August 21, 2020
By Sarah & Marco Bouwer
If you love coffee then you’ll have an affinity for Vietnam’s coffee capital, Da Lat. Tucked away in the Central Highlands, Da Lat is the perfect local travel option if you’re looking for a reprieve from HCMC’s heat and humidity. The city is well-known for its flowers and tea, its beautiful mountain scenery, but mostly for its coffee.
Da Lat lies within Vietnam’s primary coffee-growing region and locals know how to brew a good cup! The French turned Da Lat into a summer getaway, and their legacy is still visible in the old French colonial architecture and beautiful gardens around town. They imported coffee plants to what was then Indochina and developed vast coffee plantations in the Central Highlands where the temperate climate was perfect for this type of agricultural cultivation. After reunification, coffee farming was revived and Vietnam has grown into one of the world’s leading coffee producers. Vast coffee plantations can be seen on the rolling hills all around in the city. The country is best known for its robusta beans, and more importantly, the industry supports thousands of Vietnamese farmworkers. Here are the coolest coffee shops in Da Lat serving up the tastiest non-franchised, brewmaster coffee.
Truong Cong Dinh St. Ward 1, Da Lat
“A little gem of a place with lots of character, antiques, and great coffee.” This is the best way to describe this hidden coffee spot tucked in a side corner that is easy to walk past if you are unaware of it. Situated at the upper bend of Truong Cong Dinh Street, in the center of Da Lat, this small cafe is reminiscent of an antique store filled with nostalgia for days gone by. In the front, an old porcelain bathtub-turned-pot-plant serves as the cafe border with the street. Upon entering the cafe, one is immediately surrounded by curios, old cameras, stacks of vinyl albums, and bookshelves with foreign language books dating from the 1940s onwards. A converted foot pedal sewing machine serves as the counter and menus are repurposed Eastern European schoolbooks. The moment you enter Bicycle Up Cafe you feel as if you have been transported back in time to your grandparents’ attic where pieces of history have been stored in hopes of being revisited. While they do offer a small selection of teas and juices, we recommend you try the coffee. At 20,000 VND a cup, this strong coffee is a fantastic deal. With music playing in the background from an era gone by, after a day of exploring the beautiful architecture the city has to offer, it’s the perfect place to sit down in one of the old wooden chairs nestled in the corner of the cafe and take a trip down memory lane.
63 Bis, Ba Thang Hai Street, Da Lat
Perched off of Da Lat’s main road, An Cafe is a peaceful, terraced coffee spot with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. From the moment you enter the cafe, a sense of calmness settles around you, living up to its Vietnamese name- “An” meaning peace. Filled with beautiful handmade wooden tables, porch swings, and a collection of potted herbs, An Cafe is an oasis of green built into the hill that adds to the quiet, natural feel of an otherwise bustling street. The menu offered provides several healthy options for a light lunch. With many vegan and vegetarian options, the menu offers both Vietnamese and Western dishes, providing numerous choices for every palate. The chicken wrap and baked eggplant with tomato sauce were two dishes that were not only fresh but beautifully presented. In addition to homemade juices and fresh fruit smoothies, the rich coffee selections can make it difficult to decide what one would like to drink! Despite being in the heart of the city, An Cafe offers a sense of peace and tranquility in a busy city.
77 Hai Ba Trung Street, Da Lat
While many cafes in Da Lat are unique because of their decor, One More Cafe’s simple decor may seem less stylish when compared to other cafes around. However, what makes this cozy and comfortable cafe stand out is their commitment to homemade, healthy Western food options. Walking through the door is like walking into a close friend’s kitchen and sitting down for a delicious meal together. Offering an extensive menu that includes gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options, there are multiple western dishes for both breakfast and lunch. For those that prefer to start their morning off with something light, the Granola Toasted Muesli is delightful. Beautifully presented with fresh fruit grown in Da Lat, and homemade yogurt, there is no better way to start a morning off than enjoying a bowl of this. Additionally, One More Cafe sells products to take home including jams, pickles, fresh bread, and the most amazing cinnamon rolls. Not only is One More Cafe dedicated to serving delicious food, but they are also strongly committed to being eco-friendly and reducing single-use plastics. As a result, stainless steel straws are used and they offer a water refilling station for those who bring their own water bottles. In addition to serving home-cooked food, One More Cafe is home to the first co-working space in Da Lat. Located on the second floor, they provide a quiet environment with beautiful artwork for those who are looking for space to work away from the office. Using fresh ingredients, offering generous portions of home-made goodness, and affordable prices, one cannot go wrong spending a morning at One More Cafe.
80 Bui Thi Xuan Ward 2, Da Lat
Located less than a 10-minute walk from Xuan Huong Lake, upon entering ‘Woodstock Cafe’ one immediately feels like you’re sitting in a rustic, pine cabin. When the weather is nice the outside seating and bar, which serves craft beer, provides ample space to gather with friends. For those that prefer to be inside, the decor inside creates a cozy, warm feeling. From couches to long wooden tables, there are plenty of seating options whether you’ve come to spend an afternoon chatting with friends or looking for a place to work remotely. The interior design is popular with local Instagrammers as green plants and dried flowers surround porch swings which are hung from the ceiling, creating a feeling of being outdoors. Tucked away on the balcony is a beautiful view overlooking green space and a horse corral. The coffee here tends to lean towards the expensive side when compared to surrounding coffee shops. Brews range in prices from 45-60,000 VND. For those that are not coffee drinkers, the place also serves a variety of teas, fresh juices, and smoothies. Price aside, if one is looking for a place where you could spend a morning or afternoon journaling, reading, or just relaxing, Woodstock cafe is definitively a great choice to escape the day to day busyness.
9B Dong Da, Ward 3 At Robin hill, near the cable car, opposite the motorbike parking, Da Lat.
In an unassuming location, Anna’s Coffee House is a local gem located near the Da Lat cable car station. Although small with limited seating, Anna has created a sense of home from the moment you enter her establishment. With beautiful fresh flowers and ivy adorning tables and a small stack of English books in the corner, Anna’s Coffee House offers more than meets the eye. A sense of calmness envelops you the moment you sit down and begin to enjoy the beautiful mountain views that surround her house. With an ambiance that is peaceful and quiet, one immediately feels stress melt away.
Anna’s Coffee House serves not only delicious hot coffee and lattes, but also offers a variety of western dishes. With such close proximity to the cable car, this is a fantastic place to start the morning and her breakfast burritos and waffles will certainly not disappoint you! What makes Anna’s Coffee House so memorable however is the service. Anna and her team are incredibly warm and caring and you immediately feel as if you are part of the local community. In addition to serving HOT coffee and delicious food, Anna’s Coffee House always sells local products and some western imported goods.
12 Triệu Việt Vương Phường 04, Da Lat
If you’re looking for even better, unobstructed views than at Anna’s Coffee House, Up Coffee will not disappoint. Nestled on the side of the mountain, near Bao Dai’s presidential Summer residence, the place offers 180-degree views across a large section of the city. If you’re not an early riser, but want to “cloud hunt”, this is a great spot to watch the last of the mist rise from the valley below. Glass windows on all 3 levels offer unobstructed views, and afterward you can visit the fascinating Summer residence of Vietnam’s last emperor before his exile in 1945.