Cafe Central An Dong
Add: Windsor Plaza Hotel, 18 An Duong Vuong Str, Cho Lon, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 833 6688
Fax: (08) 833 6888
Located in the Windsor Plaza Hotel, this Cafe-cum-bar is one of the rare places in the city where food is available 24 hours. The generic coffee shop decor is forgiven when one is presented with the superb international buffet featuring more than 50 dishes. The price goes down on weekends, and the set lunch is a mere US$5.
Bun Cha Hanoi
Add: 26/1 Le Thanh Ton St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 827 5843
A unique Hanoi-style barbecue dish, bun cha consists of grilled pork served along with a dish of vegetables, typically lettuce, bean sprouts, and cucumber, as well as portion of rice vermicelli. A typical establishment of its sort, this very popular but unadorned eatery is furnished with tiny tables and chairs that fill up as soon as they are vacated.
Mi Keo Soi Trung Hoa
Add: 86 Bis Le Thanh Ton St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 827 4407
Fax: (08) 8274408
A popular place with both expatriates and locals for lunch and diner, the delicious noodles at Mi Keo Soi Trung Hoa are freshly made by hand in full view of diners, and served with grilled pork and a bowl of broth. Side dished include spring rolls, dumplings, and a variety of dim sum. The simple decor does not distract from the food.
Original Bodhi Tree
Add: 175/4 Pham Ngu Lao Str, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 837 1910
Fax: (08) 837 1238
Down a little side street known as “Pagoda Alley,” Original Bodhi Tree is one of the best-known vegetarian restaurants in the city, and is frequented by a clientele of foreigners. The Vietnamese menu is enlivened with a bit of Italian and Mexican. The paintings on the walls are for sale, and the proceeds go to benefit poor children.
Add: 5 Nguyen Thiep Str, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 822 6278
Fax: (08) 821 7244
Vietnam’s quintessential street food has been taken indoors, cleaned up, and air conditioned at Pho 24. The restaurant claims to earn its name from “24 ingredients and 24 hours of preparing the choicest beef” to make the nourishing pho soup. Chicken, fish, and vegetarian pho are also available.
Add: 176 Bui Vien St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 836 0176
A purveyor of European-style pastries, bagels, chocolate-chip cookies, and coffee, sozo doubles as a training facility for local street children. To help them out of poverty and helplessness, children and young people are tought to bake, balance the books, and conducts all the tasks necessary to run a business. Free wi-fi service.
Add: 185/22 Pham Ngu Lao St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 836 7397
Down a narrow alley off the main street, Asian Kitchen is a well priced little restaurant, with a pleasant beach-style decor. It specializes in a wide range of Vietnamese dishes. Pork cooked in a clay pot is the signature dish, and an array of vegetarian options are also available. A great selection of American hit songs of the 1950s and 60s to listen to.
Add: 13 Phan Van Dat St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 829 2055
Operated by an American expert and his Vietnamese wife, Black Cat is the best marriage of the two culinary cultures in town. The walls are papered with images of Vietnamese cities and towns. The menu is full of spicy Vietnamese-style food as well as Western Sandwiches and soups. The full bar serves the tallest gin and tonic anywhere in town.
Bo Tung Xeo
Add: 31 Ly Tu Trong St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 825 1330
Set in a beer garden-like setting, this is one of the most enduring and festive eateries in town. It gets its name from the house specialty, bo tung xeo – barbecued beef dish. A brazier is brought to the table and patrons cook their own beef on it, a very enjoyable ritual. The Hanoi-style fried fish and fresh dill preparation, Cha Ca is also served.
Add: 15/17 Phan Van Dat St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 822 6178
One of the few air-conditioned restaurants in the area, the decor of the Red Dot recalls an Italian piazza, complete with a playing fountain. Several restaurants claim Mexican flavor, but this is one of the rare few with any authority and authenticity. Great tortillas, enchiladas, and of course, burritos. The fish tacos are especially good.
Tan Hai Van
Add: 162 Nguyen Trai st, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 839 9617
This happening Chinese restaurant is a magnet for the hip young people of Ho Chi Minh City who flock here in great numbers to enjoy the matchless dim sums. The more exotic options on the menu include crunchy, fried duck tongues and shark fin soup. The outside tables are buzzing when most other places are closed.
Wrap and Roll
Add: 62 Hai Ba Trung St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 823 4030
Fax: (08) 823 4029
At Wrap and Roll diners can create their own meal at their table. All dishes except soups are brought to the table “disassembled.” Patrons take the meat, fish, vegetables, and herbs of their choice and wrap them into rolls of rice paper. Dipping sauces and good wines complete the meal.
