Plenty of places to eat are located around the station but don't expect great service or any outstanding cuisine.
Western options have blossomed near the train station and around Phan Dinh Phung, the street direction facing the station. All offer average burgers, pizza, pasta, sandwiches, meat dishes and Vietnamese options for similar prices so stroll along and see which takes your fancy. We like Viet Emotion, which has a similar menu to its sister restaurant in Sapa, minus the tapas and meat dishes, along with lots of space, good toilets – useful before and after a train journey -- and friendly staff. Other options include Pineapple Restaurant and Oishi, along the same stretch.
Le Bordeaux, on the northwest corner of train station car park, looks quite flash from the outside and has smart wooden furniture, but serves up a similar menu to the rest.
If you're after more local food, try the Com Bin Dan place on Nguyen Hue, a few doors down from The Nest, or the pho joints on Phan Dinh Phung. You'll also find a few traveller orientated places around the station, which offer basic but reasonable value noodles, rice dishes and stir-fries, such as Nhat Linh, under the Nhat Linh guesthouse, and Hai Nhi, on the opposite side of the car park.
If you want to stock up for the train journey you'll find no shortage of vendors vying for trade outside and inside the station. Or try the bakery opposite Le Bordeaux for bread and gooey cakes.
Van Anh Bakery: 329 Nguyen Hue, Lao Cai. T: (097) 777 0312. Open daily 06:00–22:00
Hai Nhi Restaurant: T: (020) 3835 598, (0986) 211 272.
Le Bordeaux Restaurant: 322 Nguyen Hue St, Lao Cai. T: (020) 3832 948, (0912) 578 377. Open daily 04:30-21:00.
Nhat Linh Restaurant: T: (020) 835 346, (0912) 961 056. Open daily: 05:00-22:00.
Oishi: 47 Phan Dinh Phung, Lao Cai. T: (093) 6140 581. Open daily:05:00-22:00.
Pineapple Restaurant: 55 Phan Dinh Phung, Lao Cai. T: (020) 835 939; F: (020) 835 969. Open daily 05:00-21:00.
Viet Emotion Restaurant: 65 Phan Dinh Phung, Lao Cai. T: (020) 3835 354. Open daily 04:30-22:00.