Photo: Flag shop on the streets of Hanoi.

Eat and meet

Introduction


Eating pho like a Hanoian

Pho — the staple of Vietnam — is available all day and night. A quick description: steaming fragrant broth, thick rice noodles, slices of tender beef or chicken. It's as simple and tasty as... Read our full review of Eating pho like a Hanoian.

Can I get food delivered in Hanoi?

Getting a delivery meal to your hotel room might not be what travelling and a holiday in Hanoi is all about, but sometimes a quiet night in front of the TV with a pork chop and rice is a welcome break from shopping and sightseeing. Now getting a delivery in Hanoi is as easy as … well, pie — yes, you can get pizza,... Read our full review of Can I get food delivered in Hanoi?.

What to eat in two days on a budget in Hanoi
Across Hanoi

So you’ve read our piece on what to do in two days on a budget in Hanoi, but what are you going to eat? Here are some of the dishes and places we reckon are worth trying to squeeze... Read our full review of What to eat in two days on a budget in Hanoi.

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Street food dishes

A wrap on some of the main dishes you might encounter on the streets of Hanoi. See the street food section below for specific recommendations of where to eat.


Xoi

Xoi

Although referred to as sticky rice, the main type of xoi you will come across in Hanoi is less sticky and lighter than the version you will find served up with in Laos or Thailand and is commonly eaten for... Read our full review of Xoi.

Bun rieu

Bun rieu — the r is pronounced ‘z’ — is a crab and tomato based noodle soup, with some versions so full of goodies you’ll never get bored. It’s currently vying for top spot in our list of noodle soup dishes in... Read our full review of Bun rieu.

Pho: Not just noodle soup

Vietnam’s favourite dish, pho, takes its name from the type of noodle that is used in its preparation, and this noodle is used in numerous other dishes. I’ve recently moved to a new apartment and find myself living in the epicentre of pho-land: within a few minutes’ walk I pass half a dozen restaurants selling pho xao bo, pho chien phong and, most famous of all in this area, pho cuon. So... Read our full review of Pho: Not just noodle soup.

Che

Che

Che (pronounced chair) is a popular Vietnamese dessert or snack found at street stalls around Hanoi. Today we aim to (partly) demystify this unusual delicacy and encourage you to give it a... Read our full review of Che.

Noodles

You could easily eat noodle dishes in Hanoi for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week and still not have the same meal twice. Here’s our quick guide to what’s what when it comes to noodles in the Vietnamese... Read our full review of Noodles.

Bun cha

While pho is probably the first food everyone thinks of, or hears about, when they come to Vietnam, bun cha is a northern speciality and arguably one of the tastiest things in the world. Yes, I am a big fan. It’s impossible to resist: as you walk past a stall the smell of barbecuing pork is as impossibly tempting. For those that don’t know, bun cha consists of mini pork burgers and slices,... Read our full review of Bun cha.

Bun ca, bun oc and banh tom
Alley 27 Xuan Dieu

I’ve recently moved to a new office next to West Lake and near to the Tay Ho temple. Whereas I was previously eating pho cuon for lunch, the local Hanoi dishes here are bun ca, bun oc and banh... Read our full review of Bun ca, bun oc and banh tom.

Lau (hot pot)

Lau — pronounced something like ‘low’ — is perhaps one of the most popular dishes in Hanoi, particularly in the cooler months. It’s a similar set up to that seen in other countries in the region (I recall a particularly good experience in the Perhentians): a pan of simmering stock is put on a gas stove on the table and diners cook their own beef, chicken, fish, noodles, veggies and so... Read our full review of Lau (hot pot).

Bun dao

Given tofu's popularity in Vietnam, it comes as no surprise that there’s a tofu-based street food dish: bun dau. Bun dau comprises a plate of cold bun (thin rice) noodles, a plate of deep fried tofu, a basket of herbs and, typically, mam tom (fermented shrimp... Read our full review of Bun dao.

Com binh dan

Com binh dan roughly translates as commoner’s rice and is a popular cheap belly-filler in Vietnam. Com binh dan joints are buffet-like affairs, and are usually identified by a glass case showcasing the day’s selection — as well as the large... Read our full review of Com binh dan.

Banh my kebab

Banh my (or banh mi in Saigon) — bread — is a staple breakfast and lunch dish in Hanoi when served with a filling of pate, egg (trung) or cured pork (cha). Although banh my pate stems from the French colonial era, a more recent addition to many menus here — banh my kebab — is reminiscent of a Turkish kebab, as consumed by many hungry party goers in the... Read our full review of Banh my kebab.

