Look beyond the popular coffee chains like The Coffee House, Phuc Long and Highland Coffee and you’ll find the real hidden gems in Da Lat. Here are some of the best cafés and coffee shops the city has to offer.
From coffee shops with a social mission, to those with over 50 years of history, and some boasting magnificent views, Da Lat is full of excellent cafés waiting to be discovered.
Spearheaded by the charming Mr. Luan, House of the Youth (Thời Thanh Xuân) is a quaint little café run by a team dedicated to one social mission: empowering the deaf. The premise of the café is rather unique – you are encouraged to sit in silence and only whisper among your friends. To order, you simply point at an item on the menu. The teas are made from in-house grown ingredients, the coffee from nearby farms and the desserts homemade. What adds to the uniqueness is that there is no indication of price – the café is run on donations. Make sure to head into the small store full of handmade chocolates, candies, soaps, shampoos, essential oils, tea, coffee, and wooden kitchen tools, all made by the team. Mr. Luan spends his time teaching the team the beauty in making arts and crafts. Any money earned from these will go towards supporting the cause.
In Da Lat, people once gave up on coffee due to its exhaustingly low returns on investment, but thanks to the guidance of Mr. Quang of La Viet Coffee, things turned around and coffee farmers now are not only able to make a modest living but also do so sustainably. La Viet Coffee dons a modern industrial look with its warehouse-like interior surrounded by glass walls, and the roasters placed prominently in the back add a nice touch. The beans are handpicked by the team who are trained by Mr. Quang to follow international agricultural standards, so expect to pay a little above average. Don’t go in here looking for your cà phê sữa dá – Mr. Quang believes you can’t taste the true coffee flavor by diluting it with milk. Sit at the bar and have a chat with the knowledgeable and skillful baristas – there really is a lot to know about the world of coffee.
Tung Cafe is one of the oldest cafés in Da Lat, having served its first cup of coffee in 1955. The location changed in 1960 and since then there have been no alterations to the interior decor, especially the valuable paintings that represent the artistic tastes of a bygone generation. Back in the day the café was popular among the gentlemen in town, and many historic individuals passed by and enjoyed a cup of coffee along with a cigar.
Cung To Chieu is another interesting café in Da Lat, run by the eccentric 40-year-old Mrs. Giang who has come up with a simple set of rules for guests to follow – don’t talk louder than the music, don’t turn your feet to others’ faces and dress comfortably but politely. The menu here is simple, yet satisfies the most ardent of coffee enthusiasts. Mrs. Giang also likes to sing romantic and sorrowful stories of her past on the stage.
A wooden cottage painted in white, decorated with rustic tables and chairs, set amongst a garden of roses, the Rose Villa Cafe is an Instagram-perfect venue. The menu doesn’t overwhelm and your order comes with a side of free iced tea. Try the bánh mì ốp la for breakfast with a cà phê sữa dá and enjoy the ambiance. There is free Wi-Fi available, but you really don’t need it if you’ve got a good book or friend to keep you company. Great for a stopover when visiting Crazy House, a popular attraction in Da Lat.
Hidden in an alley down Trần Hưng Đạo street, Brew and Breakfast is a specialty coffee bar, restaurant and homestay, especially known (as the title suggests) for its coffee and breakfast. Run by an English couple who settled down in Da Lat for their love of coffee, it’s a favorite spot for brunch among the expats that work in the area. The menu is plant-based and the specialty coffee is hand-roasted and brewed on site. A fun Dachshund named Komodo will welcome you at the door, running around your feet while the four cats will be found lounging about getting some sun. You can book coffee tours here.
An means peace in Vietnamese. Lying aside the slope on street 3/2 (February 3rd slope), An Cafe is a great spot for those who love nature and want to find a place to get away, even if just for a moment. Tables and chairs in An Cafe are handmade from wood with delicate designs, and you will find that each table has a small potted plant: cabbage, basil, mint, etc. It’s like a tiny garden, where plants decorate literally everything – from the tiny garden outside to shelves, tables and walkways. Even their straws are made of bamboo shoots!
Milano Café is a widely known franchise brand in Vietnam, found in major cities such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang, etc. It’s a very local spot, but the menu does have English translations. Walk into any Milano coffee shop in the country, and you will find three milk and non-milk coffee choices labelled simply as option 1, 2, and 3. The ratio is for them alone to know – take a gamble. Undoubtedly, all are equally good. Other than coffee the menu includes fruit juices and tea.
Windmills Coffee is impressively decorated, a romantic place for couples to enjoy a coffee date, despite being in the city center. The menu includes delicious meals in addition to coffee and tea, such as pizza and pasta. All produce is locally sourced and truly organic. You can top off your meal with their delicious desserts, and make sure to try their homemade yoghurt! There are four branches in the city. Visit either one of them and take a walk around town.
Me Linh Coffee Garden has some of the best views in Da Lat. On the menu, in addition to your normal coffee drinks, you will find the unique weasel coffee (also known as ca phe chon) which you can enjoy with your full 360-degree view of the coffee farm and Cam Ly Lake in front of you. To get here is a bit of a ride – a 12-mile (20 kilometer) drive from the city center, through Ta Nung mountain pass.