Vietnam is one of the world’s biggest coffee exporters, and socialising in cafes is a way of life here. The cafe scene in Saigon is one of the best in Asia, and cafe hopping is an activity in itself. There are hundreds of cafes across the city, from street vendors with little plastic seats on the side of the road, to specialty coffee houses that roast their own beans onsite.
This list was first published in 2012 and it has been through several updates since then. Here are some of the beast cafes in Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh City Cafe Map
[Link to Ho Chi Minh City Cafe Map]
If you use Foursquare I have made a list of Ho Chi Minh City Cafes.
L’usine is one of the old-guard of the cool cafes in Saigon. 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. There are now three branches in District 1, so take your pick, or visit all three.
Location: 151 Dong Khoi (1st floor), District 1
Location: 70B Le Loi St, (1st floor), District 1
Location: 9 Le Thanh Ton, District 1
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), District 1
Saigon Coffee Roastery
In the same block as L’Usine Dong Khoi is this specialty cafe serving some of the best coffee in Saigon.
Location: 151/5 Dong Khoi St (1st floor), District 1
The Old Compass Cafe
The Old Compass Cafe is hidden away in a classic old apartment block on Pasteur Street. I liken The Old Compass Cafe as a travellers cafe for grownups, so if you’ve tired of the Pham Ngu Lau backpacker scene then come here.
The proprietor also runs the Rusty Compass travel site, and if you subscribe to the Facebook page you will see there are interesting talks and music nights held here.
Location: Floor 3, 63/11 Pasteur St, District 1
Shin Coffee opened up in 2015 and they now have two branches in D1 and another in D2. They have a variety of specialty coffee, they roast onsite and have a coffee training facility as well.
Location: 13 Nguyen Thiep, District 1
Location: 18 Ho Huan Nghiep, District 1
AMA Coffee (also goes by Amazing Coffee) is a specialty coffee house that has espresso and cold brew coffee. This minimalist bright cafe is a good option near Ben Thanh Market.
Location: 29 Luu Van Lang, District 1
Vietnam Coffee Republic
Hidden away in the labyrinthian back alleys of the area known as Japantown is Vietnam Coffee Republic. These guys are serious coffee connoisseurs, and you may have seen their bottled cold brew ca phe sua da around town.
Location: 8a/7b2 Thai Van Lung, District 1
Maison Marou Saigon
Technically Maison Marou is a chocolate shop, but they also serve good coffee here so I’m adding it to the list. Even without this technicality I would say that this is one of the must visit cafes of Saigon. Marou source their cacao beans from Southern Vietnam and the Central Highlands, and you can see the chocolate making process at the cafe. I recommend the Chilli Cinnamon hot chocolate.
Location: 169 Calmette St, District 1
M2C (Modern meets culture) is a stylish cafe on Ly Tu Trong. It has a mix of couches and tables over two levels, and it’s a good place to have Vietnamese food in a comfortable cafe environment.
Location: 44B Ly Tu Trong, District 1
Running Bean is in a remarkably large property in the heart of Downtown Saigon. This bright and spacious cafe has its own roasting facilities and they make a great latte.
Location: 115 Ho Tung Mao, District 1
Bang Khuang Cafe
This cafe is hidden away in an old apartment block that has seen better days. Once you go upstairs though you are greeted with an a cafe with artistic flair and natural light.
Location: 2 – 9 Thai Van Lung, District 1
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, District 1
She cafe is tucked away in an alley and then upstairs in an apartment block.
Location: 158D Pasteur, (1st floor), District 1
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, District 1
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, District 1
Nest by AIA
There are plenty of co-working spaces in Saigon but I prefer the flexibility of working in a cafe. One of the best cafes to work at is Nest by AIA, which I liken it to a cafe that thinks it’s a co-working space. The cafe is in the iconic Bitexco Tower, and its bright and spacious layout is a pleasure to work at. If you are familiar with Chiang Mai it’s similar in vibe to C.A.M.P. AIS.
Location: 2nd floor, Bitexco Tower, District 1
Located on the “walking street” of Nguyen Hue, L’amant Cafe serve quality espresso and Vietnamese-style coffee.
