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.
Owned by architect Tran Binh and his French-Vietnamese wife, Thai Tu-Tho, Binh acquired a derelict colonial mansion and reimagined it as an indoor-outdoor fantasia, blending historic details (antique armoires; a wall map of 1960’s Saigon) with contemporary touches (gorgeous lighting; a floating s
This cool Mexican bar-restaurant—owned by several members of the design collective from Gaya, just up the block—has quickly become an expat favorite for its mean margaritas, micheladas, and tacos al pastor.
This inviting, family-owned café is the ideal place to grab a lunch or light dinner and is a haven for travelers seeking somewhat familiar food.
A Ho Chi Minh City institution, Quan An Ngon employs ex-street vendors, who prepare a selection of traditional, regional fare.
Northern Vietnam’s signature seafood dish takes a star turn at this Old Quarter canteen. Firm white snakehead fish is marinated in galangal, shrimp paste, and turmeric, then sautéed at your table over a charcoal burner and served with vermicelli noodles, fish sauce, and a mountain of dill.
Previously located downtown, this French-Italian restaurant moved to a more intimate space inside a restored villa in 2008.
For 13 years, Monday through Saturday, the Lunch Lady has set up shop on a patch of pavement on Hoang Sa Street near the zoo—working from 11 a.m. until she runs out of food, which happens quickly.
A veritable fantasia of white leather and Lucite copped from Philippe Starck, this all-day café serves good lattes and smoothies with a lounge-y soundtrack, from early morning to late at night.
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.
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.