Saigon offers a huge selection of good restaurants, but it is not easy to find them when you are visiting the city and just walking around. Many restaurants are located in the upper floors and all you can see from a street is a modest entrance and maybe some stairs up.
Nothing is more frustrating than trying to find a nice restaurant when you already are hungry and tired of walking in the heat. I help you to avoid this by giving you four recommendations for Vietnamese restaurants in Saigon.
These restaurants are not the cheapest ones in the city and they are not the best ones for filling quickly your stomach on a tight schedule. They are nice places for a longer lunch or an enjoyable dinner after a long day of sightseeing or shopping. However, the price level is not high for a Western traveller.
When having a meal in Vietnam you enjoy it more if you know how to use chopsticks. In the most authentic Vietnamese restaurants there may not be forks or knives available at all.
Vietnam does not have a tipping culture so you are not expected to give any tip in restaurants.
Address: 98 Nguyen Hue, District 1
SH Garden is right in the heart of the city, in the middle of the hotel area and main sights. However, unless you know the location of the restaurant, you will probably just walk by and not notice it at all. There is a narrow entrance and stairs, and a hundred years old elevator, which brings you up to the restaurant.
This restaurant serves mostly foreign travellers and there are seldom any local customers. Service is friendly and efficient. The menu includes Vietnamese dishes with a modern twist.
Address: 158 Pasteur, District 1
This other “Garden” restaurant is very popular among foreigners, but it still has a very local atmosphere. At weekends, it is crowded and it is difficult to get a table without a reservation, even for lunch. The restaurant is worth its name – its entrance is hidden in a small alley and difficult to find even if you have the exact address in hand.
To get into the restaurant you have to climb some stairs to the fourth floor of an apartment building, through all kinds of stuff. But it is worth it and an important part of the overall experience!
The menu has great variety and everything looks very delicious – there are pictures of the dishes in the menu. One example of Secret Garden’s dishes can be found in the main picture of this post.
Com Nieu Sai Gon (CNSG)
Address: 59 Hồ Xuân Hương, District 3
There are several restaurants in the same CNSG group in the city. This one is closest to our home in D3 and has become very familiar to us during these months in Saigon.
The customers of this restaurant are mainly locals – we haven’t seen many foreign tourists here. You can get here easily by taxi from your hotel – it only takes 10 minutes from D1.
The menu is available in English. It has a huge selection of traditional Vietnamese food: fish and other seafood, frog, chicken, pork, beef, local soups, vegetarian food and some desserts. The prices are quite high for locals but still moderate for a traveller who looks for a little better Vietnamese restaurant experience.
Lâu Cá Kèo Bà Huyên
Address: 87 Bà Huyên Thanh Quan, District 3
This restaurant is next door to us and quite close to the War Remnants Museum. It is very popular among locals and almost full every night. The environment is authentic and very simple and the food very traditional Vietnamese food. The menu is translated in English, though. The personnel don’t speak English, but we have always succeeded in making our orders by just pointing the dishes that we want! So don’t be afraid to visit these local places just because you don’t have a common language!