"Although the humidity and haze of Hanoi is a million miles away from the chilly spring of central Europe, Hanoians can treat themselves to a taste of the Czech Republic at Hoa Vien Brauhaus restaurant, which just opened a new branch in the capital city. HCM City has been home to one branch of the Czech bar Hoa Vien since 2001 and Hanoi has had one for more than a decade. But that one was much smaller, located at 8 Ngoc Ha Street. The new building in Vietnam’s capital is much bigger and more modern. At the grand opening of the new building, I was allowed a sneak preview of the Czech bar and restaurant. It was packed with guests; Vietnamese people who had lived in the former Czechoslovakia and also many Czech nationals including Ambassador to Viet Nam Ivo Zdarek," writes Thanh Ha in The Vietnam News.
"With over 100 Western and Vietnamese meals on the menu, ABC Fast Food has something for everyone. And while the surroundings won’t leave you in awe, the prices will, says Jessica Gray. There are few restaurants I frequent here in Hanoi, but ABC Fast Food is one of them. With over 100 western and Vietnamese dishes, there’s always something new to eat at a reasonable price to boot. To start, I recommend trying the fried spring rolls. The crispy, bite-sized treats are an ABC speciality. I guarantee you’ll be wanting more as soon as they’re gone, a phenomena that usually happens in about five minutes," from the Vietnam News.
"When the Dong Son Drum Restaurant opened three months ago, people weren’t sure what to expect from an eatery filled with 2,000-year-old artefacts in the northwest corner of Hanoi. Beyond its ornate decorations and display cases is a highly professional staff and tasty treats from a one-of-a-kind restaurant, located on the second floor of a private museum. Owner Nguyen Dai Duong, who’s name means the ocean, is the son of a sailor. Also the owner of the New Century Club in downtown Hanoi, Duong said he opened Dong Son to showcase his collection of bronze drums made about 2,000 years ago in central Vietnam," writes Nguyen My Ha in The Vietnam News.
"I have a confession to make: for the first three months I lived in Hanoi, I didn’t especially like pho… But then I tried Pho Thin at 13 Lo Duc Street. After my first bite (slurp?), I knew this was not just any pho. It tasted entirely different from any I’d ever tried: the beef was lean and tender, the broth flavourful and aromatic. I dived into my bowl and ate until not a noodle remained. As I discovered on a subsequent visit to Pho Thin at 8.30am, I’m far from the only one who thinks this is the best pho around."
I’ll admit I used to think this way until I visited Saigon… since when I was converted/enlightened/brainwashed – take you pick. (UPDATE: Sticky Rice has the full skinny – see comments). I noticed one factual error in Julie Ginsberg‘s review and I’ve corrected the sentence. See below,
"We do business with our hearts," he said. "Our priority is pleasing our customers, not making money or spending so much as one measley little shilling of our money on doing this shit pit of a soup shack up or letting rentokill loose for an hour or two. No siree. You want comfort then you can bugger off to the Hilton."
"Tucked away on a side street west of West Lake is a little bar where the American War is remembered with a giant arsenal of memorabilia. Old military uniforms, antiquated army equipment and defused bombs are scattered around NoK Bar along with hundreds of other vintage objects from an era that is understandably still a sensitive topic in modern Vietnam. Visitors to Hanoi who are interested in local history and culture but shell-shocked after spending too much time in the Old Quarter’s tourist traps will find NoK to be a handy retreat," writes Michael Libucha for the Vietnam News.
“From February 10 to 25, the Tao-Li Restaurant in the Nikko Hotel will offer the best of Shanghai cuisine in honour of the Chinese Lunar New Year. The restaurant is on the second floor of the hotel, which is located on Tran Nhan Tong Street near Thong Nhat Park. The meal consists of eight succulent dishes featuring a wide selection of foods traditionally eaten during this holiday, ranging from exotic mushrooms and dried cranberries to birds’ nests. The menu was created by Tao-Li chef Qiang Feng from Shanghai. This is a unique culinary opportunity because many restaurants are instead focusing their attentions on specialties reserved for Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebration,” write Jessica Gray for The Vietnam News.
“Hanoi Pho Cafe follows a simple formula: high-quality ingredients, low prices and careful attention to detail. If the cafe’s packed tables are any indication, the formula works like a charm. Of course, there are other factors in the equation. One is the cafe’s beautiful decor. Fresh, stylish decorations use glass and high-energy colours to liven up the atmosphere. The expansive windows create optimum space and entertainment for people watchers. Personally, I go for a window seat on the second floor for a bird’s eye view of people hustling up and down Tran Nhan Tong Street,” writes Le Lan Huong for The Vietnam News.
“Mao’s Red Lounge is the comfortable warm sweater of Hanoi’s bar scene. Nestled in the heart of the old quarter on Ta Hien Street, the bar is an unpretentious, snug and comfy place to lounge, drink and be yourself. Like a trusty old sweater, it’ll keep you warm all night with a late closing time and friendly service. The bar staff here are hard-working but won’t hassle you with constant inquiries about whether you’d prefer a Carlsberg beer instead of the cheap Halida you’re drinking. Those looking to get freaky on the dance floor it’s best head to one of Hanoi’s few proper night clubs like New Century; those looking to impress their date with stylish settings and expensive flirtini cocktails should saunter down to bars like the Sofitel Metropole’s Met Pub. But if you want to chill out, have a chat or just check out where my dogs at, Mao’s is the destination,” according to Michael Libucha in The Vietnam News.
“It’s hard to go wrong with a restaurant that has a rotating menu of over 300 dishes, though meat lovers may be a little disappointed. I was told you could count the number of exclusively vegetarian restaurants in Hanoi on one hand, so the addition of Adida, which opened just under a month ago, is welcome. Tucked away in a small street on the far north-eastern side of the Old Quarter, Adida offers a twist on Sino-Vietnamese cuisine that may not test the most adamant steak eater’s resolve but is worth a try if you’re looking for a healthy alternative with hardy food. The rotating menu is based on what vegetables and fruits happen to be in season or what’s available at the market, which is a subtle way of saying that two visits will unlikely result in the exact same dining experience,” writes Kenneth Crawford in The Vietnam News.