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Vientiane

Eat and meet

Cafes and Bakeries

If you're one prone to starting your day with a stiff espresso, you're in the right part of the world. Vientiane has a good selection of cafes to choose from and free WiFi is becoming more common.

  • Common Grounds
    4.5 stars

    Tasty treats for the whole family

    35 Chao Anou
    T: (020) 7872 7183

    Vientiane has some of the best bakeries in Southeast Asia so there’s little difficulty finding fresh bread or tasty pastries — in French, Swedish or Indian varieties, just for starters. A recent addition to the bakery scene here is Common Grounds, which serves up the best Mexican meals in town ... read more

  • House of Fruit Shakes
    4.5 stars

    Perfectly blended shakes

    Samsenthai Rd
    T: (021) 212 200

    Though nearly every restaurant and riverside food stall has fruit shakes on their menu, no one does them like the House of Fruit Shakes. Shakes are made with fresh fruit and blended to perfection; not too watery, not too thick. Flavours range from banana (tasty but mundane) to starfruit (more ... read more

  • Le Banneton
    4.5 stars

    Delicious and charming

    Nokeo Koummane Rd
    T: (021) 217 321

    Le Banneton is a wonderful French patisserie, boulangerie and cafe serving fabulous meals and sweet treats to a clientele more willing to pay for quality. The pastries here are delicious as are the baguettes and breakfast sets. The coffee is so-so, but when sipping on one in the ambience of Le ... read more

  • Cafe Sinouk
    4 stars

    Great coffee and people watching

    Corner of Fa Ngum and Rue Francois Ngin, Vientiane

    Great coffee and croissants are never far away in Vientiane, with more than a dozen cafes all vying for business in the few blocks that front the river near Wat Ong Theu. Thanks to an authentically French atmosphere and some fantastic food and drinks, one of our favourites is Cafe Sinouk. A great ... read more

  • Croissant d'Or
    4 stars

    Great for people watching

    Nokeokoumane Rd
    T: (021) 223 741

    Croissant d'Or serves up delicious pastries, coffee and breakfast a few doors up from Le Banneton. It's a cosy spot to watch local life pass by with a coffee and pastry in hand. It's not as authentic as Le Banneton, but it still does delicious treats in a relaxing atmosphere that some will claim is ... read more

  • Joma Bakery and Cafe
    4 stars

    Never fails to please

    Setthathirath Road, near Nam Phou. Second location at Dongpaina Road between Sengdara gym and the water tower
    T: (021) 254 333

    You could eat just about every one of your meals at Joma Bakery and Cafe and you wouldn't be disappointed. They offer a broad variety of cooked breakfasts, homemade soups and create-your-own sandwiches, and sets of pizza or lasagne with salad. The specialty coffees and baked goodies are downright ... read more

  • True Coffee
    3.5 stars

    Pricey but tasty

    111 Setthathirath Rd
    T: (021) 260 417

    True Coffee has a list of frappuccinos, lattes and other caffeinated concoctions long enough to put any Western cafe to shame. However, don't be surprised if the price is also close to what you pay at home. True Coffee is very Westernised with sleek furniture, chatty baristas, and the fastest ... read more

  • Scandinavian Bakery
    3.5 stars

    An institution

    74/1 Phangkham Road (in Nam Phu square)
    T: (021) 215 199

    The Scandinavian Bakery is almost an institution in Vientiane, particularly so at breakfast when baguettes, croissants, and their famous honey bread are served fresh from the oven. The Scandinavian set is a hearty start to your day with bread, salami, cheese, juice, and coffee, or if you come for ... read more

Lao

You are in Laos afterall! But if you find market eating a bit too down-to-earth for you, there are some outstanding specialist Lao food eateries well worth exploring. Makphet in particular should not be missed.

  • Noodle soup in Vientiane
    4.5 stars

    Lots to try

    Noodle shops are abundant in Laos and noodle soup is a favourite meal at any time of day. There is, unfortunately, a long spectrum when it comes to quality of soups. Some places serve aromatic and refreshing bowls of deliciousness; others warm MSG-infused water with meat that looks as if a ... read more

  • Pha Khao Lao
    4.5 stars

    Best selection of Lao food

    An alley between Wat Ong Teu and the river
    T: (020) 7751 7272

    Tucked away on the alley between Wat Ong Teu and the river road, Pha Khao Lao is often overlooked, but shouldn't be if you're on the lookout for excellent Lao and Thai cooking. The restaurant extends across a terrace shrouded in lanterns and champa trees, offering excellent ambience in addition to ... read more