Pho mai que

Street food in Vietnam is not just about breakfast, lunch and dinner; it’s also very much about snacking. And the Vietnamese like to snack. Pho mai que (cheese sticks) is a new craze to hit the streets of Hanoi and while maybe not contributing to a balanced — or gourmet — diet, it’s a cheap snack... Read our full review of Pho mai que.

Bo bia ngot

You’d be forgiven for assuming that bo bia ngot has something to do with beer, but it doesn’t: it’s a delicious sweet snack worth interrupting your Hanoi sightseeing... Read our full review of Bo bia ngot.

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Street food


No pic at the moment -- Sorry!
143 Nghi Tam, Yen Phu, Tay Ho, Hanoi
T: (0983) 430 136

If you’re open to some adventurous eating in Hanoi there are no shortage of options, but Quan Kien (“Ant Restaurant”) is worth hunting out if you’re in the mood for ants – and who isn’t on occasion? The restaurant is located along Nghi Tam Street with most seating upstairs being cushions-on-the-floor overlooking the main road in a sparsely decorated space hung with lanterns. But... Read our full review of Quan Kien.

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!
123 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi
T: (04) 3974 3239

As the name suggests, Quan Nem specialises in nem – spring rolls – and one type of nem in particular: nem cua be (sea crab spring rolls). The chunky parcels are stuffed with chopped crab, glass noodles, mushrooms and beansprouts, deep fried and cut into pieces to ease consumption. Eat them with rice noodles, herbs and a dipping sauce made of fish sauce, garlic and chilli or order bun cha on... Read our full review of Quan Nem.

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!
10 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

The advantage of tucking into a steaming bowl of pho at this joint is it's just as good or better than what you might happen across elsewhere, but the hygienic standards are decidedly better. You'll pass by the kitchen and get a look for yourself on your way to the tables, which are solid wooden numbers with standard sized chairs. 10 Ly Quoc Su is very popular for a quick bowl of noodles,... Read our full review of Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su.

Pho Cuon Hung Ben
26 Nguyen Khac Hieu, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
T: (04) 3829 2040

One of numerous pho cuon joints around the junction of Nguyen Khac Hieu and Ngu Xa, on Truc Bach island, Pho Cuon Hung Ben seems to continually expand. This means there's usually no problem getting a seat. Seating at number 26 is on small stools, whereas 20 metres away you'll find some higher inside seating. Order pho cuon -- rice noodle wrapped around beef and greens -- and a selection of... Read our full review of Pho Cuon Hung Ben.

Dong Thinh Nha Hang Mien Luon
87 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem District
T: (04) 3836 7943

Don't let the thought of fried eels put you off trying this delicious local dish. The eel in mien luon is cut into thin strips and deep fried in a light batter -- it could really be almost anything. Mien is a type of noodle made from arrowroot or canna root and is quite distinctive from pho, bun and my noodles. Although all the dishes are mien and eel, here you can get it in a few... Read our full review of Dong Thinh Nha Hang Mien Luon .

Bun Bo Nam Bo
67 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem

Bun Bo Nam Bo on Hang Dieu (number 67) was my first real eating-with-the-locals experience in Hanoi. It’s not just that the main dish served here of bun bo nam bo is quintessentially street food, but the environment and atmosphere of the restaurant are typical of a local lunch-time venue: it’s loud, it’s crowded, there’s rubbish all over the floor, the tables are scattered with scraps…... Read our full review of Bun Bo Nam Bo.

Xuan Xuan at 47 Ma May
47 Ma May, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

Xuan Xuan is a deservedly popular place to try bo nuong, or grilled beef (and other meats), in Hanoi’s Old... Read our full review of Xuan Xuan at 47 Ma May.

Hanoi's Food Street

One could argue that all of Hanoi’s streets are food streets, in that it’s hard to find any that don’t have at least one vendor selling pho or banh my or any of the other delicious street foods on offer here. But two things make so-called “food street” different and worthy of its name: firstly, it surely has more restaurants than any other street in Hanoi, and secondly, it’s the only... Read our full review of Hanoi's Food Street.

BBQ Chicken St

So called ‘BBQ chicken street’, on Ly Van Phuc just off Nguyen Thai Hoc, is hard to miss in the evening, as the plumes of smoke drift into the night sky and the smell of barbecueing drifts along the... Read our full review of BBQ Chicken St.

