ĐỒNG KHỞI ART ARCADE: Saigon’s Hidden Gem

Located on the most expensive street of Saigon – Dong Khoi, a well-hidden gem has stayed there for quite a while which triggers the adventurous foreigners to adopt a like-a-local kind of traveling style, or for even locals to experience their city with a unique view.

Luckily, we have a exact address to find it, so you don’t have to search all the big wide “ocean” for that “gem”: 151 Dong Khoi, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1. This place is a harmony between old and modern, European and Vietnamese. And it’s a place to be when, you are disoriented by thousands of coffee shops in Saigon so you just want to go to the best, with some special elements that strengthen the last, the optimal decision that help you get away with the cafe-choosing-challenge. Beside of being a shelter of one of the best restaurant in Saigon, it is a complication of that make the process of going-there more interesting and quite intriguing at the first time.

– L’Usine Space –

l'Usine Interior 1

This is the brightest gem of them all. If you do the research – the one about places to go in Saigon, you’d probably see the name of this place shown at least once, and it’s no obscure in TripAdvisor also. I must say, L’Usine truly deserve the spot in those articles.

Typical dessert and cocktail at l'Usine
Typical dessert and cocktail at l’Usine

What makes this space so special is that this is a concept store that not only a fancy restaurant but also a Café, a fashion boutique and an art gallery. It’s stylish, it’s French, it’s epicurean, it’s savory, it’s artistic … and it’s a combination of a must-visit cafe in Saigon. L’Usine is appreciated by its quality food more than drinks so I highly recommend you to come there for a dinner with a hungry stomach and you will be amazed.

– Catina Cafe

Don't judge the coffee shop by its entrance, the interiors of Catina Cafe is beautiful
Don’t judge the coffee shop by its entrance, the interiors of Catina Cafe is beautiful

Don’t let the plain sign of this Cafe make you think that the inside is just as plain as it. No, the interior would amaze you at least a bit. Plenty of vintage photos to remind you that you’re in a quite old place, literally.

Thai Milk Tea, Catina Cafe
Thai Milk Tea, Catina Cafe

Overall, this place is acceptable, not too bad and not great. The problem about this cafe is, the design isn’t consistent and this could disappoint some perfectionists or guests with picky eyes. There’s a balcony if you want some air over the most expensive street of Saigon, “expensive air” I guess (jk).

– Saigon Chic Coffee

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

L’Usine is great. But it often gets crowded and noisy. Sometimes you just want a nice, solitude, quiet place to read a book, to write or simply to enjoy talking with a significant other without being interrupted. Saigon Chic is a place to be then. It indulges you with a quantity of antique stuffs and cozy atmosphere in a modest space hidden in the second floor of the Art Arcade.

Personally, this was my favorite place to write during the slow monotonous afternoon on Saturday. Happen to be there with the same timing, come and say ‘hi’ to me, we’ll have a good conversation. I guarantee that.

– The Meatball Cookery

Feeling hungry when sitting at Catina cafe? Take some steps and you’re at the Meatball Cookery Kitchen which is located right next to it. This restaurant specialized in meatball and it doesn’t fail to deliver the finest of it.

– Cơm Nhà

IMG_9592 1

Previously built as coffee shop Bão but then it was renovated into a Vietnamese homemade luncheon restaurant, serving a homemade set of meal with an ever-changing daily menu. This somehow reminds us of the concept of Cục Gạch Quán, however, the food is a thing to keep us coming back.

Art gallery: You can find a lot of art gallery stores on Dong Khoi street. But most of them can’t bring you the special feeling of walking in an arcade with hundreds of paintings covered densely both sides of the arcade. Moreover, there are “gems” at the end of the arcade, how cool is that!

The alleyway of painting and handicrafts.
The alleyway of painting and handicrafts.

It’s quite interesting to step out of the “digital cloud”, the millions pixels that you could spend millions of seconds in your life looking at, the sleek steel elevator that prevent you from burning your excess calories, to do some steps in a place that last from the last century to enjoy a whole lot of cool experiences. I think this art arcade plays an important role for Vietnamese youngster to have somewhat of reminiscence for the old magnificent, glorious Saigon.

First entry from our new Writer: LeonarK – a Hanoian living in Saigon, Vietnam. Currently a copywriter and lifestyle enthusiast.

Welcome the new member to our family of VENTUROLOGY