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Twenty One From Eight
Photograph: Jenny Leung

Best hidden upstairs cafes and coffee shops in Hong Kong

There’s a whole other world to explore above ground

By Jenny Leung
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Hong Kong is an expensive city to live in, but what that means for cafés and coffee shops in the city is that they often have to take things to new heights – literally. Sitting above ground and tucked away from crowded streets, upstairs cafes provide sanctuary for city dwellers looking to escape the hustle and bustle. From trendy spots that offer seriously photogenic dishes and decor to ones that double up as vintage stores, here are some of the best hidden upstairs cafes in Hong Kong waiting for you to explore.

RECOMMENDED: Prefer a home-cooked meal instead? Then check out these online grocery services in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s best upstairs cafés

Doctor Beans

Restaurants Cafés Kwun Tong
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Those with a soft spot for Taiwanese food should pay a visit to Doctor Beans. The cafe's beef noodle soup and braised pork on rice are the signatures, but don't miss out on other must-tries such as wagyu potato cake noodle with shacha sauce, and fried chicken rice with passion fruit and lemon sauce. Top off your meal with a tall glass of Ovaltine soy milk, which comes with a special Ovaltine ice lolly that you can dip into the glass!

Cafe Zense
Cafe Zense
Photograph: Courtesy Cafe Zense

Cafe Zense

Restaurants Cafés Causeway Bay

For an upscale dining experience that won’t break the bank, Cafe Zense is the place to be. Situated in the heart of Causeway Bay, this small but well-loved cafe allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and simply unwind. Whether you want to enjoy the calming ambience of al fresco dining or catch up with your bestie over a glass of wine, the cafe’s spacious patio allows you to do just that. The food here isn’t shabby either, with dishes like cheesy fries and crab and mushroom linguine as well as delicious iced smoothies. Make multiple trips so you can sample everything – it just makes zense. 

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Loyi Faateng
Loyi Faateng
Photograph: Courtesy Loyi Faateng

Loyi Faateng

Restaurants Cafés Mong Kok

Whether it’s insensitive or satirical to decorate the walls with caricatures of Osama Bin Laden, Kim Jong-un, and Saddam Hussein, it’s undeniable that Loyi Faateng is unique. This shabby-chic cafe is decked out in vintage decor – we’re talking classic green-and-white floor tiles, old sewing machines, vintage cameras, and an impressive collection of nostalgic toys and gadgets. Serving a variety of Italian dishes and smooth coffee, Loyi Faateng has a casual and relaxed vibe that makes it the perfect place to rest up, eat up, and catch up with a few friends – and dictators. 

omg mamaday
omg mamaday
Instagram: @mmd.mamaday

Mamaday

Restaurants Cafés Wan Chai

Tucked away in an unassuming commercial building on the skirts of Causeway Bay, this quirky cafe is anything but 'mamaday', which literally translates to ‘so-so’ in Cantonese. From the secretive members-only door (to apply for membership, The applicant must be able to touch their elbows with their tongue) to the many, many bright decor and quirky quotes, there are surprises around every corner.

For those residing in Kowloon, Mamaday also has a second upstairs location aptly named OMG Mamaday that’s just as, if not more, fun and wacky. We could go on and on all day about how much we love this place but we still wouldn’t do it justice. So really, just go and check it out for yourself!

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Mum's Not Home
Mum's Not Home
Photograph: Courtesy Mum's Not Home

Mum’s Not Home

Restaurants Cafés Yau Ma Tei

One step inside this joint and you might find yourself asking if this is a cafe, an art gallery, a thrift store, or a whimsical secret garden. Well, why not all of the above? Designed and run by Chow and Makui, a creative duo in both life and business, Mum’s Not Home is a whimsical, bohemian-style cafe with a part of its space dedicated to a retro boutique. The shop boasts a unique curation of pieces to browse through, where you can rummage through vintage clothing, accessories, funky knick-knacks, or even old-fashioned furniture. Afterwards, reward yourself with more treats and sip on a range of floral teas, before digging into scrumptious homemade cakes.

Parc Antique & Lifestyle
Parc Antique & Lifestyle
Photograph: Courtesy Parc Antique & Lifestyle

Parc Antique & Lifestyle

Restaurants Cafés Kwun Tong

Doubling up as an antique store and cafe, there's no other place quite like Parc. You'll find everything from dainty teacups and tableware to old typewriters and vintage furniture, all surrounded by plenty of foliage. Their food and beverages are no less exquisite, serving a variety of teas, cakes, crepes, ice drip coffee, and more. Parc often rents out their venue for wedding ceremonies and photography shoots, so make sure you check their opening hours on social media before visiting.

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Scoool Cafe
Scoool Cafe
Photograph: Courtesy Scoool Cafe

Scoool Café

Restaurants Cafés Kwun Tong

Hidden deep inside an industrial building in Kwun Tong, Scoool Café will transport you back in time to your childhood days – think wooden school tables, chalkboards, old books, and vintage toys – it has everything you need to feel like you're back in primary school. Not only does the cafe serve a wide selection of Taiwanese comfort food, it also regularly holds handicraft markets, selling everything from handmade soap to fashion. Come for the ambience and stay for the shopping.

Sicklyland Cafe

Restaurants Cafés Causeway Bay

From the team behind Mong Kok's eccentric cafe Loyi Faateng, Sicklyland is a shabby-chic cafe that will fulfil all your Instagramming needs. From the mismatched furniture and decoration to the hand-drawn graffiti and half-tiled floors, you'll feel cool just looking at this place. The menu here is small but refined, serving up a range of Western cuisine including pasta and risotto, snacks, all-day breakfast, salads, and more. We also recommend trying their light and refreshing fruit teas – which are anything but sickly.

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Twenty One From Eight
Twenty One From Eight
Photograph: Jenny Leung

Twenty One From Eight

Restaurants Cafés Kwun Tong

Twenty One From Eight is a multipurpose space combining a furniture store, a woodworking shop, and a cafe, where a Le Cordon Bleu chef whips up a small but refined selection of savoury dishes and baked treats. The seats available at the cafe section are limited and often fill up quickly, so avoid rush hours. Grab a seat by the window and dig into a scrumptious meal with a view of the surrounding neighbourhood.

White Hse

Restaurants Cafés Causeway Bay
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A dreamy respite for the floral obsessed, White Hse is a hidden cafe that sits on the upper floors of an unassuming commercial building in Causeway Bay. From the white brick walls and marble tables right down to the food, there’s a touch of whimsy and elegance everywhere. Recommended must-tries are the double cheese orecchiette, cookie cup with milk, and the Velvet Goldmine (baked prawn risotto with red cabbage cream sauce and gold leaf). If you’re planning to visit, be sure to book a table beforehand as the venue is small and space is limited. 

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