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Since the mid 90s, Vietnamese cuisine has grown in quality and variation, and is now very diverse and most delicious. Most famous remains 'Pho Ga' (chicken noodle soup) or 'Pho Bo'(Beef noodle soup). There are various dishes including chicken, beef, fish and seafood, and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of restaurants nowadays in Hanoi catering to everyone's taste.
In Hanoi, there are hundreds of street restaurants in small kiosks on the sidewalk, with plastic tables and chairs on the pavement. Eating at these restaurants is a great way to experience the local food and culture. It is worth mentioning that food quality, freshness, and hygiene can vary greatly. A bowl of noodle soup goes for 20,000 dong (Jan 2011) and market food stalls offer fruit portions, sausages, donuts, and other eats for 10,000 to 20,000 dong (Jan 2011). Be sure to get your change as a few vendors seem to 'forget' to return it to you, and learn a little Vietnamese because vendors often will not speak any or much English.
The rule of thumb is if the price is expensive, hygiene quality may or may not be OK, but if the price is cheap, definitely hygiene quality is compromised. There seemed to be no regular food Health Department inspector working regularly in the city.
For groceries, there is a large supermarket east of Hoan Kiem Lake (Finimart, 27A Ly Thai To, at Tran Nguyen Han).


Exotic treats
Next to Beijing, Hanoi is probably the second in the running to the world's exotic food paradise.
The suburb of Le Mat (aka the Snake Village) has numerous restaurants specializing in cobra foodstuffs. Live cobras are stored on the premises much the same way one would find live lobsters at a Western seafood restaurant. If one orders cobra blood wine from the menu, the waiter will take a live cobra, kill it on the spot, drain the blood into a shot glass of rice wine, and top it off with the cobra's still beating heart for you to gulp down! Not for the faint hearted (excuse the pun). Le Mat is about ten minutes across the river from downtown, take bus 10, 15 or 17 and get off at the large "mega-mall" just beyond Gia Lam station, and walk 500 metres down the road at the right of the mall. Cobras are not cheap at around 400,000-1,000,000 dong (USD$50-) but it gets turned into a dozen unique dishes, enough to share between three or four people.
A local delicacy in the Hanoi area is dog meat (thịt chó), which is especially popular in the winter. There are a number of restaurants in the Tay Ho district. Another exotic regional taste is ca cuong, an extract from the belostomatid, or giant water bug. Just a few drops are added to noodles for the unique aroma.
Be sure to check out the boiled duck fetus eggs sold by peddlers almost everywhere priced at 5,000 dong. This delightful experience consists of the vendor cracking the egg in front of you, and peeling the shell and dropping the contents in a plastic micro bowl, then garnished with juliened ginger, basil leaf, and sprinkled with chili sauce. You can see the severed head and beak of your chick that fell off if you are lucky enough to have your first bite from a different spot - Bon Appetit!


Budget
Look to the Old Quarter for atmospheric street stalls and reasonably priced Western and local fare.
Quan Bia Minh (Minh's), 7a Dinh Liet (100 m north of the lake), ☎ +84 4 3934 5323. 7:30AM-11:30PM. Popular restaurant with lovely casual upstairs terrace, Minh speaks English well and keeps her staff attentive. Variety of western, vegetarian and Vietnamese food, all reasonably priced.
Bun Cha, 1 Hang Manh, 67 Duong Thanh (corner Hang Non and Hang Manh, Old Quarter(or near Hang Da market)), ☎ 01697776666, [37]. 8am-7pm. some rate this as one of the best examples of Bun Cha in Hanoi, and therefore Vietnam (apparently in the south, Bun Cha is specifically advertised as Hanoi-style). For about 80,000 dong each, you'll get a bowl full of tiny pork-mince rissoles that have been char grilled over an open flame, and a massive plate of pork rice paper rolls that have been fried in oil, twice. With this you also get a phenomenal dipping sauce (fish sauce, made from sugar, garlic, peppers usually), a massive plate of greens and herbs, more bun (rice noodle) than you can handle, and a bottle of local beer. It's full of locals and not so many tourists, so you can be assured the experience is authentic. Great food but expect rude service. edit
Cafe 69, 69 Ma May St (opposite Friendly Hotel). Good place to eat Western food in the heart of the Old Quarter, although some travelers find it expensive and the food inferior quality.
