The Best Cafes in Taipei's Ximending District

Waffles with red bean and green tea ice cream | Courtesy of OA, My Dear Cafe
Waffles with red bean and green tea ice cream | Courtesy of OA, My Dear Cafe
Photo of Ciaran McEneaney
5 October 2017

As one of the coolest neighborhoods in Taipei City, Ximending is a place where there’s always something going on. From live street shows to all-day (and night) shopping, a day in Ximending is a bit of an adventure. But when it’s time for a break, where can you find a decent cup of coffee? Well, luckily for you there are tons of cafes in the area and here are some of the very best.

In% Hair

Cafe, Taiwanese
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Yummy eats in a hair salon! | Courtesy of In% Hair Cafe

Ever sit down in a coffee shop and think to yourself how great it would be to have a haircut right now? Me neither, but that didn’t stop the owner of In% Hair Cafe from bringing both industries together. It might seem like an odd idea but it works. The hair stylists are booked solid and the coffee shop is pretty busy too, offering a good menu of light meals and desserts alongside some excellent teas and coffees.

Somebody Cafe

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Asian, Tea
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Surrounded by art
Surrounded by art | Courtesy of Somebody Cafe

Described by many as an artsy cafe, Somebody Cafe is a quiet little place that is nestled in a second floor location overlooking the busy street. This place is so relaxed and chilled out that it’s easy to forget that you’re in the middle of one of Taipei’s busiest neighborhoods. The coffee is good and there’s a small but decent menu if you’re looking for a light meal but this place is not about the food. Here you can enjoy your coffee surrounded by some incredible artwork. And yes, it really is that good.

Cho Cafe

Cafe, Asian, Tea , Dessert
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The Cho Cafe Breakfast Sandwich
The Cho Cafe Breakfast Sandwich | Courtesy of Cho Cafe

Stepping into this cafe is like taking a step back in time. Although there are plenty of modern features, you can see how the owners wanted to open a place that was as close to an old-style coffee house as possible. From the front doors to the wooden decor inside, it’s all pretty tasteful. This isn’t a cozy place but with decent coffee and some delicious desserts and light meals on the menu, it’s a great place to enjoy some quiet time with a book.

Heritage Bakery & Cafe

Bakery, Cafe, Dessert, Tea , American, $$$
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Mulberry Cheese Tart and Blackberry IPA
Mulberry Cheese Tart and Blackberry IPA | Courtesy of Heritage Bakery & Cafe

For amazing desserts and pretty good coffee Heritage Bakery & Cafe is the best spot in Ximending. In business since 1951, you could say that the family that run this bakery know a thing or two about sweets and desserts. The cafe itself is a nice open area with plenty of seating. The staff are extremely enthusiastic about their products so be sure to ask if you are unsure about anything on the menu. One thing you can’t go wrong with though, are the cinnamon rolls. Legendary.

The Aroma

Coffee Shop, Asian, Tea
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A welcoming cafe that seems to be as popular with families as it is with the usual young and cool coffee drinking crowd. This place is worth seeking out just for the nice vibe. The coffee is pretty good, while the muffins have that perfect home baked flavor and texture. The staff at The Aroma really go out of their way to make you feel at home and this along with those delicious muffins make it worth returning to again and again just for a chat and a coffee. The Aroma also holds church services and Bible talks on certain evenings so if that’s not your thing, best check the schedule before popping along.

OA, My Dear Cafe

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Asian, Tea
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Pies, beers, coffee; what more could you ask for?
Pies, beers, coffee; what more could you ask for? | Courtesy of OA, My Dear Cafe

A fun cafe with an incredible atmosphere, OA, My Dear Cafe is open quite late throughout the week making it the ideal spot for a late-night coffee or even a few beers with friends. The staff are super friendly too and will walk you through the menu which has some pretty interesting items. Fancy some waffles with red bean and green tea ice cream? Yep, this is not your typical coffee shop and that’s a very good thing. The perfect place for drinks or a meal with friends.

Hikaru Cafe

Cafe, Asian, Tea
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Coffee adventures at Hikaru
Coffee adventures at Hikaru | Courtesy of Hikaru Cafe

A wonderful location in the heart of Ximending isn’t the only appealing thing about this lovely little cafe. With an extensive menu offering everything from pizza to pasta and plenty of drinks, Hikaru Cafe covers all the bases for a light meal midway through a Ximending shopping trip. They also have a great selection of coffees with all the usual offerings. In fact, while many enjoy the food here, most customers say it’s the fabulous coffee that keeps them coming back.

La Grotta

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Dessert, Tea
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Rhubarb Pie
Rhubarb Pie | Courtesy of La Grotta

Located near the Armed Forces Museum, La Grotta is a few minutes’ walk from Ximen MRT Station but it’s worth the effort. This minimalist cafe is a must for lovers of all things sweet and delicious. Take a walk through the door and you may feel a little underwhelmed by the sparse decor but order a piece of pie and you’ll find that you simply can’t keep away from the place. There’s a great selection of teas on the menu too making this place ideal even for those that live a coffee-free life.

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