Following up on my guide to cafes in Ho Chi Minh City I now present my guide to cafes in Hanoi.
In my previous cafe reports I have usually had at least a month to try out the cafes of each city. My trip to Hanoi was for one week, so this meant I had to pace my cafe visits in addition to making time to revisit my favourites. It was something of an occupational hazard to visit so many cafes in a week, but it was worth it.
Like in Saigon there are a countless amount of cafes all over Hanoi, ranging from vendors with little plastic chairs on the side of the street, cafes in the front room of family homes, and smoky karaoke dens. For street cafes you won’t need my help: you only have to walk outside your hotel and you will soon find a cafe. For the purpose of this blog I have listed cafes that have wifi and are suitable for digital nomads to work in.
At the end of this post I’ve also included some cafes that you should visit for a different coffee experience.
Hoan Kiem District
Puku Cafe & Bar
I arrived in Hanoi with my friend Dan, who is also living in Saigon. He came to Hanoi to soak up the writerly vibes that this city emanates while finishing his book. I was happy to have a fellow cafe fiend on the trail and he recommended we come here first. This was a great first choice and we ended up revisiting a few times over the course of the week. They serve good espresso coffee and it is open 24 hours, in case you want to work or hang out into the wee hours.
Location: 18 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Comga Cafe & Bar
[Edit: Looks like it has closed.]
A sister cafe of Puku (or I’m assuming they are seeing they both have the same distinct typeface), this cafe also serves Lavazza coffee and has indoor and outdoor seating upstairs.
Location: 1 Cua Dong (corner Hang Ga and Cua Dong), Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
The Hanoi Social Club
As soon as I walked into the Hanoi Social Club I had this sensation of feeling at home. As it turns out one of the co-owners is from Melbourne, which explains that homely feeling for me. If I was living in Hanoi I would be a regular here for sure.
Location: 6 Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Other Reviews: Rusty Compass
Cong Caphe have six branches in Hanoi. I like the arty vibe of this cafe group and I ended up visiting three of the six. I would have liked to have completed the Cong set of six, but there is only so much coffee you can drink in a week.
The cafes are decorated with communist posters and American-Vietnam War era trinkets, and serve different styles of Vietnamese coffee. My favourite branch is on Nguyen Huu Huan in the Old Quarter, which has a corner balcony upstairs overlooking the crazy streets of Hanoi.
Location: 35A Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi (and other locations)
Highlands Coffee are a chain that can be found across Vietnam, so you won’t need to try hard to find a branch. I just wanted to add this one for the location. If you go to the roundabout at the northern end of the Hoan Kiem Lake there is a giant building that occupies a whole block. There are several cafes inside that overlook the lake, and I thought the Highlands was the best pick of those cafes.
Location: 5 Dinh Tien Hoang St, Hoan Kiem Disrict, Hanoi
Moca Cafe is near St Josephs Cathedral and is set in a lovely colonial era building.
Location: 16 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Joma Bakery Cafe
For those who have been to Laos, you might remember Joma from Vientiane and Luang Prabang. There are two branches in Hanoi and there is a bakery attached to the cafe (and a good one at that). I went to the one near the Cathedral.
Location: 22 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Ba Dinh District
Home Coffee Store
Nicely decorated cafe, complete with Singer sewing machine tables.
Location: 192B Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
I spent most of my time in the old quarter (Hoan Kiem district) so I didn’t explore Ba Dinh district as much as I should of. Cat Cafe is worth checking out if you are in the area.
Location: 2 Chau Long, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
Foxilly Coffee Bar
I had just been to a cafe, and I was walking to an appointment at another cafe when I walked past Foxilly. By now it was apparent that one week in Hanoi was a ridiculously short amount of time to compile this list. Added to the list for reference.
Location: 66 Chau Long, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
5th May Coffee Shop
A little cafe that feels like someones lounge room, serving Vietnamese style coffee.
