building on a corner with lots of natural light.

Location: 13 Le Thanh Ton, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/sheltercoffeeandtea

Kujuz 3son


Kujuz @ 3son

Kujuz is located in the 3A Station art area, between Japantown and the Saigon River. The cafe is decorated with recycled wooden windows and is frequented by young hipster Saigonese who are drawn to the arty vibe of the area.

Location: 3A Ton Duc Thang, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/Kujuz3son

Thoai Vien Cafe


Thoai Vien Cafe

One of the popular cafe styles of Ho Chi Minh City are the garden cafes. They are usually on a big property with trees, waterfalls and ponds, and are a nice way to sit outdoors without the need for air conditioning. Most of these cafes are in the outer districts but Thoai Vien is a good option in D1.

Location: 159 Nguyen Van Thu, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/thoaiviencafe

She cafe


She cafe

She cafe is tucked away in an alley and then upstairs in an apartment block.

Location: 158D Pasteur, (1st floor), Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/shecafe

Decibel


Decibel: Ho Chi Minh City

Decibel is at the end of District 1 and I would never have found it in my wanders. This is another cafe I wish I had returned to yet I only made the one visit. By now it was apparent to me that the Saigon cafe scene is on steroids.

Location: 79/2/5 Phan Ke Binh, Dist. 1
Website: www.decibel.vn

Kamakura


Kamakura

Kamakura is a Japanese-style cafe that is listed as a dessert shop, but does coffee and Japanese lunch deals.

Location: 21 Phan Ke Binh, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/kamakuravn

Cúcuta Coffee


Cúcuta Coffee

Cúcuta Coffee has two floors and serves espresso and Vietnamese style coffee. If you are lucky you will meeet the resident fluffy cat.

Location: 2D Nguyen Thanh Y, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/Cucutacafe

Windows 4 Cafe


Windows 4 Cafe: Ho Chi Minh City

Windows 4 Cafe has a reputation of being a place you go to look good and be scene, yet somehow they let this caffeinated hobo in. Apparently they have lovely ladies in their employ who are paid to stand around and look lovely (I was obviously too busy working to notice). The cafe looks out over the park in front of the Reunification Palace.

Location: 12 Alexandre de Rhodes, Dist. 1
Website: foursquare.com/v/windows-cafe-4/4c721e32ad69b60cc4c682b9

La Fenetre Soleil


La Fenetre Soleil: Ho Chi Minh City

La Fenetre Soleil is a suitable place to have a party or take a date in the evening. In the day time the balcony area is a good place to sit with a laptop.

Location: Upstairs, 44 Ly Tu Trong, Dist. 1

Creperie & Cafe


Creperie & Cafe: Ho Chi Minh City

Creperie & Cafe has one of the better outside seating arrangements as it is opposite a park and catches a breeze so it isn’t a sweaty ordeal sitting outside. This is just as well as the air conditioning inside feels like you have stepped into a refrigerator.

Location: 5 Han Thuyen St, Dist.1
Website: foursquare.com/v/creperie–cafe/4baf2de0f964a52067ef3be3

La Rotonde


La Rotonde

La Rotonde is modelled on the old French-style cafes and is an atmospheric place to get work done. I like the big window which ake advantage of this corner building.

Location: First Floor, 77B Ham Nghi, Dist.1
Website: www.facebook.com/pages/La-Rotonde-Saigon/302330889895420

Loft Cafe


Loft Cafe

Loft Cafe also has echoes of the old French-style cafes of old Saigon and it is in one of the landmark building of Saigon (on the corner of Ly Tu Trong and Dong Khoi). Unfortunately the building is scheduled to be demolished so go and experience this building before it’s replaced by a glass box.

Location: Upstairs, 26 Ly Tu Trọng, Dist.1
Website: www.facebook.com/loftcafevn

Masstige Coffee and Dessert


Masstige Coffee

This is a big cafe on a corner position that has lots of natural light. The cafe is on two levels and has good tables to work from. It feels like a chain cafe but at this point there is only one store.

