For breakfast, a very popular spot is Bun Bo Hue on Quang Trung. The sign out front clams to offer 100% Authentic Hue Bun. We're not positive about the authenticity, but they certainly serve up big meaty bowls of noodle soup, and they have so many customers in the morning, motorbikes need to be valet parked.
There's a small street that runs parallel to Quang Trung between Tran Cao Van and Ngoc Lan with a few beer-garden restaurants worth seeking out. We visited Com Tam, with a ranging menu of Vietnamese specialities, with a heavy emphasis on grilled meats, and great big mugs of cold Anchor draught beer for 4,000 VND. We happened to get a seat with a view of the kitchen, where one of the staff spent the evening pulling live chickens from a cage and slaughtering them before parboiling, plucking, and roasting them on demand for guests.
So, we reckon whole roasted chicken is one of their signature dishes. You might want to get a seat that doesn't face the kitchen if you order one.
The Oasis Cafe on Le Hoan is, indeed, a bit of an oasis -- a very classy and civilised coffee and cocktail joint, good for a cup of Java during the day or nightcap later on. Free WiFi is available if you bring your own laptop.
Bun Bo Hue: 192 Quang Trung, Thanh Hoa. T: (037) 751 952. Hours: 07:00 to 21:00.
Com Tam: Quang Trung, Thanh Hoa. T: (037) 721 998. Hours: 07:00 to 23:00.
Oasis Cafe: 343 Le Hoan, Thanh Hoa. T: (037) 872 5983. Hours: 06:30 to 23:00.