Location: 85 Nguyen Truong To, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
Other Hanoi Cafe Experiences
While I have compiled this list of cafes for places you can work at, there are a some coffee experiences that you should also try if you are in Hanoi.
Egg Coffee at Giang Cafe
I had never heard of egg coffee until my fellow travel friend told me about it. Since then I knew that I would be having an egg coffee as soon as I got here.
While this coffee concoction isn’t as weird as kopi joss (the charcoal coffee from Yogyakarta), I was still slightly skeptical before trying it.
So the verdict? Delicious! The best way I could describe it would be a coffee flavoured eggnog. We went back for seconds on our last day, and I left feeling relieved that this is not available in Saigon (that I know of), otherwise I’d be having this all the time.
Location: 39 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem Disrict, Hanoi
Yogurt Coffee at Cafe Pho Co
Another coffee that is popular in Hanoi is yogurt coffee, which – as the name suggests – is coffee with yogurt in it. I have tried this before in Danang, in central Vietnam, but this coffee combination doesn’t seem to have made its way further south to Ho Chi Minh City.
Try this ultimate 2-in-1 breakfast drink at Cafe Pho Co, which has a stunning view of the Hoan Kiem lake.
Location: 11 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Disrict, Hanoi
Frozen Yogurt Coffee at Cafe Duy Tri
I’m so glad I had the regular yogurt coffee before having this cup-o-goodness-from-the-Coffee-Gods, because any other yogurt coffee would have been a letdown after this. Set in a run down old building with an unassuming entrance (aren’t all the best places like that?), I was whisked to this place on the back of a motorbike by a new friend who had just taken me to one of his favourite eating places.
If I lived in Hanoi I would probably find myself going out of my way to come here on a regular basis. I left this cafe wondering why isn’t this a thing everywhere else?
Location: 43 Yen Phu, Tay Ho District, Hanoi
Other Reviews: Review: Cafe Duy, Hanoi Travelfish
Coffee with cats at Ailu Cat Cafe
When I went to the Cat Cafe I wondered if there was a cat cafe in Hanoi, like a cafe with actual cats in it? Turns out there is, but I only discovered this after I left so I didn’t get to go (there is also an Ailu Coffee in Ho Chi Minh City). My friends who have been tell me they are definitely NOT work cafes, but if you want to pet some kittehs while having a coffee then this is your place.
Location: 4 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho District, Hanoi
Hanoi Cafe Map
Hanoi Cafes Map
Find other cities in my cafe series.
Hanoi’s trendiest cafés CNN Travel
Location: 18 Dien Bien Phu St, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
James, if this article weren’t so entertaining and useful, I might take issue with the fact that you gave away my spot !!! 🙂 (Puku)… alas, perhaps I’ll meet some friendly Nomadic Notes readers there someday 🙂
+1 for the Egg Coffee experience. Wonderful place in a great part of town and a really unique, and delicious taste.
Nicki Chen says
Who knew there were so many cool coffee shops in Hanoi!
Jimmy Dau says
Great list. Will come in handy next year. How good is the Viet coffee!
James Clark says
Love the Viet coffee!
Nice digs… at any of those cafes – and egg coffee? Sounds great. Thanks for showing me so many new places and increasing my coffee knowledgebase.
James Clark says
You gotta try the egg coffee!
What a great guide! Again, one of these days I’ll visit Hanoi. I’m a bit of a coffee junkie..bookmarked!
James Clark says
Thanks Charu! Ho Chi MInh City is also a great coffee city.
James Schipper says
Just the mere mention of Joma makes my mouth water. In Laos, they put addictive chemicals in the bagel eggers that make you crave it fortnightly 😀
James Clark says
I think they put something in the cinnamon rolls as well. Highly addictive.
Mandy Nguyen says
great list, even for a local like me. egg coffee is my favorite and Joma is my love 😉 big thanks .
James Clark says
I could see how Joma is easy to love.
Awesome resource! Personally, this will come in handy as I will be in Hanoi in one month’s time. Thank you James.
James Clark says
Thanks Robert! Enjoy Hanoi.
Tricia Herman says
The yoghurt coffee was surprisingly good, a creamy alternative to iced coffee. And sitting way above the hustle and bustle looking out at the lake was just glorious. We would have had another coffee, only we didn’t fancy climbing those stairs a second time! So that was my yoghurt coffee experience. But I still hadn’t tried egg coffee. After checking numerous menus throughout the afternoon I had basically given up, but the Boy, insisting that I would get my wish, decided to ask the (very helpful) hotel receptionist for a recommendation. She directed us back down towards Hoan Kien lake, with a vague circle on a map (“it might be on this street, or this street”) and a scrawled name, Caphe Dinh. We obediently headed to the indicated spot and searched for the cafe. After 20 minutes and circling the block twice, we gave up. We decided to head to one of the bigger cafes on the block instead. As we were about to enter one of the girls stationed outside asked us what we were looking for. In a last attempt we showed her the scrawled name. “Ah”, she said knowingly, “follow me”. And off she trotted down the street. We had to run to keep up. About 100m down the road she deposited us outside this unlikely looking door and instructed us to go upstairs.
James Clark says
Thanks Tricia! Glad you found the egg coffee in the end 🙂
John Bardos says
Great photos James. We’re going to have to make it to Vietnam this trip.
Will you be in Chiang Mai this winter? We’re arriving at the end of November.
James Clark says
Yes, come to Vietnam! I have a couple of trips to Bangkok lined up but it doesn’t look like I will be making it to Chiang Mai anytime soon 🙁
A great collection! You should put the stuff on Everplaces, so we all can add them to our travel notes.
What a great list! Some of these i ever been even i live here, in Hanoi :). Thank you for sharing this. I must try by my own soonest!
Sam Ang says
Would have been nice if I came across this post before my recent trip to Hanoi. A great post for sure! A cafe which may not match the environment but score points with me for being a very household cafe is Sketch Coffee, placed near Highland Coffee shared by you near Hoan Kiem Lake. I shared my own experience in my blog, which I hope will complement your already great post!
I also found Sketch by accident and loved the place. All was perfect… Wi-Fi, the views, the prices, service, decoration, atmosphere… unfortunately the flu I caught was starting to make me uncomfortable. I was there just before the Water Pupper show, next door.
Ted Ng says
I also accidentally went to this cafe today! I love the view to Hoan Kiem lake. Watching people and traffic on the street and sipping my fav drink. What could be better? The place is small but very cozy. Highly recommended whenever you come to Hanoi.
You deserve a medal for this! 🙂
James Clark says
Ha, thanks! Just doing my job 🙂
Cayleigh-May Forbes says
Amazing list! I’ve been deliberating writing my own Hanoi coffee list in the month or two I’ve been here but you’ve far exceeded my experience in just one week – that really is dedication! I would add Cafe Lam. My absolute favourite, and the extra room makes it great for writing. Really inspiring place.
Ross Hill says
Good list! Next time you’re there try to find Cafe Dinh. The entrance is near the Highlands at the big intersection that you mentioned, and it takes a bit of searching for, but that’s the finest egg coffee that I could find and always packed with locals.
Wow what an awesome cafes in Hanoi guide. This is the best one I’ve seen online yet. I know it’s tough to get western espresso style coffee in Northern Vietnam, but this post makes it easier. Cafes with nice chairs and tables, cafes with no smoking allowed, cafes that are good to work on your laptop, and cafes that have well-priced drinks are few an far far between in this city. I’ll be sure to share this with everyone I know and drink coffee in Hanoi while I think about how the best cafes in Hanoi are in this post.
Serena Star Leonard says
Thank you so much for writing this! Exactly what we needed for today 🙂 and yes the egg coffee is amazing! And I hope your readers never support the kopi lewak and weasel coffee because of the awful cruelty involved – we drank it before we knew 🙁
Haven’t tried yoghurt coffee yet, so that is now on the list!