The 10 Best Restaurants For Authentic Food In Laos

Photo of Jessica Dawdy
9 February 2017

Lao cuisine is some of Asia’s freshest, generally incorporating herbs and grilled or steamed meat and fish, with many regional delicacies to discover. Read our updated guide to finding the best and most authentic flavors around Laos.

© Matteo Bondioli/Flickr

Café Chai Dee

Café Chai Dee serves a mix of Japanese and international food with plenty of vegetarian options. The restaurant’s name means ‘good heart’, an appropriate characterisation of its warm and welcoming atmosphere. With a book exchange, free Wi-Fi, and comfortable seating, this laid-back restaurant is a popular place for travelers to hang-out and socialize. The menu includes Japanese options, along with vegetarian set menus and sandwiches served on whole wheat bread.

Le Vetiver & Nava Mekong

Luang Prabang’s Villa Maly Boutique Hotel offers two distinct dining options; one at the hotel’s restaurant, Le Vetiver; and the other, a dinner cruise along the Mekong River. The menu features a smart mixture of Western and traditional Lao dishes. The restaurant’s atmosphere is relaxed and disarming, filled with painted woods.

Vang Vieng Organic Farm

Located a few kilometres outside of town in a quiet spot along the Nam Song River, Vang Vieng Organic Farm is a restaurant, bar, organic farm, guesthouse and learning centre. Formerly known as the Organic Mulberry Farm, the restaurant creates imaginative dishes with produce picked right on site. The restaurant also offers Laos cooking classes, and art classes for local kids.

Le Tangor

Bar, Restaurant, Asian, French, European, $$$
Map View
Tangor Restaurant Bar & Lounge
Tangor Restaurant Bar & Lounge | © Tangor 
Le Tangor is a more recent edition to Luang Prabang’s selection of French Lao restaurants, but it has quickly gained a reputation for its superb food and cosy ambiance. The restaurant is known for its wonderful selection of wines, meats, and cheeses, not to mention its signature dish ceviche.

Bamboo Lounge

Bamboo Lounge is by far the most popular spot in Luang Nam Tha to enjoy excellent food in a relaxed setting. The menu offers a diverse selection of international food, including sandwiches, pastas, and wood-fired pizzas. In the evening, the restaurant transforms into ‘Bamboo Bar’, featuring beer and a wide variety of cocktails.

Rosella Fusion Restaurant

This tiny restaurant is a favourite of local expats, known for its friendly service and affordable Thai and Lao dishes. Rosella Fusion Restaurant is set on a deck overlooking the Nam Khan River, with the interior offering just six teak tables surrounded by orchids. The menu features staples like pad thai, tom yum soup, lao beef noodle salad, along with what many consider to be the best steaks in the city.

Lin’s Café

Lin’s Café serves a mix of Asian fusion and Western favourites in a former Chinese merchant’s house. The menu offers an eclectic variety of dishes, including stir-fries, breakfasts, sandwiches, and pastas. There’s also a number of fresh fruits shakes and Organic Laos Arabica coffee.

The Balcony by Lanith

The Balcony by Lanith offers an impressive menu of Laos-French fusion cuisine for a worthwhile cause. Operated by the Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (Lanith), the restaurant’s staff are trained through the organisation’s award-winning training programme, while profits are reinvested in the local community. The menu focuses on seasonal dishes incorporating locally-sourced ingredients.

Courtesy The balcony by Lanith

Benoni Café

Cafe, Market, Restaurant, Asian, French, $$$
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Macaroons | | © Stock Snap / Pixabay
Benoni Café brings the elegance of European café culture to Vientiane. Attracting a mix of locals and tourists, this laid-back restaurant is located above the Phimphone Market, not far from the Nam Phou Fountain. The restaurant is well-known for its delicious homemade cakes and high-quality coffee, which is sourced from local coffee plantations and roasted on-site.

La Scala

Restaurant, Italian
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La Scala Fine Boutique Italian Restaurant
La Scala Fine Boutique Italian Restaurant | Courtesy La Scala
La Scala’s finely-nuanced Italian cuisine reflects chef Maurizio Boccoli’s more than 30 years of professional experience. The ambiance is beautiful yet casual, with seating offered in a charming colonial building with a pianist entertaining the diners; or outside in the garden. Breads and cake are baked in-house daily, and the restaurant’s lunch buffet, which features pizzas, pastas, salads and cold cuts, among other Italian staples, is particularly popular.