Location: 12 Nguyen Hue, District 1
Me Linh Cafe
Located in the foyer of the Sport Hotel, this is a good option near the Me Linh Square.
Location: 3 Phan Van Dat, District 1
42 Nguyen Hue – The Cafe Apaertment
Not a specific cafe recommendation, 42 Nguyen Hue is more of an experience. The apartment block on the walking street of Nguyen Hue has been converted as a cafe space, and each cafe advertises itself on the balconies facing the street. Discerning coffee drinkers won’t be found here, but it’s more of a place to hang out and watch the world go by below. I have no particular recommendation, so just look at the balconies and take a pick.
Location: 42 Nguyen Hue, District 1
Id Cafe – District 3
The original ID Cafe has closed in District 1, but the D3 branch lives on.
Location: 61B Tu Xuong, District 3
A good old-school cafe option on Turtle Lake.
Location: (Turtle Lake) 4 Cong Trưong Quoc Te, District 3
Cafe Nha Minh
Nha Minh 80s Sai Gon is an 80s-themed cafe in a quiet alley near Le Van Tam Park. The cafe features collectables and fashion posters from the 80s, giving a glimpse of bygone era.
Location: 9/8 Truong Quyen, District 3
Cafe Saigon 1975 is worth a visit for the old Saigon and war memorabilia that is on display throughout the cafe. Here is my full review.
Location: 12/14 Truong Dinh, District 3
Binh Thạnh District
Unless you lived at the Sai Gon Pearl apartment complex you would never accidentally find this place. Fortunately for the crew at Bosgaurus, word-of-mouth spread the news that this is one of the best cafes in Saigon. It’s in a villa facing the river, which is another good reason to visit.
Location: 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Villa 1D5, Sai Gon Pearl, Binh Thanh District.
Also in the Saigon Pearl complex is Ueshima Coffee Company – better known as UCC. This is a Japanese chain which on the one hand has the hallmark looks of a chain store, but on the other hand its coffee is far superior to your average chainstore brew.
Location: 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Sai Gon Pearl, Binh Thanh District.
Pedal Bistro Cafe
Pedal Bistro Cafe is a clycle-themed cafe located at the second Dreamplex co-working space on the busy Dien Bien Phu road.
Location: Level 1, Dreamplex 2, 195 Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh District.
Location: 38 Nguyen U Di, Thao Dien, Dist. 2
For a city that sits on such a mighty river, there are surprisingly few cafes by the Saigon River. If you are looking for a river view then The Deck is the place to be.
Mekong Merchant is a cafe/restaurant that is popular for its western breakfasts, and it has become a brunching institution in Thao Dien.
Location: 23 Thao Dien, District 2.
If you go to Saigon and didn’t have a coffee outside on a little plastic red or blue seat, did you go to Saigon? If you are looking for the ultimate little plastic seat experience then may I recommend this collection of seats by the Saigon River in Thu Thiem. This area of District 2 is undergoing a massive redevelopment, with the new city being likened to Pudong in Shanghai. For now though the area is still has these little makeshift cafes. You won’t find a better river view than at this cafe. It’s near the Mieu Co temple, in front of the Empire City show room. It’s listed on Google Maps as Cafe Bo Ke (Cafe Embankment).
Location: Thu Thiem New Urban Area, District 2.
The Coffee Plus
Situated on the canal that separates D1 from D4, The Coffee Plus is a good option for those looking for a cafe in District 4. If you are coming from District 1 it’s opposite the Rainbow Bridge.
Location: 33B Ben Van Don, District 4.
Awesome Coffee Roasters
It’s a bold move to say your cafe is “awesome’, but this is a pretty good cafe so no arguments from me. The cafe is in the Little Seoul area of Phu My Hung, and the cafe has signage in English and Korean.
Location: 994 Nguyen Van Linh, District 7
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
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, and there are a few famous Korean brands here as well. There are also many local chains which you will not see anywhere else, so those are woth a visit to see how they compare to your local Starbucks.
If there is a “Starbucks of Vietnam”, it’s probably Highlands Cafe. They serve Vietnamese-style coffee and espresso coffee, and they have branches everywhere. I like the garden cafe on Mac Dinh Chi.
