West Lake - a guide to eating in Hanoi's expat enclave - review by Rusty Compass
Hanoi | eating guide

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West Lake - a guide to eating in Hanoi's expat enclave

| 26 Jun 2019
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West Lake - a guide to eating in Hanoi's expat enclave
26 Jun 2019

If you’re spending more than a couple of days in Hanoi, it’ll be worth checking out the cafe and restaurant scene in the West Lake expat area, known as Tay Ho. This is one of the most vibrant culinary centres in the city for international cuisine - and becoming more so. And there’s nightlife and shopping to check out too. It’s all found around 10 - 15 minutes by taxi from downtown Hanoi. This guide was updated in June 2019.

Note: The information provided in this review was correct at time of publishing but may change. For final clarification please check with the relevant service

Hanoi's West Lake food scene is blossoming - this is where many of the city's international restaurants, and some its best cafes, are found. West Lake (you'll need to say Tay Ho to your taxi) is large but the international restaurant scene is mainly concentrated around a small part of its eastern shore in the streets that run southwest off Xuan Dieu.

This is where a high percentage of the city's expats and affluent locals live. West Lake is a short ride by taxi from downtown.

 

Hanoi's West Lake Cafes

Eastern and Oriental Tea Room and Coffee Parlour

Eastern and Oriental opened in early 2019 in a delightful lakeside space. I've been a number of times including a recent breakfast visit. The coffee, the space and the friendly team were enough to leave an impression from the beginning and the recent breakfast was good too. Still feels ilke it's finding its way - but we're fans. Good spot for a group or to get some work done too.

Address: 26 Quang An, Tay Ho, West Lake, Hanoi

Eastern and Oriental Tea House and Coffee Parlour, Hanoi
Photo: Mark Bowyer Eastern and Oriental Tea House and Coffee Parlour, Hanoi
 
Eastern and Oriental Tea House and Coffee Parlour, Hanoi
Photo: Mark Bowyer Eastern and Oriental Tea House and Coffee Parlour, Hanoi

 

Maison de Tet Decor

One of Hanoi’s favourite cafes moved to a new West Lake location (from its old West Lake location) in early 2019. They’ve done an impressive job recreating the cool vibe in the new space that looks over West Lake to the Intercontinental Hotel. There’s good coffee and a quality cafe menu including lots of healthy stuff - at international prices. Well-paid expats, diplomats and NGO types don’t bat an eyelid. Good place to get some work done too.

Address: Villa 18, Ngo 1 – Au Co, West Lake, Hanoi- opposite Intercontinental Hotel

Maison de Tet Decor Cafe, Hanoi
Photo: Mark Bowyer Maison de Tet Decor Cafe, Hanoi
Maison de Tet Decor Cafe, Hanoi
Photo: Mark Bowyer Maison de Tet Decor Cafe, Hanoi

 

Oriberry Coffee Xuan Dieu

Great views across West Lake - and standard reasonably priced cafe fare. Head upstairs to get some work done with a view. Oriberry is a social enterprise supporting local coffee and tea producers.

Address: 21 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi

Oriberry Cafe, Ho Tay, West Lake Hanoi
Photo: Mark Bowyer Oriberry Cafe, Ho Tay, West Lake Hanoi
 

Essie Tea Room and Bistro

Cosy cafe, lovely staff, leafy courtyard. Cool place to hang out. Food and drinks okay too.

Address: 86 To Ngoc Van, Quang An, Tay Ho, Hanoi

Essie Cafe Hanoi
Photo: Mark Bowyer Essie Cafe Hanoi

 

Spacebar Coworking Space

Spacebar’s a mixed cafe and coworking space in a leafy West Lake setting. Great spot for getting some work done. Food and coffee will keep the wheels turning.

Address: Villa 15, Lane 76, To Ngoc Van, Quang An, Tay Ho, Hanoi

Spacebar, West Lake, Hanoi
Photo: Mark Bowyer Spacebar, West Lake, Hanoi

 

International restaurants in Hanoi’s West Lake area

Pepe la Poule

Pepe la Poule was a chance discovery on a hot Hanoi Saturday night. It brings together unlikely elements - Japanese and French owners serving up Italian and Chinese cuisine.  I stuck with the Italian menu starting with Avocado and Salmon, then Mushroom and Truffle Oil Pasta as a main. I finished up with Soy Milk Chiffon Cake for dessert. It was all good and set me back 700K VND including two glasses of wine. The friendly team were a highlight.