Add: 123 Le Loi St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 914 2184
Fax: (08) 914 2183
A bit of New Orleans in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, the spare decor belies the quality of food in this homage to the cuisine of the Mississippi Delta. Cajun and Tex Mex favorites dominate the menu, including the jambalaya, gumbo, baby back ribs, steaks, fajitas, buffalo wings, and an-all-you-can eat salad bar. Good selection of imported beers.
Add: 30 Dong Khoi St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 829 1364
Fax: (08) 824 7708
Serving classic Vietnamese dishes, the interestingly decorated Cool Saigon lives up to its name. The bottom level represents a Vietnamese village, complete with an in-house creek and waterwheel, while the second floor is a more formal dining room. Dishes include sumptuous spring rolls, grilled meats, and a variety of noodle dishes.
Add: 111 Bui Vien St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 920 4989
Fax: (08) 836 0568
One of the few places in the Pham Ngu Lao backpacker area offering genuine-tasting western food, Pepperoni’s is widely regarded as providing the best pizza, pasta, and barbecued ribs in town, Pepperoni’s also hosts a fine buffet of Italian specialties, fresh salads, hamburgers, and Vietnamese snacks. There is even a decent wine list.
Add: 93-95 Dong Khoi St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 829 1623
Fax: (08) 829 7286
Vietnam House is the place to go for traditional Vietnamese delicacies in an atmosphere of French-inspired elegance. Spread across three floors, the best tables are on the street level, where the visitors can watch the city go by as they tuck into crisp spring rolls. Enjoy a cocktail with great music playing in the background.
Xu Restaurant and Lounge
Add: 71-75 Hai Ba Trung St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 824 8468
Fax: (08) 824 8469
An ultra-modern space with an attached bar/lounge, Xu features cushy low-lying seats, subtle lighting, and a range of exotic cocktails. The fare is “New Vietnamese,” which is classic Vietnamese preparations such as wrap and rolls served with a bit of European or California Flair. Service is excellent and the wine list extensive.
Add: Bach Dang pier at foot of Nguyen Hue St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (090) 880 0775
The best and newest of four floating restaurants that take guests on a nightly diner cruise on the Saigon River. The food is both Western and Vietnamese, served buffet style. There is always seafood in both styles, German sausages with mustard, Vietnamese noodles, as well as a fine wine list. Dancing every night to the live band.
Add: 16 Cao Ba Quat St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 824 3148
Fax: (08) 823 2828
This stylish Camargue is set in a restored French-colonial villa, and the best place to dine here is on its picturesque open-air terrace above the main bar. Oysters, cheese, and wine are flown in daily from Paris, and steaks, roasts, and seafood dominate the menu. All dishes are prepared in classic French style, with the saucier’s art much in evidence.
Add: 13-17 Dong Khoi St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 829 6676
One of the oldest restaurants in town, Maxim’s goes back to the French-colonial era. The elegant formal dining room surrounds a stage on three sides where a string quartet plays most nights. Western classical and cabaret performances also take place occasionally. The food is mainly classic Vietnamese served with flair.
Add: 103 Vo Van Tan St, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 930 4839
Fax: (08) 930 4125
One in a chain of a growing number of Indian restaurants, covering both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. All the usual North Indian suspects are on the menu, including flat breads, kebab meats grilled in a tandoor or clay oven, as well as vegetarian specialties. These spicy treats can be washed down with chilled beer.
Add: 13 Ton That Thiep St, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 821 2920
One of the more popular of the several Thai restaurants in town, Mai Thai is richly decorated in colorful Thai fabrics. Adding to its cheerful ambience. With one of the best-priced menus to be had in District 3 , the tasty set lunch is an especially good bargain. The friendly staff helps the place get unusually high marks for service.
Add: 206 Pasteur St, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 825 1142
Fax: (08) 823 1468
This restaurant lives up to its name and is popular with expatriates. The ribs, steaks, and brisket combos arrive in huge portions, while side orders such as corn on the cob, french fries, coleslaw, and BBQ beans could also make a meal. Inside, the spare decor is bright and airy and out on the patio, it is downright festive.
Au Lac Do Brazil
Add: 238 Pasteur St, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 820 7157
Fax: (08) 820 7682
High ceilings, tile-work, and starched while table linen add an atmosphere Brazilian touch to this restaurant specializing in red-meat preparations. The piece de resistance is Churrasco, piles of roasted and grilled meats, which are brought to the table on the skewers and spits, and carved by staff wielding flashing, sword-like blades.
Add: 251 Dao Duy Tu St, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 853 2182
Nothing much to look at from the outside, Anh Thien is a little hideaway which claims to have the juiciest beef steak in the city. Many people seek out this eatery when they crave a juicy steak at a very low price. The meat is cooked in the kitchen, and is then set on a sizzling platter with grilled onions and pats of butter. Simple but delicious.