50 Best Restaurants in The Central Coast, Vietnam

Banh Mi Phuong

$ Fodor's choice

Madam Phuong, the shop owner, serves from a simple little take-away counter, next door to a bakery on the edge of Old Town. When famed foodie Anthony Bourdain visited, he declared the banh mi served here to be quite possibly the best in Vietnam; and he might just have been right. What you get here is a symphony in a sandwich, and though both her menu and popularity have grown, Phuong is still serving up the same secret family recipes and silence-inducing sandwiches. Bourdain's favorite banh mi deluxe is a pork feast consisting of a mouth-melting slow-roasted five-spiced fillet, a rich peppery pate, a handful of herbs, pickled vegetables, and finished off with a generous scoop of mayonnaise, smoked chili sauce, and messy fried egg. Phuong also has vegetarian alternatives; ask for banh mi chay.

Bomb Crater Bar

$ Fodor's choice

A great place to stop for a midday drink and refreshing splash in the river, this bar sits between two large bomb craters left during the American war. Run jointly by a Vietnamese couple and Australian couple, the bar is halfway between Phong Nha village and Farmstay Village. In the winter they’ll also keep a fire raging to warm you up on your Bong Lai Valley bike tour.

Capture Vietnam

$$ Fodor's choice

Quite possibly serving the best Western food in all of Vietnam, this café captures the hearts of all who eat here. There is nothing on the menu that disappoints, but the complete winners are the veggie lasagna, meatball subs, and carrot cake. Opened by an American, vegetarian chef, Capture even has hard-to-find items like bagels and ginger beer. They are located right next to the Easy Tiger.

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Happy Heart Cafe

$$ Fodor's choice

There’s nothing fancy about this charity-run diner, just good Western food at cheap prices and heartwarming service. Repurposed from an English center, this café employs minority and deaf workers, and is a favorite among expats and visitors. Most come for the cause, but return for the vegetarian chili, English breakfast, or burgers and pizzas.

Kushiyaki Banjiro

$$ Fodor's choice

Don't be shocked when you walk through the door of Kushiyaki Banjiro to find the kimono-clad staff yelling in Japanese; it's the way they do it in Japan. Try the omakase set, a plate piled high with sashimi that includes blue lobster, tuna, and salmon, or authentic chicken or beef yakitori. If the lively atmosphere is too much, reserve a private tatami room in advance.

La Maison 1888

$$$$ Fodor's choice

As one of Vietnam's leading fine-dining experiences, this restaurant resembles an old French mansion with elaborately decorated themed rooms. The aesthetics have earned La Maison a spot among the World's Top Ten Designed Restaurants in Architectural Digest, and the cuisine of three-Michelin-star chef Pierre Gagnaire only adds to the illustrious status.

Les Jardins De La Carambole

$$ Fodor's choice

Neighboring the historic Imperial City, this French-Vietnamese restaurant is fashioned after a colonial villa with green shutters, arched doorways, tile floors, antiques dating back to 1915, and artwork depicting pastoral scenes. Slightly pricey by local standards, the enormous menu features green mango salad, fresh spring rolls, beef in banana leaves, and grilled sea bass with a Mediterranean sauce, as well as sandwiches, pasta, and pizza. The goat cheese and prosciutto platter is superb, as is the roasted chicken in a white wine sauce. The Chinese emblem embroidered on staff uniforms and napkins is a wish for prosperity and longevity. The restaurant has a second location renowned for its French-Vietnamese menu in the backpackers' district at 18 Vo Thi Sau Street.

Little Faifo

$$$ Fodor's choice

Fusing art, music, history, and cuisine, this 19th-century house in Hoi An's Old Quarter has been beautifully restored and offers silver service at remarkable prices. Slightly overshadowed by the setting, the menu is Vietnamese-meets-modern cuisine with such dishes as bean sprout dumplings, mango and lotus salad, caramelized pork, and wok-fried ancient noodles.

Little Menu

$$ Fodor's choice

On the main thoroughfare into the Old Town, this is an unfussy but undoubtedly lovely 19th-century family home, where local artwork hangs from crumbling yellow walls and seating takes second place to a huge open kitchen. The street-facing patio is the place to sit here, with great views across to an ornate community temple.

Luna Pub Danang

$$$ Fodor's choice

One of Danang's hippest hangouts, this industrial-style, open-fronted warehouse pub-restaurant wouldn't look out of place in New York City. The ever-changing menu of authentic Italian fare includes specials such as risotto alla Milanese, pizza, pasta, and steaks. Come evening, the rustic brick walls and gas station–themed bar make for a different experience altogether.

Soul Kitchen

$$ Fodor's choice

The most social spot on the beach, Soul Kitchen attracts a year-round mix of expats and local visitors, with frequent live music and open mic events. During the day the shady grass frontage, pool table, and board games keep kids entertained, leaving parents free to relax in raised cabanas with a Vietnamese-French menu, wine list, and cold draft Tiger beer. Thursday through Sunday, rain or shine, Soul Kitchen hosts a live music event 7–10 pm.