Bittet Ong Loi
51 Hang Buom

It’s been a favourite of mine since I first came to Hanoi, so goodness knows why it’s taken me so long to write about bo bittet. It’s true that I don’t eat it too often — it’s hardly the healthiest of options — but having had a recent relapse at the weekend I was reminded just how good it... Read our full review of Bittet Ong Loi.

Street food on Ngo Trang Tien
2B Alley Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
T: (04) 3936 4073

If you love street food but want to try something other than pho and bun cha for lunch in Hanoi, head down to Ngo Trang Tien near the Opera House for an enticing array of... Read our full review of Street food on Ngo Trang Tien.

Xoi Yen
35 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
T: (043) 825 1755

Xoi is a kind of Vietnamese sticky rice, topped traditionally with shavings of lotus root and roasted garlic. Nowadays though, they'll put anything you like on top: chicken, pork ribs, fish, eggs and so on. It's a quick, warm, belly-filling meal. The specific place we're steering you to, Xoi Yen, is open 24 hours, making it a perfect last stop of the evening after you've worked up an... Read our full review of Xoi Yen.

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Vietnamese


Nineteen 11
1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
T: (04) 3933 4810

Nineteen 11 – referring to the date the Hanoi Opera House was opened -- is a fine-dining restaurant located in the basement of the Opera House itself. Food is Western and Vietnamese, ranging from salad and soup appetisers through to seafood Marseille bouillabaisse and Wagyu sirloin. Both a la carte and set lunch and dinner menus are available. The lunch set is reasonably priced at... Read our full review of Nineteen 11.

Madame Hien
15 Chan Cam, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Set in a beautiful historical villa, sophisticated Madame Hien serves Vietnamese cuisine worth splurging a little extra for if you're looking for something high quality. The villa has quite a history, having been home to the architect of the Hanoi Opera House, a Hanoian doctor – who counted Ho Chi Minh as one of his guests – and, most recently, the Spanish Embassy. Now, as a high-end... Read our full review of Madame Hien.

Net Hue
204b Hang Bong Street
T: (04) 3938 1795

A wide range of tempting dishes from Hue are available at this wonderful place on the edge of food street. The bun bo Hue is delicious, and a meal in itself, but you'll struggle not to order up a selection of the other delights, which include banh nam and bun thit nuong (noodles with grilled beef). And don't forget to order up a tasty bowl of che -- a gloopy, sweet dish -- for dessert.... Read our full review of Net Hue.

Banh Cuon Gia Truyen
14 Hang Ga, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Banh Cuon Gia Truyen is a popular spot for banh cuon, a delicious rice pancake dish, enjoyed mostly for breakfast but also throughout the day. The interior is basic but clean and more comfortable than street stalls and the food doesn’t disappoint. The Hanoian version of banh cuon is similar to that available in Saigon but here it's usually served more simply with herbs and a dipping... Read our full review of Banh Cuon Gia Truyen.

1946
#3, Alley 63 Cua Bac, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

1946 serves up traditional Vietnamese fare at reasonable prices for its cosy surrounds. The menu includes some interesting regional dishes you won’t find on the average bia hoi menu, such as Muong pork, field crab and Malabar nightshade broth and fried anabas (a freshwater fish native to the region). Food is well cooked and well presented, and while limited English is spoken, staff is smart... Read our full review of 1946.

Pots n Pans
57 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi
T: (04) 3944 0204

About two kilometres south of Hoan Kiem Lake on Bui Thi Xuan – one of the small streets that runs parallel to Pho Hue and Ba Trieu – sits Hanoi’s must-go restaurant Pots n Pans. Somewhat tucked away among the bright lights of karaoke bars, its subtle and stylish exterior is easy to miss, but worth seeking... Read our full review of Pots n Pans.

Moc Quan
53 Nguyen Khac Hieu, Truc Bach, Hanoi
T: (046) 2073 7476/(0904) 989 804

I wrote some time ago about the pho-based dishes that are a specialty of the Truc Bach area of Hanoi; since then, a new place has opened up that makes pho cuon even more appealing. Based on Nguyen Khac Hieu street, on what is often referred to as Truc Bach island or Truc Bach village, Moc Quan is within a minute’s walk of numerous other pho cuon joints, about 100 metres from Truc Bach lake and... Read our full review of Moc Quan.

Com Pho Co
16 Nguyen Sieu, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
T: (04) 2216 4028

If you’re looking for good-value, tasty Vietnamese food but the street scene leaves you a bit nervous, air-con Com Pho Co is worth seeking out with its great range of standard Vietnamese dishes, such as light and crispy nem Hue, crunchy papaya salad or heartier aubergine and pork claypot. Although located on non-touristy Nguyen Sieu, Com Pho Co is still central for Old... Read our full review of Com Pho Co.

