The Best Restaurants and Cafés in Hanoi, Vietnam
Work your way through Hanoi’s incredible restaurants | © Douglas Peebles Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
Hanoi’s colonial history shines through in its vibrant food scene, where traditional Vietnamese dishes often betray French influences, and where French cuisine is frequently inflected with local techniques and flavours. But this is also a cosmopolitan city where global favourites are easy to come by, including vegetarian and vegan fare. Read Culture Trip’s guide to the best venues in which to eat, or just to hang out over a coffee, a beer or a cocktail, in Vietnam’s capital.
This signature French-Vietnamese fusion restaurant by Brittany-born chef Didier Corlou confirmed his reputation as a culinary heavyweight in his adopted home. Located in a narrow 1930s villa that gives the restaurant its name, in the heart of the city’s commercial district, La Verticale combines the best of French gastronomy with the ingredients and flavours of Vietnamese cooking. There’s also a ground-floor shop selling hard-to-find local spices such as talauma seed, which Corlou himself likes to use with foie gras and veal sweetbreads.
La Verticale combines the best of French gastronomy with the ingredients and flavours of Vietnamese cooking © La Verticale
Restaurant, Vietnamese, $$$
Another Corlou venture, this Vietnamese restaurant pays tribute to the ancestral cooking of his wife’s grandmother and indeed “all Vietnamese women of the past and the present”. The chef’s passion for Vietnamese food makes this one of the best places to explore the differences between the country’s northern and southern cuisines, and it also serves some of the best pho in town.
Cafe, Restaurant, Vietnamese, $$$
Based at the boutique Essence Hanoi Hotel & Spa, this is a refined setting for authentic Vietnamese cuisine, blending colonial and contemporary decor to gorgeous effect. Don’t miss the chả cá aà thành (freshwater fish with fish-and-pork balls), marinated in turmeric and galangal.
Super-friendly service and delicious Vietnamese and fusion dishes have earned this charming spot a loyal clientele. If you’re impressed by its Vietnamese pancakes, bún chả (pork meatballs) or pork belly and quail’s egg with rice, you can sign up for a cooking class and take home new skills as well as lasting memories.
This peaceful spot stands out in the restaurant-heavy Old Quarter not only for its excellent traditional and contemporary Vietnamese food but for its delightful, attentive staff, who are happy to explain dishes to you and show you how to eat them if necessary. The stewed duck thigh in five spices including cinnamon and cardamon is highly recommended, as is the slow-cooked beef belly in pumpkin with a mini-baguette, but there are lots of veggie options, too. Again, you can take a cooking class here and come away able to make your own phở, spring rolls, bún chả or other dishes; lessons include a tour of a local market.
The Hanoi Social Club
Restaurant, Mediterranean, $$$
Claiming to serve “healthy food for a healthy planet” and offering a place for “peaceful souls to join together”, The Hanoi Social Club is on the ethical end of the Hanoi dining spectrum, with a range of dishes that show off the potential of Vietnamese ingredients. The food is simple but hearty and focusses on rustic and nutritious gastro-café cuisine. The restaurant also regularly hosts live music, art exhibitions and craft fairs.
The Hanoi Social Club is on the ethical end of the Hanoi dining spectrum © The Hanoi Social Club
Café de Paris
The Parisian bistro comes to Hanoi in Café de Paris, in an attempt to recreate the best of the French capital’s traditional dining scene in Vietnam. This hugely popular restaurant is usually packed with members of the local French community who love their hearty, simple bistro food for its evocation of Parisian favourites. Unlike some of the more refined fine-dining French options, Café de Paris keeps its prices affordable and its atmosphere relaxed.
Manzi Art Space and Café
Cafe, Vietnamese, Coffee, Tea , Dessert, Pastries
Infused with an artistic and cultural atmosphere, Manzi Art Space and Café functions as an exhibition space, a cinema, a performance hall and a café, and is the place to experience the local arts scene. Located in a French villa, the venue is relaxed and elegant. While the food menu is limited, there are plenty of coffees and snacks, making this the ideal retreat from the chaos of the city.
Bar, Cafe, Vietnamese
Barbetta is located down the street from the Fine Arts Museum and some of this artistic and cultural vibe feeds into this bohemian bar and café. The industrial-chic interior and grungy design wouldn’t look out of place in Shoreditch and Williamsburg, but the inclusion of Communist memorabilia and iconography makes this unmistakably Vietnamese. The food combines classic Vietnamese with Western favourites and is the perfect accompaniment to the restaurant’s extensive cocktail range.
This article is an updated version of a story created by Thomas Storey.
These recommendations were updated on February 28, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.