maliusmaximus (elite user)
maliusmaximus on Bia Minh
January 16th, 2007 at 11:57 pm

One of the cheapest and best places to eat in the old quarter. Staff are friendly. The food is good and very well priced. The coffee comes in big cups. The menu is diverse. Its a great place to frequent.

grubby on Impression Hotel
January 12th, 2007 at 7:01 am

On the plus side: high ceilings and a great location in the heart of the gourmet district.

On the other side: the "standard" room has no windows, smells like an ashtray, has ill-fitting doors and dark brown carpets, with underneath everything that familiar Soviet ambiance so characteristic of Vietnamese hotels from the bad old days.

They do have wireless internet as advertised, and it is facilitating this review, but for $25 / night I expected more than 1 tiny bath towel, particularly since I reserved for 2 people, and the soap and toothpaste kit are more suitable for mice than for men. Come on people, soap costs nothing. Live a little.

I think if you're in the market for a mid-range hotel, you could do much better than this place for the money.

Oh, and: no elevator.

vinaman on Megastar Cinema
January 8th, 2007 at 6:26 pm

The first week after arriving in Vietnam about 6 years ago, I asked my friends where the decent cinemas are. Well... Here it is. Fully equipped with the latest and greatest, you feel like you are back home in a genuine cineplex. The show fairly recent movies - far speedier than in the past and the best thing is NO VOICE OVER! That's right, everything is subtitles to avoid the annoying voice narrating the story. I am now a regular there almost every week and I can't recommend it enough to anyone. I never need to fly to Bangkok to catch a movie anymore.

Ampoliros on Pepperoni's (Giang Vo)
January 5th, 2007 at 12:23 am

This is the place you go to if you really need a decent Fastfood-Fix. There's an All-You-Can-Eat-Spaghetti-Offer from 11.30 AM to 01.30 PM.

Basicaly you waltz into the place, eat as much Spaghetti, Lasagne, Salad etc. you can possibly stomach (and often more), pay 32.000 VND and crawl out again.

The food is not terrific but the price is.
Watch yourself tank up on the grease and then spend the rest of the day without even thinking about food - a real bargain.

Ampoliros on Dragonfly
January 5th, 2007 at 12:11 am

An 'okeyes' kind of place on the more enjoyable side of lukewarm. It may not inspire passion but still is a decent place to go for a few rounds of tablesoccer or snooker. You can have the usual budget beer (Halida) for 15.000 VND or aim higher for some decent cocktails at 40.000 the glass. No Pangalactic Gargleblasters sadly but some tasty White Russians. Other than that I find the music downstairs kind of limited in its variation. Upstairs right you can DJ yourself. A computer allows you to sample in your own music wishes which is nice though the collection you can chose from is really not that great.

All in all : the 2006 "Okeyes....Very Goods, Very Cheaps" - Award.

Ampoliros on Le Maquis
January 4th, 2007 at 11:58 pm

Ye f===ing Gods! I've been a most passionate 'Les Maquis'-addict these last months and left for Laos in november. I come back and find this once grooving Bar in a state of complete suckage. They've totaly destroyed the once individual & magical atmosphere of the place and replaced it with a bad copy of the Dragonfly. What gives?

No more Loft. No more nice fotographs of nostalgic times past on the walls. No more Weirdness, no more Mystique. Instead barren walls, painted in something altogether more ugly than red. Upstairs is a cold room, with a way too high ceiling and totaly dead vibe.

And last but not least : No more Shee-Shas.

Honestly, this has been the worst renovation I've ever seen. $$$ spent on making things terrible. I've been there 4 times since and found the place utterly deserted. Now either they up their act or I very much fear the 'les Maquis' will have a rendezvous with a bulldozer soon.

granteralus (elite user)
granteralus on Hanoi Star Bowl
January 3rd, 2007 at 6:00 pm

This is a fun place, but don't plan on leaving without a headache. The music is loud and horrendous. If there aren't many locals there, you can persuade them to play one of your own cd's, so bring one or two.
And don't buy any food. I've been to several good restaurants hardly more than a block away. They do have quite a few cute waitresses delivering cold beer to the lanes though. One peculiar thing... they have about 300 bowling balls, but only four or five different sizes. Get there early if you have big hands.

granteralus (elite user)
granteralus on Cosmos
January 3rd, 2007 at 5:51 pm

Four words. Slow motion replay cameras. Yes!

mikeys on Dragonfly
December 16th, 2006 at 3:00 pm

Its loud and mainly full late at night during the end of the week. If you want to dance to loud music and not have to communicate with any one. This is a good place for you..Make sure you bring plenty of Money...It can be a little hexy.

mikeys on Amazon Bar
December 16th, 2006 at 2:51 pm

Much nicer than the old one...Foods not bad..Beers are cold and probly some of the only cocktails you'll get that are actually full strength and mixed correctly....All in all..If you want a nice relaxed place with a great open atmosphere and nice drinks at a reasonable price and. I would highly recommend this place.