Noodle and Roll
39C Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
T: (0936) 622 981

Noodle and Roll is a two-storey restaurant serving up bun bo nam bo, bun cha and other tasty, well-priced Vietnamese dishes. It’s the perfect choice if you like street food but either you can’t agree with your companion about what to eat, you don’t like sitting on plastic chairs or stools or it just plain scares... Read our full review of Noodle and Roll.

Lau Rieu Cua
66 Pho Duc Chinh (near Truc Bach lake)

By day a centre for disabled children, by night a buzzing lau restaurant: 66 Pho Duc Chinh, near Truc Bach lake, serves up delicious lau rieu cua: a tasty broth with loads of Vietnamese goodies to throw in. And with the weather a bit chilly in Hanoi, now is the perfect time to enjoy... Read our full review of Lau Rieu Cua.

Quan An Ngon
34 Phan Dinh Phung, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
T: (04) 3734 9777

Quan An Ngon restaurant, on Phan Boi Chau Street, has long been a favourite of visitors to Hanoi. It provides a clean and reasonably comfortable setting in which to sample a range of Vietnamese street food dishes, but it’s often overflowing with customers, necessitating a wait for a table and a crowded and noisy environment. If that’s not for you, try the new branch on Phan Dinh Phung Street,... Read our full review of Quan An Ngon.

New Day
72 Ma May, Hoan Kiem District
T: (04) 3828 0315

New Day is one of those places that seems to attract a mix of local Vietnamese and visitors throughout the day. Its appeal is aided by the roadside tables but it's the consistently good authentic Vietnamese food that keeps people coming back. Cheaper food can be found at street stalls but if you're looking for a menu with a good few choices and a more comfortable -- though still plastic... Read our full review of New Day.

Highway 4
5 Hang Tre St, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
T: (04) 3926 0639

The menu is the same at each -- best described as Asian fusion, with an emphasis on the eclectic, and you'll find a wide range of dishes to suit all tastes, with the catfish spring rolls being a well-deserved signature dish. It's a good place to go to safely try a few Vietnamese dishes and works well for big groups, especially if you're looking to please your Vietnamese and Western friends in... Read our full review of Highway 4.

Cha Ca La Vong
14 Cha Ca Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
T: (04) 3825 3929

Restaurant Cha Ca La Vong recently featured in the New York Times in an article that talked about how variants of the same-named dish — a mixture of fish, turmeric, dill, shrimp paste, fish sauce, chillies, noodles and other herbs — are appearing on menus in the United States. Author Florence Fabricant notes that, despite her fond memories of a visit to Cha Ca La Vong 10 years ago, “Judging... Read our full review of Cha Ca La Vong.

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Other Asian


Namaste
46 Tho Nhuom, Tran Hung D?o, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
T: (04) 3935 2400

The food is authentic and top notch, the restaurant's elegant and modern -- though a bit too bright to be cosy -- and the owner, Gopi, is usually on hand to help you get the most out of your dining experience by helping select food to suit your group. Meat, fish and vegetable dishes from the north and south of India grace the comprehensive menu. Although the dining area is spread over a... Read our full review of Namaste.

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!
121 Trieu Viet Vuong
T: (04) 3974 8437

If you're after Japanese then head to the area just north of Vincom Towers, where you'll find a few quality options. Izakaya Yancha is a particularly excellent choice, serving fantastic food in a warm and inviting environment. The downstairs is bar-style, where you can sit and watch the chefs if you so desire, and upstairs is a cosier dining area. Book in advance at... Read our full review of Izakaya Yancha.

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Cafes and coffee shops


Giang Cafe
39 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
T: (04) 6294 0495, (0903) 479 032

The sign outside reads “Egg Coffee Lane -- Since 1946”, establishing Giang Cafe as an authentic spot to try this delicious treat. As soon as you start to walk down the alley leading off Nguyen Huu Huan -- “coffee street” – you'll hear the buzz of the cafe beyond. Giang Cafe is popular, a testament to its heritage and quality. The cafe sprawls over two floors: a small area... Read our full review of Giang Cafe.

Cong Caphe
16 different locations

From its humble beginnings as a hip hangout on Trieu Viet Vuong Street, Cong Caphe has taken the coffee shop world in Hanoi by storm and at last count had 16 cafes spread across the... Read our full review of Cong Caphe.

