September 23rd, 2006 at 5:24 pm
I've eaten here several times over the space of 2 years, and until my latest visit I was always delighted with both the food and the service.
I have to say things were rather different this time.
The service was borderline incompetent (although smilingly so), and the food was dreadful.
Perhaps it was our choice of entrees - steak - that caused the problems. Mine came medium rare, as ordered, but the sauce had a burnt taste, and it was so salty I had to order another drink (which took 15 minutes to come).
My wife ordered her steak well done, and it took the kitchen 3 attempts to get anywhere near that. In the end she gave up and ate it as it was on its 3rd return from the kitchen.
I know this place is a training school, but I don't think that excuse goes this far.
I think perhaps it's best to stick with their Vietnamese dishes. In the past I've had good luck with those.
September 17th, 2006 at 11:00 am
I've been going here for the past ten years...and it's been around much longer than that...thirty or forty. It's quite famous, and very busy in the mornings. Very difficult to get a seat. It is delicious, truly Hanoian pho bo. The old lady who runs it can be a surly, old b***h, but she gets away with it because everybody knows she has the best noodles in the neighborhood. Don't take it personally if she asks you to pay before you get a seat. She does that to everybody.
September 16th, 2006 at 10:43 pm
This is goooood stuff!
Come for the pho. You'll come back for the pho.
Concern yourself not with anything else.
It's all about the pho.
If the place seems quiet at times, it's because the patrons are enjoying the really gooood food.
September 16th, 2006 at 3:30 am
The Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution is one of the most unique places I've been too in Ha Noi. There are fascinating exhibits and artifacts associated with important historical personages who keen observers will recognize from many key Ha Noi street names.
A most educational and informative place. Highly suggest a visit for ex-pats, travelers and serious students of Vietnamese history. Great to combine with a visit to the History Museum.
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.