A popular expat stretch
Xuan Dieu Street
Hanoi’s Xuan Dieu Street is a popular stretch with expats, but that doesn’t mean it should be crossed off your travel exploration list. It has a good range of dining and drinking venues, unmatched in Old Quarter, as well as shops selling Western goods and clothes that you may be after. Here are a few of our favourite eating spots.
Xuan Dieu is located at the northern edge of West Lake, in Tay Ho District. Coming from Hoan Kiem or Ba Dinh Districts you’ll join it from Au Co Street (aka the dyke road).
On the initial stretch you will first come across long-standing Vine Restaurant which serves good quality international cuisine and wine to the slightly better-off expats and tourists — the Sheraton and Intercontinental are nearby. We’re a fan of the pizzas and the lunchtime selections, both of which are reasonably good value. Watch out for the bottled water though — it’ll burn a hole in your pocket.
Next door is Saint Honore, a bakery, deli and restaurant. An instant hit when it opened, the bread and cakes continue to please and the eat-in menu makes it a good choice for lunch and dinner — although quality of eat-in does seem to have declined slightly recently. It gets busy around midday so opt for a late lunch to beat the crowds or buy some cakes to take-away and enjoy later. Another bakery can be found 100 metres or so further on — Nguyen Son is a Vietnamese chain with more Vietnamese-style cakes and they also sell a reasonable range of bread. Eat-in is also available here.
Newcomer BlueBird sits next to Saint Honore in the shop once occupied by Vine’s Wine Cellar. We’ve yet to try it out but hear good things about the food, particularly the pork belly. It’s at the upper end of the price spectrum for Hanoi, but good value for what you get.
Turn left by Exotissimo down towards the entrance to the Sheraton and then right onto the stretch that runs next to West Lake. Here you’ll find Dieu’s Cuisine, a lovely lakeside spot for some decent Vietnamese at reasonable prices. At the end of this road, and back up towards Xuan Dieu proper, is Victoria’s, which dishes up some very tasty pasta dishes, as well as burgers, pizza and chips and kebabs. We tend to sit outside but if it’s too hot or noisy for you — it is on a lively junction but that’s part of the charm — choose an inside seat. Most dishes come in at around 140,000 VND.
Back up on Xuan Dieu, just round the corner from Victoria’s, is fine dining restaurant Halia. The weekday lunch deal is fantastic value and the weekend brunch a real treat — we love the Eggs Benedict which comes with salmon and bacon. Yum. Staff is fantastic too.
Next door is longstanding Highway 4, which has branches across Hanoi. The upstairs dining room is spacious and comfortable and the Vietnamese food innovative. Don’t leave without trying one of the Son Tinh liquors.
Double back slightly and on the other side of the road is a branch of the Al Fresco’s chain, if you have a hankering for thick crust pizza or ribs. Further back towards Vine are a couple of local places worth knowing about: next to Tracey’s bar — great burgers — is a decent pho shop and opposite is a large place serving noodles and com binh dan at all hours, perfect for after-drinking munchies.
The list goes on … Further up the street, just before Serena Towers (look up) is Linh and Ben’s, a lovely garden cafe serving up tasty paninis, crepes and pasta. Three street food-style places sit alongside, serving bun cha, com binh dan, pho and bun bo nam bo and and you’ll usually find a kebab stand along this stretch as well.
Next up is La Salsa, whose original branch remains on Nha Tho in Old Quarter. The garden area here is a lovely spot for a drink but reviews of the food are mixed. We love the donuts and pastries they sell in the upstairs bakery. Bobby Chinn’s is another block up and from here to the end of the street you’ll find a number of Japanese restaurants. We like Sushi Dokoro, although it gets quite smoky.
A final place worth mentioning is steak restaurant El Gaucho, which serves up very tender fillets. Expect to spend a fair bit, by the time you’ve added on the irresistible sides, but it’s so worth it. Book in advance — it’s one of the only busy restaurants on Xuan Dieu.Vine Restaurant & Wine Bar
By Sarah Turner
Last updated on 11th December, 2014.