It’s been quite some time since I’ve updated this list, but here are Mr. Nguyen’s latest rankings for the San Jose coffee shops. There are some new cafes that have sprung up as well as a few that have changed locations. Some have closed as well. The rankings reflect the cafes as a whole (girls, venue, coffee, food, service, girls, smoking/non-smoking, and girls).
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1. Em Quyen
1998 Tully Rd.
San Jose, CA 95122
I believe the general consensus is that Em Quyen is the best café right now. Most guys on this forum love this place, and it’s a constant subject of conversation. I’ve decided to move it to #1. It’s a great place to grab a cup of coffee in the morning before work. With smoking banned all day, this place is one of the cleanest. Deanna, Alina, and Melanie keep EQ one of the best cafes in San Jose. Quyen is still one of the prettiest owners around SJ. This place gets packed frequently, and due to the small size of the café, it’s not uncommon to share tables with complete strangers. There are plenty of HD TVs to watch your favorite soccer matches or football games. No food is served here, but you can run next door to Subway or the taqueria, and bring your food over to enjoy the games on TV. Coffee is $6/cup. The shop closes around 5PM.
2. Paradise Cafe
2400 Monterey Rd.
San Jose, CA 95111
Paradise remains #1 in my books because of hospitality and talent. Their staff remains top notch in San Jose, and at any given time, they have about 3 or 4 girls working in lingerie. Their notables include Christine, Kelly, Janet, and Jenny. Sadly, Ruby Renegade left, and she will be greatly missed. They have plenty of TVs for your sports viewing pleasure and a nice outdoor patio with umbrellas and heaters for cold weather. Parking can be problematic at times, but I just park across the street at the motel if it’s full. The location is somewhat out of the way for those working the tech scene, but they do have some great food options at their shop as well as many options around the café for those engineers looking for a spot to eat and drink Viet coffee. I believe this is the only remaining SJ coffee shop with $5 coffee.
3. HS Coffee & Juices (a.k.a. Hotspot Café) (www.instagram.com/hs_sj)
2133 Morill Ave.
San Jose, CA 95132
Hotspot remains high in my book because of the great service. The location is a bit far from the hustle and bustle of Little Saigon, but it is well worth the drive. The attire is strictly PG, but it’s a somewhat refreshing change from the more risqué cafes. They’ve branded the Hotspot name and have been known to pass out T-shirts and sweaters with their brand on it. The venue is spacious, and the waitresses are extremely friendly and attentive. They make an effort to remember the regulars by name here, which actually gives this place a more intimate feel. Smoking has been banned completely. Some of the notable waitresses include Kathy, Nhi, Nhi, Jaylynn, and boss lady, Thuy-Anh and sisters, Mai and PA. They have plenty of TVs to watch your favorite sporting event, Vietnamese and Korean pop, or EDM and hip hop music videos. During football season, it’s probably one of the best places to watch every single football game on TV. They offer a variety of food and drinks for a very affordable price. Beer is now on the menu. Coffee is $6/cup. Visit their Instagram site to get updates on who is working.
4. Fantasy Café
1040 McLaughlin Ave
San Jose, CA 95122
2444 Alvin Avenue
San Jose, CA 95121
Fantasy Café (formerly CN1) and Dream Café (formerly CN2) have slipped a little in the last year. They’ve lost Nicole, arguably the hottest viet café waitress of all time. The cafés are lingerie/bikini only, but their uniforms are probably the most creative of all the cafes and leaves a little bit to the imagination. Boss lady, Chi Uyen, has a great eye for Vietnamese café fashion. The waitresses are by far some of the hottest girls in the history of Vietnamese coffee shops in San Jose. Tran, Kathy, Missy, and a few other waitresses round out their roster. These two cafes are a great place to take people who are new to the Vietnamese coffee scene. No one I have brought has ever been disappointed. Fantasy and Dream Cafe have banned the smoking inside all day and night. Coffee is $6/cup.
