Courtesy of Hadi Ktiri
Hadi Ktiri

In the 1970’s, large numbers of Vietnamese began coming to the United States to escape the oppressive regime back home.  Finding the climate and way of life similar to Vietnam, many of them settled in New Orleans.  Now a vibrant and bustling community, the Vietnamese areas of the West Bank are some of the best places to get fantastic food.  Pho, a local favorite, is a well-known hangover cure, and most New Orleanians know it well. 

Related: Ultimate Food Guide to Vietnam

But it doesn’t stop there. The Bahn Mi sandwich, a vestige of French colonial influence, is remarkably similar to the po-boy and understandably embraced by New Orleanians.  Vietnamese food is as integral to the culture here as the gumbo and red beans and rice that so many love.  A trip to NOLA isn’t complete without trying at least one of these amazing spots.  

Tan Dinh

Well worth the trip to the West Bank, this Vietnamese joint is killer. Try their take on Korean short ribs and then order the combination pho. Nothing knocks out a hangover faster. Afterwards, grab an avocado bubble tea for the drive back.

Lilly’s

This comfortable, zen-like spot is a local favorite.  If driving out to the West Bank seems like too much trouble, it’s hard to do much better than Lilly’s.  The pho is the highlight, but their spring rolls are also fantastic.  Afterwards, walk the block to HiVolt for some fantastic coffee to wake up from the inevitable food coma.

Pho Orchid

Unlike most Vietnamese restaurants, Pho Orchid is open until midnight, meaning once you are done drinking at legendary whiskey bar Barrel Proof, their delicious healing soup is only a short walk away.  Start with the Torpedo Shrimp.  Then order the classic beef pho.  This place is a must for pho lovers.

Magasin

A relative newcomer to the Vietnamese scene, Magasin does not disappoint.  The space is clean, modern, and doesn’t carry the fish sauce aroma so many Vietnamese joints seem to have.  The fresh iced teas are great for hot summer days and juxtapose nicely against the steaming bowls of soup.  This is also one of the few places where the rice dishes are as good if not better than the pho.  Definitely give one a try if soup isn’t your thing.

Pho Bang

Another West Bank staple, Pho Bang is as utilitarian as they get.  Here, don’t expect fancy glassware or cutlery because you won’t get it.  What you will get is a no-nonsense approach to excellent Vietnamese cooking.  Get the rare beef pho and they’ll serve it rare beside your bowl for you to drop into the hot broth.

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