Looking for the perfect Christmas post, we found Mayfair, which has a lovely outdoor pavement terrace furnished with handsome wooden tables and cushy deckchairs.

The proud owners of this sophisticated corner cafe seem to have struck gold with its coveted location just a few steps from Hoan Kiem Lake. Proximity to Hanoi’s geographical and spiritual heart aside, Mayfair is also located close to the city’s most impressive trio of cherished colonial buildings: the whimsical Opera House, historic Metropole Hotel and hybrid History Museum.

As the pompous name might suggest, Mayfair is always buzzing with the gossiping offspring of Hanoi’s elite, purposefully wielding oversized iPhones and flashy designer handbags. Think what you will of this relatively new Hanoi subculture, the people watching from this corner is almost unparalleled, with eager street hawkers, gaggles of book-buying students, and overdressed debutants all unknowingly vying for your ocular attention.

The inside space is comfortable and neatly arranged, with attractive but unoriginal birdcage lighting and a weird fixation on photos of James Bond. The television is ugly and unnecessary.

Address: 2 Nguyen Xi, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

010 009 008 007 006 005 004 003 002 001

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