12 Charming “Cafe Apartment” Coffee Shops in Ho Chi Minh City

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Huan Phu

Last Updated: December 22, 2023

Coffee culture reigns in the Vietnamese metropolis of Saigon. From bespoke artisanal cups to Starbucks, from phin (the traditional Vietnamese coffee maker) to French press, there is plenty of space for different coffee shops and various cafes. In a city of coffee addicts, you will see old and young Vietnamese and travelers getting their caffeine fix at all hours of the day or night.

Today, we are focusing on coffee shops for artsy caffeine lovers. There are apartment blocks around every corner in Saigon’s colonial city center, giving rise to the now-famous concept of cafe apartments. These cute little spots are meant to look and feel like you are in a friend’s living room, allowing you to spend a few relaxing hours sipping your brew and chatting with pals.

Check out this list of 12 cafe apartments in Saigon: 4 located in the most famous cafe apartment block in Ho Chi Minh City and eight spread elsewhere across the city center.

42 Nguyen Hue: Saigon’s Premier Cafe Apartment Building

The cafe apartment at 42 Nguyen Hue walking street has a strong case for being the coolest building in Saigon. The nine-storey apartment block was originally built back in the 1960s to house US government and military personnel. As Ho Chi Minh City developed during the post-war period and Nguyen Hue Walking Street became the heart of Saigon, many tenants began renting out their flats to cafes and clothing stores. Technically illegal, it was a way for tenants and small businesses to make some money.

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Nguyen Hue Cafe Apartment Building. Photo by Jet Dela Cruz

Nowadays, the building is a collection of some of the most popular cafes, restaurants, and clothing boutiques in the city, and all the businesses are local rather than foreign-owned.

The nine-storey apartment block looks over the Nguyen Hue walking street, but not in an oppressive way. Instead, it oozes colonial charm and quaintness in a way that makes the gorgeous promenade near the Saigon River even nicer.

The building is filled with so many shops that we can’t list them all here, though this fantastic guide from Vietnam Coracle does a good job of describing 42 Nguyen Hue and its shops floor-by-floor. That being said, we’ll discuss some of the best cafes in 42 Nguyen Hue in the next section.

If you’re visiting the building yourself, keep in mind that the ground floor houses Fahasa Bookstore and parking is next door at Lucky Plaza.

Apartment Cafes in 42 Nguyen Hue

1. Partea Tea Room

Partea Tea Room. Photo by Apollo Adventure - 12 Charming “Cafe Apartment” Coffee Shops in Ho Chi Minh City
Partea Tea Room. Photo by Apollo Adventure

Ironically, we’ll start off our list of coffee shops with a place that specializes in the world’s other favorite caffeinated beverage: Rockstar energy drink (just kidding, tea).

Partea on the fourth floor is an English style tea house with an Alice in Wonderland aesthetic and whimsical living room. While the interiors might appear to some as kitsch, the various types of tea and beautifully-decorated desserts promise to delight.


  • FacebookPartea Tea Room
  • Address: Fourth floor, 42 Nguyen Hue, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

2. The Letter Cafe

The Letter Cafe - 12 Charming “Cafe Apartment” Coffee Shops in Ho Chi Minh City
The Letter Cafe

The Letter Cafe is also a classic cafe apartment on the same block that overlooks the Saigon River! The Cafe features walls with pages and scrolls all over it, giving a romantic feel to the coffee shop. Moreover, beautiful lanterns decorate the place, making it a favourite amongst couples.

Come to this coffee shop for their lovely glassware and to check out the boutique fashions and quirky jewellery options the place also carries!


  • FacebookThe Letter Cafe
  • Address: 6th floor, 42 Nguyen Hue, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
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The Letter Cafe
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The Letter Cafe

3. Boo Café

Boo coffee shop’s aesthetic is ‘rustic cute.’ Think bright yellow curtains, matching sofas, checkered patterns everywhere, wood furniture, and vases of flowers. These cheery and cute interiors make it stand out from the other cafe apartments in the same block.

Located on the 9th floor, Boo Cafe has some of the best views of the walking street and Ho Chi Minh City, so try to get a spot by Boo’s large windows or spacious balcony. Open for six years, Boo Cafe has a loyal following. Regulars love their wide selection of milk tea flavours that come with the quirky option of a cotton candy top.