Cafe Duy Tri
43 Pho Yen Phu, Tay Ho District, Hanoi
T: (04) 3829 1386

When I wrote about coffee in Hanoi I mentioned cafe sua chua and promised more… I was introduced to cafe sua chua at Cafe Duy Tri, an historic coffee shop located on Pho Yen Phu. Pho Yen Phu is a lively street running north off Duong Thanh Nien (the street that runs between Truc Bach and West Lake and is home to Tran Quoc Pagoda). Note that the big dyke road, which runs to the east of Old... Read our full review of Cafe Duy Tri.

Great Hanoi cafes to chill out in

A visit to Hanoi shouldn't be all go, go, go. Stopping for lots of coffee is crucial, but where to head? Here are our top spots to hang out in for a couple of hours, where an enticing ambiance is offered along with top-notch food and... Read our full review of Great Hanoi cafes to chill out in.

Thuy Ta
1 Le Thai To St, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
T: (04) 3828 8148

Located on the bank of Hoan Kiem lake, the interior of Thuy Ta has a Vietnam meets old English tea room feel, with round marble-topped tables, cast iron chairs, subtle lighting and windows lining the sides. But we wouldn’t recommend a seat inside – the terrace is where it’s at. Perched along Hoan Kien Lake, the terrace is a good spot from which to enjoy the view and escape the chaos of... Read our full review of Thuy Ta.

Manzi Cafe
14 Phan Huy Ich, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
T: (04) 3716 3397

Manzi is an art space and cafe that delivers with aplomb. The cafe spreads over both floors of a beautiful two-story villa boasting simple styling and a tranquil atmosphere. It's an excellent place to hide away, unpack the laptop and while away the hours writing your travel blog over a cup or two of coffee or a glass of wine. The drinks menu is extensive, with a good selection of teas, coffees... Read our full review of Manzi Cafe.

Coffee in Hanoi

Coffee often seems to be the lifeblood of Vietnam — well, along with beer, tea, rice and pho. You really can’t walk far without the tempting aroma of coffee greeting your nostrils, and a hit of the particularly strong brew is enough to keep you going for... Read our full review of Coffee in Hanoi.

Align 3D Graphics Cafe
6B Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
T: (04) 3923 4231

You don’t have to walk far in Hanoi to find a coffee shop, and you don’t have to walk much further to find one with character, such as longstanding, narrow Cafe Duy. Align 3D Graphics Cafe has character in a modern, designed way and also has a wider menu than you’ll find at a streetside coffee... Read our full review of Align 3D Graphics Cafe.

Cafe Nola
89 Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Located down a narrow alley and up a flight of stairs or two, Cafe Nola is a higgledy-piggledy maze of rooms kitted out with random furnishings, including an old piano with a teddy bear sat atop. The rooms are set around a central atrium, lending the place an airy and calm feel, though some rooms – including the one with the piano -- are more on the cosy side. The menu consists of a range of... Read our full review of Cafe Nola.

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Western


La Badiane
10 Nam Ngu
T: (04) 3942 4509

For a real meat feast, try the carpaccio followed by the sublime Australian tenderloin. Many would agree that this is the best steak in Hanoi -- if not the world -- seriously. Desserts are a feast for the senses as well and it's all topped off with first class service. It's pricey but worth it for a splurge and the set lunch is great value at... Read our full review of La Badiane.

El Gaucho Argentinian Steakhouse
No. 11 Trang Tien Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
T: (04) 3824 7280

El Gaucho has two branches in Hanoi, with the most easily accessible to Hoan Kiem district being the newer place on Trang Tien Street, near the Opera House. Given its name, it will be no surprise that the star of the show here is the steak. The imported produce is top notch, with prices starting at 590,000 VND for a 250g Certified Angus rib eye, rising to a couple of million for the... Read our full review of El Gaucho Argentinian Steakhouse.

Vegetarian restaurants in Hanoi

Hanoi boasts a number of long-standing vegetarian and vegan places, along with two notable new entrants, so those eschewing meat are ensured of a reasonable – if not extensive – selection of places to grab a bite to... Read our full review of Vegetarian restaurants in Hanoi.

Sunday brunch buffets

If you can’t splash out while on holiday, when can you? Though it’s been argued that the age of the brunch may be over, we’d still argue that a lovely one-off splurge while on holiday might be to indulge in a buffet Sunday brunch at one of Hanoi’s five-star... Read our full review of Sunday brunch buffets.

