September 15th, 2006 at 4:42 pm
This place is fantastic. One of my top 5 favorite restaurants in Hanoi. The menu is quite large, but not scattered. Many restaurants with huge menus somehow manage to not get a single one of their 200 dishes right. Not these guys. They know what they're doing.
My advice... take a few friends, sit upstairs in the little open-aired bamboo huts, and order a variety of courses for the group. Be sure to order the catfish spring rolls. They've got just a hint of wasabi, and they're spectacular.
A nice portion of their menu is devoted to specialty wines, which if my memory serves me correctly, are hand-crafted just for Highway 4. I've tried the lychee, raspberry, and a couple others. A little syrupy, but delicious and fairly strong. Two small bottles had me and my date rolling around and laughing in no time.
Anyway, enough of this. Go check the place out for yourself. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
September 13th, 2006 at 12:47 pm
You'll have to excuse me for waxing a bit lyrical about this place as I'm still picking tasty morsels out of my teeth from this morning's breakfast...
There's so much fish and bánh đa in this soup there's barely room for water, but the soup there is is heavenly. Crispy fried pieces of small fish are the bulk of the meat, but there's also a chewy flat fish cake (chả cá) and a fried slice of fish with minimal bone.
You can choose your favorite noodle to bulk out the meal - I always have bánh đa (brown flat noodles), but they also have bún and bánh đa trắng.
There's a small selection of medicinal ricewine, the usual foul stuff that does your body good, and decent ice tea.
The best thing about this place is the atmosphere created by the owner and her two young helpers. The boss is very calm and soft-spoken, and the two girls she has employed for as long as I've been going here are polite, efficient and happy.
Seeing the size of me, they offer me a slightly larger portion (8,000 as opposed to 7), but after I raised a fuss at being treated differently they always ask me which I want. Invariably I want more crispy fish.
Perhaps the msot objective praise I can offer this place is to note that the highway patrol cops with their 250cc motorbike often eat lunch here. They order plates of fish with lashings of ricewine.
As with most of the tastiest joints in Hanoi, cleanliness is not a strong point here - but I've never had any worse effects than a strong desire to return and eat more.
September 13th, 2006 at 1:56 am
Enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of classic elegance and fine service in one of Asia's most
historically significant hotels.
Expensive but truly worth a visit.
BTW, congratulations to the producers of this excellent and informative website. Certainly among the best sites on Viet Nam for ex-pats and visitors alike.
Suggestion:Why not add a map ( interactive if possible) to round out the information provided?
September 12th, 2006 at 8:32 pm
Definitely one of the better places in town to play darts. The pockets on the billiards table seem about twice the size of any others in town, but amazingly did not improve my game.
The prices are a little bit higher than several pubs in town, but their amenities help make up for it. Large flat-screen tv, nice game room, hot waitresses who like to play 8-ball, etc...
September 12th, 2006 at 8:22 pm
The coffee is decent. Great location. However, I ordered a piece of cake that ended up being as hard as a rock. When I complained about it, they just stared blankly. Thinking there might have been a language barrier, I started tapping my fork on the cake. The loud clanking noise evoked chuckles from them, but not a refund. I finally convinced them to pour some chocolate syrup on the cake for me, but I was still unable to choke it down.
Stay away from most of their deserts kept behind glass. If that's the kind of thing you're looking for, visit one of Hanoi's countless bakeries.
September 12th, 2006 at 4:27 pm
(seconding Steve) - indeed. The staff, including the motorbike-keeper Chien, who holds court on a mat in the street until all motorbikes are accounted for, are the main reason this place has such a cozy feel, I think.
It's changed a bit since the departure of Mao (previous manager, departed in mysterious circumstances), and largely for the better, despite losing Mao's charisma.
I'm not sure how they could change the decor - it's currently quite comfortable, but perhaps change is necessary to keep things fresh.
Certainly, they could do with a music update. One gets tired of hearing oldies constantly.
All in all, the Noodle remains the default for late night sessions.
September 11th, 2006 at 9:39 pm
In need of a face-lift, this little spot is an absolute must for those LATE LATE nights. The staff especially Luan is a wonderful chap. Remembered my name after not seeing me for 8 months..nice one!
If you looking for that 'authentic' drinking in the heart of the city, then look no further.
Carol on Balcony Bar
September 11th, 2006 at 6:12 am
When I was in Hanoi with a few friends for two nights, I had the fortunate opportunity of stumbling upon the delightful Balcony Bar! Even though I didn't venture out onto the balcony, my experience inside the bar was more than pleasant. The staff was amicable and attentive and the prices were very reasonable. There was also wide variety of drinks to choose from so the night was never dull. Although the space was small, the atmosphere was still very enjoyable. The crowd there was not large so the bar perfectly accomodated everyone. I also had the good fortune to meet one of the owners of the bar, Zaki. Being a fan of house music, I hope to one day see a preformance. I would like to congratulate him and his co-owners for opening up such a convivial and welcoming bar. The Balcony Bar is highly recomended if one has the opportunity of traveling to Hanoi.
September 11th, 2006 at 12:45 am
A very enjoyable place. You can sip fine Spanish wines, have some interesting snacks or dine in this really beautiful part of the city.The restaurant was a bit crowded ( Saturday night )but the service was prompt. Last there a year or two back. Seemed to be a favourite with ex-pats of various nationalities. Prices were above average
but worth it.
September 11th, 2006 at 12:32 am
I agree with the brief introductory comments under the listing for Hoa Sua. It's a fine place with good food, good value and the customer-patrons
help support a great cause.
The setting is a nicely restored old French villa creating a pleasant dining experience.We attended a small dinner on the second floor held in what a believe may have previously served as library or study. The staff is wonderful; truly eager to please the customer.
September 9th, 2006 at 11:45 am
A beautiful place, excellent service and the finest Vietnamese buffet I've ever eaten. The price is moderate but the value is outstanding.
Last there a couple of years ago for a return visit and still have excellent memories of the outstanding cuisine and classic setting.
One of the best restaurants of its type.
September 9th, 2006 at 11:10 am
The music can be a bit loud but the selection is varied and the crowd once was fun.
Incredible energy on the dance floor when the place is jumpin'(about 11:00 pm).
I generally prefer a quiet venue, but when I want to party, AN once was my first choice in Ha Noi.
Things sure ain't what they used to be.
September 7th, 2006 at 7:39 pm
Really? My experience is totally different. It was on my girlfriend's birthday. We really enjoyed the food there, especially the stir-fried dishes with fresh fruit. I don't understand much about restaurant but why don't you try seasonal mocktail then the fresh fruit is available,try mango. Strawberry season already's gone.