  • FacebookBoo Café
  • Address: 9th floor, 42 Nguyen Hue Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

4. Saigon Ơi Cafe

Another great find in 42 Nguyen Hue Street is Saigon Oi Cafe on the fifth floor.

Earth tones, macrame decorations, and bamboo furniture all come together to create a laid-back vibe at Saigon Oi. The whole cafe apartment is filled with lovingly cared-for green plants, making it truly feel as though you are visiting a plant parent friend’s home.

Perfect for the sweet tooth, Saigon Oi coffee shop has many iced drinks and coffee concoctions topped off with ice cream or tropical fruits.

While you sip your sweet drink in this leafy green haven, you can gaze out on Nguyen Hue Walking Street and do a little bit of people-watching as you check out the many interesting architectural sights that line the road.


  • FacebookSaigon Ơi Cafe
  • Address: 5th floor, 42 Nguyen Hue Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
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Saigon Ơi Cafe. Photo by Saigon Ơi

Apartment Cafes Near Nguyen Hue Walking Street

5. Manki Speciality Coffee

Rustic, charming, cozy – Manki is a Ly Tu Trong Street hidden gem in an unassuming old apartment block with possibly the best nitro cold brew in town. Their large balcony is the perfect spot to watch the world go by while savoring iced drinks in the tropical heat.

If you are feeling peckish, check out Poke Saigon on the same floor for a healthy and delicious Hawaiian treat at an affordable price.


  • Facebookmankispecialtycoffee
  • Address: Room 4, First floor, 42 bis Ly Tu Trong, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

Photos by Manki Speciality Coffee

6. Okkio

The Okkio coffee chain started off in little corners of old apartment buildings. Now, some of the chain’s new cafes are in villas or more typical settings. Nonetheless, we still love the café apartment’s charm.

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Okkio Cafe Thao Dien. Photo by Okkio

Find this branch on Le Loi, one of Saigon’s most central thoroughfares. It’s located on a stretch of the street near the intersection with Nguyen Hue in a tall ex-apartment building. You will have to enter via the motorbike parking area and either walk up the dimly lit stairwell or ride upstairs via the creaky but reliable old elevator.

A warm and welcoming cafe, it truly feels as though you have stepped into someone’s house. Comfortable chairs are littered around the room, and every table is adorned with a small flower. Our favorite drink here is the hazelnut latte. While here, check out the fashion boutiques on the other floors.


  • FacebookOkkio
  • Address: 120-122 Le Loi, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City and many other locations around Saigon.
OKKIO Coffee Le Loi. Photo by OKKIO - 12 Charming “Cafe Apartment” Coffee Shops in Ho Chi Minh City
OKKIO Coffee Le Loi. Photo by OKKIO

7. 11.11 Cafe

Pasteur Street was one of the main streets used to house French officers during Vietnam’s colonial period, and 11.11 Cafe takes advantage of the European charm they brought to the building.

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11.11 Cafe

Look for the stairway entrance on the busy ground floor, and walk up to this great coffee shop. This cafe apartment has an Art Deco meets minimalism look, resulting in a clutter-free space with wood accents. Fitting into the vibe, everything is served in clear glassware and on metal trays.

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11.11 Cafe

With several co-working spaces for digital nomads nearby, 11.11 cafe apartment is frequented by both office workers and Instagrammers alike, all looking for that caffeine fix.


  • Facebook11.11 Cafe
  • Address: 144/7 Pasteur, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
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11.11 Cafe

8. Cong Cafe

The Catinat Building, one of the most prized real estate pieces of the colonial era, also sits on the vestiges of the first Citadel of Saigon, built in 1790. This historic building now houses an array of fashion boutique shops and cafe apartments.

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Cong Cafe. Photo by Cong Ca Phe

One of them is Cong – a well known communist guerrilla-style coffee shop chain. Visit Cong for their delicious rendition of coconut coffee. Try to sit on the balcony and watch Ho Chi Minh City go by.

While you are here, check out the building at 22 Ly Tu Trong, which housed high-ranking officials working for the US Consulate, CIA and USAID. The roof of the building was immortalized as the departure point for the famous last chopper out of Saigon.


