If there is one thing that Ho Chi Minh City is known for, it’s certainly its many wonderful cafés. In almost every part of the city, the coffee lover is never far from a delightful place to enjoy a delicious cup of one of Vietnam’s specialties. One that should not be missed, though, is the Serenata Café in District 3.
The Serenata is a peaceful, relaxing oasis in a French colonial house that has kept much of its original charm. The café’s owners greatly respected the intriguing character of the house and preserved as much of the structure as possible when they converted it into its present form.
There is no enclosed interior; rather, the entire café has an al fresco atmosphere. Adding to the serene ambience are the many trees, flowering plants, fishponds, and small fountains gracing the courtyard. Subdued amber lighting throughout the grounds also sets a very calming mood.
What truly sets the Serenata apart from other cafés, however, is the beautiful and captivating classical Vietnamese and Western music performed most evenings from 8:30 to 10:30 by a talented string quartet, pianist, and singer. The gentle melodies reverberate throughout the café, much to the delight of guests, and are an absolute treat to the ears. Unlike the overly loud music piping through many local coffee spots, the alluring tunes played at the Serenata allow for relaxation and quiet conversation.
The café is often full but never feels crowded. The best tables are those on the ground floor, surrounding the soothing fishponds, as these give the best views of the musicians. However, due to their popularity, reservations for these tables are highly recommended. It is best to reserve a day in advance if possible. Tables on the second level are sufficiently pleasant and the music can still be enjoyed there.
The evening menu is not inexpensive, about double the average price for a drink, but the live music and superlative atmosphere of the Serenata are well worth the extra cost to enjoy some time in the open air of the café.
The Serenata Café is located in the same alleyway as the popular Acoustic Bar at Số 6D Thời Nhiệm, Ward 7, District 3. Telephone: (84 8 ) 3930 7436.