When you wish for a change from the noodles or other traditional Vietnamese foods, La Badiane (French, for the star anise) comes up to be a great alternative in Hanoi to go for. It’s a Hanoi’swell-known French restaurant, offering fusion of Vietnamese and French flavors withinternational gastronomy.
Badiane is a spice made from a fruit, it’s aptly named for the star-shaped pods from which the spice seeds are harvested, and has a flavor that is reminiscent of licorice. In Vietnam, badiane is famed not only for its distinct flavor in cooking, but also in folk medicine practices to treat digestive issues.
Located on a quiet street at the fringe between the Hanoi’s Old Quarter and the French Quarter, La Badiane sits opposite a popular chicken pho restaurant – which adds to the local atmosphere outside. With a lovely colonial villa setting, it has been offering French fine dinning and elegance ambience to local diners and foodie travelers since 2008.
My wife and I had a fabulous dinner there last week. Upon our arrival, we were led to the dining area and were able to view the activity in the kitchen through the huge glass partition, there were kitchen staffs working at frantic pace. The place’s thoughtfully decorated dining room is the perfect setting for the relaxed and elegant meal ahead.
The pure white color of the restaurant prominently catches customers’ attention as well as provides comfortable feelings; together with pictures of Vietnamese people hanging on wall that push away all the stresses of busy life. The restaurant was almost full the night we came. The atmosphere was quite casual, so there is no need to be overdressed.
The menu is quite extensive, with different choices for lunch and dinner. Although it is a French restaurant, customers can not only select French delicacies but also those of Vietnam and other Western cuisines. Unlike other restaurant, La Badiane doesn’t serve individual dishes but offering sets of dishes which are selected for meals of different appetites and purposes.
We chose the 4-course set meal and were very pleased with the quality – taste, presentation. The chef provided us free bread and starters, both of which were delicious. The best tasting dish was the goose steak (highly recommended). The soup, part of the starter, was great too. The pasta was too overpowering though, and my wife didn’t like it.
The portioning was not large, but typical of French fine dining. The complimentary housemade warm baguette was delicious, and helped to mop up all the different sauces that came along with the main dishes. Preparation time for the meal took a while, but the ambience was pleasant, and a bottle of wine with warm bread and great company kept me occupied.
The head chef Benjamin Rascalou, who has been living in Vietnam for over 20 years, often went around the restaurant to greet customers – which made the dining experience warmer. We like his fusion of flavors on top of the French base cuisine by adding asian ingredients, combining“high-end” cooking techniques with local spices to create something entirely new.
“What I aim to offer is fusion of flavors, not only a fusion of origins”, explains the chef to guests.
The overall service was commendable; attentive but unobtrusive. Not forgeting, we were entertained to pleasant music by a string quartet ensemble (violins and cello). We came on our own motorbike, but the restaurant assisted guests to order a taxi to return to the hotel after dinner.
The bill was reasonable, inclusive of a bottle of red wine. It was a little pricey but – only when you compare it to Vietnamese pricing. Wine, dinner and dessert for my wife and myself came to $105 US plus tip. The standard of cooking made it worth it. If you are in Hanoi, don’t miss La Badiane!
- La Badiane
- 10 Nam Ngu Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
- 11h30 – 14h00, 18h00 – 22h00
- 024 3942 4509
As per all of our blog posts, the writing was based on our own experience at the place as local foodie guides. We’re food tour provider, we do not receive any money from anyone to write a review. To truly explore Hanoi while sampling its food, book a personal street food tour with us.