Exploring Hanoi – Restaurants and Bars

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Hanoi marks one of the largest parts of our love story and helps define us as the crazed couple that we are today :-). Of course there were sunny days and then days when the sun could not poke through. But in the end, this city of 9 millions will always be our home, where we would head back in search for comfort.

Our guests often ask us for recommendations for Hanoi and it always takes us a long time and much energy to select what we love most about the city. There were just so much that we miss, especially for the restaurant and bar scene, in this town. And even though we always head separate ways for food whenever we are back in Hanoi these days (me straight to the familiar street food joints and Loic for the Vietnamese fusion picks in a nicer setting), we have finally settled on a list of our top choices for the city. And granted you would need to stay for a month to enjoy everything we love to the fullest, this would hopefully give you an idea for an introductory trip here.

LUNCH PICKS:

Quan An Ngon – 18 Phan Boi Chau: Vietnamese street food in a French colonial courtyard. Very good Vietnamese noodles and snacks at a very good price, you can try everything in one place!

Pho – 10 Ly Quoc Su St.: You cannot go to Vietnam without eating a bowl of pho, and there is no better place to do it than in Hanoi. We come here for breakfast sometimes and always have a good experience (good broth, quick service, clean setting)

Bun cha – 34 Hang Than St.: Popular bun cha (Vietnamese meatballs and noodle) place for the locals
Moose and Roo Smokehouse – 21 Hai Ba Trung St. (inside the American Club courtyard): A popular choice for the expats in Hanoi if you are craving for some great BBQ in a massive garden where the kids can run wild
Green Tangerine – 48 Hang Be St.: We love this French Vietnamese fusion restaurant in a beautiful colonial house tucked away in the Old Quarter. The set lunch menu is very reasonable if you want something different
Koto – 59 Van Mieu St.: Stop by Koto for a lovely Vietnamese lunch after you visit the Temple of Literature. This NGO-run teaching restaurant helps train many street youth for a career in Hospitality
DINNER CHOICES:
La Badiane – 10 Nam Ngu St.: By far the best fine dining restaurant in the city with beautiful settings. We often come here for anniversary or special occasions!
Cau Go Restaurant – 73 Cau Go St.: Great Vietnamese restaurant with great view of Hoan Kiem Lake, you would have to make reservation in advance through their website to enjoy at this Vietnamese fine dining restaurant
Cua hang an uong Mau dich so 37 (State-Run Food Shop No. 37) – 37 Nam Trang, Tay Ho District – A hidden restaurant that offers a sneak peak into the government’s economic reform ‘doi moi’ period. Think whitewashed walls hung with battered enamel lunch pails and a transistor radio emitting crackly period tunes, the restaurant is Van Anh’s favorite for northern home-style dishes that cannot be found much outside of Vietnamese homes
Le Jardin French Bistro – 54 Quang An, Tay Ho District: One of the best French, European restaurants in Hanoi with great view of the West Lake. Don’t forget to leave room for the delicious lavender creme brulee!
The Fat Pig – 74 Quang An, Tay Ho District: For those of you who are craving some taste of home, this craft brews and awesome BBQ has great view of West lake and delicious food to match the view
Cousins – 3 Quang Ba, Tay Ho District: Voted best restaurant in Hanoi within the expat community, this hidden treasure offers a nice escape from the intensity of downtown with delicious homemade international food
Pepe La Poule – 22 Quang Khanh St., Tay Ho District: An awesome rooftop expat restaurant with Japanese French fusion dishes that will not disappoint you. Our favorite place for a romantic date night for sure
COCKTAIL HOURS:
Metropole Hotel – French Quarter: A great place for people watching and amazing cocktails. Take a table on the verandah facing the street and enjoy the view of Vietnamese brides and grooms queuing in line for their wedding pictures. Don’t forget to take a tour of the hotel afterward and see which celebrities have been here in the past. The Metropole’s famous Sunday brunch is also a treat for you and the family for sure
– Barbetta – 34C Cao Ba Quat St.: This funky bar near the Temple of Literature offers a combination of retro-chic decor, cheap drinks and food, and a rustic rooftop bar. Try Loic’s favorite: the Russian green tea martini and let us know what you think
88 Lounge: 88 Xuan Dieu St.: This well-designed wine bar is where we spent 3 nights out of every week drinking with our expat friends. That should tell you enough about the place
CHIC CAFES:
Vui Studio – 3C Tong Duy Tan: An open cafe dedicated to showcasing the contemporary aesthetics and craftsmanship of Vietnam with lovely music and nice drinks. Check out some of their creative Gin Tonic if you happen to be there during happy hours!
La Place – 6 Au Trieu St.: With undoubtedly the best view of Hanoi’s iconic cathedral, this little hidden cafe offers fresh juices and drinks for you to enjoy some great people-watching
LATE-NIGHT PARTIES:
1900 Le Theatre – 8B Ta Hien St.: Nestled at the heart of the Old Quarter on bia hoi street, the hottest club in town was converted from an old theater. Nice design, good vibe, dope clientele and civilized music are the things to be expected here.
Let us know if you have any other favorites and we will make sure to check it out and add it to our list! Enjoy Hanoi!!

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