A brunch for all budgets in Hanoi

Many hotels in Hanoi will include breakfast in the room rate, be this an egg in a bread roll – most common in the cheaper places – or a full breakfast buffet. But what if your hotel doesn’t or you’re just not up early enough? The cheapest option is to eat with the locals and tuck into a hearty bowl of pho, some banh cuonor a banh my (bread roll) filled with trung (egg) or pate. But... Read our full review of A brunch for all budgets in Hanoi.

Eating on Xuan Dieu Street
Xuan Dieu Street

Hanoi’s Xuan Dieu Street is a popular stretch with expats, but that doesn’t mean it should be crossed off your travel exploration list. It has a good range of dining and drinking venues, unmatched in Old Quarter, as well as shops selling Western goods and clothes that you may be after. Here are a few of our favourite eating... Read our full review of Eating on Xuan Dieu Street.

The Hanoi Social Club
6 Hoi Vu Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
T: (04) 3938 2117

With a relaxed vibe, eclectic decor and wholesome food, The Hanoi Social Club has etched out a unique positioning for itself and is a perfect spot for a tasty lunch, naughty afternoon cake or chill-out with a... Read our full review of The Hanoi Social Club.

Saint Honore
5 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho District, Hanoi
T: (04) 3933 2355

Saint Honore is a bakery, deli and restaurant in Hanoi’s West Lake area which offers the best cakes in Hanoi and is an excellent choice for a delicious breakfast, a bistro-style lunch or dinner, or an indulgent afternoon... Read our full review of Saint Honore.

DC Bistro
15A Ngo Van So, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi
T: (04) 3944 0288

Fine dining restaurant La Verticale has been dishing up French and Vietnamese fusion cuisine from its 1930s villa since 2007. But for those whose wallets don’t stretch that far, founder and award-winning chef, Didieu Corlou, has opened a new venture a few doors away: DC... Read our full review of DC Bistro.

Puku Cafe
16-18 Tong Duy Tan
T: (04) 3938 1745

With its comfortable sofas, relaxing tunes, tasty smoothies and comfort food, Puku is a great place to kick back and relax. This is the case particularly if you're looking for somewhere to update your travel blog, or just check your email. The terrace at the front offer a few tables, sought after on a warm day when air-con isn't an essential requirement, and the upstairs are hosts regular... Read our full review of Puku Cafe.

Provecho
18 Hang Be
T: (0912) 223 966

The owners of the now shuttered My Burger My opened this new restaurant in 2011. As with the previous establishment, it continues to deliver solid Western fare, with some Vietnamese thrown in -- not surprising since the owners are an American-Vietnamese couple. Owner and chef Daniel Hoyer has written a number of cookery books, mostly about Mexican food, so as you'd expect, the Mexican... Read our full review of Provecho.

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!
4 Au Trieu, Hoan Kien District
T: (04) 3928 5859

Upstairs is scattered with brightly coloured throws, propaganda posters and crayons provided so that children and the young at heart can draw on the brown paper table cloths. Unfortunately the food's nothing to write home about but it's a great place to take a breather, and the frozen drinks are an amazing assault on the taste buds: try the Frozen Lemon Mint, Citrus Honey Freeze or Strawberry... Read our full review of La Place.

KOTO
59 Van Mieu
T: (04) 3747 0337

Its current restaurant incarnation is set near the Temple of Literature, and is a convenient spot to drop by for a snack -- their cakes are well worth blowing the diet for -- or a full lunch. The abundant staff are all eager to please though sometimes miss the mark -- but it's a training restaurant so we have to give them some credit. Prices are a bit on the high side, though the food is... Read our full review of KOTO.

Joma
22 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem District
T: (04) 3718 6071

Despite a lack of motorbike parking, the Old Quarter branch of Joma has survived, and so it should. Bagels are chunky and squidgy, and one of their tasty sandwiches, accompanied by a side salad or soup, makes a filling lunch or light dinner. Drinks are good too -- the mint lemon freeze is perfect on a hot day. And it's a great space, with plenty of air-conditioned room at the... Read our full review of Joma.

Au Lac do Brazil II
6A Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh
T: (04) 3845 5224

For a meat feast served up with professionalism and decent wine, head to Au Lac Do Brazil. There are better places in town if you're after a simple decent steak, but for a fixed price here you'll get as much beef, lamb, pork, chicken, fish and sides as you can squeeze in -- and the beef is still very, very good. You'll end up spending $25+ per person for this carnivore carnival --... Read our full review of Au Lac do Brazil II.