Com Binh Dan, (Hang Bo, several side streets in Old Quarter). often only open during lunch hours (11AM-2PM). these are an excellent way to get an inexpensive, home-cooked Vietnamese meal. The best ones have loyal followings of workers who eat there every day. rice with two or three toppings (which you select from several dishes): 15,000-30,000 dong.
Com Chay Nang Tam Vegetarian Restaurant, 79A Pho Tran Hung Dao (a few streets south of the lake), [38]. Open for lunch and dinner. This excellent restaurant is your best vegetarian option in town and will please both vegetarians and non-vegetarians with its wide range of innovative dishes, which include fake meat dishes. Restaurant is comfortable with good ambiance, and dishes are value-priced. Well worth the short walk out of the old town. Set dinner with a selection of four dishes, soup, and rice: 50,000+ dong.
Com Chay Au Lac, 277 Ngo Van Chuong (Take Le Duan south, past train tracks, turn into alley after #114). Open every day, 7am-8:30pm. Typical local vegetarian restaurant like you'll find everywhere in Vietnam except Hanoi, located a little off the beaten track in an atmospheric alleyway. 30,000 dong.
DAC KIM, 67 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem, ☎ 01697776666, [39]. 8AM-7PM. Try BBQ pork (slice) in soup with vermicelli and lots of vegetables. They serve spring rolls too. edit
Hebe Cafe, 33, Luong Van Can St (inside Hanoi Youth Hotel - near the Hoan Kiem lake, in the centre of Old Quarter). Cheap local and Western food. breakfasts: US$1; pizza: US$2; hot pot: US$8.
Huy Café & Pizza Inn, 32 Dinh Liet St. large Italian dinner combo (garlic bread, soup/salad, pizza/pasta, drink): 65,000 dong.
Joma Bakery Café (Joma), 22 Ly Quoc Su, & 54 To Ngoc Van (near the Cathedral, & west lake), [40]. 7AM-9PM. Fair-trade certified, organic coffee prepared by some of the best baristas in town. Add to your smooth cappuccino a sweet-smelling cinnamon bun or a much-loved bagel egger. Everything here is homemade and fresh. Excellent breakfast menu and lunch/dinner options, as well as a mouth-watering array of cakes, cookies, pies and other treats. Locations also in Laos, Vientiane and Luang Prabang. 20,000-80,000 dong.
Kem Tràng Tiền, 54 Phố Tràng Tiền. Popular spot for ice cream on a hot day. Beware of motorbikes when entering the establishment, since it is sort of a drive-thru/drive-in ice cream shop. Make sure to try the local cóm or đậu xanh flavors. Also to note that the hygine in the area may be a bit dubious since many toss away their eaten ice cream sticks Ice cream bars 5,000-8,000 dong. Cones are a bit more expensive.. edit
Quan an Ngon aka Delicious, 18 Phan Boi Chau street. Wide range of choices with regards to dishes from everywhere in Vietnam at very reasonable prices. They have limited seating and a large amount of customers so waiting time to be seated would be certain. Fortunately, they have a large seating area so customers do not have to wait long. They serve both lunch and dinner. Their restaurant is decorated culturally and traditionally.
Papa Joe's Coffee, 112 Cau Go, ☎ +84 4 926-2544. 8AM-11PM. Despite the name, this is actually a real restaurant, with pasta, soup, salads, sandwiches, and pretty good burgers (vegetarian included); pizzas, to be honest, leave a lot to be desired, though. Drinks and desserts are also on hand. The best reason to eat here, though, is the small balcony with a view over the frantic traffic square and the shores of the Hoan Kiem Lake below. 45,000-65,000 dong.