This is a comfortable, friendly eatery and if my first experience is anything to go by, I’m likely to become a regular. It's located slightly away from the main restaurant centre of West Lake near Phu Tay Ho.

Address: 22 Quang Khanh, Quang An, Tay Ho, Hanoi - towards Phu Tay Ho

Pepe la Poule, West Lake, Hanoi
Photo: Mark Bowyer Pepe la Poule, West Lake, Hanoi
 
Pepe la Poule, West Lake, Hanoi
Photo: Mark Bowyer Pepe la Poule, West Lake, Hanoi

 

Cousins To Ngoc Van

Long a favourite stop for casual Western-style dining, Cousins relocated to a new venue in 2019. The new villa on To Ngoc Van St is bigger but does a good job retaining the charm of the original. Quality western food - pastas, salads and other mains with vegetarian options - at reasonable prices with friendly staff. Not bad for a glass of wine and a cheese plate either.

Address: 15 Ngo 45 To Ngoc Van, Quang An, Tay Ho, Hanoi

Cousins restaurant, West Lake, Hanoi
Photo: Mark Bowyer Cousins restaurant, West Lake, Hanoi
 
 

Cugini Italian Restaurant

From some of the same people behind Cousins, Cugini is a cool Italian restaurant in the mid to high price category. Good food, feel and staff.

Address: 67 To Ngoc Van, Hanoi

Cugini West Lake Hanoi
Photo: Mark Bowyer Cugini West Lake Hanoi

 

Home 38

This place looks to be the go-to spot for a hangover cleansing weekend breakfast. No frills vibe, young western punters, and no need to apologise for arriving in self-inflicted poor shape. You’ll be in good company.

Address: 38 Quang Ba, Tay Ho, Hanoi

Home 38, West Lake, Hanoi
Photo: Mark Bowyer Home 38, West Lake, Hanoi

 

Turtle Lake Craft Brewery

This must be Hanoi’s most impressive monument to craft beer. Set in a large space right on the West Lake near Phu Tay Ho, there’s brewing on site, indoor and outdoor tables and views across the lake. It's more about craft beer than food but there’s a menu of American-style craft beer companion dishes (chicken wings, pulled pork sandwiches etc) that gets good reviews. I only stayed for a few beers so didn’t try the food this time.

Address: 105 Quang Khanh, Quang An, Tay Ho, Hanoi

 

Turtle Lake Brewing Company - West Lake, Hanoi
Photo: Mark Bowyer Turtle Lake Brewing Company - West Lake, Hanoi
 
Turtle Lake Brewing Company - West Lake, Hanoi
Photo: Mark Bowyer Turtle Lake Brewing Company - West Lake, Hanoi
 

Anita’s Cantina

We didn’t get to try this Mexican eatery but it gets good reviews from friends and folk living in Hanoi.

Address: 36 Quang Ba, Tay Ho, Hanoi

 

The Republic

Pub food in a sports bar with a rooftop overlooking the lake.

Address: 12 Quang An, Tay Ho, Hanoi



Restaurant streets - Xuan Dieu St and Quang An St

Xuan Dieu St is the main street into the expat enclave. It’s packed with dining options. Take a walk along Xuan Dieu and see what takes your fancy. Turn left along the lake at Quang An for another set of options. You’ll find everything from Italian, French, Japanese, Vietnamese and more along these two streets.

 

Vietnamese cuisine in Hanoi's West Lake area

There are plenty of Vietnamese restaurants in the West Lake area. They’re targeting locals as far as we can work out - that’s a good thing. Don’t expect any frills for tourists.

Phu Tay Ho temple is one of the most important in Hanoi so it supports a little eco-system of local restaurants serving banh tom (deep fried shrimp cake) and snails. You can usually order other local dishes at these places too.

Back up towards and along Xuan Dieu St you’ll see small places serving pho, bun cha and other local specialties.

Deep fried shrimp cake (Banh tom Ho Tay) and snails - West Lake
Photo: Mark Bowyer Deep fried shrimp cake (Banh tom Ho Tay) and snails - West Lake

 

Vegetarian cuisine - West Lake

West Lake's large expat community must include a lot of vegetarians and vegans. There’s a good selection of vegetarian and vegan eateries in the area. We haven’t tried them yet but spotted plenty as we wandered around. We’ll add them to our list soon.

 

Disclosure

Rusty Compass recommendations are always independent. We list the places we think you should know about. That’s it. We’ve eaten at and paid our way at all the places listed.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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