Formerly the summer home of Vietnamese royals, the Tay Ho district of Hanoi is an idyllic respite from the city
By Katie Jacobs
Once an enclave of villas where Vietnamese royals would summer, the Tay Ho or West Lake district of Hanoi is now home to some of the city’s best restaurants, bars, and shopping. Stretching along the rim of West Lake and a fifteen-minute taxi ride from Hanoi’s Old Quarter, the eastern shore retains Hanoi’s intimate charm with pagodas and narrow, colorful houses dotting the area. A walk through the winding streets reveals gardens overflowing with tropical plants and families riding bikes, walking dogs, and picnicking near the idyllic shore. Named after the famous 20th century Vietnamese poet, Xuan Dieu Street marks a great starting point for exploring the Tay Ho area.
Perched above the lake shore, this small cafe churns out some of the best brews in the city—no small feat in a town with a coffee shop on every corner. Large windows and cozy couches topped with bright cushions beckon customers to stop in, but it’s the company’s social and environmental standards that keep them coming back. In a country infamous for its mass production of cheap beans, Oriberry grinds against the grain by working directly with farmers to produce high-quality, single-origin coffee. Established in 2005 by a local NGO, the organization aims to put money directly in famers’ pockets by omitting middlemen. Oriberry prides itself on personal farm visits, paying a premium for each kilo it buys, and knowing growers by name. A shady veranda on the rooftop is perfect for enjoying cool breezes, and floor-to-ceiling windows offer expansive views across the lake. By the entrance, shelves are stacked with locally produced pottery and tea and coffee accessories, such as teapots and coffee plungers. Customers can handpick their own coffee blends and loose leaf teas, and along with drinks, the cafe also serves house-made banana bread that’s gained local acclaim.
25 Xuan Dieu St, Tay Ho District; 84-4/6275-8669; Oriberry; coffee from US$1.50