Location: 125 Ho Tung Mau, Dist.1
Website: 4sq.com/1t2ikFi

Teaspoon coffee & tearoom


Teaspoon coffee & tearoom - Ho Chi Minh City

Cafe (and tea room) on Ly Tu Trọng with a nice balcony area (good if it’s not too hot).

Location: 1st floor, 37 Ly Tu Trọng, District 1
Website: www.facebook.com/teaspooncoffeeandtearoom

Time Coffee & Foods


Time Coffee & Foods

I liked the seating here, and it is great value for a cafe on the Nguyen Hue walking street.

Location: 47 Nguyen Hue, District 1
Website: www.facebook.com/timecoffeefoods

Magonn – The Cafe


Magonn - The Cafe: Ho Chi Minh City

Magonn is a cafe above a boutique clothing store of the same name.

Location: Upstairs, 109 Le Thanh Ton, District 1.
Website: www.magonn.vn (website of clothing store downstairs.)

Chez Vous Coffee House


Chez Vous Coffee House

A cozy lounge cafe opposite Ben Thanh Market.

Location: Upstairs, 4 Phan Boi Chau, District 1.
Website: www.facebook.com/pages/Chez-vous-coffee-house/891580737523835

Anh Coffee


Anh Coffee

Anh Coffee is on Tran Hung Dao, not far from Bui Vien (the backpacker area). This cafe only does iced beverages.

Location: 47 Tran Hung Dao, District 1.
Website: www.facebook.com/AnhEmCoffee

Press Corner Coffee


Press Corner Coffee: Ho Chi Minh City

Press Corner Coffee is hidden away on top of a building behind the Reunification Palace. This is a shisha cafe so inside is too smoky for my liking, but outside the balcony overlooks the park and is surrounded by greenery.

Location: Upstairs, Tang 3 So 1 Huyen Tran Cong Chua, District 1
Website: www.facebook.com/pages/Press-Corner-Coffee/335191783163283

Coffee Viva


Coffee Viva: Ho Chi Minh City

Has a night club feel to it but suitable for working during the day if you are in this part of district 1.

Location: 144 Tran Hung Dao St, Dist. 1

Cafe Chai – Bottle Coffee


Cafe Chai - Bottle Coffee

Cafe Chai is a vintage cafe with lots of interesting trinkets and pieces of art everywhere you look, spread out over 4 floors.

Location: 393/6 Tran Hung Dao, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/CafeChai.BottleCoffee

2no Coffee


2no Coffee

Next to a fashion shop of the same name. Has good tables to work from.

Location: 219C Pham Viet Chanh, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/2nocoffee

Fafbfc the coffee shop & bakery


Fafbfc the coffee shop & bakery

I was lured by this cafe which uses a meme face as a logo. How could I not go in! This is next door to Cafe Chai.

Location: 393/5A Tran Hung Dao, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/pages/Fafbfc-the-coffee-shop-bakery/662577273813152

District 3

Id Cafe – District 3


Id Cafe - District 3

Another one of my favourite cafes that now has a second branch. I like the vibe of this cafe as well and I would spend more time here if it was walkable from my location.

Location: 61B Tu Xuong, Dist. 3
Website: www.facebook.com/pages/id-cafe/304123939618119

M2C


M2C

The second branch of M2C is larger than its D1 branch and is located opposite the War Remnants Musuem.

Location: 4B Le Quy Don, Dist. 3
Website: foursquare.com/v/m2c-le-qui-don-ho-chi-minh-city/53c67092498ebad7a26a389e

Touch Coffee


Touch Coffee

A cafe with lounge chairs and reasonably priced espresso coffee.

Location: 88 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Dist. 3
Website: touchcoffee.net

The Coffee Factory


The Coffee Factory

Cool cafe with espresso and Vietnamese coffee, and tables inside.