5. Remedy Cafe (www.instagram.com/remedy.sj)
1150 Murphy Ave. Suite C
San Jose, CA
Remedy is a new café in San Jose located on the corner of Murphy Ave. and Old Oakland happens to be conveniently located near my office making it easy for me to come here during my lunch break. Ngoc (a.k.a Lily and Roxanne) of EQ fame owns this shop, and she wisely chose a location near all the tech companies along North First Street. Remedy is an excellent café, and from the start, Ngoc has run this place the way I would if I ever owned a café. The talent level is
excellent, the place is non-smoking and clean, there are plenty of TVs, food is great, music is good but not deafening, and the vibe is chill. At any given time, there are two waitresses working. They are extremely friendly and have been known to sit down and chit chat. Typical attire is skirts and bra or bikini. Coffee is $6/cup. You can visit their Instagram site to get updates on who’s working.
6. Nguyen Espresso
1659 Tully Rd.
San Jose, CA 95122
I’ve decided to move NE up to the #6 spot. They have improved the talent level, but I still believe the top 5 have the best talent. Risqué factor is like EQ. Venue is small and cramped, but it is clean (relatively speaking) due to the non-smoking policy. The service is decent. This place is recommended for newbies to the coffee shop scene if they want to see what these cafes are all about. Coffee is $6/cup.
7. Palm Café (www.instagram.com/palm.cafe)
1969 Tully Rd. San Jose, CA 95122
I decided to move Palm Café to #7, but it could be higher if they banned cigarettes. The waitresses rank high on the hotness scale, and their uniforms do not leave a lot to the imagination, but the smoke absolutely kills this place. I would like to visit this place more often, but I can only stand the cigarettes for so long. Waitresses are generally hot. Julie, Tina, and
Kathy are their notables. You can view their roster on their Instagram. They do serve beer here, which bumps this place up a few spots.
8. Pandora Café (Closed.)
1174 N. Capitol Ave.
San Jose, CA 95132
I have mixed opinions about this cafe. Pandora is big with lots of TVs, but I can’t frequent this place much because of the cigarettes. The girls dress like they do at Hotspot, so essentially tank tops and mini-skirts. They have recently brought in waitresses from the OC, and if they continue to do this, it should draw a larger crowd to their shop. As a result, I’ve moved them up a couple notches. The venue itself looks nice and is very spacious, and they do serve food here as well.
9. Thoa Café
999 Story Rd., San Jose, CA – Vietnam Town
Thoa Café monopolizes the café scene in Vietnam Town. Unfortunately, Thoa Café allows smoking all day now, and as a result, I have not moved this place up the ladder. My favorite waitress here is Jasmine. She is very easy on the eyes and very friendly at the same time. Waitresses are dressed in lingerie. It’s located conveniently next to Pho 90 and Com 90. Coffee is $6/cup.
10. Quynh Huong
2441 Alvin Ave
San Jose, CA 95121
Quynh Huong Café is formerly Courtyard/Vogue and is still located across the street from Chuck E Cheese off of Tully Rd. I haven’t been able to check this place out, personally. Phuong (formerly Ozone and Tao) works here. It’s a nice, big venue with plenty of TVs. They have a wide selection of food and drinks, including alcohol. The cigarettes ruin this place. It does not make sense to me why they have a huge courtyard if they are going to allow smoking inside. Non-smokers can’t escape the smoke, inside or out..
11. Tylan Café
San Jose, CA 95133
Tylan is a decent, little café. Coffee is good, and they have plenty of TVs for sports. They allow smoking inside and out, unfortunately. But they do have their loyal regulars there.
12. V Café
1692 Tully Rd. Ste 1, San Jose, CA 95122 – behind National Summit bank. Next to former Quyen Café.
13. Xinh Xinh Café
1075 Tully Rd, at the corner of Mc Laughlin. Same plaza with Com Tam Dat Thanh.
14. Dolce Expresso
Located at the corner of Quimby and Tully Rd. Same plaza with Michael’s.
15. Café Dạ Thảo
Located on Story Road across the street from Walmart.