Best Places To Eat In Saigon
Ho Chi Minh City is blessed with fantastic restaurants serving a combination of French, Chinese, and, of course, local Vietnamese cuisine. It is this confluence of food cultures that has made Vietnamese food famed around the world, and brings visitors flocking to sample Saigon’s many fabulous restaurants.
While street food and snack stalls are also an inextricable part of a Vietnamese dining experience, sometimes you need a fabulous restaurant that combines expertly prepared dishes with a pleasant ambiance, stunning views and diligent service. Our list of the 10 Best Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City has them all to varying degrees so you can rest assured they will provide a dining experience to remember.
NHA HANG NGON
Nha Hang Ngon is an endearingly popular restaurant serving a complete rundown of Vietnamese dishes in a restored colonial mansion. The menu is as big as a cookbook but all dishes are explained in English. Some might feel the restaurant lacks authenticity, but this is a great option for large groups who want to sample a wide range of Vietnamese food in pleasant surrounds. While this isn’t fine dining, the prices are such good value it is accessible for almost everyone.
Opening Hours: Daily 12:00 – 24:00
Address: 160 Pasteur St, District 1
Tel: +84 8 3827 7131
The Temple Club is a chic bar and restaurant that is on the itineraries of visiting stars and globetrotters. Located in a converted Chinese Temple in a small alleyway off Pasteur Street, it’s easiest to find by using Saigon Centre Shopping Mall as a landmark, and those that do make the effort will be rewarded with a richly decorated dining room serving Vietnamese fusion dishes and a cocktail lounge with skilled bartenders and tapas style accompaniments. For pure sophistication, The Temple Club is hard to beat.
Opening Hours: Daily 12:00 – 24:00
Address: 29-31 Ton That Thiep St, District 1.
Tel: Tel: +84 8 3829 9244
The Refinery Bar and Restaurant brings a touch of French charm to downtown Ho Chi Minh with a menu of French bistro favourites such as steak frites and creative salads. As a former opium factory, The Refinery is replete with genuine colonial fixtures and has a charming garden terrace that offers the perfect spot for soaking up the cosmopolitan ambiance over a couple of wines. This is popular restaurant is enclosed in a fashionable courtyard next to the Park Hyatt Hotel on Hai Ba Trung Street.
Opening Hours: 11:00 till late
Address: 74 Hai Ba Trung, District 1
Tel: +84 8 3823 0509
Lemongrass is a fine dining restaurant located in a narrow shophouse in District 1. Serving delectable Vietnamese dishes presented with French flair and providing guests with diligent service, this three floor restaurant is certainly one of Ho Chi Minh’s top restaurants. Choose from the sizeable range of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes on the a la carte menu or trust the chef and choose one of four set menus available at Lemongrass. Soft candlelight adds a touch of romance to proceedings, enhanced by the live music playing in the background. Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 – 22:30
Address: 4 Nguyen Thiep St., District 1.
Tel: Tel: +84 8 3822 4005
4Ps PIZZA SAIGON
This Japanese owned and operated pizza and pasta restaurant serves some of the best pizzas east of Napoli. 4Ps Pizza Saigon is an institution with Ho Chi Minh’s expat community serving stone-baked pizzas with inventive toppings that run from flower petals to teriyaki chicken. Despite the hard to find location down an alleyway behind The Sushi Bar on Le Thanh Ton Street, it gets packed on weekends and reservations are highly recommended. Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 23:00
Address: 8/15 Le Thanh Ton, Dist.1
Tel: Tel: +84 120 789 4444
Located in a former opium refinery, Hoa Tuc never disappoints. We’ve been there multiple times over four visits to Saigon, for both lunch and for dinner. There is lovely outdoor seating in an open courtyard, or indoor seating in a restaurant with hand-painted floral decor. There was a new mural being painted while we were there for lunch one day. Some of our favourite dishes include the fresh pan-fried tofu (đậu hũ trứng) and the chargrilled beef in betel leaves (bò lá lốt ) which is an entertaining roll-your-own dish – tricky initially, but soon mastered. I ordered the sticky rice ball soup for dessert one night (see the photo centre bottom row above) and despite my best efforts at selling it to the rest of The Fairlie Entourage I found no takers. Bonus. More for me. And if you want to learn how to recreate the dishes at home, the restaurant offers a cooking school (Saigon cooking class) and also runs some food tours of Saigon.
