Exceptional tapas and steaks
If “jamon Iberico” or “500 gram ribeye” is music to your ears, then Pimenton is the place to treat yourself. This sophisticated and social tapas bar and steakhouse serves outstanding bites — even the complimentary grilled bread and aioli are notable.
For the tapas experience, sit at the bar, order a glass of wine and get right to studying the delightfully long list. Tapas is ideally shared, though the portions are generous enough that two to four could satisfy one person as a meal. The tapas includes a variety of grilled sausage, fried calamari, imported anchovies, spanish omelette, octopus carpaccio, potato croquetitas and olives. Do we need to go on? The price for each small dish ranges from 25,000 to 85,000 kip, with most hovering in the middle.
If you’re craving steak, this is the place to indulge in one. Raising or cooking beef has never been Laos’ strong suit so it’s worth knowing where your beef is imported from and paying accordingly. If you order steak at a restaurant in Laos and it’s cheap, it’s usually buffalo. At Pimenton a 225 gram steak imported from Thailand starts at 95,000 kip, a grass-fed beef tenderloin from New Zealand for 165,000 kip. And the Canadian Angus beef or Kobe sirloin from Japan? Well, there’s a Spanish proverb barriga llena, corazón contento, a full stomach makes for a happy heart – in this case we would add “and an empty wallet.” But in fact, the price would be comparable to a nice steakhouse in the West. Let’s just say they accept credit cards. And you might as well pair your meal with a bottle of Spanish wine from their extensive list.
Like almost all restaurants in Vientiane of this calibre, Pimenton has a lunch set that’s fantastic value in hopes of luring office workers and business lunches. It includes a meat, pasta, salad, fries, vegetables and dessert for 75,000 kip. This place is definitely not for vegetarians unless they are willing to cross over to the dark side. One look at the open grill and they just might.
Pimenton is located in downtown Vientiane, on the same street as Le Banneton patisserie.
Address: 5 Nokeokoumane Rd, Vientiane
T: (021) 215 506
Coordinates (for GPS): 102º36'20.4" E, 17º57'53.18" N
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Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer/photographer and author of So Many Miles, a website that chronicles the love of adventure, food and culture. After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 she uprooted her life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. She’s travelled to over 40 countries and harbours a deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia. In between jaunts around the world, she calls Laos and Vietnam home where you’ll find her traipsing through rice paddies, standing beside broken-down buses and in villages laughing with the locals.
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