Location: 107A Truong Dinh, Dist. 3
Website: www.facebook.com/ThecoffeefactoryVN

Overture


Overture: Ho Chi Minh City

Overture is more of a night club lounge than cafe and the downstairs was certainly too dark to be working. Better upstairs but it was very busy at lunch time.

Location: 109 Tran Quoc Toan, Dist. 3
Website: overturecafe.com

Ngo Thoi Gian Cafe


Ngo Thoi Gian Cafe: Ho Chi Minh City

A more local feel to this cafe, opposite the Turtle Pond roundabout north of the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Location: (Turtle Pond) 8 Cong Trưong Quoc Te, Dist. 3

Cafe Nghe Thuat


Cafe Nghe Thuat: Ho Chi Minh City

Another cafe in the cluster of cafes at Turtle Pond.

Location: (Turtle Pond) 6B Cong Trưong Quoc Te, Dist. 3
Website: https://foursquare.com/v/cafe-nghe-thuat/4e2f886722717d705861fc65

42 Cafe


42 Cafe: Ho Chi Minh City

Yet another cafe on the stretch along Turtle Pond.

Location: (Turtle Pond) 4 Cong Trưong Quoc Te, Dist. 3
Website: www.facebook.com/pages/Cafe-42/509487592412508

Ca Phe Nguyen Chat


Ca Phe Nguyen Chat: Ho Chi Minh City

I found this place while walking up to the train station. This is a classic old cafe where you can get a Vietnamese coffee at a Vietnamese price. Free wifi here as well, of course.

Location: 93 Nguyen Thong, Dist. 3
Website: www.caphenguyenchat.net

Paris Baguette Cafe


Paris Baguette Cafe: Ho Chi Minh City

One of the many things I like about Vietnam are the bakeries. While I love the rice and noodle dishes of Vietnam, I appreciate being able to find a proper croissant for breakfast. There are tables and wifi here but I couldn’t get a seat inside. The balcony was insanely noisy from the traffic below.

Location: 1 Cao Thang (corner Nguyen Thi Minh Khai), Dist. 3
Website: foursquare.com/v/paris-baguette/4f76fea2e4b0e5e2ba3c97d7

AQ Coffee


AQ Coffee

Cafe with indoor and outdoor seating and a good option along this part of Dien Bien Phu.

Location: 387 Dien Bien Phu, District 3
Website: foursquare.com/v/aq-cafe/4b74ea07f964a520ddf72de3

District 5

Cafe Evo


Cafe Evo: Ho Chi Minh City

A word of Vietnamese Coffee: As you may have noticed most of the cafes are in District 1 or 3. I lived in District 1 which happened to be where most of the good cafes are. I wandered around District 5 one day and found Cafe Evo, which is where I found a good Vietnamese coffee. I like the Vietnamese style coffee, but it has to be done right otherwise it becomes a frustrating experience. Sometimes the filter will get so clogged that hardly any coffee comes out. At this cafe they put your glass inside a another glass of hot water while the coffee drips.

Location: 585 Nguyen Trai Street, Ward 7, District 5

District 10

Sorrento Cafe


Sorrento Cafe

Break out of District 1 and head out to the outer districts where the western-style and chain cafes make way for the independent garden cafes. Lots of leafy trees and water features to give you a reprieve from the city.

Location: 91/6 Hoa Hung, District 10
Website: 4sq.com/h9P7Jv

Chain Cafes – Various Districts

Being a coffee-mad land, Ho Chi Minh City has its fair share of chain cafes. Starbucks opened its first branch in Vietnam here in February 2013. Gloria Jeans is also here, but other than that the chain scene here is dominated by two local brands, Trung Nguyen Coffee and Highlands.

