Family friendly American-style bakery
Vientiane has some of the best bakeries in Southeast Asia so there’s little difficulty finding fresh bread or tasty pastries. Joma Bakery Cafe rival Common Grounds serves up some of the best Mexican in town as well as some great bakery items in very child-friendly surrounds.
The calibre of food here is more classy bistro than greasy spoon, so when you’ve had enough of noodle soup, you’re back from a big motorbike trip in the sticks, or just feel like a taste of something cheesey and doughy, this is a step up in style and delivers the goods. The drinks menu offers a variety of coffees, ranging from the standard cups of Joe to pumpkin-spiced lattes and icy frappes, at prices from 10,000 to 22,000 kip. Or try a fruit juice or smoothie, while you should know they serve perhaps the best lemonade (actually limeade) in Vientiane.
Cookies and muffins dominate the baked goods section, alongside cheesecakes with flavours like mango and apple-walnut, and a range of pastries, breads and pita all made in-house. Flour tortillas are a speciality here, served as sandwich wraps, burritos, enchiladas, tacos and chips. Standard breakfast fare and sandwiches are well worth a try, but the sandwich wraps and Mexican food are what distinguishes this cafe from its competitors. Breakfast and lunch dishes range from 22,000 to 39,000 kip, which is reasonable for what you get.
The breakfast burrito is yummy and filling, while the ‘hash’, a delicious scramble of eggs, veggies, potato and chorizo sausage, offers a lighter alternative. Meal sets are around 50,000 kip, including a main dish, side order of tortilla chips with salsa and a beverage. The beverage sizes are smaller than individually ordered drinks, although the friendly staff ensures that your water glass is never empty.
The chicken enchilada (37,000 kip) is highly recommended. Those in search of authentic Mexican cooking will not find that traditional taqueria flavour, but rather than being a poor imitation of Mexican cuisine, Common Grounds serves well-seasoned Mexican dishes with gringo flair.
Bonus: Common Grounds is one of the most child-friendly places to eat in Vientiane. The shaded outdoor play area gives the kids plenty to do while parents take a break with some refreshment. With the play area at the back, the noise is not disruptive for patrons at the front, and for those seeking further respite, the upstairs room is quiet. For some fresh air, the patio out front has tables and chairs. With free WiFi as well, this joint ticks lots of boxes and attracts a range of customers.
Address: 35 Chao Anou Rd, Ban Wat Chan
T: (021) 255 057
Coordinates (for GPS): 102º36'9.68" E, 17º57'52.85" N
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Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer/photographer and author of So Many Miles, a website that chronicles the love of adventure, food and culture. After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 she uprooted her life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. She’s travelled to over 40 countries and harbours a deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia. In between jaunts around the world, she calls Laos and Vietnam home where you’ll find her traipsing through rice paddies, standing beside broken-down buses and in villages laughing with the locals.
Our top 10 places to eat and drink around Vientiane