With a city plan almost tailor-made for exploring, Hanoi will keep you busy for days on end but there's one thing you're going to enjoy most of all: discovering Hanoi's dining-out scene.
Local cuisine is fine and light with subtle flavours but that's not the only type of food available. Try fine dining at an international restaurant or go Mexican or even Italian. The choices are out there and all you have to do is discover them.
Chain restaurant Al Fresco's is a superb choice for family dining, serving up large portions of western fare. It's the place to go when you're tired of the lighter Vietnamese food and want something more substantial. The ribs and enchiladas are house specialties served in this casual friendly diner and the wine list is heavy on Australian and inexpensive South American reds. A children's menu is also available.
Opening Hours: 09:30-23:00
Location: 23 Hai Ba Trung Street, Hoan Kien District. 4th Floor, 402 Vincom Center, Long Bien.
98 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. 3 Truc Bach, Tay Ho, Hanoi plus several other outlets across Hanoi.
Tel: +844 3996 1986, +844 3826 7782, +844 3719 5322
Cuisine: International and Mexican
Au Lac House
Starched white table linen and attentive service are order of the day at this sophisticated old colonial house. Tables are dotted beneath high ceilings on which rest dishes including slow-cooked pork with salted fish and Viet satay; the perfect choice for sophisticated Vietnamese fare on a special occasion. Au Lac House is also open for lunch when snacks, sandwiches and pastries are served.
Opening Hours: 08:00-23:00
Location: 13 Tran Hung Dao, Hai Ba Trung District
Tel: +844 3933 3533
Bar 69 Bar and Restaurant
Set in a 300-year old two-storey wooden building, the menu is Vietnamese fare catering to Western palates. Portions are on the small side making them ideal for a pre-dinner snack and a drink rather than a full meal. Their specialty beef strips with lemon, chilli and salt sauce goes down a treat with a cold Saigon Beer. The restaurant hosts regular live Vietnamese chamber music nights.
Opening Hours: 09:00-23:00
Location: 69 Ma May Street in the heart of Hanoi's tourist district
Tel: +844 3926 0452
Situated out of town in the lakeside home of Chef and Restaurateur Bobby Chinn, the food served here is modern fusion combining organic Vietnamese ingredients with modern touches. Service is attentive at this award-winning eatery, the only place in Vietnam to receive the five-star Diamond Award. Signature dishes include filet mignon spring rolls and tamarind-glazed crab cake on chive flowers.
Opening Hours: 10:30 - 22:00
Location: 1 Ba Trieu Street
Tel: +844 934 8577 or +844 934 8578
Cuisine: Modern Fusion
Bun Cha serves authentic Vietnamese street food. Expect a menu packed with favourites including grilled pork patties, spring rolls, barbecued pork and lots of soup-based dishes. Downstairs can get very busy so head upstairs for more comfort.
Opening Hours: 09:00–22:00
Location: 1 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem District
Tel: +844 3828 5022
Cha Ca La Vong
Cha Ca La Vong in Hanoi's old quarter is rumoured to be one of Vietnam's oldest restaurants, first opening its doors over 100 years ago. Little has changed since then, particularly the menu which only offers grilled or fried fish. Grumpy wait staff members serve up these legendary specialities in this busy and sometimes overcrowded restaurant where Cha Ca is grilled on your table with turmeric and dill, accompanied with peanuts and noodles. Arrive early or expect to wait in a long line.
Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00
Location: 14 Chả Cá, Hoan Kiem
Tel: +844 825 3929
Cuisine: Fried fish
Across from the Sofitel Metropole, this classic bistro serves delectable Vietnamese food. The building is a retro-French mansion with lots of cosy romantic nooks and candlelit corners. Club Opera lists dragon cake pancakes, roast beef with honey, hot-pot specials and shrimp mousse on their extensive menu.
Opening Hours: 11:00-14:00 and 18:00-22:30
Location: 59 Ly Thai To Street
Tel: +844 382 4695
Le Cyclo Bar & Restaurant
A quirky eatery, Cyclo has a laugh at the city's many peddlers and bike-pushers by placing customers in the famous three-wheeled bicycle taxis. Packed full of atmosphere and fun with warm staff, the food is a mixture of culinary tastes including pizza, Peking duck, ribs and steak served somewhere in between French and Vietnamese flavours.
Opening Hours: 09:00-23:00
Location: 38 Duong Thanh, near the Hang Da Market
Tel: +844 828 6844
Cuisine: Vietnamese and French
Da Paulo Italian restaurant in the stunning West Lake area is run by the former manager of Luna d'Autunno. Da Paulo serves traditional Italian cuisine and is fast establishing itself as the place to go for local expatriates. Specializing in wood-fired pizzas, salads, risottos and pastas, it also does takeaways and deliveries. An interesting wine list features unusual choices of Italian labels.