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    Tamnak Lao
    4.5 stars

    Worth the effort to find

    100 That Luang Rd (just past Patuxay)
    T: (021) 413 562

    Sister to the popular restaurant in Luang Prabang, Tamnak Lao restaurant in Vientiane is a little harder to find, though well worth it. In operation since 1993, it's become a local favourite and serves authentic Lao cuisine in a restored colonial house and garden. Try the six-course tasting menu ... read more

  • Makphet
    4.5 stars

    Delicious modern Lao cooking

    On the street behind Wat Ong Teu (parallel to Sethathirat Rd and the Mekong River front)
    T: (021) 260 587

    Satisfy your appetite and your conscience with a dinner at Makphet, a charitable establishment that hires and trains former street kids to be cooks and waiters. If that isn't enough to lure you in, the food is delicious, with contemporary versions of Lao favourites like buffalo curry, spiced pork ... read more

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    Phatoke Laoderm
    4 stars

    Lovely Lao cultural experience

    Chao Anou Rd, before Rue Hengboun
    T: (020) 2246 2461

    Anyone with an interest in performance art will enjoy this evening put together at the Senglao Hotel. Their theatre, rather than having seats, is set up with tables and cushions on the floor. The $13 price tag includes a Lao dinner with an ample selection of traditional dishes and a performance ... read more

  • Nameless noodle shop on nameless dirt road
    4 stars

    Best pho in town

    On the left of the dirt road running directly behind the National Assembly lot, turning right off of Kaysone Phomvihane Ave

    Complete your visit to That Luang with a bowl of the best pho in town. A five-minute-walk from the temple complex, this place makes only pho and they do it very well. A standard bowl comes with beef, meatballs, tripe and a massive plate of fresh greens and herbs. A dish of chilli peanut sauce ... read more

  • Amphone
    4 stars

    Lao elegance

    37 Soi Wat Xieng Gneun, Setthathirath Rd
    T: (020) 771 1138

    Easily the most elegant spot to sample Lao cuisine, Amphone Restaurant is set in a gorgeous indoor/outdoor area on a quiet lane behind Wat Xieng Gnuen. The food is as appealing as the serene setting and was good enough for celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain's introduction to Lao cuisine when he ... read more

  • Ban Vilaylac
    4 stars

    Tasty Lao and Thai

    On the road behind Wat Ong Teu
    T: (021) 222 049

    Ban Vilaylac serves tasty Lao and Thai cuisine from a traditional wooden house converted into a small, homey restaurant. Classic Lao dishes like laap and homemade sausage grace the menu as well as Thai-style coconut curries and fried dishes. There is a good selection of vegetarian entrees, and ... read more

  • Seoul Restaurant
    3.5 stars

    Closer than Korea

    Bourichane Rd
    T: (020) 5566 8605

    If you’re in the neighbourhood of Vientiane’s Thai consulate and you’re hungry but all Lao food-ed out, you’ll find an abundance of Korean restaurants. Of the various to choose from, we reckon Seoul has the best food, cooked fresh and seasoned well. A clean, green kim chi fighting ... read more

  • Nam Phou Coffee
    3.5 stars

    Good spot for noodle soup

    Pangkham Rd, on the corner of Samsenthai
    T: (021) 218 940;(020) 5548 2177

    This little place offers a good selection of standard Lao fare at cheap prices. It's a decent place to get noodle soup, especially if you're tired of the standard chicken or beef options; this place has good crispy pork and duck. Their khao piak noodle soup is a must-try for anyone who hasn't ... read more

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    Restaurants on the river
    3.5 stars

    Cheap and relaxing

    The banks of the Mekong make a great place to sit and enjoy a meal. Along the riverfront you'll invariably find plenty of barbecues and make-shift restaurants, and the smaller streets intersecting Fa Ngum, the main river road. Most are hastily assembled just before sundown and stacked away ... read more

  • Ban Lao Restaurant and Beer Garden
    3.5 stars

    Great open-air setting

    Francois Ngin Rd
    T: (021) 212 930

    The food at Ban Lao Restaurant and Beer Garden is nothing to write home about, but we love the open-air setting in a lush little garden complete with fairy lights and a pond. The menu features the usual tourist fare pizzas, breakfast sets, burgers and fried rice, but their selection of traditional ... read more

