Ho Chi Minh City, the vibrant and bustling metropolis of Vietnam, is renowned for its rich cultural heritage and thriving food scene. Whether you’re a local resident seeking hidden gems or a traveller hungry for authentic flavours, these handpicked establishments will guide you through an unforgettable culinary adventure, showcasing the city’s vibrant food culture and its ability to cater to every palate and preference. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds and discover the culinary wonders of the best restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City.
1. Nha Hang Ngon
Address: 160 Pasteur, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Price Range: $$
Located in a beautifully restored colonial building, Nha Hang Ngon is a beloved restaurant that offers an authentic Vietnamese dining experience. With its open kitchen and vibrant atmosphere, this restaurant is a popular choice among locals and tourists alike. The extensive menu features a wide range of traditional Vietnamese dishes, including fresh spring rolls, flavorful pho, succulent grilled meats, and aromatic curries. Nha Hang Ngon is known for its reasonable prices and exceptional quality, making it an ideal spot to indulge in Vietnamese cuisine.
2. Cuc Gach Quan
Address: 10 Dang Tat, Ward Tan Dinh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Price Range: $$$
Tucked away in a quiet alley, Cuc Gach Quan is a charming restaurant that captivates visitors with its rustic ambience and delectable Vietnamese dishes. The interior is adorned with traditional wooden furniture and antique decorations, creating a cosy and nostalgic atmosphere. Cuc Gach Quan prides itself on using organic and locally sourced ingredients, ensuring freshness and quality in every dish. The menu features Vietnamese classics such as caramelized clay pot fish, grilled prawns with tamarind sauce, and crispy fried tofu. Although slightly pricier, Cuc Gach Quan promises an authentic and memorable dining experience.
3. The Deck Saigon
Address: 38 Nguyen U Di, Thao Dien, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City
Price Range: $$$$
Situated along the picturesque Saigon River, The Deck Saigon offers a unique dining experience with stunning views and a serene setting. This upscale restaurant specializes in contemporary Asian fusion cuisine, infusing flavours from different cultures with a creative twist. The menu showcases a variety of dishes inspired by Thai, Vietnamese, and Western culinary traditions. From succulent grilled seafood and tender Australian beef to refreshing salads and decadent desserts, The Deck Saigon caters to discerning palates seeking innovative flavours and impeccable service. It is important to note that The Deck Saigon falls on the higher end of the price spectrum.
4. Quan Bui
Address: 17A Ngo Van Nam, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Price Range: $
For an authentic taste of Vietnamese street food in a comfortable setting, Quan Bui is a must-visit restaurant. Located in the heart of District 1, this casual yet stylish eatery captures the essence of Vietnam’s vibrant street food culture. The menu at Quan Bui is packed with beloved Vietnamese dishes, including banh xeo (sizzling pancake), banh mi (baguette sandwich), and bun cha (grilled pork with vermicelli noodles). The flavours are bold and authentic, reflecting the diverse culinary traditions of the country. Quan Bui offers affordable prices, making it an ideal spot for locals and tourists on a budget.
5. Noir. Dining in the Dark
Address: 180D Hai Ba Trung, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Price Range: $$$$
Prepare yourself for an extraordinary dining experience at Noir. Dining in the Dark. As the name suggests, this unique restaurant takes away your sense of sight, allowing you to explore flavours and textures in a new way. Located in District 1, Noir offers a multi-course set menu, and guests dine in pitch darkness. Blind or visually impaired servers skillfully guide guests through the experience. By removing visual cues, your other senses, particularly taste and smell, are heightened, creating an immersive sensory journey. While it falls on the pricier side, Noir promises a remarkable and unforgettable culinary adventure.
Here are some additional tips for finding the best restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City
- Ask your hotel or tour guide for recommendations. They’ll be able to point you in the direction of some of the best restaurants in the city.
- Read online reviews. This is a great way to get an idea of what other people think of the restaurants before you go.
- Explore the backstreets. Some of the best restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City are located in the backstreets, away from the tourist crowds.
- Be open to trying new things. Ho Chi Minh City is a melting pot of cultures, so there are all sorts of different cuisines to try.
Some information on Vietnamese Eating Etiquette
When dining in Vietnam, understanding and practising the local eating etiquette not only shows respect but also enhances your culinary experience. Vietnamese dining customs are deeply rooted in traditions and reflect the values of communal harmony and appreciation for food. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
- Communal Dining: Vietnamese meals are often shared among family and friends, promoting a sense of togetherness. Dishes are placed in the centre of the table, and everyone uses their chopsticks or spoon to take portions. It’s customary to take small portions to ensure that there is enough for everyone.
- Table Manners: When seated at a dining table, wait for the host or the eldest person to initiate the meal before you start eating. Throughout the meal, try to maintain a moderate pace of eating, allowing for conversation and enjoyment of the flavours. When using chopsticks, avoid pointing them directly at others, as it is considered impolite.
- Chopstick Etiquette: Chopsticks are an essential utensil in Vietnamese cuisine. Use them skillfully, holding them towards the front and using your fingers to control the movement. Avoid sticking chopsticks upright in your bowl of rice, as it resembles the incense used in ancestral worship. Instead, place them across the edge of your bowl or on a chopstick rest if available.
- Sharing and Trying New Dishes: Vietnamese cuisine is known for its diverse flavours and abundant variety of dishes. Embrace the communal spirit by sharing dishes and trying a little of everything. Politely offer dishes to others at the table, and if someone offers you food, it is customary to accept graciously, even if you’ve already eaten.
- Expressing Gratitude: Vietnamese people greatly appreciate the enjoyment of food, and expressing gratitude is highly valued. Throughout the meal, you can express your appreciation by complimenting the flavours, aromas, and efforts of the chef or host. A simple “Ngon quá!” (Delicious!) or “Cám ơn!” (Thank you!) goes a long way in showing your appreciation.
Want to know more? Check out our full guide on Vietnamese Dining Etiquette!
Ho Chi Minh City is a gastronomic paradise, offering diverse dining options that cater to all tastes and budgets. So, whether you’re a food enthusiast or a curious traveller, these best restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City will leave an indelible mark on your taste buds and create unforgettable memories of Vietnam’s vibrant culinary scene.
Don’t forget to check out our guide for the best local restaurants in Hanoi if you plan on travelling up North on your trip to Vietnam!