  • FacebookCong Cafe
  • Address: 26/15 Ly Tu Trong, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City and 13 other locations in Saigon.
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Photo by Cong Ca Phe

9. Hummingbird Cafe & Roastery

In a quieter neighborhood than most of the other cafes on this list, Hummingbird Cafe is a great place to come for working or studying.

This space feels like you have somehow stumbled into a cabin in the middle of bustling Ho Chi Minh City. The brick walls and wooden beams create a cozy, warm atmosphere. Coupled with delicious coffee and friendly staff, it is no wonder the cafe apartment is frequented by regulars!


Hummingbird Outdoor@2x - 12 Charming “Cafe Apartment” Coffee Shops in Ho Chi Minh City
Hummingbird – Outdoor. Photo by Nguyễn Minh Trí Vũ

Apartment Cafes Near Bui Vien (Saigon Backpacker Street)

10. Mo Di Hoi

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Mo Di Hoi Coffee. Photo by 1 Phut Saigon

One thing that’s difficult to come across in the center of Saigon is lush green nature. It’s a different story at Mo Di Hoi, a name that translates to “dreams of going to a festival.” The cafe is absolutely decked out with plants in pots, vases, and planters. Even the drinks and the authentic food served at Mo Di Hoi come with sprigs of greenery on the plates, giving you the feeling that you’re enjoying some refreshments in the midst of an herb garden.

Speaking of the food and drinks, they’re both delicious. They incorporate a lot of earthy flavors and natural, low-sugar, healthy recipes.

Other than all the plants and the charming old Vietnamese apartment building the cafe is located in, the decor is pretty bare-bones. Wooden tables and chairs as well as plenty of floor seating make for a minimalist design that feels charming rather than limiting.


  • FacebookMo Di Hoi Cafe
  • Address: Floors 4 and 6, 145 Nguyen Trai, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

11. Dabao Concept Cafe

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Dabao Concept Cafe. Photo by ADOR

Walk up the twisting stone staircase of this unassuming apartment block and find Dabao Concept on the third floor. Exposed wires and naked light bulbs light up its wooden front door, marking a quaint entrance to the coffee shop.

Softly lit interiors, wooden floors, and framed drawings hung on the wall, Dabao Concept is one of the cafe apartments that make you feel completely at home.

Come to enjoy decadent slices of cake paired with drinks with whipped cream and sweetened condensed milk – all beautifully decorated to be picture perfect.


  • FacebookDabao Concept Cafe
  • Address: 145 Nguyễn Trai, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City and 2 other locations in Saigon

12. Shibui Concept Cafe

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Shibui Concept Cafe

This cafe apartment is refreshingly different from the others on this list because it is Japanese. It’s decked out in muted wood shelving, floor seating, and gentle aesthetics that make it reminiscent of an authentic sushi bar.

The architects also did an amazing job of making the cafe feel peaceful and uncrowded even though it’s pretty much as central a location as you can find in Ho Chi Minh City. With the way the tables are arranged and the way the soothing music played from vinyl records flows over the cafe, it really does feel like a hidden gem. Step out onto the balcony, though, and you’ll be thrust into the sights and sounds of the city as you overlook the busy Le Lai Street and view 23/9 Park.

The cafe’s specialty is its matcha tea! If you try any of the matcha drinks, snap some photos and share your experience with us!


  • FacebookShibui Concept
  • Address: 176 Le Lai, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

Long Story Short

If you want to check out an apartment cafe, Saigon is the place. 42 Nguyen Hue should be your first stop, but there are many other charming cafe apartment buildings in Saigon’s city center. Coffee drinking is part of Vietnamese culture; there’s no better way to experience it than at these hidden gems.

After relaxing at a cafe, you and your traveling party may want to grab a bite to eat at one of the area’s must-try restaurants or street food destinations.

Wherever your travels take you, we’re sure you’ll agree that Saigon’s apartment cafes are an awesome addition to your city itinerary. Be sure to share your experiences with us!

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Huan Phu
Editor at Vietnam Is Awesome
Unearthing untold stories in the heart of Vietnam. Your eyes to the unseen, your voice to the unheard. Exploring the rich tapestry of this nation, one headline at a time. Join me on this journalistic journey!