Pho, on the corner of Nha Chung and Chan Cam. All of the soups and sides include beef (bo) so this isn't for vegetarians. Large bowl of pho: 12,000 dong; Coke or beer: 3,000 dong.
Pho Tu Lun (Au Trieu), 10 Ly Quoc Su. Many pho varieties 15,000-30,000 dong. edit
The Cart Au Trieu, 18 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem (Au Trieu is the street to the right of St Joseph's Cathedral but The Cart is entered via the backdoor so go down the alleyway and take a left.), ☎ 04 3928 7715, [41]. 8AM-5PM. Try their pies and pasties. 60,000 VND for a sandwich, 45,000 for an Punto Italia latte.
The Cart Nghi Tam, 8B, Lane 1 Au Co, Nghi Tam Village, Tay Ho (Follow the road between the back doors of the Sheraton and the Intercontinental till it takes a right and The Cart Nghi Tam is just around the corner.), ☎ 0437186967, [42]. 7AM-7PM. This one is great for an early breakfast or a takeaway coffee. Their Old School Bacon Baguette with back bacon is a rarity in Hanoi. Try the meat and potato pie or the veggie cheese, onion and potato pasty. 60,000 VND for a sandwich, 45,000 for a Punto Italia latte. edit
Sen (Lotus), #10, lane 431, Au Co Rd, Tay Ho district (right next to the Water Park). Buffet style restaurant. They also have a very wide range of dishes from many regions in the country. The dishes are divided into stations where customers can order noodles, rice cakes or rice vermicelli. Serves both lunch and dinner. Their new restaurant looks Westernized, compared with their old thatched restaurants.
"Banh it" – sticky rice cake, (It is true that "Banh it" is a must try specialty of the Central Region in Vietnam!). Served for lunch and dinner. Commonly, there are two kinds of "Banh it". The first one is "Banh it la gai", which is sticky rice cake with coconut or green bean stuffing wrapped in pinnate leaf. The second one is "Banh it tom thit" – glutinous rice cake with meat and shrimp, its name means "little meat shrimp cakes", the stuffing is made of ground pork and shrimp mixed with spring onion and other spices. edit
[edit]Mid-range
Cam Chan Quan, 108 K1 Giang Vo St, ☎ +84 12 3259 7696. This eatery has staff that speaks English, Chinese and Vietnamese that would be able to help you speak to the cab drivers to bring you to them. They serve asian fare, with a closer touch to the singapore cusines. It's one place where good clean toilet is expected, with free wifi. Try their noodles, its not the usual pho you see around the place, but a more typical noodle you will see in Singapore. Try the Beggar's chicken, Savioury Fried eggplants, Chinese rice wine Hotpot Soup. Bowl of noodles: 65,000 dong.
Cha Ca La Vong, 14 Cha Ca St & 107 Nguyen Truong To St. This establishment is so famous, the street is named after it, instead of the other way around. There's only one dish on the (Vietnamese-only) menu, fried fish in grease, but they've been serving it now for five generations. They traditional shrimp paste is now an optional extra. If you really love fish and shrimp, this experience might be for you. 150,000 dong for a small portion, 1,000 dong charge per napkin.
Ciao Cafe, 2 Hang Bai St. Cosy place for coffee and cake and it is not full of cigarette smoke unlike other cafes in Hanoi.
Daluva Wine | Tapas | Events, 33 To Ngoc Van St, Tay Ho (West Lake), ☎ +84 4 3718 5831 or +84 907 144 561, [43]. 8AM till late. Wine and Tapas Bar/Restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food caters for all tastes including vegetarians and kids. Ranging from small tapas plates to main courses of hearty Western and Asian fare. It's a modern place and well decorated with great well trained staff and easy music on your ears. The 3rd floor has a Children's play room with free supervision as well as a Children's menu. The place is a favourite with local expats in the area.
