The “Quán Ăn Ngon”, meaning a “delicious restaurant”, is a Vietnamese restaurant at 18 Phan Boi Chau Street in Hanoi’s French Quarter. Its extensive menu featuring authentic cuisines from the north, central, and south Vietnam has made it one of the busiest restaurants in the city.
Conveniently located at a corner of a tree-line street, within five minute-walk from the historical Hoa Lo Prison and Hanoi Train Station, Quan An Ngon can accommodate up to 500 guests. Its sittings are available at an outdoor courtyard, and in air-conditioned dinning spaces within the imposing French colonial house.
If you’re new to Vietnamese cuisine, having a meal at this restaurant is a good recommendation – as it makes a great culinary introduction to what the country has to offer. In this way, Quan An Ngon Restaurant happens to be our favorite stop during Flavors of the French Quarter food tour.
On a recent visit to Quan An Ngon for some samplings, we reserved a table and arrived on time at 12h00, so we didn’t have to wait. Other diners who came without reservation waited about five minutes for their seats, as the restaurant is often getting full at meal times. During which, visitors could choose to walk to the workshop-like kitchens and watch the chefs working.
When our clients entered the restaurant, they were welcomed by an interesting fusion setting; the golden color theme and its interior decors give the place a colonial French look, while the brick paved courtyard is enclosed on three sides by the exposed Vietnamese cooking pavilions. The overhead awnings help enjoy the open skies, but can be deployed to protect from rain.
The establishment is spacious with many dinning tables and quite noisy, the menu – withpictures of everything – offers a wide variety of mouth-watering Vietnamese dishes. The dishes, like street food served in a restaurant, are prepared at the stations surrounding the courtyard. However, we ordered from the waitress who would bring the food to us.
From the moment we walked in, the aromas, colors, and sounds of food being cooked from everywhere were really tempting us. Among hungry diners were many sprightly waiters and waitresses, who attended to everyone unexpectedly fast.
After looking through its far-reaching and beautiful menu, which covers from pho, to bun cha, to bun bo Hue, and many other local drinks, we settled for lotus stem with prawn salad, four spring rolls, four summer rolls, and a Vietnamese sizzling pancake – “banh xeo”.
The food was exquisite, especially the thrilling pancake. The large eye-catching dish consists of rice papers used for wrapping a thin egg pancake, which was stuffed with shrimp, pork and bean sprouts, and a mix of fresh herbs. A house-made dipping fish sauce accompanies the dish and enhances the overal tastes.
Our waitress was kindly helping us cut and wrap every portion of it into small rolls, also introduced our clients all the ingredients that came to the roll and why. We’ve tried banh xeo at other places, but the one at Quan An Ngon was definitely the best.
Though our clients and us were much satisfied with how tasty the food was, we planed not to order too much, as we wanted to save space to eat more at other stops during our walking food tour. Price was very reasonable, our samplings and a bottle of water for each costed less than 250.000d dong (11 US dollars).
Being local guides in Hanoi, we’ve seen Quan An Ngon transformed from a ramshackle old villa into a mixed colonial and oriental style restaurant that it’s today. And we’ve been taking our travelers to Quan An Ngon since 2005 when it first opened, we’ve never left disappointed.
We love eating inside the magnificent building, but if given the choice we would sit outside with our travelers and enjoy the atmosphere. As the name of the restaurant suggests, the food is wonderful. The staffs were attentive, which is sometimes the thing that lets down many restaurants in the city.
There is always a lively crowd of diners, both locals and foreigners, but the buzz of the crowd really adds to the experience. However, reservations for groups are strongly recommended. For a more relaxed time, go outside peak eating hours (noon–2pm, 6–8pm) when it’s usually full and tumultuous.
Despite the crowd (some feel like they were eating at a market), service at Quan An Ngon was quick, the washrooms were clean, and most of the waiting staff spoke good English and always ready to help.
The only drawback is that, there were very limited and basic vegetarian options. Food wise, we gave it 5 stars. Flavors of Hanoi thoroughly recommend, and often suggest, Quan An Ngon for any new visitors to Hanoi.
- Quán Ăn Ngon
- 18 Phan Boi Chau Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
- 090 212 69 63
- 6h00 – 22h00
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