I just ate a great dinner in the Old Quarter at Blue Butterfly, 61 Hang Buom, really my best meal in some time in Vietnam. I was beginning to think all Viet dishes were either Pho or greasy fried foods, but now that I've had some good Viet cooking, I've changed my mind. This place is not real cheap, and not real expensive. I paid 170,000VND for a nice 3-course seafood dinner, and I will return real real soon.
For my last night in Hanoi, I ate at KITI RESTAURANT ON 38 HANG HOM ST. Since I was really overeating while in Hanoi, I wanted something lighter for my last dinner. I ordered just spring rolls, soup and a drink, but the presentation of the meal was so excellent, the food so good, and the place so comfortable, I just wish I had tried this place a lot sooner. I will be back.
If you're just looking for a nice cafe for coffee or other drinks, you can't beat the comfortable and new DAB Cafe on lower Bat Su (across from the Joy Hotel near Hang Phen). This place is so relaxing and the 2nd floor terrace so inviting with tropical plants and resident bird. DAB Cafe even has Western-size, dark wooden chairs.
The best pizza in Hanoi is at the Luna d'Autunno Restaurant - 78 Tho Nhuom (in the shadow of the Melia Hotel). As a pizza gourmet myself, I'd give it an 8 out of 10 (good, but certainly no match for a New Jersey pizza).
Still, my favorite place to eat in Hanoi remains to be Foodshop 45 - a very relaxing Indian restaurant out on Truc Bach Lake. Foodshop is reviewed here: