A favourite haunt
Far left, An Bang beach
T: (84) 0935 100337
Perfectly positioned at the furthest end of An Bang beach’s stretch of seaside eateries, The Banyan Bar deservedly pulls in the crowds with alfresco beachside dining, cosy cabanas and a traditional Vietnamese house for chilly winter evenings. Huge beanbags and loungers line the beach for guests to stretch out on, which are very welcome after sampling the unlimited San Miguel beer or excellent premium, very tropical cocktails they serve. Fresh tapas, Vietnamese (with a French twist), shellfish – including the weekend oyster specials — are quite easily the tastiest dishes you’ll find locally, meaning this joint attracts tourists and expats year-round.
Banyan is one of our favourite haunts on An Bang beach because the food is consistently fabulous and staff are always at hand — decidedly dangerous when the San Miguel is flowing. It’s too easy to lose a whole day (or two) here, with its stunning environment and laidback, sociable vibe.
The menu is crammed full of decent sized plates for tapas, which is just as well because everything is so delicious you’ll be nicking food off everyone else’s plates; even the salads are filling enough as a main course. The chorizo one is sinfully good, shellfish is served up in big soup bowls with side plates of bread to mop up every last bit, and with most dishes averaging around the $5 mark, it’s still cheap enough for those on a lean budget. Fine dining options come in at around the $10 mark, which is still very competitive for Hoi An.
Banyan’s got a little bit of everything. There’s a pool table and petanque course to keep the kids out of trouble, quiet romantic bolt-holes and vast grassy areas where you can shove some tables together and enjoy a rowdy meal with friends. Weekend evenings are party time when Banyan throws some of the best themed events around with DJs and the occasional live band. Unlike places in town, there is never a curfew at the beach, so it’s possible to tick both sunset and sunrise off your list of things to see in one sitting.
Banyan is right in the heart of what we call the French quarter on An Bang which means it has some tight competition with neighbouring restaurants Soul Kitchen, Jaspers Beach Club and Luna all managed by fussy French foodies, all more than happy to ‘deliver’ to whichever bar or lounger you choose to plonk yourself in. So in the unlikely event nothing on Banyan’s menu hits the spot, you can always grab yourself a bowl of Italian from further along the beach, without the extreme effort of movement — what lazy beach days should be all about.
By Caroline Mills
Last updated on 25th July, 2014.