Location: 39 Mac Dinh Chi, District 1.
The Coffee House
The Coffee House is another Vietnamese cafe chain with prominent locations around the city. I recommend seeking out The Coffee House Signature, which is a specialty coffee branch that is s good that it’s hard to believe it is by a chain cafe.
Location: 19B Pham Ngoc Thach, District 3.
The Coffee Factory
The Coffee Factory (TCF) is a fresh-roasted coffee chain from Vietnam with several branches around the city.
Trung Nguyen Legend
Trung Nguyen Legend started out as Trung Nguyen Coffee and it was more in style to what Highlands is now. It’s since rebranded to represent a more luxury image. There is a good branch behind Diamond Plaza Mall which is set in a bamboo garden. It also has a beach room which is filled with sand. You can take off your shoes and forget you are in the big city for half an hour.
Location: 7 Nguyen Van Chiem, District 1.
[The opening week queue in February 2013.]
Starbucks finally arrived in Vietnam in February 2013 and they have since spread across the city. In order to compete with the many cafes here, Starbucks have a few “Starbucks Reserve” cafes, which has a specialty coffee bar in addition to the normal bar that everyone is familiar with. Starbucks Reserve Han Thuyen is located by the park near Notre Dame.
Location: 11 – 13 Han Thuyen, Dist. 1.
Soho Coffee Lounge
Soho Coffee is a small local chain of cafes.
Location: 185 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Dist. 1
A Korean chain with a few branches around HCMC.
Location: 145 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, corner of Ton That Tung, District 1
The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
American chain cafe has branches around the city.
Location: Several Locations
My Life Coffee
Another local chain with six cafes around the city.
Caffe Bene is the largest cafe chain in South Korea and they specialise in desserts served in giant bowls.
With so many cafes 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
Location: 158D Pasteur, (1st floor), Dist. 1
Cafe is now She cafe.
Cafe de la Gare
Location: 145 Nguyen Trai, (1st floor), Dist. 1
Location: 76A Le Lai-Ben Thanh, Dist. 1
Location: 39-41 Nguyen Hue Ave, Dist. 1
Location: Upstairs, 38/1 Le Loi, Dist. 1
Location: 2nd Floor, 76 Nguyen Dinh Chieu St, Dist. 1
Location: Corner of Le Thanh Ton and Le Pasteur Street, Dist. 1
Location: 144 Tran Hung Dao St, Dist. 1
Thoai Vien Cafe
Location: 159 Nguyen Van Thu, Dist. 1
Location: 3A Ton Duc Thang, Dist. 1
Location: First Floor, 77B Ham Nghi, Dist.1
Lobean the Coffee
Location: 18AB Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Dist. 1
La Fenetre Soleil
Location: Upstairs, 44 Ly Tu Trong, Dist. 1
Closed in March, 2018 and is looking for a new venue.
Id Cafe – District 1
Location: 34D Thu Khoa Huan St, Dist. 1
Id Cafe has closed at its current address and may open in another location. The District 3 cafe is still open.
Location: 88 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Dist. 3
Location: 4B Le Quy Don, Dist. 3
The second branch of M2C opposite the War Remnants Museum was closed after the property was redeveloped.
Location: 219C Pham Viet Chanh, Dist. 1
Fafbfc the coffee shop & bakery
Location: 393/5A Tran Hung Dao, Dist. 1
Chez Vous Coffee House
Location: Upstairs, 4 Phan Boi Chau, District 1.
The Morning Cafe
Location: 2nd Floor, 36 Le Loi, Dist. 1
Location: 79/2/5 Phan Ke Binh, Dist. 1
Location: 14 Ton That Dam, Dist. 1
Location: 18AB Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Dist. 1
Urban Station 25
Location: 25 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Dist. 1
Location: 84 Nguyen Du, Dist. 1
Location: 55 Vo Thi Sau, Dist. 3
Location: 85 Ho Tung Mau, Dist. 1
Location: 290 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 1
Saigon Cafe was a cafe chain that had a spectacular rise and fall in a short period of time. At one point it had opened up around 10 cafes in some of the most prominent locations in the city, then they all closed without a trace.