Vietnam

Restaurants in Vietnam

Cuisine is just as much a part of the Vietnam experience as culture, history, and nature—and, as with everything else, the style of restaurants in Vietnam varies between regions. In the north, for example, you'll find dishes that feature black pepper over chilies and lots of freshwater fish, crabs and prawns, while in the south, a preference for sweeter flavors means you'll taste lots of coconut milk and sugar in savory dishes.

In cities like Hanoi and Saigon, you'll find plenty of street side cafes at which you can join locals for bowls of noodle soup, stir-fry and rice, as well as high-end restaurants serving French Colonial-inspired fare.  At the Metropole Hanoi, you'll find locals and guests alike enjoying the refined French dishes at Le Beaulieu, the Italian-Mediterranean menu at Angelina, and the upscale Vietnamese fare at Spices Garden.  One of the trendiest cities for cuisine is Hoi An, where you can sample a wide array of creatively-prepared street food specialties at Morning Glory, or splurge at one of celebrity chef Duc Tran's three eateries, including the riverside Mango Mango.

With a prime position above Le Thanh Ton, one of Saigon’s premier shopping streets, this irrepressibly cute tearoom with grandmother’s-parlor décor and tasty cakes and cappuccinos is a huge hit, especially with Japanese tourists.

Come in the early morning or late afternoon (after the second baking) and the bread is still warm. Phuong wraps her creations in newspaper if you want them to go.

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.

Just yards from Reunification Palace, this airy café makes an agreeable stop for breakfast, lunch, or a simple snack and coffee, especially on hot afternoons.

In Vietnam, restaurants with incandescent lighting generally serve dull food, while fluorescent-lit joints with toilet-paper dispensers for napkins turn out the tastiest cooking.

Pho, Vietnam’s national dish—a rich beef consommé spiked with clove, star anise, and ginger and laced with noodles and fresh basil and cilantro—gets the fast-food treatment at this popular chain, with surprisingly inspired results. Follow the Vietnamese and go for breakfast.

This dinner cruise along the Saigon River provides views of the city’s skyline and highlights Vietnamese culture. Cruises take place on board a replica of the Bonsai I, the double-decker dragon boat of the emperors.

This tour group–friendly institution really does serve the tastiest pho in town. To get the full experience you need to come early for breakfast, when the clientele is all Vietnamese.

At this open-air barbecue-and-beer garden, patrons grill strips of tangy marinated beef—bo tung xeo—on tabletop braziers and share pitchers of foamy local beer. The kitchen also dishes up specialties like deep-fried scorpion, bonded chicken feet, and fried pig’s stomach.

Tuck into a stellar bun bo Hue, the city’s signature dish: a fiery broth of long-simmered beef bones, suffused with lemongrass and stained red from chiles, ladled over a bowlful of umami: paper-thin strips of beef, crab-and-pork meatballs, pig’s trotters, and huyet—quivering cub

Americans have gone crazy for this ingenious French-Vietnamese sandwich, but you haven’t really tasted banh mi until you’ve tracked down the venerated Gai Banh Mi cart in Ho Chi Minh City’s First District.