Cat Ba Island

Restaurants in Cat Ba Island

Pho Gia Truyen, on Bat Dan Street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, doesn’t look like much from the outside—or from the inside, for that matter. The room has a clock, two fans, three bare lightbulbs, and a handful of communal tables.

The owner recruited an all-star roster of street-food vendors to cook their signature dishes in the courtyard of an old villa, added menus and table service, and watched the crowds pour in—not just foreigners but also well-heeled Vietnamese, who can’t get enough of the place.

The bohemian soul of Hanoi’s café scene is Nang, a 1956 landmark on Hang Bac Street whose 74-year-old owner, Ms. Thai, still brews nearly every cup herself. (Her father-in-law, who lived in Paris for a spell, taught her how to French-roast the beans.) Ms.