My Top 10 Places to Dine In When Visiting Saigon

After living in Saigon for over three years, Vietnamese food is not on top of my list anymore.  But since friends and family do visit, we have to bring them around to restaurants serving authentic Vietnamese cuisine.  I haven’t been to a whole lot but I would recommend the following to anybody visiting Saigon. 🙂

10.  Quan An Ngon 
Ngon is really popular among the tourists and I must say the food is consistent but really, the place is just TOO crowded for my taste.  However, I have to put it in my list because the food is still good.

Their menu is extensive but what I love best are the noodle soups, shrimp wrapped around the sugarcane, and the salads.

Best to come early so you can get a spot or call in to reserve.

Visit Quan An Ngon at 160 Pasteur St., D1 or call them up at 38277136 (

9. Happy Tom Buffet

This is a happy find in District 3!  I love seafood!  And with Happy Tom serving seafood buffet? Well, that’s simply heaven!

I enjoy going here in a big group where we can all huddle up at the buffet table and cook up a storm in our own table!   It’s always fun!

Find them at 25 Ky Dong St., P9, D3 or call them up to reserve 22419199; 0909992392.

Read on my past blog entry about Happy Tom here.

8.  Cha Ca Ha Noi

My friend Ria is my constant source of yummy finds.  On one of her trips to Hanoi, she fell in love with the Cha Ca La Vong dish.  Luckily, she found it near our place being served at Cha Ca Ha Noi.  This fish dish doesn’t look filling but IT IS!

Since that first time, we always come back here for more.

Read more about it here.

Visit them at Garden Court 1, Phu My Hung, D7 or at 5A Tran Nhat Duat St., District 1.  Call them up at 8484240.

7.  Nha Hang Khoai

Found behind the Reunification Palace is Khoai Restaurant which serves dishes from Nha Trang.

I don’t usually pass by their street so I was really surprised that so many people eat here at lunch during weekdays. If you plan on going here on a weekday, better call up to reserve a table.

Our first visit was of June this year and I recommend this place to friends.  The food is really delicious.  Try the Jellyfish Salad, Pork Barbecue, and yes, the salted fried rice!

Visit them at 3A Le Quy Don St., D1.

6. Cha Ca La Vong

I find that the Cha Ca La Vong served at Cha Ca La Vong is more delicious than the one at Cha Ca Ha Noi.  But that’s just me, okay?

Again, this place gets crowded during lunch.  It’s pretty small, that’s why.

Read more about my experience eating here.

Visit them at 36 Ton That Thiep St., D1.

5. An Restaurant

Another good place to eat in is also in District 1, An Restaurant along Hem 71 of Mac Thi Buoi.

The food is topnotch. You won’t be embarrassed to bring guests here.  And even if it’s a small place (like most restaurants around), it’s brightly decorated with pieces from around Vietnam.  Lovely, lovely paintings too!

Best for dates and business meetings.  They can accommodate big groups.  Call them up at 38258275.

Find them at 71/5-71/6 Mac Thi Buoi St., D1.

4.  Hoa Tuc 

Found Hoa Tuc as one of the best places to eat according to Trip Advisor.

None of our Vietnamese friends recommended this place or I guess this wasn’t just popular with them.

The price is slightly higher here but with the food and atmosphere — I think it’s definitely worth it.  Read more about it here.  And you might also want to try their Saigon Cooking Class.  Read about my experience on the Gourmet Tour and Cooking Class itself.

Visit Hoa Tuc at 74/7 Hai Ba Trung St. District 1.  Email them for reservations at

3.  Lunch Lady

Eating at the Lunch Lady is my most recent experience of eating authentic Vietnamese street food.

Featured by Anthony Bourdain at No Reservations, how can you not visit her?

As I’ve said in my last entry — her food is really comforting — something that you would like to eat when you’re really down — a natural upper!

Find her at 23 Hoang Sa St., D1.

