Hanoi’s colonial past may be a distant memory, but a quick gastronomic gander about town will transport you back to those tasty days of yore.
She often plays the coy wallflower to flashy sis Saigon’s glamour belle, but when it comes to stylish French influence, coquettish capital Hanoi is packing the real heat – especially in the cuisine arena. Sure, colonial times are long gone, but Gallic genealogy continues to permeate the city’s dining culture, from the top fine dining flights to back-to-basics boulangeries. But where, you ask? Well, right this way, s’il vous plait…
Le Beaulieu at the Metropole
Tread in the loafered footsteps of Monsieur Greene himself at this storied, 115 year-old establishment, delivering all-day Parisian finery, with the big city prices to match. Pretty plates of trad brasserie and globally-inflected classics impress, while lashings of dark wood, grey marble, vaulted windows, and lazy ceiling fans speak volumes of the pad’s romantic past. Sunday brunch is hugely popular – little wonder with French oysters and champagne flowing like the mighty Mekong. Go hungry.
Le Beaulieu Restaurant at The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. +84 4 3826 6919, sofitel-legend.com
Ageing though his 1930s villa digs may be, chef Didier Corlou’s ambitious fusion menu straddles East and West, old and new with course upon course of seamless savoir-faire. Chic colonial decor befits the heritage space, with a darling ground floor spice shop laying the foundation for white linen dining above, and rooftop La Terrasse bar for requisite pre/posts. Six-course sets run the gamut from duck foie gras with lemongrass, to spring rolls with truffle, to crab cannelloni with sea urchin nectar, while Corlou’s other lauded diners, all-Gallic DC Bistro and homestyle Vietnamese plater Madame Hien, cuddle up nearby.
La Verticale, 19 Ngo Van So, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, +84 4 3944 6317, verticale-hanoi.com
A total bygone babe, this elegantly restored 1920s villa is hands-down the loveliest and leafiest spot in town for an atmospheric sip n’ sup. Snag a seat in the cobblestoned courtyard or seek steamy summer respite indoors – wherever you perch, the experimental French-Viet mashup dishes are yours for the savouring. Add a dash of live jazz and she’ll be putty in your hands in a jiff.
Green Tangerine, 48 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, +84 4 3825 128 , greentangerinehanoi.com
Cordon Bleu-trained Madame Huong is Hanoi’s undisputed queen of cake, baking show-stopping, sinfully sweet French goodies from imported ingreds, spanning rich gateaux and buttery croissants, to rainbow macarons and crusty baguettes – bahn mi, oh my! The lovely little patio is a perf for people-watching, so grab a traddy iced coffee to round off your thigh-busting indulgence.
Madame Huong, 39 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, +84 90 254 48 88, madamehuong.vn
Browse the complete, curated list of Hanoi restaurants…