Tam's DMZ Café

$ Fodor's choice

No visit to Dong Ha is complete without a visit to this cheerful spot in the heart of town. It's both a charity café (Mr. Tam employs and supports deaf people in the area) and a one-stop information shop, without the hard sell. The menu is a wholesome mix of excellent Vietnamese and Western staples, including pizza, banh mi, and half-decent espresso. Tam also employs local war veterans and offers excellent tours of the DMZ and surrounding area.

If you are staying overnight in Dong Ha, Tam's also offers decent accommodations at very cheap prices (starting at 160,000d) as well as guided tours to the DMZ.

The Pub With Cold Beer

$$ Fodor's choice

At the midway point of one of the most incredible (and strenuous) 22-km (13½-mile) bicycle loops in the Bong Lai Valley, with views over rice fields and the river, the Pub With Cold Beer has hammocks, a pool table, and, in season, tubes for floating down the river. It’s a beautiful spot to unwind and regain energy for a few hours, which is how long your chicken lunch is going to take to prepare once you've chosen your live bird.

Vy's Market Restaurant and Cooking School

$$ Fodor's choice

As the first fully interactive street food experience in Vietnam, this buzzy, upscale food hall, owned by local-celebrity chef Ms. Vy, attracts a steady stream of enthusiastic foodies keen to take a culinary tour of Hoi An’s gastronomic classics. The menu here is visual, and diners are invited to wander among the various food stations where traditional dishes like cau lao noodles, banh mi, and savory country pancakes are made to order, to be devoured on simple bench seating arranged in the central courtyard. The fixed-price all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet is well worth shelving your diet for, and don’t forget to take a peek at the Weird and Wonderful stall.

Am Phu

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A favorite with locals, Am Phu ("hell restaurant"), has been in operation for more than 80 years, serving excellent Vietnamese cuisine. It's famous locally for com am phu, a colorful rice, pork, shrimp, and herb specialty dish—the seven colors of this dish represent the first seven steps of Buddha. This isn't a tourist spot; everyone eats together at large tables covered with red plastic tablecloths. Although there are no prices listed on the menu, most dishes cost less than 70,000d depending on how large a serving is requested.

51 Nguyen Thai Hoc St., Hue, Vietnam
0234-382–5259
Known For
  • Family-style dining
  • Authentic Hue food
  • Centrally located

Bale Well Restaurant

$$$

Local families who come in droves to this popular no-frills diner make out-of-town visitors feel warmly welcome, even if you don't master the art of rolling the perfect banh xeo. There’s no menu; just pull up a stool and within minutes you’ll be presented with pork skewers, crispy pancakes stuffed with bean sprouts, deep-fried shrimp spring rolls, rice paper, various greens, a satay-style dip, and an array of condiments. Go hungry; portions are large, but the 175,000d set price is not.

Banh Beo Ba Cu

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Don't be put off by the grungy interior of this restaurant. The quality of the decor is in inverse proportion to the quality of the food. This favorite among locals serves only eight dishes, all specialties of the region. The price of 30,000d per dish should allow you to try them all—if you're hungry enough.

Beach Bar Hue

$$

This inspired little beach club 15 km (10 miles) from Hue has shady beach cabanas, hammocks, and a large cobalt-blue fishing boat that serves as the bar. It's a laid-back place, with a simple Vietnamese seafood menu, where you feel a world away from the annoyances of the city. They make it easy to stay with a few huts housing dorm-style accommodations. Its sister accommodation Villa Louise with tastefully designed ocean view villas and three swimming pools is a gem in the crown of this stretch of pristine beach. The Beach Bar is on private land, and you pay 100,000d on weekdays and 150,000d during weekends and on holidays to enter (which is refundable against food and drink orders).

Bong Lai Swing Nature Farm

$$

A couple of kilometers downstream from the Pub With Cold Beer, this rustic jungle hut, formerly called Wild Boar Eco Farm, is run by local tour operator Captain Cuong. The scenery here is awe-inspiring—swinging hammocks overlook the wilderness and Cuong’s prize collection of free-range Euro-Asian wild boar.

Brother's Café

$$$

The standard but good Vietnamese food served here—spring rolls and fried rice—may not be spectacular, but the setting is: a beautifully restored colonial villa on the banks of the Thu Bon River. In the evenings you can sit and sip a drink in the lovely garden out back as you watch local fisherfolk ply their trade. The stylish interior has ceiling beams, tile floors, and classic Chinese-style wooden furniture.