2.  Cuc Gach Quan

Cuc Gach Quan is always a hit with family and friends (except for my grandma who doesn’t like eating from bowls and using chopsticks. :D)

Famous for being the restaurant of choice of Brangelina, Cuc Gach Quan serves a real thick  menu of Vietnamese dishes.  I love the tamarind shrimp and tofu with lemongrass and chili here.

It’s a home turned restaurant so you’d get that homey appeal.  However, it can get crowded too so do make reservations just to be sure.

I did part of my maternity photo shoot here too!

Visit them at 10 Dang Tat, Ward Tan Dinh, District 1
Tel: (84.8) 38 48 01 44 // (84) 01 657 10 10 10

1. Hoang Yen

Why?  For the buffet.  I really have a terrible time choosing food for guests that getting them to Hoang Yen is the easiest thing.  There, they can just choose from a myriad of Vietnamese dishes.  Yes I am a lazy host.

Since my first visit, I’ve been there lots of times with guests.  And it’s always a hit.

My last visit was a couple of weeks ago when I brought my mom (again), godmom, and aunt. Try the balut (hot vit lon) in tamarind sauce, chicken with fish sauce, and the soups!  Always yummy!!!  I love, love, love the desserts here too!

Their prices increased quite a bit too so lunch is over 100kVND now but with the number of dishes to choose from, I say all is still good!

Lots of Hoang Yen restaurants around but buffet is only served at the 5th Floor of the Zen Plaza at 54-56 Nguyen Trai St., D1 and at the 1st Floor Me Linh Point Tower, 2 Ngo Duc Ke St., D1.

WHEW!  Enjoy eating in Saigon!

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22 Responses to My Top 10 Places to Dine In When Visiting Saigon

  1. helpinghow says:

    Great tips as usual Lyra!! Maybe I will get an opportunity to try one of these places in the next six months 😉 You always have such wonderful advice and great photos and one could get super fat hanging out in Saigon with your enticing photos and info. LOVE IT!!! THANK YOU!! xoxo
    Hillary Brown

  2. Rebecca says:

    Now if im ever in SAigon , tis is the list I’ll print and bring along with me!: P

  3. Kathleen says:

    Hoang Yen is also one of Bobby Chinn’s fave restos here (as per interview with T+L Southeast Asia). I have yet to try it though. Thanks for this list. I can’t wait to try the other places I haven’t been to yet. 🙂

  4. LynRB says:

    thanks for sharing this list! Ive only been to 3 restaurants in your list. really keen on trying the lunch lady (another Bourdain fan here) and Cuc Gach Quan. This is Lyn, btw…we were teammates during Trivia Night 🙂

    • Lyra says:

      Hi Lyn! Thanks for dropping by! 🙂 if you know of another Vietnamese restaurant to try out, let me know! Eager to try other restos too! 🙂 let me know how it goes with the Lunch Lady.

  5. tuan says:

    there is an error: #10 is either Nha hang ngon (160 pasteur) or Quan An Ngon (138 NKKN).
    The original is Nha Hang Ngon and it’s the best, the other one is a shameless copy.

  6. Lyra says:

    You may have mixed the addresses? Will check. I’ve heard of this but unfortunately as a 3 year old expat I am not really that informed on the rivalry of Quan an ngon and Nha hang ngon’s rivalry.

    • tuan says:

      i didnt mix the addresses: go to 160 Pasteur and you will see, it’s not Quan An Ngon!

      • Lyra says:

        Thanks Tuan. Will go to both places personally. I just assumed that the photo I took Quan An Ngon is at 160 Pasteur because I’ve never been to 138 NKKN. And that photo above is an original that I took. Thanks for pointing this out.

      • tuan says:

        at least you gave the address of the best one 🙂 i’m picky about this because I really dislike the copy Quan An Ngon, and how they purposely confuse people. Here are the links on tripadvisor to the original and best one Nha Hang Ngon:

  7. maruh says:

    hello! i’m visiting saigon and you’re blog is a great help to find out nice restaurants. we will be trying lunch lady maybe later thanks for sharing 😉

  8. MR Javier says:

    I will surely use your list of resto when i get there next week. Thanks for the tip Lyra!

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