Set in a prime location in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, Xofa Café & Bistro has the slightly unusual distinction of being open 24 hours, a peculiarity in a city known for shutting down a bit on the early side. But don’t be fooled, Xofa is not a place for raucous late night laughs, instead it has a peaceful ambience where people are encouraged to keep quiet and gently unwind.
The interiors and exteriors are beautiful, with a gorgeous exposed brick fireplace providing the centerpiece of the inside, which is full of wood touches and comfy sofa-style seating. The terrace area outside is a hit too, with local plants in hanging baskets and scores of young Vietnamese chatting quietly over coffee and cake.
The drink selection is large with a variety of both Italian and local coffees (40,000- 70,000 VND), alongside a range of fruit teas and special drinks such as their affogato (a scoop of vanilla gelato drowned in a superb excellent espresso) at 68,000 VND, a wonderful lemon lime and bitters, not to mention an orange lassie smoothie with added aloe vera (what will they think of next?).
Food options are extensive too, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. With everything available from muesli and omelets through to nachos, cheese burgers, pasta, soups, steaks and salads, as well as a full gamut of Vietnamese food, the bistro is danger of trying to do too much, and it might be better if it were pared down to a smaller number of choice items done well. That’s not to say any of the food is bad, it isn’t. It is perfectly fine, but the real draw here is the exquisite buildings and relaxed environment.
Xofa themselves say that their mission “hatched from such simple wishes and is connecting souls with a desire to deliver its customers’ heartwarming experiences,” and while this might all sound a bit hippy-dippy, in terms of the overall atmosphere it is hard to beat.
While the crowd here is mainly young Vietnamese of a creative bent, the fact that it is open 24 hours does make things a little interesting, with backpackers coming to while away a few hours here in between onward buses, and Old Quarter partiers occasionally dropping by to sleep off the alcohol. A terrific space, with among with some of the friendliest staff around, Xofa is well worth a visit.
14 Tống Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem
+84 (0) 24 3717 1555
Open 24 hours