There are a lot of com and pho places around town but don't expect a great deal of variety beyond that.
Manh Ngan Restaurant is a popular, slightly more upscale option on the reservoir within sight of the dam. There are tanks of fish on the ground floor, so you can pick your meal, and dinning upstairs is in a series of rooms that look like they used to be a hotel. Head for the top floor for the covered roof-top dining area. The place is often buzzing with large groups and staff running around communicating on walkie talkies. Recommended by the locals this basic food for the average joe restaurant offers good value and quite a tasty selection of meals a step above Com Pho and has an English menu. There are plenty of fans here to cool you down while you admire the plank wood walls and faux deer head lamps.
Behind Manh Ngan, at the junction of Chu Chinh Lan and An Duong Vuong, Ga Tuoi Manh Hoach is a somewhat smaller venue with a few plastic tables set on a terrace over-looking a dried-up fountain. Still, it's an attractive setting and one member of staff was able to translate a few of the menu items — but take your phrasebook to be on the safe side.
For a lighter snack try the banh bao place next to the post office on Chu Chinh Lan — only open until lunchtime — or the kebab stand opposite. Alternatively there's an inviting looking bakery / grocery store near Da Giang Hotel which also had a reasonable selection of wines, in case you want to hole up in your hotel room.
Manh Ngan: So 8, Phuong Lam (near the dam), Hoa Binh. T: (0218) 895 388;(0912) 355 399. Hours: 07:00 to 22:00 daily
Ga Tuoi Manh Hoach: at the end of Chu Chinh Lan, before you get to Manh Ngan. T: (0978) 832 684; (0944) 733 723. Hours: 07:00 to 22:00 daily.
Phu Thuy Bakery: 162 Chu Chinh Lan, Hoa Binh. T: (0218) 385 3440.