Hanoi | eating guide

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

| 28 Oct 2018
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West Lake - a guide to eating in Hanoi's expat enclave
28 Oct 2018

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.

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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 live. It's a short ride by taxi from downtown and an increasingly worthwhile place to visit.

This independent list was compiled in October 2018.


Hanoi's West Lake Cafes

Maison de Tet Decor

Maison de Tet Decor may well be the nicest cafe in Hanoi - for food, ambience and views across the lake. There’s good coffee and a quality cafe menu - 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 156 Tu Hoa, Nghi Tam, Hanoi

Maison de Tet Decor, Hanoi West Lake
Photo: Mark Bowyer Maison de Tet Decor, Hanoi West Lake


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
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

Cousins Quang Ba

Cousins is one of my favourite spots in Hanoi - though I hear a move is imminent. That’ll be a loss. The shaded lakeside location is one of its best features. Quality food at reasonable prices with good staff.

Address: 3 Quang Ba, Tay Ho, 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


Chaoeun Middle Eastern Cuisine

Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours in a casual lounge space. The drinks - cocktails and craft beer - seem to get equal billing with the food. We enjoyed the food and the friendly staff. Has a fashionably rundown feel to it that seems popular with Hanoi’s expats.

Address: Ngo 12 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho, 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


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 also plenty of Vietnamese restaurants in the West Lake area. They’re targeting locals as far as we can work out - that’s a good. 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.



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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