Common Grounds Cafe

Common Grounds Cafe and Bakery is a newly opened cafe located in the middle of town on the road leading to Senglao DVD between Inter City Hotel and La Gondola. I visited it in the morning last week and even then it was attracting quite a few customers, mainly tourists, but also one expat mother who let her kids loose on the indoor playground.

Common Grounds Cafe Vientiane A word that came to mind upon my first impression of the place was ‘jomesque’: the cafe bears a huge resemblance to the original and still dominant Lao cafe chain. Whether the owners are aware or not I don’t know, but Common Grounds maintains very much the same atmosphere. There’s the chalkboard menus surrounded by small-square mosaic tiles, the earthy wall tones and bright windows as well as jazzy mood music. All this gives off big-time de ja vu, but I guess it works in their favour!

Never judge a book by its cover, of course, and always judge a cafe by its coffee.  In the case of common grounds I have to say the coffee was certainly palatable and with a medium body, but slightly bitter flavour.

Common Grounds Cafe Vientiane

J&C readers recently voted Phimphone and Joma as the best cups in town, but Common Grounds does beat those two in price. I tried a cinnamon scone and also a cupcake with my coffee, which were reasonable. To be fair I didn’t try any sandwiches so I ask readers to leave their comments.

The atmosphere is nice, the staff are friendly and the menu is fairly extensive: all pluses. There’s also free wi-fi. The well-constructed children’s playground will be a hit with Vientiane mums and dads, however the lack of nearby parking could be an issue. Whilst it’s nice to have an alternative to the big names (and great to have a place you can go for some much-needed anonymity), for the moment Joma and Phimphone appear to remain the undisputed rulers of Vientiane’s coffee kingdom.

20 thoughts on “Common Grounds Cafe

  • 15/05/2011 at 20:56
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    Common Grounds has delicious muffins, wraps and salads too! Their mexican food is fast becoming a favourite with expats in Vientiane. And those of us with kids LOVE the playground.

  • 16/05/2011 at 09:46
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    I just found this b/c i was googling “Common Grounds Laos” to find the address. We have a birthday party scheduled there. 😀

  • 16/05/2011 at 19:31
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    My kids love the playground and as far as food, I really enjoyed their fallafel pita and their passionfruit cupcake is YUMMY!

  • 16/05/2011 at 21:26
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    I love the variety of food they offer. Wish I was close enough to visit everyday.

  • 17/05/2011 at 13:48
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    I love Common Grounds cafe. The food is exceptional. The price is right. If I could, I would eat there every day; love love love the desserts more than any place in town, really.

  • 17/05/2011 at 16:33
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    EVERYTHING at common grounds is better than Joma. of course, it would not take much. =) The coffee at Joma is awlful tasting and awful price. i still dont see why everyone is in love with the place!!!!!

  • 17/05/2011 at 19:32
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    After enjoying a mango and passionfruit shake and a passionfruit cheesecake at the CG-cafe the place that sells ecological products just next to it is definitely worth a visit. Fruit, veggies, jam and other healthy products can be bought there!

  • 18/05/2011 at 08:13
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    I had the most beautiful cappuccino there! It also tasted AWESOME! Great people!

  • 18/05/2011 at 15:12
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    Thanks for the update about Common Grounds! I’m eager to try it. I don’t see what the big deal about JOMA is here in Vientiane. The dessert is not only pricey, as one other poster mentioned, but subpar. I guess it’s popular because of its Starbucksesque environment, but frankly I have a hard time distinguishing whether I bit into a cookie at JOMA or a wax display replica of a cookie. :/

    • 05/07/2011 at 05:32
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      555 – Mattie, you’re awesome.

  • 19/05/2011 at 17:56
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    The falafal is definitely the best in town especially the genuine tahini sauce served on the side. The homemade pita was perfect.

  • 26/05/2011 at 15:26
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    Had passionfruit cake and chocolate lava cupcakes done for a huge party… awesome!!!!
    Love the chicken salad in a pita and peeweecho chicken wrap! Strawberry delight is my kids fav.

  • 08/06/2011 at 18:02
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    Hello guys,

    Why are people using this great community linking site to bash Joma Bakery Cafe when the article is about Common Grounds? Shouldn’t you be reserving your comments to how much you enjoy and appreciate this new addition to our Vientiane restaurant selection?

    I love new food and new places as much as the next person and have had many lovely lunches at Common Grounds and totally support what they are doing. Isn’t the kids playground awesome? Did you know it was made locally? Have you tried an Ice Cream Storm yet? I highly recommend the peanut butter one! It’s DELISH 😛

    Why don’t you pass on your negative feedback directly to me instead of slurring on Common Grounds comment page? Leave them some positive feedback instead.

    My name is Alicia Spohr and I am the Joma Retail Country Manager for Laos. I can be found at either of the Vientiane Joma cafes. Just ask my any of my staff for my number. I’d love to chat about your ill feelings over a glass of water if you really hate our coffee 😉

    • 05/11/2011 at 22:54
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      Well the article did mention Joma and people have both good and bad things to say about both cafes. Why be so defensive?

  • 17/06/2011 at 08:30
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    Thanks Alicia, I appreciate your comment. We love having you at Common Grounds and we’re glad we have something here that you really like. I agree that the parts of the article and the comments that are actually about Common Grounds are much more helpful.

  • 21/06/2011 at 12:44
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    Hi Alicia,
    I think it’s not unwarranted to compare establishments to each other to have a starting point, especially since there are few offerings in Vientiane. It isn’t uncommon to say, for instance, that “McConKey is like a KFC and a McDonalds, but better or worse in these aspects.” Also, this is an expat forum where new foreigners come to find information about locations they’d like to frequent – people will expect reviews both negative and positive. In this case, I stand by the fact that Common Grounds was something I was eager to try versus my opinion of JOMA (which does have a very nice franchise atmosphere similar to Starbucks).

  • 30/06/2011 at 05:56
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    The service at Common Grounds is excellent. A great variety of veggie foods too.

  • 23/07/2011 at 08:08
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    I love going to Common Grounds — not just for the wide selection and great tasting food, but because of the warm ambience and friendly and speedy service. They are a fastastic bunch of people, and would definitely spend more time there again when I’m in Vientiane! Keep it up, guys!

  • 25/08/2011 at 19:33
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    Their coffee is some of the best in Laos, IMHO. And the staff know how to make a cappuccino! (Contrary to popular opinion among baristas in SE Asia, it is not just a latte with cinnamon on top). I’ve been there a few times both for food and coffee, and they are consistently good. Staff are well-trained and polite too, which is nice. And my kids love the playground.

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