Authentic, albeit expensive… At least by Vietnamese standards. In a city where you can get that local cup of Vietnamese-style “phin” coffee on every street corner, it might not make too much sense to drop a pretty penny on what’s pretty much the same thing at L’usine.
Through a Vietnamese alleyway and up a staircase, L’Usine in Dong Khoi is hidden in plain sight. It’s on the second floor of a building directly across the Saigon Municipal Opera House. This is a historical part of town, where international news reporters were based during the Vietnam War (sometimes called the American War locally). L’Usine’s big arched windows in the front allow natural light to pour through onto the retail section of the cafe, and a window added into the ceiling of the coffee bar section in the back allows light and air to course through as well. There’s also a beautiful mural behind the bar which reinforces how style-forward the entire space is.
But what makes Lúsine so special is everything else in the space: retail, food, and culture. It’s a “lifestyling” experience. Filled with people mostly there to have lunch, L’usine’s Le Loi dedicates over half its floorspace to its restaurant, which is superb.
Despite being very much frequented by expats, their retail section and bar menu are quintessentially Vietnamese. Much of their retail items are locally made and a majority of their coffee are classic Vietnamese styles like dark roasted coffee with condensed milk. It’s a taste of Vietnam’s history in a stylish setting.
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