Hanoi restaurants and dining

Fear factor or yummy local cuisine?

Fear factor or yummy local cuisine?

One of Hanoi’s greatest pleasures for first time visitors is the fantastic variety of restaurants and cuisine available, from simple bowls of noodle broth on the street to elegant restaurants in renovated colonial mansions with starched tablecloths and traditionally-attired waiters.

Even people who feel they are familiar with Vietnamese fare are likely to make a few discoveries, as local chefs are nothing if not creative, and are constantly inventing new twists on traditional dishes or presenting a fusion of Vietnamese with other types of cooking. As a capital city, Hanoi also has many types of cuisine available, such as Italian, Japanese, Indian or International, in case you feel like break from local food.

Hanoi restaurants – Vietnamese

Cha Ca Thang Long: serves the famous grilled fish dish called ‘cha ca’, served with dill and noodles. Open: 10:00-22:00 (daily); 31 Duong Thanh, tel: +84 4 3824 5115. $$

Highway 4 Restaurant: extensive menu of Vietnamese cuisine and Son Tinh Premium Liquors, seating on four floors. Open 10:00-23:30 (daily), last food orders: 22:30; 5 Hang Tre, tel: +84 4 3926 4200, email: info@highway4.com, website: www.highway4.com. $$

Little Hanoi: very popular for its spicy fried chicken and many other dishes, so book in advance. Open: 10:00-23:00 (daily); 9 & 14 Ha Tien (2 outlets), tel: +84 4 3926 0168. $$

Bobby Chinn: one of Hanoi’s classiest restaurants, serving Vietnamese-Californian fusion food. Booking recommended. Open: 11:00-23:00 (daily); 77 Xuan Dieu Street, Tay Ho District, tel: +84 4 3719 2460, email: info@bobbychinn.com, website: www.bobbychinn.com. $$$$

Sohot: a cosy ambience, wide-ranging menu and good prices make this one of Hanoi’s hippest eateries. Open: 09:00-23:00 (daily); 2 Au Trieu, tel: +84 4 3942 8008. $$

Quan An Ngon: upmarket street food served in elegant surroundings at unbelievably cheap prices. Open: 11:30-22:30 (daily); 18 Phan Boi Chau, tel: +84 4 3942 8162-63, fax: +84 4 3942 8164, emaill: sales@ngonhanoi.com.vn, website: www.ngonhanoi.com.vn. $

Indochine: a classy setting for a culinary indulgence – don’t miss the prawns on sugarcane. Eat in the colonial villa or in the garden. Open: 11:00-14:00, 17:30-22:00 (daily); 16 Nam Ngu, tel: +84 4 3942 4097, reservations recommended. $$

Pho 24: doing for pho (beef noodle soup) what MacDonald’s did for burgers, this is just one of several outlets serving Vietnam’s national dish. Open: 07:00-22:30 (daily); 1 Hang Khay, tel: +84 4 3936 5259. $$

Wild Rice: superb seafood, such as prawns with peanut and tamarind sauce, served in a swanky setting. Open: 11:00-14:00, 18:00-22:00 (daily); 6 Ngo Thi Nam, tel: +84 4 3943 8896, fax: +84 4 3943 6299, emaill: wildrice@fpt.vn, website: www.wildrice.com.vn. $$$

Wild Lotus: features a la carte dishes or set menus in a lovely old colonial mansion. Open: 11:00-14:00, 17:00-22:00 (daily); 55A Nguyen Du, tel: +84 4 3943 9342, Hotline: +84 904 909 049, fax: +84 4 3943 9341, emaill: wildlotus@fpt.com, website: www.wildlotus.com.vn. $$$$

Price guide
$ – dishes under $3; quart of beer $1; whiskey shot $1.50;cocktails $2
$$ – dishes $3-10; quart of beer $1.50; whiskey shot $2; cocktails $2.50
$$$ – dishes $10-20; quart of beer $2; whiskey shot $2.50; cocktails $3
$$$$ – dishes over $20 ; quart of beer $3; whiskey shot $4; cocktails  $5

Hanoi restaurants – international

Pepperonis: Two locations to taste pizza, pasta and salads at very competitive prices. They also serve all-you-can-eat buffets most lunchtimes and evenings. Open: 08:30-23:00 (daily); 29 Ly Quoc Su, tel:+84 4 3928 5246 & 98 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, tel: +84 4 3928 7030, website: www.alfrescosgroup.com. $$

Green Tangerine: imaginative fusion food served in an old house or in a cobbled courtyard, with good value set lunches. Open: 11:00-23:00 (daily); 48 Hang Be, tel: +84 4 3825 1286, fax: +84 4 3926 1797, email: greentangerine@vnn.vn, website: www.greentangerinehanoi.com. $$$

Kangaroo Café: lots of vegetarian dishes and comfort food like bangers and mash at this café run by a tour operator. Open: 08:00-23:00 (daily); 18 Bao Khanh, tel: +84 4 3828 9931, email: kangaroo@kangaroocafe.com, website: www.kangaroocafe.com. $$

La Salsa: Spanish cuisine served here, including tapas and gazpacho. The set dinners are very good value. Open: 08:30-22:30 (daily); 25 Nha Tho, tel: +84 4 3828 9052, website: www.lasalsa-hanoi.com. $$

Al Fresco’s:  huge portions of Australian steaks and barbecue ribs keep the customers smiling here. It’s under the same management as Pepperoni’s and has several other branches in town. Open: 08:30-23:00 (daily); 23L Hai Ba Trung, tel: +84 4 3826 7782, website: www.alfrescosgroup.com. $$

Tandoor: northern outpost of a chain of Indian restaurants in Vietnam, turning out very tasty curries, including tikka and vindaloo. Open: 11:00-22:30 (daily); 24 Hang Be, tel: +84 4 3824 5359, +84 4 3824 2252 email: tandoor@hn.vnn.vn, website: www.yellowpages.vn. $$

Koto: nowhere tries harder than Koto to please, as the staff are all re-trained street kids looking for a break. Great fish and chips in a stylish setting. Open: 07:00-16:00 (Monday), 07:00-22:00 (Tuesday–Sunday). 59 Van Mieu, tel: +84 4 3747 0338, email: customerservice_koto@netnam.vn, website: www.koto.com.au. $$

Hoa Sua: similar set-up to Koto, with ex-street kids learning the restaurant business. Besides  plenty of French dishes, there’s a wide Vieetnamese menu too. Open: 11:00-22:30 (daily); 28A Ha Hoitel: +84 4 3942 4448. $$

Mediterraneo: delicious homemade mozzarella, yummy roast beef and other goodies at this cute restaurant strategically located among Hanoi’s chic boutiques. Open: 11:00-22:30 10:30 to midnight (daily); 23 Nha Tho, tel: +84 4 3826 6288, fax: +84 4 3928 7690, email: Info@Mediterraneo-Hanoi.com, website: www.mediterraneo-hanoi.com. $$

More on dining in Hanoi

If you are unfamiliar with Vietnamese cuisine, they you have a great treat in store as you discover the endless range of herbs and vegetables, meat, fish and spices that go into each dish. Eating Vietnamese-style is a very tactile experience too, as many dishes such as spring rolls require that you ‘roll your own’, taking a pinch from several plates of ingredients to create a taste-bomb in your mouth. Don’t be shy about slurping your noodles, either, or discarding bones on or under the table; just keep an eye on the locals and act as they do.

For cheap dishes and a choice of Western options such as sandwiches and burgers, the Old Quarter is your best option, while for a classy meal served in a memorable setting, the French Quarter is the place to head for.

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