Trung Nguyen Coffee


Trung Nguyen Coffee: Ho Chi Minh City

Trung Nguyen Coffee branches are everywhere and I have to say I ended up here many times out of convenience as it was the closest cafe to me. This is the Starbucks of Vietnam, but with better coffee. I like their branding as well – it reminds me of an old railways logo. All the branches have free wifi.

Location: Everywhere
Website: www.trungnguyen.com.vn

Highlands Cafe


Highlands Cafe: Ho Chi Minh City

I ended up in various branches here as well for the convenience factor. Another prominent chain with wifi in all locations.

Location: Everywhere
Website: www.highlandscoffee.com.vn

Starbucks


Starbucks: Ho Chi Minh City

Starbucks finally arrived in Vietnam in February 2013. I’ve listed the first branch that was opened, no doubt the first of many. This picture was taken in the opening week thus the big crowd.

Location: New World Hotel Building, Corner of Nguyen Thi Nghia and Pham Hong Thai, Dist. 1
Website: en.starbucks.vn

Soho Coffee Lounge


Soho Coffee Lounge: Ho Chi Minh City

Soho Coffee is a small local chain of cafes.

Location: 185 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Dist. 1

Angel-in-us Coffee


Angel-in-us Coffee: Ho Chi Minh City

A Korean chain with a few branches around HCMC.

Location: 145 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, corner of Ton That Tung, District 1
Website: foursquare.com/v/angelinus-coffee/4f108b08e4b072565bb0da84

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf


The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf: Ho Chi Minh City &emdash;

American chain cafe has branches around the city.

Location: Several Locations
Website: www.coffeebean.com/store/storelocatorintl.aspx

My Life Coffee


My Life Coffee: Ho Chi Minh City

Another local chain with six cafes around the city.

Location: Various
Website: www.facebook.com/Coffee.Mylife

Caffe Bene


Nomadic Notes - Travel photos: Ho Chi Minh City &emdash;

Caffe Bene is the largest cafe chain in South Korea and they opened their first Vietnamese franchise on Dong Khoi. They specialise in desserts served in giant bowls.

Location: 58 Dong Khoi (corner of Mac Thi Buoi), District 1
Website: caffebenevietnam.com

Honourable Mentions

Startup Coffee


Startup Coffee: Ho Chi Minh City

There is a real startup vibe going on in Saigon so this cafe name seems appropriate for the times. Unfortunately Startup Coffee is nothing more than a takeaway bar attached to a donut shop. I’m guessing they aren’t going to get far with the Starbucks ripoff logo, but I wish them all the best.

Location: Tran Hung Dao, Dist 1

Cafe Vy


Cafe Vy: Ho Chi Minh City

This cafe isn’t a work cafe but I want to list it because I like its style. There are rows coffee jars here with beans from around the country.

Location: 277A Le Thanh Ton, Dist. 1

Cong Vien Van Hoa Park


Park Coffee: Ho Chi Minh City

If you sit down in Cong Vien Van Hoa Park long enough you will soon be found by a drink vendor that can bring you a coffee. Apparently in the morning the park is filled with suits getting a caffeine fix. I never made it that early so I can’t verify that, but there always seemed to be groups here having little coffee parties when I went through.

Location: Cong Vien Van Hoa Park, Dist. 1

Closed Cafes

With so many cafes in the city there are the inevitable closures. I’m keeping a record here of cafes that were on the list but have since closed.

The Print Room

Cafe is now She cafe.
Location: 158D Pasteur, (1st floor), Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/TPR.cafe

Cafe de la Gare

Location: 145 Nguyen Trai, (1st floor), Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/caphenhaga

L’Anmien

Location: 76A Le Lai-Ben Thanh, Dist. 1

Kita Cafe

Location: 39-41 Nguyen Hue Ave, Dist. 1

Saigonista

Location: Upstairs, 38/1 Le Loi, Dist. 1

Ducoin Saigon

Location: 2nd Floor, 76 Nguyen Dinh Chieu St, Dist. 1

Cubes Asia