the best cafés in Nanjing, China

I love to nest. It's basically one of the only three true skills I have: self-deprecating humour, knowing obscure pop culture references, and finding the best cup of coffee with the coolest atmosphere. Cafes often provide unique little nooks to grab delicious food in a space I feel happy to curl up in. I have mentioned that, while not nearly as wonderful or as easy to find as the coffee culture that exists in Australia or New Zealand, there are cafes worth visiting in Nanjing. Ones that provide atmosphere, yummy eats, quality coffee, and playlists that tie it all together.

If you're in Nanjing looking for a cozy cuppa, try the places below...


Victoria Bay Cafe // Zhongshan South Road, Xinjeikou {near Fish Tank Cafe}

What's to love: Victoria Bay Cafe is essentially designed to feel like a flower shop. I'm very into fresh florals, so having stems surrounding me is something I dig hard. 

Sound on: The next table over's conversation is all you'll find as the soundtrack to your afternoon here, so you'll need to bring your own ear buds and playlists if you're like me and require tunes. 

To try:  Have a cuppa! This place is a tea drinker's paradise. I haven't tried their coffee, but their lemon cake is yum {though over-priced} and goes nicely with Earl Grey. 

Price: Vic Bay is a bit on the steep side, especially when you consider tea is mostly just boiled water... What you're really paying for is the atmosphere. A cup of tea and a slice of cake will run you 70 CNY. 


Fish Tank Cafe // No.400 Zhongshan South Road, Xinjeikou

What's to love: Amy and I stumbled upon a row of little cafes when out walking on the weekend. As soon as we spotted the Fish Tank Cafe, our eyes lit up. The coffee menu makes references to literature. For instance, you can get a Hemingway {small cappuccino} or a Gatsby {Americano}.  The atmosphere is super conducive to writing and the

Sound on: First Aid Kit, The Civil Wars, The Killers, and Vance Joy fill the airwaves of Fish Tank, making it the right place to relax, reflect, and enjoy a proper coffee. 

To try:  Only pastries are on offer as far as food goes, but their flat white and cappuccinos are the best I've had in China. 

Price: 35 CNY will get you a biscotti and a "Hemingway."


Skyways Bakery // my usual is out exit 6 of Jiqingmendajie Station

What's to love: Every visit makes the day warmer thanks to the friendly staff and their happy faces. The five wonderful people who work there are constantly greeting me with a smile on their face, already anticipating me ordering a tea in my reusable mug. They already know the table I like to sit at to write, so there isn't an awkward "where should I sit? what's the optimal people watching spot?" dance. They allow me to use my sub-par Mandarin, correcting my pronunciation in a polite and positive way. They attempt to use their English {which is very, very good}. Skyways makes me feel like a local in a place where I clearly am not. 

Sound on: No music here, so bring your own! 

To try:  You cannot find an unappetizing baked good here. Everything is delicious. Their pretzels are fantastic if you feel carb-y. They also offer Australian Ginger Beer and Lemon, Lime & Bitters if that suits your fancy. I'm a fan of their tea selection {they hide the tea away in a pretty wooden box, which makes me feel special on days when the weather is gray}. 

Price: Coffees and teas run around 20 CNY {approximately USD $3} and baked goods vary. Everything is well worth what you spend and reasonably priced compared to other "boutique" cafes and bakeries. 


Sculpting in Time Cafe // 47 Hankou Road, Gulou

What's to love: Sculpting in Time's interior is what completely swept me away. Lit dimly by hanging bulbs and decorated with industrial shelves covered by secondhand books in a variety of languages, it is classic and quiet and comfortable. 

Sound on: Norah Jones/ Indie radio plays on the speakers at the perfect volume for writing, reading, or conversation. 

To try:  S.I.T's flat white is decent, but I prefer their chamomile tea. 

Price: S.I.T. is a bit on the expensive side. You can easily blow 70 CNY {roughly USD $11} here between the food and drink menu.  

As I sit here in Vic Bay Cafe, I am putting the finishing touches on a big announcement post {something that's been on getting put together  and editing another weekly vlog.