Huyen Houng Restaurant, 20 Bao Khanh, Hanoi, ☎ +84 4 8288430. Choose from a wide variety of seafood dishes (many of which are swimming around in tanks) and other Vietnamese specialities. Friendly staff complement the tasty food. 80,000-120,000 dong for a meal and drink.
Huong Ly, Ly Thuong Kiet, Hanoi. Very close to the Melia Hotel, this is a fantastic bar / restaurant on the ground floor and top floor of a building. Randomly the middle floor is a clothes shop. Fantastic food, serving anything from traditional noodles to salmon steak, beautifully presented and delicious. Friendly staff too. 55,000-120,000 dong for a main course.
Kaiser Kaffee Restaurant, 34A Ba Trieu. Interesting little place which has excellent Vietnamese and Western food.
La Salsa, ('in Nha Tho St near the church in Old Town - just across the street from Moka Cafe). French food and ex-pat hang-out.
Little Hanoi, 21 Pho Hang Gai, ☎ +84 4 928 5333. Upscale cafe serving mainly Westerners in a pleasantly lit restaurant.
Mediteraneo, (Nha Tho St, between La Salsa and Paris Deli). offers authentic Italian food - probably the best you'll get in Hanoi. Prices are however steep and portions small.
Moka Café, (In Nha Tho St close to the cathedral). Excellent selection of Western and Vietnamese food served in a coffee shop environment.
Paris Deli, (Nha Tho St across from Moka Cafe). Offers delicious European fare for hearty appetites.
Pepperoni's, (near the Hang Gai end of Nha Chung). Part of a small international chain of pizza restaurants. Locally run, they do regular special offers such as free desserts, eat-all-you-can buffets and loyalty schemes, whereby collecting tokens with each take-out entitles you to a free pizza. Pizzas, burgers, ice cream, and apple crumble. Pizzas: 65,000+ dong.
Tamarind Café, Ma May 80 (Old Quarter), ☎ +84 4 926-0580, [44]. Has a menu full of inventive vegetarian dishes, lots of fresh juices, and a relaxed, stylish interior. Don't come here if you're hungry though, as the portions aren't very big and it's a tad pricey.
Paradieso Restaurant, 7 Nguyen Sieu (Old Quarter), ☎ +84 4 39974861, [45]. Small and warmly restaurant with both local Vietnamese and Western food, good quality and affordable price. You can have Vietnam traditional food: Cha Ca, Bun Cha, Pho, Nem (spring rolls), also can have very good crepes. All very good quality and nice decor. edit
Tan My Design Cafe, 61 Hang Gai, ☎ +84 4 3938-1451, [46]. One of the Hanoi's best for boutique fashion where you can also get nice Asian and Western foods in the cozy ambiance
Luala Cafe, 61 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, ☎ +84 4 3936 9899, [47]. Luala Cafe is a cafe and restaurant inside the Luala Store, a luxury fashing concept store located in the shopping district of Hanoi. The restaurant offers a variety of gourmet foods, drinks and desserts
Splurge
Pots 'n Pans Restaurant, 57 Bui Thi Xuan Street, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi (Follow Ba Trieu Street south from Hoan Kiem Lake 5 mins), ☎ +84 4 39 4402 04 (info@potsnpans.vn, fax: +84 4 39 44 65 99), [48]. From 11.30AM-late. Innovative Vietnamese cuisine infused with international flair. A fine-dining restaurant & lounge bar brought to you by a group of former street and disadvantaged youth from Hanoi's own KOTO Training Program now rising stars of the Vietnamese food scene. Happy Hour 7 days from 5pm - 7pm.