27-29 Duong Phan Boi Chau, Hoi An, Vietnam
0235-391--4150
Known For
  • River view
  • Vegan and vegetarian menu
  • Vietnamese classics

Dingo Deli

$$

A popular rainy-day hangout for expats and families, this homey Western bakery, restaurant, and delicatessen midway between Cua Dai beach and the Old Town offers a large adventure playground and a menu packed with huge portions of home favorites, including delicious Aussie meat pie, home-baked cakes, and a great kids' menu.

Duyen Anh Restaurant

$$$

At Duyen Anh Restaurant you can pick up your own live fish, shrimp, or lobsters from the tanks, and vegetables are homegrown in the nearly 5,000-square-foot garden viewable from your dining table. All dishes are designed to share. Crab salad is a delicate combination of crab meat, crab roe, and baked rice paper with fresh banana blossom, bean sprouts, and herbs. The best seats are on the second floor or in the private pavilions on a waterlily pond. Although it has a beautiful setting and a playground for kids, it's far from the city's center.

Good Morning Vietnam

$$$

This traditional Italian restaurant is a popular spot in the Old Town center for those looking for a break from the standard Vietnamese fare. During the day, the welcoming, homely environs make for a quiet rest stop, where you can enjoy a good Italian coffee or a light bite from the second-floor balcony overlooking the streets.

Hanh Restaurant

$$

It might be overcrowded during lunch and dinner, but this open restaurant's wide range of Hue specialties such as nem lui (grilled pork sausage on lemongrass stick), banh khoai (savory pancake), tapas like beo, nam, loc, and noodles with grilled pork and salad are all worth the wait.

11 Pho Duc Chinh St., Hue, Vietnam
Known For
  • Local favorite
  • Wide range of Hue specialties
  • Grilled pork sausage on lemongrass

Huong Vuong Inn Restaurant

$$

Fresh daily ingredients are the pride of this small restaurant located near the iconic Truong Tien Bridge. While the restaurant’s menu features a wide range of Vietnamese and local cuisines, their pizza is the best in town. 

Kahuna's Hoi An Beach Club

$$

Managed by the Vietnam Backpackers Hostel, this beach bar offers a complimentary pool, bocce ball court, and great music, as well as alcoholic slushies for 50,000d. The cheeseburger spring rolls are an interesting fusion, and the buffalo chicken sandwich is definitely worth the money. If you’re trying to stay healthy, try a breakfast smoothie in an edible coconut bowl or order a bean and pepper feta salad.

Lac Thanh Restaurant

$

Packed with tourists and teeming with easy riders and souvenir hawkers, this basic restaurant located near the entrance to the citadel is run by guidebook sweetheart, Mr. Lac. Sadly, what once was a great little local spot churning out a couple of delicious staple Hue dishes has turned into a giant enterprise with an equally giant menu and following. Despite the lackluster food, you can't help but admire Lac for building such a successful business, especially as he is deaf and mute and lives in a country where opportunities for the disabled are few and far between. Eat elsewhere, but do drop in for a drink (preferably a beer), and wander upstairs, where the secret of Lac's success is revealed. Every customer is given a wooden stick and bolt bottle opener, fashioned and signed by Lac himself. The lucky few travelers that have spent enough time with him to appreciate his desire to travel, send photos of the bottle opener from various landmarks worldwide.

6A Dinh Tien Hoang St., Hue, Vietnam
0234-352–4674
Known For
  • Giant menu
  • Friendly service
  • Close to Hue Citadel

Lac Thien

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This busy little café is one of the oldest in Hue. On a busy corner by the side of the river, it specializes in just one dish: banh khoai, crispy pancakes stuffed with bean sprouts, shrimp, and little mounds of pork, served up with herbaceous side salads and a spicy peanut sauce. To eat, cut them in half, wrap them in herbs and rice paper, and dip. The shady seats on the sidewalk are perfectly positioned for watching life go by.

6 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hue, Vietnam
0234-352–7348
Known For
  • Shaded sidewalk seating
  • Amiable and fun staff
  • Local specialties

Le Parfum Restaurant

$$$$

Inside the historical Azerai La Residence Hue, this pricey brasserie rivals anything you might find in Paris. The French fusion degustation menu (which must be requested eight hours in advance) features six exquisite courses, ranging from smoked duck carpaccio to beef tenderloin with rosemary. International wines are paired with each course, including an impressive dessert of molten chocolate with red hibiscus coulis served under a crystallized sugar dome.

5 Le Loi St., Hue, Vietnam
0234-383–7475
Known For
  • Multicourse wine pairing
  • Professional staff
  • Elegant setting
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential

Luna D'Autunno

$$$

Clay-oven pizza, pasta, antipasti plates, and fine wines, all sourced from Italy, can be enjoyed on a tropically planted beachfront garden, or, on wintery days, holed up in a cozy corner by the kitchen. The sesame-coated tuna with salad, Pecorino cheese, and olives are to die for, as are the Italian homemade desserts.