Address: 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, District 1
Phone: +84 8 3825 1676
EAT ON STREET
Cua lot – Soft Shell Crabs
Why: Because I dream about crustaceans smothered in a sweet and tart tamarind sauce every other night. Don’t forget to order a plate of glass noodles with hunks of fresh crab meat (mien xao cua). Tip: If it’s too hot downstairs, ask to be seated upstairs because its got A/C.
Where: Quan 94 (84 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, District 1)
Banh mi – Vietnamese Sandwiches
Why: Because they showcase French and Vietnamese fusion cuisine at its finest. Plus they’re quick, easy, cheap and delicious.
Where: For the classic cold cut sandwich with pate, mayo, cucumber spears and pickled veggies, head to any of the vendors spread throughout the city (look for the carts plastered with the Laughing Cow logo). Ask for banh mi thi nguoi. For the freshest bread selection, purchase one in the morning or evening.
Why: Because Vietnamese vegetarian fare sticks to familiar flavors and ingredients, and unlike scientifically derived products like Boca Burgers, the fresh vegetables and soy products employed at com chay restaurants are skillfully transformed into wholly satisfying delights.
Where: Huong Vien (101 Vuon Chuoi Street, District 3)—the xoi ga chay (sticky rice with “chicken”) is especially stellar and unbelievably similar to the meaty xoi man sold street side. Another winning dish is the banh hoi thit nuong (vermicelli noodle cakes topped with grilled “pork”). Giac Duc (492 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, District 3)—get the barbecued pork (thit heo quay). Pho Chay Nhu (54 Truong Quyen Street, District 3)—go for the com tam bi cha thit nuong and pho.
5. Com Tam Bi Cha Thit Nuong Trung Opla – Broken Rice with Three Types of Pork and a Fried Egg
Why: Because it contains pork prepared three beautiful ways. My favorite is the bi—a mixture of pork skin and meat. The fried egg (trung opla) on top is a must!
Where: Com Tam Moc (85 Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1), Com Tam Di Nam (253 Khanh Hoi Street, District 4)
Cha Gio – Vietnamese Egg Rolls
Why: Because the blistered wrappers and porky innards are a dynamic duo. Plus, let’s not kid ourselves, everything tastes better deep-fried! Don’t forget to wrap ’em in herbs and lettuce and dip ’em in nuoc mam.
Why: Because the meat’s marinade—fish sauce, sugar and lemongrass—is sensational. Whether paired with cold vermicelli noodles in bun thit nuong or tucked inside a baguette in banh mi thit nuong, Vietnamese-style charcoal grilled pork is tasty business.
Che Troi Nuoc – Tapioca Dumplings with Mung Bean Filling
Why: Because che—Vietnamese sweet soups—are a good pick-me-up mid-day when the sun beats down relentlessly. Also, it’s not every day one gets to enjoy a beany dessert! My favorite is che troi nuoc—tapioca orbs filled with mung bean paste and served soaked in coconut milk with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds. Che thap cam with coconut milk, beans, jellies and crushed ice is another great option.
Where: Che My (91 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, District 1)
Why: Because fraternizing with locals, taking shots of homemade brew, and eating fresh seafood is a sure-fire formula for a damn good evening. The grilled mussels with scallion oil and peanuts (chem chep nuong) are a must, as are the blood cockles sauteed in tamarind sauce (so huyet ran me).
Where: Be Oc (58/53 Vinh Khanh Street, District 4)
Banh Xeo – Vietnamese rice pancake
Why: Because bigger doesn’t always mean better. These Central Vietnam-style banh xeo are less than half the size of the southern ones, but are packed with lots more flavor and an addicting crunch. Bo la lot (beef wrapped in betel leaves) makes an ideal accompaniment.
Where: No Name (1 Bac Hai, District 10 – on the corner of Cach Mang Thang Tam and Bac Hai streets)