  • Kua Lao
    3.5 stars

    Popular, with a show

    111 Samsenthai Rd
    T: (021) 214 813

    In a beautifully restored colonial mansion, Kua Lao has a great atmosphere and popular set menus of Lao food and wine. Every evening there is a cultural performance of traditional music and dance, and the diners are an interesting mix of package tourists and Vientiane's well-heeled. The food is ... read more

Other Asian

  • PVO
    4.5 stars

    Best Vietnamese food in Vientiane

    On the small unnamed street parallel to Khou Vieng, one block East of Rue Sakkarine
    T: (021) 214 444

    PVO sandwiches has little in the way of ambience or presentation, but this makes it all the more authentic as a prime Vietnamese eating establishment. Famous for its Vietnamese sandwiches -- fresh crunchy baguettes topped plenty of veg, chilli sauce and a variety of meats - it's also the best ... read more

  • Aashifa
    4 stars

    Flavourful vegetarian food

    Corner of Fa Ngum and Pangkham Rds
    T: (021) 254 858;(020) 5975 3565

    With a menu covering cuisines from various regions of India, Malaysia and China, and a large section of vegetarian dishes, there is something for everyone at Aashifa. This is probably the most well-seasoned Indian food in town, each dish bearing a distinct flavour and cooked according to ... read more

  • Fuji Restaurant
    3.5 stars

    Pop Japanese Food

    Francois Ngin Rd
    T: (021) 254 722

    A Thai chain restaurant that has spilled over into Laos, Fuji has quickly become one of the more popular Japanese restaurants in Vientiane. The food is heavily Thai influenced, less in the composition, but certainly in the flavour and preparation. Sushi rolls reach new heights of mayonnaise and ... read more

  • Fathima
    3.5 stars

    A reliable spot

    Fa Ngum Road
    T: (021) 219 097

    A little down from Nazim, Fatima is another reliable spot for a satisfying Indian meal. Don't be put off by the dated decor; the food is good. There's so many dishes it's actually hard to choose, though the samosas, rogan josh, and aloo gobi (potatoes and cauliflower) are highly recommended. If ... read more

  • Nazim
    3.5 stars

    The Lao-wide chain

    Fa Ngoum Rd and Ban Phonexay (near Australian embassy)
    T: (021) 223 480;(021) 413 671

    Part of a chain with locations in every Lao town big enough to have tourists, Nazim's is a cheap and cheerful Indian restaurant with two Vientiane locations. The menu offers more than 150 items including the usual favourites like chicken tikka masala, biriyani rice and naan bread, plus some South ... read more

  • Osaka
    3 stars

    Japanese comfort food

    Nokeokoummane Rd
    T: (021) 213 352

    Osaka is the poorer cousin of Fuji and brings Japanese cooking down to a level on par with a late night diner -- nothing too fancy with a bit of extra grease. Osaka serves delicious sushi, ramen and fried Japanese dishes in quirky surrounds and at a price kind on the hip pocket. The menu is all ... read more

  • Cafe Indochine
    3 stars

    Good value, nice atmosphere

    199 Setthatilath Rd
    T: (021) 216 758

    An understated restaurant on a busy road, Cafe Indochine pays nod to all countries of former French Indochina, though the focus is on Vietnam. Daily specials marked on a board outside offer a good introduction to Vietnamese cuisine and good value considering its elegant decor. For example, set #3 ... read more

  • Dok Champa
    3 stars

    Staggering selection

    Chao Anou Rd (opposite the Lao Orchid Hotel)
    T: (021) 251 739

    Dok Champa has rebranded itself as a Korean restaurant, likely in response to the many tourists from this corner of the world now coming here. If you haven't tried bulgogi, Korea's national dish of marinated barbecue beef, and have no plans to visit Seoul in the near future, you can try it here. ... read more

International

  • French restaurants in Vientiane
    4 stars

    A few solid options

    One of the best French colonial legacies in Laos is the abundance of French restaurants serving classic French cuisine. After a few weeks, or months, of trekking around in tattered boardies and living off of pho, it can be a very refreshing experience to put on your most dapper-looking threads and ... read more

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    Ray's Grille
    4 stars

    Cheap and good Western favourites

    Nokeokoummane rd
    T: (020) 5896 6866

    Ray's Grille is a fantastic concept by an American/Thai couple who know what people want and duly deliver. On the menu is comfort food such as philly steak sandwiches, quesadillas, ham steaks and gorgeous grilled salmon with salad at a fraction of the prices you would pay at the local French ... read more

