Hanoi’s Dining Hot Spots
T+L picks three new hot spots for eating—and drinking—in Vietnam’s capital. By AARON JOEL SANTOS
Published on Oct 18, 2011
This Hanoi downtown restaurant is a near-perfect blend of casual atmosphere and inventive, elegant cuisine. Owners Jason Tobin and Luu Tung maintain one of the best cocktail menus in the capital—try the spicy guava margarita—while Israeli-American chef Shahar Lubin rolls out stellar dishes like clams steamed with Hoegaarden and candied orange peel. For dessert, order the decadent chocolate-truffle tart with tahini anglaise. T+L Tip Mingle at the long, stainless-steel bar at street level, or head upstairs for a more intimate setting. 28 Tong Day Tan; +84 4 3398 1979; southgatehanoi.com; dinner for two VND900,000.
+ The Hanoi Social Club
Tucked away in the Old Quarter, this petite, shabby-chic café has swiftly made a name for its hip, laid-back vibe and vegetarian-friendly menu. The place also does a mean cappuccino, and offers magazines, newspapers, board games and card decks—just in case the conversation runs dry. The menu is both Mediterranean and Pan-Asian: roti wrap with couscous, mushrooms and coriander dip; mango curry with brown rice and cashews. T+L Tip Cool down with a lime-mint slushie amid young, fashionable Hanoians already in the know. 6 Hoi Vu; +84 4 3938 2117; lunch for two VND400,000.
+ Bar Betta
Imagine your eccentric packrat aunt filling her house with old records, gramophones, TV sets and other 60’s nostalgia, scattering paisley-printed chairs and wooden tables in all the rooms, then inviting you and your friends over for drinks and food. That pretty much sums up Bar Betta—minus the aunt. The kitsch is a crossover between American and French, and the food follows suit (bacon-egg-and-cheeseburgers; croque mesdames). But the space truly shines as a social drinking spot, with evening rooftop access and cozy indoor sitting areas. T+L Tip Just try to stump Tuong, the charismatic bartender, on cocktails both on and off the menu. 34C Cao Ba Quat; +84 4 3734 9134; lunch or dinner for two VND450,000.