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!
25 Nha Tho
T: (04) 3828 9052

It's a decent option for a change of cuisine or a group meal -- try for upstairs seating for a better atmosphere -- but opinion on the food is mixed. A second location, at 53 Xuan Dieu, has a swish outside area which sets it up well for a glass of wine and a few... Read our full review of La Salsa Tapas Bar and Restaurant.

Gecko
22 Luong Ngoc Quyen
T: (04) 3926 2382

Gecko's not the top value option it once was but the food's consistently decent. Add to this the pleasant atmosphere, good lighting, comfortable seating, decent drinks prices and relaxing music and you've got a solid choice for this part of town. The menu is extensive, with a selection of reasonable Western and Vietnamese dishes. Our favourite's the breaded pork, served with hash browns --... Read our full review of Gecko.

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Snacking


Buying fruit in Hanoi

If you’ve managed to walk around Old Quarter in Hanoi and not be accosted by a lady in a conical hat trying to put her shoulder pole, supporting baskets of fruit, on your shoulder for a photo, you’re in the minority. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been approached and have yet to say yes: the world already has quite enough photos of me. My mother, however, was a bit more... Read our full review of Buying fruit in Hanoi.

Roadside drinking

In many countries it’s illegal, but when you’re just talking iced tea and sugar cane juice, drinking on the pavement or in the park is the thing to do. Throughout Hanoi the streets — and parks — are alive with food and drink stalls, waiting for those seeking quick refreshment or those wanting to chew the fat for a few hours with friends: though whether you can manage the latter depends on... Read our full review of Roadside drinking.

Kem Ho Tay
Duong Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi

If you drive north along Hanoi’s Duong Thanh Nien, which passes between Truc Bach Lake and West Lake, on a sunny weekend afternoon, be prepared to swerve around the crowds gathered outside of Kem Ho Tay: West Lake Ice... Read our full review of Kem Ho Tay.

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Drinking


Hanoi Rock City
To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Hanoi
T: (018) 87 487 426

The live music scene in Hanoi has been looking up recently. I don’t want to over claim — it’s certainly not London or Singapore — but it’s good to see new venues opening and the occasional visiting... Read our full review of Hanoi Rock City.

Tadioto
24b Tong Dan, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi
T: (04) 6680 9124

Tadioto is a lesson in perseverance. Now in its fourth incarnation in Hanoi, the cafe and bar continues to draw in the crowds thanks to its inviting ambiance and enticing drinks... Read our full review of Tadioto.

CAMA ATK
73a Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi

CAMA ATK calls itself Hanoi’s underground music venue, and as you walk through the discreet warehouse style door at the front of a none too appealing building you’ll understand why: it feels like you’re walking in on a secret. The inside space is small and windowless – apart from the smoking area at the back – and on a busy night swarms with revellers enjoying the excellent cocktails... Read our full review of CAMA ATK.

Blah Blah
59b Hang Be, Hoan Kiem
T: (0972) 887 252

Narrow Blah Blah, on Hanoi‘s Hang Be Street, may be difficult to spot, but you’ll be glad you did: it’s intimate, friendly and well-priced. My first experience of Blah Blah bar was on Lunar New Years’ Eve (Tet) earlier this year and afterwards I had two memories of the bar: one, it was small and two, the Tiger beer was cheap. I went back again a few weeks ago because a friend-of-a-friend... Read our full review of Blah Blah.

Mao's Red Lounge
7 Ta Hien
T: (04) 3926 3104

Drinks are cheap, the music's a good mix and there's usually quite a crowd holed up there -- particularly after official closing time. Downstairs is home to the bar and can get mighty crowded, while upstairs has low level seating and a more relaxed vibe. Get there early if you want a seat. Overall a great spot for a drink and a laugh, but it would really benefit from a decent... Read our full review of Mao's Red Lounge.

Bar Betta
34C Cao Ba Quat
T: (04) 3734 9134

Not far from the Fine Arts Museum, Bar Betta is a quirky cafe bar hidden away up a narrow flight of stairs. The inside area is like Aladdin's Cave, full of retro treasures, and the roof terrace is a great spot for watching the stars -- when the smog clears -- or just chilling with friends and cocktail. There's usually a good vibe in the... Read our full review of Bar Betta.

Budget drinks with views in Hanoi

You’ll have to spend a bit more than you’d pay for bia hoi or a cha da on the street, but with so many lakes it’s not too hard to find somewhere with a view and cheap drinks in... Read our full review of Budget drinks with views in Hanoi.