  • Sticky Fingers
    4 stars

    Home to the tom yum martini

    10/3 Francois Nginn Rd
    T: (021) 215 972

    Sticky Fingers is a groovy little bar/restaurant and a favourite with the local expat community for its good quality Western food made with fresh ingredients. Specials are often fusion fish dishes and the menu offers international selections like chicken quesadillas, falafel plates and Lao basil ... read more

  • Nirvana Restaurant
    4 stars

    Vege thumbs-up

    Si Muang Rd
    T: (021) 217 385

    Traditional Lao dishes like curry and laap are made vegetarian using tofu or mock meat, and there's plenty of salads, soups, rice and spring rolls. The cooks borrow inspiration from Chinese, Thai, Indian, Vietnamese and Lao cooking, so there's enough variety that you could eat here every day ... read more

  • Chokdee Cafe
    4 stars

    Belgian beers and fries

    Fa Ngum Rd
    T: (020) 5610 3434

    Chokdee Cafe is Vientiane's only Belgian bar, and it proudly displays its heritage with abundant, yet tasteful, Belgian beer paraphernalia and Tin Tin imagery. In addition to more than a hundred brands of Belgian beer, their kitchen serves offerings from a meat-centric menu of steaks, kebabs, ... read more

  • Restaurant Le Provencal
    4 stars

    A long-running favourite

    Nam Phou Square
    T: (021) 219 685

    For a fine meal at midrange prices, and right beside the fountain, you can't beat Le Provencal. This long-running favourite serves an excellent variety of traditional French cooking using local and imported ingredients. The deer (imported) cooked in red wine is exceptional and you'll find some of ... read more

  • Vegetarian food in Vientiane
    3.5 stars

    Skip the savoury chicken testicle pudding

    For travellers seeking an exotic dining experience, Laos offers opportunities from crunchy crickets fried in chillies to savoury chicken testicle pudding. For those travellers with a less adventurous palate, meals in the countryside are often limited to fried rice and noodle soup and for ... read more

  • Aria
    3.5 stars

    Lovely lunch buffet

    8 Rue Francois Ngin
    T: (021) 222 589;(030) 5700 831

    Aria Mixay serves fine Italian fare cooked up by a real live Italian chef. Thin-crust pizzas made in a wood-fired oven with quality toppings, house-made pasta with great sauces and a range of meat dishes all star here and it's no wonder that the place often fills up. For Laos, prices are high but ... read more

  • Full Moon Cafe
    3.5 stars

    Decent food, comfy atmosphere

    Francois Nginn Rd
    T: (021) 243 373

    With good drink specials and spot-on American food, the Full Moon Cafe attracts a steady crowd of expats and tourists. There's a bit of a Wild West theme going on with Native American art adorning the walls, so it feels like the right place to chow down on buffalo wings and pulled-pork sandwiches, ... read more

  • Hungry Burgers
    3.5 stars

    Conveniently located bargain burgers

    Setthatirath Rd, on the corner of Nokeokoummane

    Hungry Burger claims that, "The burger you're about to unwrap is the best in town", and while this might be a stretch, it's definitely a solid competitor. Whether you want pork, beef or chicken, all the burgers from this sidewalk stand are priced at a bargain 15,000 kip and cooked fresh-to-order. ... read more

  • Istanbul Restaurant
    3.5 stars

    Only Turkish restaurant in Laos

    Francois Ngin Rd
    T: (021) 218 320

    It seems like all the riverfront restaurants have added Middle Eastern food to their menus, but the new Istanbul Restaurant offers traditional Turkish dishes. Here, the schwarmas and falafels are freshly prepared and the hand-made pita bread is thick and chewy. The Turkish pizzas offer some bold ... read more

  • Xayoh
    3 stars

    A bit hiss and miss

    Corner Nokeo Koummane and Samsenthai Rds
    T: (021) 262 111

    This steakhouse has a mighty selection of meats, mostly served with veggies, salad and your choice of fried or jacket potato. Expect a broad range of price and quality. Being in Laos, the pork and chicken is better value. They offer four grades of beef: local, imported, imported tenderloin and kobe ... read more

  • Dao Fa Bistro
    3 stars

    Trendy and fresh

    Setthatilath Rd
    T: (021) 215 651

    Dao Fa Bistro is a trendy eatery serving formal meals in a chic atmosphere. The menu at Dao Fa is modern fusion with a selection of salads, pastas, pizzas, crepes and breakfast sets. The focus is on healthy, fresh ingredients so expect the pastas to be house-made, the bread to be wholegrain, and ... read more

Bars

You will rarely see Lao people drinking without eating (or eating without drinking, for that matter). Locals generally go to restaurants to consume their BeerLao, and while they are starting to open more clubs and bars, the bar scene in Vientiane is mostly catered to tourists and expats. That said, a majority of tourists and expats in Laos share a deep-rooted appreciation for BeerLao and other intoxicating beverages, and a number of establishments in which to imbibe have sprung up.

