Vientiane: The Cabana

Quai Fa Ngum once a riverfront boulevard, lined with red Royal Poinciana trees, which looked proudly across to Thailand. That time is long past and the old tree-lined road is now a mellow and curious collection of Lao life, from the country's oldest medical centre, Mahosot Hospital, at one end, to the night markets and riverside eateries at the other. In between, temples rub shoulders with tourist cafes, bars and popup Lao street stalls. 

But these days upmarket Lao cafes are also making an appearance, including the popular Annabelle's and now, The Cabana Design Studio & Cafe


The Cabana is a sunny little cafe that sits quietly and unobtrusively on Quai Fa Ngum. You've probably driven past a dozen times and not seen it. There isn't even a sign out front to mark its presence. 

Inside is another story, however. Inside, you'll find a cool, polished and stylish space that makes you want to linger. 


The Cabana is the creation of interior designer Nilada Ratanavong, owner of the gorgeous Maison Matilda.

After closing Maison Matilda last year, Nilada refocused her artistic endeavours on creating the beautiful space that is The Cabana Design Studio & Cafe.  

From the delicate wooden furniture and polished cement floor to the fresh potted plants, French windows and streaming, natural light, The Cabana is a lovely space to relax, think and feel inspired. 


The food is simple, offering breakfast and lunch, as well as coffee and cake in between. I love the white rimmed chunky crockery and the blue and white enamel tin plates. 


White breakfast is a largely eggy affair, lunch dishes up simple open-faced sandwiches and salads. And I love the freshly made juices. 


Despite - or perhaps because of - its chilled atmosphere, The Cabana is a popular spot for hi so Lao and it fills up fast, especially of a weekend. Go early if you're in a group. And if you're lucky, you'll see the resident Beagle pooch.

There's also a generous offer of colouring pens and paper, for the little - or big - artist at your table. 

The Cabana is on Quai Fa Ngum a couple of doors up from the Jiffy. It's open from 8am-5pm daily. Street parking only. 


Eat Drink Laos is an independent food blog created by Australian freelance writer and web designer, Lilani Goonesena. Got a foodie tip or question? Reach out or connect on social media @eatdrinklaos.