If you’ve just landed in Hanoi, I’d urge you to book a table at Ngon Villa for one of your first meals in Vietnam. Gleaning the best dishes from around the country, Ngon Villa offers a gastronomical survey of Vietnamese cuisine from the sweeter, Chinese inspired flavors of the south to the bolder spices favored in the north. They cleverly offer a tapas-style all-you-can-eat option alongside their a la carte menu so you can really get a taste for all this incredible country has to offer. The menu is thoughtfully coded with the regions each dish originates from, and if you’re ready to learn ask your server a few questions about your meal and you can easily leave with a masters degree in the country’s cuisine.
We chose a seat outside so as to watch the activity on the street during our dinner, and appreciate the beautifully restored French Colonial architecture of the villa. The French left an indelible mark on Hanoi and the entire country, and Ngon Villa celebrates this fusion of influences with a short history of the property printed in the front of the menu. Originally built as the private residence of a French military captain, the villa was later purchased by a wealthy Vietnamese trader before it was acquired by the state in 1945 and divided into 5 living spaces for different families. Now, with a beautiful new lease on life as the home of a spirited restaurant, the villa has been restored to it’s former glory and welcomes guests to sample the many delights Hanoi and Vietnam have to offer. Whatever you do be sure to order the fried river prawns and kumquat juice. You won’t regret it!
You can find my full write up on our visit to Hanoi here, and see our other favorite restaurants here and here. And for more on our Journey through Vietnam and around the world be sure to subscribe here.
All photos by David and Stacie Flinner for Stacieflinner.com.