19-21 Mac Dinh Chi, District 1
T: (08) 3823 8424
Even though you may be surrounded by a load of delicious local food in Saigon, sometimes you just want a pizza or hamburger; if that’s the case, it might be time to find the nearest Al Fresco’s.
As the name might suggest, the menu at Al Fresco’s offers plenty of Italian food, particularly pastas and pizzas. Their pizzas are popular, as they are quite large and come with plenty of toppings for their 230,000 VND price tag, but I’m a fan of their creamy, cheese-filled, baked lasagnes. They also have a large selection of other Western favourites, such as burgers, salads, steaks and TexMex. Highly recommended throughout the expat community in Saigon, Al Fresco’s is probably most well known for their tender, slow-baked ribs, which start at 210,000 VND and would be high in the running for best in the city.
Although you might not write any songs about the meal you’ll get at Al Fresco’s, compared to other Western spots in the city they offer a solid, step-up in quality while staying at an affordable price, with mains starting at under 150,000 VND. Although you can certainly find cheaper Western food, especially around the Pham Ngu Lao backpacker area, compared to a spot like Stella you will be getting better quality and bigger portions here.
With seven locations scattered about the city, three of which are in District 1, chances are good that you’ll be moderately close to an Al Fresco’s anywhere you happen to be in Saigon. You won’t see huge differences between locations; they are all well sized and seat a good number of guests. Tables are clean and covered in white butcher paper, which comes in handy when you want to use the provided crayons to draw on your table.
Al Fresco’s also has one of the more savvy delivery systems in the city, allowing you to call in or order online if you’re stuck in your hotel room or not able to get out. Ordering delivery also gives you access to a number of daily deals that you can’t get at the restaurant, such as Tuesday’s buy-one-get-one-free pizza special or the daily ‘Crazy Deal,’ which consists of a large pizza, a salad, 16 meat skewers and large softdrink bottle for 250,000 VND. Delivery time is speedy and two pizzas usually come within 45 minutes of ordering.
Around town, Al Fresco’s has a good reputation for solid food and service but with so many locations, unless you’re travelling in a big group, you’re probably safe to pop in without making a reservation. If you want something a little cheaper, try Stella on Bui Vien. If you’re looking for a step up in quality and don’t mind a drive out into District 7, try Scott and Binh’s.
By Max Murta
Last updated on 6th July, 2014.