Microbreweries

It may be the ubiquitous cheap bia hoi (draft beer) that you’ll first read about when planning a trip to Vietnam, but Hanoi is also awash with microbreweries which serve up mostly Czech-style, locally brewed light and dark beers at a higher price than you’ll pay for bia hoi. We put our tastebuds and livers to the test and visited a few breweries to see if they were worth the extra... Read our full review of Microbreweries.

Hanoi House

There are a few neatly tucked away cafes and bars around Hanoi, and Hanoi House is one that is worth seeking out. Its inauspicious entrance is enough to put off the faint-hearted: it’s down a rather dingy alley, up a narrow flight of stairs and past their grotty toilet — don’t come here with a full bladder – but it’s worth the... Read our full review of Hanoi House.

Gay and gay-friendly clubs
5 Bao Khanh Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

The gay scene in Hanoi remains more underground than some other countries in the region, such as Thailand or even Cambodia, but things are slowly changing and gay clubs are going slightly more mainstream these... Read our full review of Gay and gay-friendly clubs.

Ho Guom Plaza
5 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem District

Almost as iconic a Hanoi landmark as Hoan Kiem Lake, though not as picturesque, Ho Guom Plaza, also known as Shark Jaws, looms over the southern edge of Old Quarter and provides no fewer than six different eating and drinking... Read our full review of Ho Guom Plaza.

Drinking and dancing near Xuan Dieu

While Hanoi’s Old Quarter is a hotbed of backpacker-friendly drinking joints, if you’re interested in live music, looking for somewhere to dance, or prefer a more laidback vibe, try heading to Xuan... Read our full review of Drinking and dancing near Xuan Dieu.

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!
5 Bao Khanh
T: (04) 3825 0959

Bao Khanh used to be more of a traveller ghetto, and perhaps the worse for it, but that crowd seems to have shifted towards the Ma May area. The road's still full of bars and restaurants though, and Polite Pub is worth the trip. It's got a real pub feel to it, with beer -- Tiger and Carlsberg -- on tap, a pool table out back and lots of wood. The music's good too -- primarily a mix of rock... Read our full review of Polite Pub .

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62 Dao Duy Tu
T: (04) 3926 1943

The refurbishment since our last update has brought with it additional space upstairs. Although downstairs retains the same slightly grunge-y look -- and aroma -- it's always had. But that's part of Half Man Half Noodle's appeal, as is the rock music, which makes a refreshing change from dance music. It's a great place to meet and converse, rather than dance, and the food's not bad either.... Read our full review of Half Man Half Noodle.

Hair of the Dog
32 Ma May

The move from its original location on Hang Giay has been a positive step. The new location has more space overall and a comfy area upstairs, if you want to escape the dance floor and bustle of downstairs. This is a good place to head if you want to meet other travellers, particularly between 23:00 and 01:00 when it gets busiest, but not so good for a quite beer. They host regular... Read our full review of Hair of the Dog .

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51 To Gian Alley, Phuc Tan

Phuc Tan bar, formerly The Lighthouse, is a big nightclub with a huge area for dancing, along with a patio out back with views of the river and Chuong Duong bridge. It's crowded, dirty and the toilets are rated as the worst in Hanoi but it's a popular spot for late night drinks and a dance, staying open until well into the early hours, and attracts some decent DJs. Barbecue food is... Read our full review of Phuc Tan Bar.

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15 Hang Buom

Once the party place to be for backpackers and young expats, Dragonfly seems to have lost out a bit to new competition. But don't rule it out: there's a pool table, a small, crowded dance floor, and the option of some quieter seating upstairs where you can kick back and smoke a shisha water pipe. They've also now opened a new lounge bar at 93 Phung Hung, which is more spacious and smarter... Read our full review of Dragonfly.

Bia hoi corner
Intersection of Luong Ngoc Quyen and Ta Hien Sts, Hanoi

Bia hoi: fresh and cheap and sometimes half decent, sometimes well… just fresh and cheap. Served straight from the metal kegs into distinct bia hoi glasses, it’s an iconic Vietnamese... Read our full review of Bia hoi corner.

The Rooftop Bar and Restaurant
19th Floor, Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet St, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
T: (04) 3946 1901, (091) 370 6966

The Rooftop sits on the 19th floor of the Pacific Place building. It’s by no means the highest bar in Hanoi but the views, especially from the outside terrace, are certainly a selling point. Popular with well-heeled Vietnamese youth seeking a classy environment in which to party, the bar hosts resident DJs every night, supported by guest DJs and occasional live acts. It’s not going to suit... Read our full review of The Rooftop Bar and Restaurant.

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Hanoi? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Vietnam.


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