Opening Hours: 10:00-23:00
Location: 18, Lane 50/59/17 Dang Thai Mai Street, Tay Ho District
Tel: +884 8585 1443
Don's is a unique dining experience packing a restaurant, lakeside bistro, deli, cigar den, 500-label wine cellar, rotating art gallery and rooftop oyster bar into one venue. Nova Scotia lobster is served four ways in the restaurant or you can go more casual and opt for a wood-fired pizza at the lakeside bistro. Menus change regularly to ensure the freshest local and imported produce is used.
Opening Hours: 08:30-24:00
Location: 16/27 Xuan Dieu st, Tay Ho District
Tel: +844 3719 2828
Considered by many to be Hanoi's most beautiful dining establishment, Emperor is set in a two-story pagoda-style villa decorated with fairy lights. Renowned as being a food lovers delight this elegant eatery offers clay pot dishes, fresh seafood delights including soft shell crab and a host of Hue specialties from a refined Vietnamese menu. Comfy sofas on the ground floor are a great place to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail in this sophisticated restaurant which is perfect for a romantic dinner.
Opening Hours: 11:00-14:00 and 18:00-10:30
Location: 18b Le Thanh Tong
Tel: +844 826 8801
Cuisine: Vietnamese - Hue specialties
KOTO (Know One Teach One)
KOTO is a great spot to meet friends for lunch or dinner with a fantastic atmosphere and a superb charitable programme in place. Amiable staff are young Vietnamese seeking to better themselves and move beyond shining shoes on the street. Food is mainly Vietnamese favourites including great soups with some international dishes offered; there are also two bar terraces if you just fancy a drink and a snack.
Opening Hours: 07:00-22:00
Location: 59 Van Mieu Street (Opposite the Temple of Literature). Dong Da District.
Tel: +844 474 70337
La Terrasse du Metropole
La Terrasse du Metropole has been something of a legend in Hanoi since it first opened its doors in 1911. It is a chic Parisian-style café serving light snacks and perfectly brewed coffees to patrons who want to sit back and watch the world go by. A saxophonist entertains most evenings.
Opening Hours: 11:00-14:00 and 16:00-22:00
Location: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, 15 Ngo Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District
Tel: +844 3826 6919
The restaurant of renowned Hanoi Chef Didier Corlou (of Sofitel Metropole fame) is located in a four-storey colonial-style mansion with diners having the experience of an open kitchen in a modern setting. Food reflects Corlou's passion for spices with a seasonal menu which often included pork braised on red wine sauce. There is also a roof top terrace with views across Hanoi.
Opening Hours: 11:30-14:00 and 18:00-22:00
Location: 19 Ngo Van So Street, Hoan Kiem District
Tel: +844 3944 6317
Cuisine: French and Vietnamese
Le Petit Bruxelles
Popular with expats, Le Petit Bruxelles delivers Belgian cuisine and Belgian beer in a refurbished colonial villa. Signature dishes include steak tartar, imported mussels, beef fondue with six sauces and beef stewed in Belgian beer. There is a special fixed price menu for lunch offering soup or starter and main course. Hoegaarden, Duval and Leffe are just some of the many Belgian beers available.
Opening Hours: 11:00-14:00 and 17:00-23:00
Location: 10 Alley 27 Xuan Dieu Tay Ho (right next to West Lake)
Tel: +844 3938 1769
Pane e Vino
Pane e Vino cooks up homemade pasta in a chic restaurant setting. A glass veranda and vast windows fill the restaurant with light with an upstairs balcony delivering views over the Old Quarter. There is a three-course set lunch menu, a wine shop and a superb value-for-money menu including plenty of pizza options.
Opening Hours: 07:30-23:00
Location: 3 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem District
Tel: +844 3826 9080
Pho 24 is a national treasure in Vietnam where your own creation of noodle soup is made simply by selecting menu options from a checklist. You choose the meat, broth, noodle type and whether you want mint, onion, chillies or limes. Pho 24 franchises are in operation across Vietnam taking street food inside in a clean, fun and informal environment.
Opening Hours: 07:00-22:00
Location: 191 Giang Vo Street. Dong Da District.
Tel: +844 3936 5259
Cuisine: Vietnamese Fast Food
Located just south of Hoan Kiem District, Wild Lotus exudes elegance. Lotus ponds, a reflecting pool, sky high ceilings, murals and a grotto dedicated to Buddha set a plush ambience that is complete with gourmet Vietnamese cooking. The restaurant is very detail-orientated and features lotus flowers on the tables and expensive Vietnamese art on the walls and the dishes here are equally attentive to detail. Made for couples or friends to share, the menu options feature delicate spices and sauces and include grilled fish and vegetable salads.
Opening Hours: 11:00-23:00
Location: 55a Nguyen Du Street. Hai Ba Trung District
Tel: +844 3943 9342
Cuisine: Modern Vietnamese.