14 Top Shops and Cafés on Nha Tho
This historic street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter is awash with places to shop and snack. Here are a few of T+L’s favorites. By Karryn Miller
Hanoi’s Old Quarter is known for narrow streets and its historic buildings. Kitty-corner from St. Joseph’s Church is the fair trade women’s clothing boutique Song (27 Nha Tho; +84 4 3928 8733; song-life.com) housed in a French colonial-style building. The creator Valerie Gregori McKenzie draws inspiration from 1920’s Indochina to create “luxury casual” designs. The subtle bows and other embellishments on some of the clothing are hand stitched by female artisans living in rural Vietnam.
Three Trees Three Trees
Three Trees Three Trees (15 Nha Tho; +84 43 928 8725), a jewelry store specializing in diamond-encrusted original designs by a Belgian-Vietnamese couple. Don’t miss Mara’s collection upstairs, which is dedicated to the owners’ daughter and comprises red and black-painted chunky wooden necklaces, bracelets and rings.
Fellow French designer Rebecca Bargas’ clothing collection at Marie-Linh (11 Nha Tho; +84 43 928 8773; marie-linh.com) is also reminiscent of the era. The wide leg trousers, capped-sleeve blouses and fitted jackets in a mix of deep purples, forest greens and midnight blues here are more formal than Song’s predominantly casual array.
May (7 Nha Tho; +84 43 828 9650), a quaint home-ware store, sells high quality crisp white cotton and linen duvet covers, pillowcases and throws with simple floral patterns with embroidered edges.
Things of Substance
The aptly named Things of Substance (5 Nha Tho; +84 43 828 6965; prieure.com.vn), opened by an Australian designer, addresses a local expat need for “Western sizes at Vietnamese prices.” The shop’s selection includes dresses cotton slacks, breathable bamboo long-sleeved fitted tops and tanks, and cute cropped jackets, along with some souvenir T-shirts featuring Ho Chi Minh.
For a bit of Harajuku-meets-Hanoi, visit Nagu (20 Nha Tho; +84 43 928 8020; zantoc.com) a Vietnamese-made, Japanese-designed outlet featuring teddy bears in cone hats, leather handbags and children’s clothing ranging from cotton one-piece’s for newborns to tiny tartan shirts and floral pinafores for toddlers.
Fancy a fighter plane pendant or a cyclo brooch? Distinctly Vietnamese mementoes can be found round the corner at P (8 Nha Chung; +84 43 928 6588), a tucked-away purveyor of propaganda posters, mugs, shot glasses and T-shirts along with unique jewelry.
Also just off the main drag is Chim Yen (4 Au Trieu; +84 43 938 1949) a clothing shop with original floaty floral and patterned dresses, cardigans and jackets with fluffy collars created by young Vietnamese designer, Nguyen Hong Trang.
Ha Linh Thu
Finish up at Ha Linh Thu (79A Hang Trong; +84 43 938 1877) a local design boutique that sells slightly more daring women’s attire with form-fitting lace dresses and puffy mini skirts. They also stock bold, bright silk dresses from Chula (chula.es) a Spanish fashion brand that was first launched in Vietnam’s capital.
Hidden in a narrow alley, The Cart (18 Au Trieu; +84 43 928 7715; thecartfood.com) does freshly baked baguette sandwiches named after various neighborhoods of Hanoi such as The Cha Ca Street baguette, based on Fish street and filled with a potato and dill frittata with tuna spread.
Try a powerful Vietnamese coffee at Moca (14-16 Nha Tho; +84 43 825 6334), an independent café with colonial era throw-backs—marble tabletops, vintage chestnut-colored chairs and even a wood fireplace. The large glass façade makes for perfect people watching.
Nab a table on the rooftop of Marilyn’s Café (4 Au Trieu; +84 43 938 1949) for an unobstructed view of the cathedral and simple, tasty treats and smoothies.
Pair wine and tapas on the breezy balcony of Spanish restaurant La Salsa (25 Nha Tho; +84 43 828 9052; lasalsa-hanoi.com).
For a more substantial meal go to Mediterraneo (23 Nha Tho; +84 43 826 6288; mediterraneo-hanoi.com) for wood-fired pizzas and creamy pastas.