3 Types of Restaurants You Should Visit for Local Vietnamese Food in Hanoi

Vietnam in short is a heaven for food lovers. With endless lists including world-famous dishes like pho as well as special regional dishes, Vietnamese food has something to offer for everyone. Hanoi alone has an extensive variety of delectable dishes to choose from. For some Vietnamese food adventure inspiration, you can also check out the Complete Hanoi Food Guide for Foodies

I personally am a big foodie myself. So I love exploring different restaurants wherever I travel. I’ve been living in Hanoi for over a year now, so I have quite a big list of restaurants I’ve been to. From them, there are some types of restaurants I’d love to recommend for anyone looking for local experiences and authentic Vietnamese food.

So below is a list of 3 different kinds of restaurants you could visit in Hanoi, each offering different moods, vibes and cuisine. 

Bia Hoi - Down-to-Earth Local Vietnamese Food

Bia Hoi Hanoi Bat Dan - TripAdvisor
Bia Hoi on Bat Dan street in Old Quarter, Hanoi (source: TripAdvisor)
Classic Bia Hoi meal - local Vietnamese Food
Some delectable local dishes you can enjoy in bia hoi

Bia hoi is a typical local place for draught beer. Local Vietnamese people gather at bia hois for cheap Hanoi draught beer with friends every evening (about 11,000VND on average). While some go here for a light and quick drink before heading home, it’s also very common to order some dishes on the side or for a proper meal.

I always go to bia hoi for a real dinner. And I enjoy having dinner at bia hoi because they have some amazing and delectable local dishes like morning glory, tofu and all kinds of other options. Here’s a place where you can try a good range of local Vietnamese food. I also love the down-to-earth vibe at bia hoi with other locals. 

In Hanoi Old Quarter, I often go to Bia Hoi Phuong and Bia Hoi Bat Dan. But you can spot a bia hoi in almost every corner of Hanoi as well as throughout Vietnam.

Authentic Vietnamese Food Concept Restaurants

Liu Riu Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine restaurant
Vietnamese cuisine food Liu Riu Restaurant Beef wrap
Grilled beef wrap with rice paper at Liu Riu restaurant

I have been to several different so-called “authentic Vietnamese cuisine” concept restaurants around town. And there are few restaurants that I highly recommend. These places are indoor restaurants while bia hoi is usually outdoor and on the street. It’s a more comfortable and higher standard dining experience, but without much extra premium price compared to bia hoi.

The top three restaurants of this kind I recommend in Hanoi are: Cai Mam restaurantLiu Riu restaurant and Trade Shop #37. I had fantastic dinners in all of these places. They offer delicious local dishes all beautifully presented as well as high quality services. For a comfortable dining experience of authentic and genuine Vietnamese food, these restaurants are an amazing choice. 

Restaurants in Hidden Alleys

Bun Cha Hang Quat - Hanoi famous restaurant local dining experience
Bun Cha Hang Quat inside a residential alley of Hanoi
famous Hanoi dish bun dau hang cu
Enter into the narrow alley for Hanoi's famous dish - bun dau mam tom

As well as being a foodie, I’m also a big fan of exploring hidden places. I am always fascinated to see how there’s so much life going on hidden behind alleys and buildings. Also, being tucked away but still having a lot of guests means these places should have something amazingly yummy to offer. And they usually do!

My personal recommendations for places inside narrow alleys in Hanoi are: Bun Ca Sam Cay Si (fish rice noodle soup), Bun Cha Hang Quat and Bun Dau Hang Cu (assorted plate of tofu and meat with fresh rice noodle). These three places are all very famous restaurants for each of the dish they sell. So not only are you going to try notorious and delicious dishes in Hanoi, but you’re in for a memorable dining experience!

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