Sometimes the best way to see the city is by getting above it all, and in Hanoi, where noise and traffic can be a bit overwhelming at times, getting above the traffic line can be an inspiring move. Here are the top ten balconies and rooftops in Hanoi.
1. Xoi Yen
There’s also a great Cong Cafe right across the road with an equal view of the traffic below, so its a good place to grab a coffee after lunch at Xoi Yen, where they serve some of the tastiest sticky rice in the world. With fat and barbecued pork being the main ingredients of many of the dishes, it’s not the healthiest, but good Lord is it delicious.
Where? 35b Nguyen Huu Huan, Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem
2. Marilyn’s Cafe
There are a lot of rooftop and balcony dining options around St. Joseph’s Cathedral, but my favorite is Marilyn’s. Order an omelette with fries for the price of a streetside bowl of soup. It’s got a nice homey taste and it’s a surprisingly good break from rice and noodles.
Where? 4 Au Trieu, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem
3. Cafe Nola
This place hasn’t really got a view, but the umbrella shaded patio is certainly an interesting place to while away an afternoon.
Where? 89 Ma May Hoan Kiem
4. Lotus Blanc
I’ve never tried the food at Lotus Blanc, but coffees are cheap and the balcony seats are lovely.
Where? Ly Quoc Su, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem
If you want a sugar overload then come to Kopiteh. Make sure you take your shoes off and head upstairs for a really inviting little area with some windows seats and a view of the busy road below.
Where? 108 Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh
6. The Seed Bakery and Cafe
Go for the Oreo cheesecake. You won’t regret it.
Where? 48 Hang Bong Street, Hoan Kiem
If you love chè even half as much as I do then, this place is for you. With a great view of the colorful temple across the road, Lutulata is the perfect place to cool off with some “sweet soup.”
Where? 39 Hang Cot, Hoan Kiem
8. Hanoi Social Club
Chill vibes and unique food make this place an expat hangout. The balcony upstairs doesn’t hurt.
Where? 6 Hoi Vu St, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
9. Cafe Ngan
This was my local coffee place when I lived in Hanoi, so I might be biased, but they have some of the best bac xiu in the country. And upstairs there’s a cool area with windows on all sides so you can watch the going-ons below.
Where? 54 Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh
10. Hanoi Soul Cafe
There are quite a few tourist-trap rooftop/balcony dining options around Hoan Kiem, but my favorite is Soul Cafe because juice and coffee prices are reasonable for the area, and its far less crowded than many of its neighbors.
Where? 7 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem
11. Bar Betta
Affordable alcohol in a cozy environment, Bar Betta is a great stop with a rooftop bar for those hot summer nights. (Somehow I managed to take no photos of Bar Betta. Sorry about that.)
Where? 34C Cao Ba Quat, Ba Đình
12. Top of Hanoi (Lotte)
This is the place Hanoians think of when you say “drinks with a view.” Wait for a clear day before paying for the sky-high prices though.
Where? 54 Lieu Giai Street, Ba Dinh (65th floor)
This is my favorite place in Hanoi to sit and watch the traffic go by. Drinks are reasonable, but the real reason to go is the view. It’s just crazy cool.
Where? 54 Luong Van Can, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem
14. And of course there’s always West Lake.
West Lake (Tay Ho) has a ton of balcony dining options including Don’s, Pepe la Poule, The Republic, and many more. So if you’re in the mood for a lake view and willing to pay a bit more, then head out to West Lake for even more dining options with views.
Where? Ride out to West Lake and just go for a circle around until you see something you like.
Did I miss your favorite rooftop or balcony option in Hanoi? Let me know in the comments. And what’s your favorite view you’ve ever dined at?