Don's Bistro, 16/27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Ha Noi, ☎ +84 4 3719 2460 (donchef@donviet.vn, fax: +84 4 3719 5998), [49]. From 8AM-11. Multi-concept establishment serving classic and innovative international cuisine, including Vietnamese favorites, in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings. With unparalleled views and eclectic music selections, don's is a destination in itself for dining, leisure, business and entertainment. The focus is on local produce, quality imports, and the utmost in service standards, while catering to a very diverse clientele. Don's houses a signature fine dining restaurant with a cigar den, wine cellar and rotating art gallery as well as a rooftop Skyline Oyster Bar featuring live oysters and live nightly music. The first floor is geared for more casual dining, serving pho, cocktails, coffee, fresh baked goods, wood fire pizzas, shisha and more.
Green Tangerine, 48 Hang Be (A few steps away from busy Hang Be St), ☎ 84 4 825-1286. Excellent French restaurant offering rich and delicious French fare with both an a la carte selection and a set menu. Popular with expats.
La Restaurant & Bar, 25 Ly Quoc Su, ☎ +84 4 9288933, +84 913221971. Situated near St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hanoi's old quarter, this elegant, air-conditioned restaurant has a choice of delicious Western and Vietnamese dishes. While the selection of vegetarian dishes is somewhat restricted, the food is excellent, if pricey by Hanoi standards. La will definitely satisfy longings for quality food after weeks of eating on the street. Think Parisian bistro meets fine dining Asian. 300,000 dong for a meal and drinks.
Restaurant Bobby Chinn, 77 Xuan Dieu St, Tay Ho,, ☎ +84 4 3718 5988. An amazing restaurant with the trademark green pea pods as the logo. Without a doubt one of the more hip dining experiences of Hanoi. The interior alone is worth a look, while the menu is delightfully eclectic.
Restaurant at Bamboo Hotel, 32,Hang Be. Why risk street food when this cosy, friendly and clean place offers good food, ambience, and at prices cheaper than in Malaysia and Thailand ? After your experience with street food, you will be coming here everyday. We went lunch and dinner as well almost everyday except when away for day trips out of the city. Menu is in English and English is fluently spoken.
Pane e Vino Italian Restaurant and Wine Shop, 3 Nguyen Khac Can & 98 Hang Trong (100 m away from Hoan Kiem Lake), ☎ +84 4 3826 9080, +84 4 3928 6329. Fully A/C. Serves a wide range of traditional regional Italian dishes with strictly controlled quality of ingredients. An extensive wine list with many choices of Imported Italian wines from Veneto, Tuscany, Puglia, Sicilia and Piemont. Friendly service with smiling and fluent speaking English waiter and waitress. A great place to relax and get recover after a long walking and shopping day. Drop in for a chat and a complimentary digestivo with the manager.
Saigon Restaurant at InterContinental Hanoi Westlake. The freshest blend of Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine. The restaurant features contemporary Asian design, dramatic glass-fronted kitchens and inspiring views of the city's ever-changing skyline. edit
Sofitel Metropole - Chocolate Buffett. daily 3PM-5:30PM. All you can eat chocolate. The chocolate is of a very high quality and includes a chocolate fountain and chocolate ice cream as well as a variety of freshly-made "Belgian" style chocolates. Buffett: US$20; Pot of tea: US$4.
Sofitel Metropole - Sunday Brunch. Su noon-3PM. Innovative and unconventional cooking. 40 m of buffet with everything your heart can desire, from sushi to carvery, from fresh french oysters to homemade ice cream - you name it - they've got it. Among the highlights are a 3 story chocolate buffet with a chocolate fountain and the goose liver creme brulee. US$80.
Insect food, Khuong Thuong village,. The most special cuisines at his restaurant are those processed from ant-eggs, in the styles of Thai people or Muong and Tay ethnic people in Vietnam.
Press Club, 59 A Ly Thai To St., ☎ +84 4 3934-0888 (hongngoc@hanoi-pressclub.com, fax: +84 4 3934-0899), [50]. Fine dining with western cuisine and a good selection of wines. 70 seat restaurant, private wine room for 12 and another cosy private room for 4. A combination of old and contemporary features with a classically trained executive chef.