May 31 2011
Chica Restaurant, centrally located on Hang Be Street, is a too-well kept secret; meaning that despite the good food, the great setting and the friendly staff it’s usually almost empty. I first visited on my birthday last year, having had a craving for steak and hearing that their steak and wine night was a great deal. We had a great night so returned there for a pre-Christmas celebration with friends and again recently — for no particular reason other than wanting a good feed.
Maybe the problem is its location: while it’s on a central street, next to Le Pub, it’s actually a hotel restaurant, set on the 8th floor of the nondescript Hoa Binh Palace Hotel (although I hear good things about their suites).
So it’s a bit tucked away from other Hanoi restaurants and isn’t particularly enticing from the outside. But as well as good food, fancy and comfortable decor and a well-stocked bar, being on the 8th floor means it has great views. It’s a good spot for staring at Hanoi while still feeling a world away from the craziness at street level.
It also has very good staff: staff that are polite yet friendly and know their stuff. And the manager, Hoang (self-christened “Crazy Hoang”) always perks up our visit: greeting us like long-lost friends and joining us for a chat and a glass of wine. In a way he seems a strange choice for a relatively fine dining restaurant but his vigour and passion for the place are infectious.
There’s an a la carte menu at all times and “Steak and Wine” nights are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. For about US$26 you get soup, salad, steak and a mixed dessert platter all washed down with free flow, good quality red or white wine. In all honesty, the soup, salad and dessert, whilst tasty enough, are nothing to write home about, but the steak is a decent sized 200g portion (rump, sirloin, rib-eye, T-bone …) and comes with a choice of sauce and decent, creamy mash. And did I mention the good quality free flow wine?
8th Floor – 27 Hang Be, Hanoi (in the Hoa Binh Palace Hotel)
T: (04) 2243 4370
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