Manzi – A different kind of coffee shop
It would almost be worth reviewing Manzi every month, as the contemporary art loving owners rotate their abundance of expression so often that each time you visit you get a slightly different cafe. Manzi is as much a gallery as it is a cafe so its more important here than anywhere else in Hanoi that you have a good look around before taking a seat. The staff are aware of this: instead of following you around with an incessant need to ‘introduce’ you to the different seating options, they’ll allow you to settle where you like and only approach you afterwards.
Ignoring the western coffee (as one always should in Hanoi), the drinks are excellent and reasonably priced considering the quality. Highlights include a refreshing pineapple and mint juice, fresh fruit with yogurt, and a distinct and flavorsome Vietnamese coffee. They also serve a delicious “bò sốt vang”, the Vietnamese answer to European beef stew.
But wait- there’s more! Manzi is plugged deep into the artistic communities of Hanoi, which means frequent cultural events ranging from cozy short film nights to large scale, week-long photography exhibitions. You can also expect orchestral music, live poetry, and interesting talks (usually in Vietnamese) that address controversial issues facing Vietnamese society today.
Tram, one of the owners, is passionate about making art accessible- even if you can’t afford to take a piece home, you can still enjoy it while sipping on a carefully prepared beverage. She’s almost always there and would never shy away from an interesting exchange, so just feel free to ask if she’s around when you visit.