melbimby on Bia Minh
December 10th, 2006 at 2:47 pm

I have eaten at Bia Minh so many times I have lost count. The food is good and cheap, the staff are friendly and trade English lessons for Vietnamese lessons. You can sit on the upstairs balcony watching the world go by, especially on a hot afternoon enjoying one of their icy cold drinks. They serve good Vietnamese and Western food and have a huge menu so you should be able to find something to take your fancy!

granteralus (elite user)
granteralus on Minh's Jazz Club
December 9th, 2006 at 12:57 pm

One word. VENTILATION. I understand that a little smoke adds to the ambience of every decent jazz scene, but this place is out of control. If you don't smoke, you're not going to be comfortable here. My eyes hurt so bad that I couldn't bother to pay attention to any of the music or conversation at my table.
That being said, the music was enjoyable for the first ten or fifteen minutes, right up until I had the sensation of someone squirting jalepeno juice into my eyes.

omih on The Hub Pub
November 16th, 2006 at 11:02 pm

Nice people eager to please and trying to make you evening as pleasant as possible.

The roof especially is a beautiful setting. I'd love to see this place build a big crowd because they've got a great place here.

I also haven't tried the food. Didn't seem like that kind of place. But had a great evening there.

omih on R&R Tavern
November 16th, 2006 at 9:54 pm

Love it. Still the best burger in town (ie they don't put fecking beetroot in it).

Kind of easy and laid back and the chilli is great too. Good spicy stuff, bland as Tex Mex stuff can be in this town.

It's great that they let their backroom be used my local musos - not so great when you have both the stereo playing and a band.

Oh and the fish and chips is huge. Honestly even the small one.

omih on Le Petit Bruxelles
November 16th, 2006 at 9:43 pm

Love it. Somehow manages to serve all the types of food that I miss the most when I'm in Hanoi.

I mean, big chunks of beef in beer. Lots of cheeses and the like. Great food - real depth of flavour.

Honestly you won't realise you're missing half the things they sell until you go there.

Not the cheapest but decent value for what you get. Tastewise it beats a lot of places more expensive than this.

nakji on Puku
November 14th, 2006 at 12:15 pm

When you walk in here for the first time, the smell will remind you of that awesome place you used to go when you were in university. I can't define exactly what it is - frying garlic mixed with baking muffins, and freshly roasted coffee. It smells like home. The menu has an assortment of sandwiches and comfort foods like bangers and mash. Teas and juices are also on offer. I feel like they fall down a little on the coffee - for instance cafe sua da is offered hot, with ice on the side - but maybe the point is that they don't do Vietnamese style coffee...nevertheless, my espressos there rarely have a decent crema on top.

Okay, but the point is not the coffee, I guess. Fresh baked cookies from the oven. Carrot cake. Eggs benedict with real hollandaise. Bangers with proper brown gravy. I haven't had a miss there on the food yet.

The real charm of this place, though, is the space. Two floors filled with natural light, comfy sofas and wifi, every time I go, almost all of the seats are filled with happy people napping, surfing, reading, or just lounging, like happy cats. It's hard to find a seat on Sunday, but it's where you want to be, so you're happy to share a big table and sofa with strangers.

nakji on Dan's
November 14th, 2006 at 12:01 pm

I don't understand the popularity of this place. I'm always disappointed with everything I order here. The steakburger is a pallid, thin piece of overcooked meat on a sad little bun. Their lasagne is straight out of the freezer, and unpleasantly goopy. They never remember to give forks or tomato sauce when you order for delivery, and once I ordered fried rice -they threw it in the styrofoam container right away, and it melted through and spilled half the contents into the plastic bag. When I pointed it out to the delivery guy, he just shrugged. Nevertheless, it's always busy. I don't get it.

nakji on Bia Minh
November 14th, 2006 at 11:55 am

Cheap and cheerful! Great Vietnamese dishes, cold beer, and if you get there while they still have Halida on tap, incredibly cheap. A fun place to sit on the patio and watch the backpackers schlump by. Even better for watching the chaos caused in traffic when the dump trucks come to clear out the market garbage at night. Even if you've only been once or twice, Minh remembers your face. I always take visitors here.

nakji on Au Delice
November 14th, 2006 at 11:50 am

The lunch set here is good value, as you get three courses for 69,000. The food was good, but unimaginative - I ordered a goat-cheese salad as a starter, and it was the same as the side salad with the main dish. They even forgot to put the goat cheese on, so I sent it back. I also had to send back my main course, as I had ordered a steak and sundried tomato wrap. I got a steak frites. Fearing I'd be charged for a more expensive dish, I sent it back. The waitress blamed it on a miscommunication in the kitchen. When she brought it back to the kitchen, I could hear her bollocking the kitchen staff in Vietnamese. Amusing, but it did nothing for the atmosphere. The same steak came back, wrapped loosely in nem wrappers, wrapped around some sundried tomatoes, and deep-fried to leather consistency.

My husband's duck was fine, though, although his asparagus salad was the same as the goat cheese salad...

The atmosphere was empty and echoing at lunch. Service was a definite miss the day I was there.

nakji on Khazaana Indian Halal Restaurant
November 14th, 2006 at 11:37 am

Their Thali is one of the best deals in town, as you get two full curries when you get delivery. Feeds two (well - in some houses).

Their in-house is great, too. I believe they're also halal. A hard thing to find in Hanoi.