Croydon’s Best Independent Café 2016: The award goes to…

By - Thursday 26th January, 2017

After months of deliberation, voting, chewing, and caffeinating, the results are in

For the last few months we’ve been asking you to tell us about your favourite independent Croydon café; the place you like to hang out, chill out, meet friends, drink coffee. And – very importantly – eat cake.

The shortlist for this year’s Croydon’s Best Independent Café Award was nominated entirely by readers. And (visualising stepping up to the podium, wearing a sparkly dress with a ‘hair-do’ and using a strong American accent), this year’s nominees were…

Byte Café at TMRW, Croydon High Street

Café Adagio, Addiscombe

Coffee Craft, South Norwood

I Calabresi Caffé, Coulsdon

La Spezia, Selsdon Road

Matthews Yard, Croydon

Priscilla’s Tea Room, Sanderstead

Smoothbean!, Croydon

The Bus, Croydon

The Tram Stop, Addiscombe

Yeha Noha, South Norwood

How we judged the winner

The judges are a group of us who love getting together for coffee and a chat and who are also keen to promote local businesses doing great work in the locality. While there are a few foodies and experts among us, generally we are a group of locals from mixed backgrounds and areas of interests. We’re always on the lookout for new people to join us and are pleased to say we did have some first-timeers join our café visits this year.

Each café we visited was marked under the following criteria: atmosphere, coffee, cake, service, décor, and price.

The award was given to the café who had the highest marks at the end of the judging period. It was really down to the wire on this one – there was just one mark between each of the top four cafes, so it was a close-run finish.

So, without further ado, we can reveal the winner.

Yeha Noha in South Norwood

If you don’t know this friendly neighbourhood café, close to the station, it’s time to check it out because it’s a real little gem. With an eclectic and cosy décor, overspill from the main café finds its way into quirky side rooms and the café also hires out venue space. Cakes are all handmade locally and there’s always an inspiring selection available. The people who run it are welcoming and enjoy a chat with their customers. All in all, it’s a truly deserving winner of the title of Croydon’s Best Independent Café 2016.

Smoothbean! on Dingwall Road, next to East Croydon station, was an exceptionally close runner-up in this category; it’s another fantastic venue with a cool vibe and very welcoming owners and staff  – plus its Friday-night jazz session is the place to be seen.

As well as the judges’ award, we can now reveal that the winner of the People’s Choice Award is Byte Café in the TMRW hub, Croydon High Street, a great community hub and a good spot for meetings and networking. It’s also encouraging to see fresh talent on the café circuit – Byte Café didn’t even exist when we launched the Café Awards last year.

Now we’re just looking forward to doing it all again next year – keep reading the Citizen for announcements on nominations opening, as well as opportunities to join the judging panel. In the meantime, please support your local cafes; so many are doing great work in the community and without them, we’d all be restricted to hanging out in big multinational chains. Not that there’s anything wrong with a chain, but it’s great to have the option of good independents as well. Remember, lots of our local cafes have seen a drop in business in recent months due to the Southern Train strikes – so do try to support them when you can.

Bernadette Fallon

Bernadette Fallon

Bernadette has been a journalist since the age of 7 when she devised, designed and launched ‘Fallon’s News’ – much to her family’s delight. Brought up in Ireland, she was born in Addiscombe where she now lives, though it took her several decades to find it again. She works as a journalist and broadcaster. Follow her at

More Posts

  • The Ludoquist

    Was there a last minute surge? Last time I loooked at the vote it was between Matthews Yard and Smootbean…

    • Ebenezer Crutton

      I think they must have put Lutfur Rahman in charge of scrutinising the votes…

  • Bernadette Fallon

    There were some interesting trends in the voting. Priscilla’s originally dominated, then were overtaken by Matthews Yard, who were overtaken by Smoothbean, who were overtaken by Byte. All were cafes who actively promoted themselves and asked their customers to vote, all are heavily involved in the communities they work in.

  • Anne Giles

    Yeha Noha has been our favourite for quite some time.They don’t overcharge for their espressos and a single is a full small cup, not a small measure. They do wonderful soups and stews as well. Parking is easy.