  • Kong Khao
    4.5 stars

    Little and big kids come to get down

    Phagna Sy Rd
    T: (020) 2339 8490;(021) 254 383

    This bar and restaurant serves as a gathering place for the music loving expats of Vientiane. Jam sessions on Sunday afternoons let anyone have a go at entertaining. DJ nights and live music occur on a weekly basis, and any holiday, be it Easter or Halloween, is bound to be celebrated with custom ... read more

  • The Highlander Bar
    4.5 stars

    Vientiane's best sunset spot

    Khamkhong Rd, west on Fa Ngum
    T: (021) 251 206;(020) 7759 4971

    Further down Fa Ngum, where the river widens, The Highlander lays perched over one of the best riverfront views in Vientiane. The base of this open-air bar is a large stilted wooden deck with greenery growing on, through and around it. Innumerable sports jerseys and banners, and several flat ... read more

  • Deja Vu
    4 stars

    A great little spot

    Nam Phu Fountain Square, Vientiane
    T: (021) 244 288

    Vientiane’s nightlife may not be the most raucous or exciting in Southeast Asia but if you know where to look there are a few great little spots to be found away from the backpacker haunts that serve up Beer Lao and little else. You just can’t order Beer Lao at a bar like this. While most of ... read more

  • Live music in Vientiane
    4 stars

    Plenty of options

    Vientiane’s music scene is still in its infancy and far less prominent than in cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Yet if you find yourself weary of karaoke, a handful of local bands usually play shows on the weekends, with a few more peppered across weekdays. Local bands feature both Lao and ... read more

  • Bor Pen Nyang
    4 stars

    Popular riverfront bar

    Fa Ngum Rd by the Inter Hotel
    T: (021) 26 1373;(02) 221 2200

    As carefree as its name ('no worries' in Lao) suggests, this is a popular traveller bar and restaurant right on the riverfront. At the top of this four-story building is an attractive rooftop bar with pool, snooker, sports on TV, a stage and a restaurant. Patrons from all walks of life and the ... read more

  • Jazzy Brick
    4 stars

    Cocktails and jazz

    34/1 Setthathilat Rd
    T: (020) 244 9307

    An upscale and downright cosy establishment, Jazzy Brick wins for style and comfort. With bars upstairs and downstairs, and several couches in addition to bar stools, you will struggle to feel inconvenienced, and the bartenders will greet you with smiles and a bowl of free peanuts. This is ... read more

  • The Spirit House
    4 stars

    Cocktails galore

    West on Fa Ngum Rd, past SIthane Rd
    T: (021) 243 795

    This bar and restaurant is tastefully built in the likeness of its namesake. It is one of Vientiane's finest, with the most extensive cocktail menu in town and satisfying selection of Western and Lao food. The bartenders take great pride in their cocktails, which include some spectacular ... read more

  • Martini Lounge
    4 stars

    Includes salsa lessons

    96 Nokeokumane Rd
    T: (020) 752 9638

    Martini Lounge is a fun, funky spot, with a long bar stocked with all the favourites. Comfy chairs and chill-out music encourage staying awhile and working your way through an extensive cocktail menu. Start with a classic like a black Russian or mai tai, then advance to the Asian fusion ... read more

  • I-Beam
    3.5 stars

    Sleek and sophisticated

    88 Setthatirt Rd
    T: (020) 5561 2092;(021) 254 528

    Another upscale jazz bar opened in recent years, I-Beam offers cocktails at price levels similar to Jazzy Brick, plus an elaborate wine and tapas menu. The decor is sleek and sophisticated, with good service and well-made drinks. The tapas are tasty and the wine selection is great, but neither come ... read more

  • The Samlo Pub
    3.5 stars

    Everyone's favourite dive bar

    Samsenthai Rd
    T: (021) 222 308

    The Samlo Pub is almost as much of a Vientiane icon as the three-wheeled vehicles that are its namesake. Even though it's kind of a dive, the pub has been lovingly maintained for its older expat regulars and has two bars to keep the drinks flowing when the pub fills up around 22:00. With TVs ... read more



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