It’s no secret that we here at IDEAL love pho. We’ve caused our fair share of debates in the pub decreeing it the best noodle dish in the world and decrying anyone who didn’t agree. We love bun cha too. Oh, and hu tieu. The thought of a proper breakfast banh mi has got us salivating over our keyboard as we type this and we’d do almost anything for fresh banh cuon. The list goes on and gets no less appealing.
We don’t think there’s any shame though, in admitting to craving something not from the Vietnamese repertoire from time to time. If you’re visiting the capital, you’ve likely been knee deep in pho. For those who find themselves in deep need of something more stodgy, cheesy and bloat-inducing, we’re here to help. So, here are our favourites when you fancy a change; our 10 IDEAL international restaurants in Hanoi.
Chops – Ideal for Burgers
As far as we’re concerned Chops does the best burgers in Hanoi. It manages to tick all the boxes of the ideal burger joint and employ all the right touches of flair, to rightfully steak a claim as the best of it kind in the Vietnamese capital. The burgers are so good and the meat, Australian imported and ground loosely to give a juicy texture, is noticeably superior. Relishes and accouterments are homemade and thoughtfully seasoned. There’s even locally brewed craft ales. That’s all you and Hanoi need from a local burger joint.
4 Quảng An, Tay Ho
56 Phạm Huy Thông, Ngoc Khanh
12 Hàng Bạc,Old Quarter
Pizza 4P’s – Ideal For Pizza and Pasta
The proposition initially seemed odd. A Japanese pizza and pasta joint, with a focus on Vietnamese farm to table ethos, and the making all the cheese inhouse. It works, though, it really does. So much so that a second outpost opened soon after the first, and there’s rumours of more in the making. You can go to 4Ps and stay on the straight and narrow; a simple margherita and a glass of red would see you on your way more than happy. But there’s also room for some serious experimentation; their pizza topped with fresh burrata is insane and the ‘Japanese Carbonara’, heavy on the seaweed, is equally brilliant. Their message is all about spreading the love (the name means For Peace) and we’re converted. We love this place. Dearly.
24 Lý Quốc Sư
43 Trang Tien
Ideal Alternative : An honoruable mention to Da Paolo. It’s not just the pizza that draws us here, though that’s not to say their wood-fired, authentic Neapolitan isn’t up there with the best in the city. It’s as much about the location and the view. Oh man, that view. You can take a seat on a deckchair out front, look out across the sprawling West Lake – 16km in diameter, if not more – and soak up both some rays and beverages while you eat. That is one of our favourite things to do in Hanoi, without doubt. The pasta is great too.
Address: No. 32, Quang Khanh, Tay Ho
Ky Y – Ideal for Sushi
Tucked away on Trieu Viet Vuong street in the heart of Hanoi’s French Quarter is Ky Y. It may look unassuming from the front – near impossible to find, even – but once you pass through the curtain and take your seat at the bar, you could have fallen right into a Japan. Businessmen from the motherland dine alone, reading Japanese newspapers and drinking sake from bottles labelled with their names on the shelf in true native fashion. The room is dimly lit and such an escape from the furore of the road outside. The ceremony of sushi is present, too; there’s respect for the art here and a calm, warm welcome to the place. A hidden gem, sure, and one which benefits from being relatively undiscovered.
Address: 166 Trieu Viet Vuong St
Namaste Hanoi – Ideal for Curry
Hanoi is home to a fair selection of decent curry houses and restaurants serving food from the Indian subcontinent, but the food at Namaste is the best we’ve tried. Sure, the room feels too large, too brightly lit and home to, frankly, a slightly odd atmosphere, but we can’t detract from the superb cooking here. Their dosas are enormous and superbly light, samosas properly generous and headily spiced and, best of all, the mutton chop so rich and deep you could have a brilliant meal here on just the sauce alone. Service is erratic but we’re willing to overlook that for the food.
Address: 46 Thợ Nhuộm, Trần Hưng Đạo
Ideal Alternative: If you find yourself in the vicinity of Truc Bach lake, you could do alot worse than giving Food Shop 45 a go. The curries are finely spiced and generous, and the room, with its floor to ceiling open-fronted window, is airy and pleasant.
Address: 59 Trúc Bạch, Ba Đình, Hà Nội
Nan N Kebab – Ideal for Middle Eastern food
A spot you could easily miss on the popular, expat friendly Xuan Dieu street, but one you’d do well to look harder for. Once you find the entrance, you descend a wooden staircase into a large seating area decorated with much foliage, creating an oasis-of-calm ambience from which to enjoy their cracking Middle Eastern and Pakistani food. This place is great at the veggie stuff and their lunch deal of a kebab wrapped in na’an, plus a drink, for under 5 dollars is an absolute snip.
Address: 49 Xuân Diệu, Quảng An
French Grill – Ideal for French food
The French Grill ain’t cheap but for a special occasion, it’s the closest that Hanoi has to fine dining. It’s a bit out of the way – a good half hour from the centre – but those who make the journey are rewarded with precise cooking of premium ingredients and a sophisticated atmosphere to match. There’s foie gras, pigeon en croute and iberico ham; all stuff you wouldn’t cook at home or find easily in Hanoi, and that’s the point isn’t it?
Address: 8 Do Duc Duc, Me Tri, South Tu Liem
The Moose and Roo – Ideal for Pub Grub
The Moose and Roo is something of an Old Quarter institution, and their second ‘Smokehouse’ branch is equally as great. It’s all pub classics and pints in the downtown version, the perfect option when you need a break from the super-light Vietnamese fare. Pies and steaks take centre stage, and bangers’n’mash a real treat too. They’re also really proud of their whiskey, and with good reason; there’s over 50 varieties on offer here.
Address: 42 Mã Mây, Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm
Anita’s Cantina – Ideal for Mexican
Being Hanoi’s most expat heavy area, West Lake is home to a huge variety of international food options. A new addition to Hanoi’s Mexican dining scene may not have been particularly pressing, but hey; sometimes you don’t know you need something until it arrives. Anita’s Cantina is a jovial spot, full of tequilas being slammed and guacamole scooped; you feel equally at home here having a quick beer and some nachos as sitting down for a full blown feast; burritos, quesadillas, refried beans and all.
Address: 36 Quảng Bá, Quận Tây Hồ
Facebook: Anita’s Cantina
Psst, Hey you Mexican food lover. If you’re after the best tacos in town head to Hanoi Taco Bar in the old quarter. You won’t be dissapointed.
Saint Honore – Ideal for Brunch
Hanoi is awash with great bakery and patisserie options, owing to its French colonial past. In our view Saint Honore takes the biscuit for brunch or a baguette. The croissants are buttery and flakey – as they should be – and cakes decadent and beautifully presented. Pop in here for a strong coffee and a pastry or crepe; the perfect brunch to set you up for a day’s sightseeing.
Address: 5 Xuân Diệu, Quảng An
Au Lac Do Brazil Restaurant – Ideal for a Meat Feast
Laying claim to being the first, authentic Churrascaria in Vietnam, Au Lac Do is all open flames, spitroasted meat and kebabs cut tableside by waiters wielding big swords. It’s a theatrical affair, and all the better for it. A place like this lives and dies by the quality of its meat and the produce here is marvellous; imported from Australia and Argentina. In true Churrascaria style, it’s all you can eat, with the turning over of the chip on your table a white flag of surrender to the onslaught of flesh. Just great.
Address: 25 Trần Bình Trọng, Trần Hưng Đạo