Sapa eating guide

An independent selection of the best eateries from fine dining to street food in Sapa, from Rusty Compass. No paid endorsements.

Sapa eating guide


| 18 Nov 2016
Last updated 18 Nov 2016

Like most tourist towns, Sapa's restaurant scene is more quantity than quality. And in recent years, for the most part quality has fallen and prices have skyrocketed.

If you eat along the main tourist strips of Phan Xi Phang and Mau Cay, you'll likely be paying prices similar to the more expensive local eateries in downtown Saigon or Hanoi for menus mixing Vietnamese, pizza, pasta and burgers. I guess some tourists must like this approach or these places wouldn't survive.

They're okay but not likely to dish up any memorable food.

There are some brighter spots though.

Highlights of recent Sapa visits have been the Hillstation Signature Restaurant and Hillstation Deli. Two young Danes, Tommy and Soren have pulled together a team from local ethnic minority tribes to create two different eateries in different parts of town.

Hillstation Signature Restaurant specialises in the cuisine of the ethnic minorities of the Sapa region. The team in the kitchen and the servers are all from local minorities. The setting is special too combining some Danish design sensibility with local touches with views across the town and the mountains. Highly recommended.

A few hundred metres away, Hillstation Deli is a smaller, cosier venue for those looking for a taste of home with cheese, wine, cold cuts, breads and paninis. The decor is like a small mountainside European cafe and includes a fireplace.

There are lots of Vietnamese restaurants up past the church towards the lake area. Some of them are very good - some are awful.

We enjoyed the grill at Co Lich’s so much we went back twice. Locals seemed to agree this is one of the best places in town for Vietnamese food. Madam Lich and her eccentric husband, former soldier Duyet, add to the colour of the place.

Le Gecko Sapa is, after many years, still a favourite traveller stop - though it’s moved to a new location. There's French cuisine, pizza, sandwiches as well as some Vietnamese fare.

Eating in Sapa - our picks

Tourist fare

There's plenty of tourist fare along Fansipan and Cau May Sts - and others too. We haven't noted any particular standouts. Following the crowd might be your best bet.

Co Lich Vietnamese restaurant - 1 Fanxipan, Sapa

The Hillstation Signature Restaurant - 37 Fanxipan St, Sapa -

The Hillstation Delicatessen - 07 Muong Hoa St, Sapa -

Le Gecko - Post Office Place, Ham Rong St (between the church and lake).

Vietnamese eateries - These are clustered at the start of the lake on Xuan Vien St. Good for pho and other Viet favourites. Don’t be surprised to see dog, horse and other more interested creatures being served up.