The big cities of Hanoi and HCM will leave you spoilt for choice about which café, restaurant or food stall you should get your next bite to eat. Western or Vietnamese? Local or international? Plastic chair and table or high range? Cheap eats or fine dining? Vietnam has it all! However, this huge amount of choice can sometimes leave people more overwhelmed than excited and often after a long day trip the last thing you want to be doing is trawling through Trip Advisor, reading hundreds of reviews. (I get it, I’ve been there).
This blog is to help you find the best restaurants and eating spots in Hanoi where you can enjoy all kinds of food and to meet everyone’s expectations and desires.
1. Chicken Street
By far my favourite place to eat in the whole of Hanoi is Chicken Street! This is not just a restaurant but an entire street of BBQ chicken food stalls that serve piping hot, fresh, crispy chicken, BBQ potatoes and the most delicious honey BBQ baguettes.
You can get all kinds of parts of the chicken from thigh, breast and wing to the feet, claws and insides… (Give it a try if you dare!) The breast and leg comes with crispy BBQ skin and a delicious marinade. The menu is in English (so you can’t order the wrong thing by mistake!) and you can just keep ordering again and again until you are full. It really is like nothing I’ve ever tasted before and Chicken Street does not exist anywhere else in Vietnam, not even HCM, so it’s definitely worth a visit.
2. Foodshop 45- Truc Bach Lake
This place is actually an Indian restaurant but I had to include it because I spent such a huge amount of time here and the manager was so lovely. The food is great for people who enjoy Indian without getting their heads blown off by the spice. They offer all kinds of dishes from curry, to Bhuna to Tandoori chicken with salad and of course all the extras such as a variety of breads, different types of rice and poppadum’s with speciality dips.
I highly recommend the creamy butter chicken or wonderful Tikka Masala for those who like mild, Western style Indian and they also have spicy curries such as a tasty Vindaloo or fruity Jalfrezi for the more adventurous! You can ask to have the food cooked to your liking and the staff are very friendly.
The highlight of this restaurant is the view- ask to go to the rooftop and look out over the two lakes. This restaurant is situated right on Truc Bach lake with a view of West Lake- a 17km beautiful lake in the North of Hanoi.
KOTO stands for Know One, Teach One and it was founded by a Vietnamese Australian who wanted to help at risk and disadvantaged young people learn the trade of hospitality and find work in the city. It aims to empower young people to help them build a life for themselves and their families and to end the circle of poverty. It has trained hundreds of students and still employs many of them to this day.
This restaurant is definitely on the pricey side for locals and expats but for tourists it is still cheaper than eating out back home, the food is really delicious, the service is great and it’s all for a good cause.
The menu is a mix of Vietnamese and Western cuisine that is really delicious. The restaurant is air conned and modern with nice decoration and it offers a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. I highly recommend a visit to support a local cause in Vietnam.
4. Quan An Ngon
I loved taking my parents to this restaurant. It’s the perfect place to try a number of different local dishes and share them with friends and family. The dishes can be a little pricey (for local food) so the best way to share them is in a larger group for a wonderful evening out.
You can try all the most popular dishes here (see my blog post on popular Vietnamese dishes) such as steamy Pho, BBQ Bun Cha, freshly made Banh Xeo, fresh and fried spring rolls, regional specialities, crispy BBQ food and tasty Banh Cuon etc.
The atmosphere is really nice and there is indoor and outdoor seating, with a variety of trees and plants growing inside the restaurant. It has a very calm yet exotic feel, the perfect place to relax in the evening. You can also watch the chefs make some of the dishes from fresh, right in front of you.
You should probably book a table if there’s a few of you, because this place can get packed out, especially by locals. However, if the locals are there you know it’s the place to be!
5. The Green Tangerine
This restaurant serves French Fusion Vietnamese food and is very romantic! It has a really beautiful courtyard surrounded by plants and trees and really beautiful French décor. It is often described and listed as one of the best restaurants in Hanoi and so while it isn’t strictly Vietnamese, it is well worth a visit. It is located in the heart of the Old Quarter and only a ten minute walk from the beautiful Hoan Kiem lake which definitely adds to its romantic vibe!
The menu is varied but serves a lot of pasta and seafood dishes based on French cuisine but with a Vietnamese twist and they of course serve excellent wine! All of their dishes are excellently presented and truly delicious.
Check out my blog on the best places to eat in HCM and if you haven’t already done so, book your Visa On Arrival with us today!