This small and smoky Old Quarter coffeehouse is a popular meeting place for locals. Ideally placed for people watching, the open front looks onto a busy pedestrian intersection. The lighting is low, as are the stools that cling to the dark wood-paneled walls, encouraging the sitter to do the same. A modest tariff offers coffee and tea, hot or cold, as well as freshly squeezed orange juice and lemonade. Pickled limes can be taken with a pinch of salt and cigarettes are for sale if you can not take your coffee without one.
This is a very special restaurant, run by the kids many tourists hate. The only restaurant next to the Temple of Literature, it should not be missed for a lunch or breakfast. The story began with an Australian tour leader who befriended some street kids and decided to teach them to cook. A year later, an international chef, an enthusiastic staff and a group of keen learners opened the KOTO, "Know One Teach One," Restaurant. Guided by Australian teachers, these street kids produce great results. Their buffet breakfasts, pesto salads and fresh fruit juices come highly recommended.
Let yourself be absorbed into the laid-back style of this hippie-influenced bar. Framed posters of Bob Marley, Santana, B.B. King and others keep you company as the Grateful Dead emanates from the stereo. Relax. If you like the music, take a tambourine from its spot on the wall and play along. Cheap draft beer or a cocktail keeps your spirits high as you choose from an extensive menu featuring Tex-Mex favorites, burgers and a small vegetarian selection. Live music is featured sometimes, but the daily specials, including an All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti Night," are on a weekly rotation.
Pungent coffee scents enticingly waft from Moca Cafe. Sandwiched between an upscale tailor and a refined housewares store, this all-purpose spot anchors Hanoi's artsy neighborhood and boasts one of the finest brick walls in the city. Expatriates flock to Moca for Western brunches and crosswords, and travelers find respite with spring rolls and magazines. With a variety of Indian offerings, the Oven-baked Naan is scrumptious. The menu appeals to both vegetarians, and steak-and-potato eaters.
This lively Old Quarter bia hoi (draught beer) restaurant is notable for the charm of its ubiquitous owner, Miss Minh. It is also known for its ever-expanding second-story terrace, which affords insightful views of the street market below. A good range of Vietnamese rice and noodle dishes is skillfully cooked in the makeshift kitchen area at the back of the terrace. The chicken and coconut curry packs a punch, while soft drinks are available if beer is not your fancy.
Solid red tablecloths alternate with green. Minimal art hangs from the wall. Music floats somewhere in the background, but not loudly enough to disturb the simple class of the restaurant's interior. The menu is entirely Italian. The variety of pastas and sauces would make deciding what to eat hard enough, but the appetizers, steaks, seafood and veal entrees make the choice even harder. If you think some wine might make the selection process easier, think again. The wine list is not much shorter than the menu. After you have chosen and eaten (and likely enjoyed), the dessert list awaits.
Balancing plush (for Hanoi!) surroundings with a comfortable atmosphere, Green Mango is the latest much needed addition to a small number of elegant eateries in the capital. While certain elements of the décor seem mismatched with the ambiance the restaurant is trying to achieve, overall, the food is good, though not spectacular. Most importantly, the warmth and charm of Jeff, the proprietor, sommelier, and jack of all trades, is reflected by the entire staff. It is well worth stopping by to spend an evening in the enclosed courtyard space in the back for dinner or just a (well-mixed) drink or two. Open daily from 7 a.m.
Hồng Châu is a classy restaurant which shows the evidence of Western as well as Oriental influence both in terms of decor and cuisine. The decor is a mix of tasteful Vietnamese rockeries, Japanese shoji doors and a French entry way, which come together harmoniously to create an elegant dining space. The menu consists of a mix of Vietnamese, Pan-Asian and European cuisines. Enjoy items like Thai duck curry, grilled beef in grape sauce and Singapore noodles along with local delicacies like fish cake, steam pots and pork spring rolls.
Finding Cafe Pho Co might be a task but once you do through the maze of a silk shop, birdcages, an old courtyard and bonzai, this rooftop cafe will charm you with its stunning vistas, serene, no-frills ambiance and delicious egg coffee (caphe trung da). Before you head to the terrace, you will have to place your order in the ground floor. Set in an early 20th-century building, this coffee house is a must in your itinerary to enjoy Vietnamese coffee and bask in the beautiful views. In one word - bliss.
Hong Sinh To is the healthy alternative to fast food places and coffee shops. Known for its delicious fruit juices which come in a wide variety, the place also sells an array of fruit-based snacks and a number of desserts. The cafe is an excellent option for the health-conscious, or simply if you're looking to eat light.
Opened in the year 1946, the Café Nhan is an iconic institution in the city. The coffee, a secret blend concocted by founder Nguyen Van Thi, is especially well-known. Along with a number of hot and cold coffee-based beverages, the place also serves delicious local food items which are perfect for a quick snack. Having stood the test of time, this coffee house has now become a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.