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Best Vietnamese in Manhattan?

kvn Jul 21, 2006 04:15 PM

Where to go? I've tried many places in Manhattan,
and I've had some nice meals, but nothing on the
level of my trips to Hanoi... I've had a couple of
excellent dishes, but have yet to find a place that
I can fully endorse. curious if I'm missing a spot?

Nha Trang (Baxter)
Bao Noodles (2nd Ave)
Hoi An (west b'way)
Le Colonial (57th)
Pho Viet Huong (Mulberry)
Indochine (Lafayette)

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  1. j
    jeanki RE: kvn Jul 21, 2006 04:43 PM

    I'm partial to New Pasteur for no frills ultra cheap solid Vietnamese. Bao 111 is also good for chichified modern Vietnamese.

    If somebody says Saigon Grill I will throw up.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jeanki
      keith RE: jeanki Jul 21, 2006 05:37 PM

      Though Saigon Grill is clearly not Hanoi quality, nor even as good as some of the places mentioned above, it is some of the better Vietnamese that can be obtained outside of Chinatown in Manhattan.

      Also, select dishes, Goi Du Du (Green Papaya Salad) being one of them, are prepared quite authentically and quite well.

    2. r
      RGR RE: kvn Jul 21, 2006 04:57 PM

      The only one on your list that I've been to is Bao Noodles. I've always found the food to be well-prepared and very tasty. Never having been to Viet Nam, I can't judge personally how authentic the food is. However, acc. to the restaurant's website, the owner was born in Saigon and his mother, who owned a restaurant in Saigon, serves as his consultant regarding the menu.


      1 Reply
      1. re: RGR
        Pan RE: RGR Jul 22, 2006 02:39 AM

        I've been there several times and liked it every time. The last time would have been several months ago (perhaps as long ago as January 2006).

      2. d
        devil RE: kvn Jul 21, 2006 05:22 PM

        You are not going to find Hanoi quality in NY (or even CA). Though, I really do not understand why. I've been going to Pho Tu Do and Pho Grand (based on their pho).

        1 Reply
        1. re: devil
          mingt RE: devil Jul 27, 2006 06:59 PM

          Yea this is a mystery to me as well. I used to live in Houston and the Vietmanese community there is pretty big. The food was so amazing. Huge plates of lettuce, tons of mint and basil piled high. Here you would be lucky to get lettuce with the spring rolls.

        2. p
          Peter Cherches RE: kvn Jul 21, 2006 05:36 PM

          The beef and chicken you'll normally get in Vietnam is far inferior to what you'll get in a U.S. Vietnamese restaurant. Seafood in Vietnam is wonderful.

          I don't know any Hanoi-style places in NY. In fact, I guess most are probably Cholon-style, since most seem to be run by ethnic Chinese.

          Bodega Bistro in S.F. is Hanoi-style.


          1. wleatherette RE: kvn Jul 21, 2006 05:46 PM

            i love pho grand, though i have no idea how it compares to what you'd get in hanoi.

            1. s
              Simon RE: kvn Jul 21, 2006 08:06 PM

              Hi...you might try Tigerland on Ave A...the place is fairly new and run by a Chinese/Vietnamese family who moved first to Thailand, then here...top-top quality ingredients and i've enjoyed all four of the dishes i've had there, particularly the jumbo shrimp w/ berkshire bacon...it's not exactly fusion, but more like updated versions of homecooking...

              p.s. Where did you enjoy eating in Hanoi??...i was there for five days over Xmas and i had pretty poor luck (we ate high, low, local, tourist, and everything in between, but left with a poor culinary impression and were told that HCMC ad Hue are the better food cities)...but i'll be going back to Hanoi this fall and i'd love to know where to go...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Simon
                Bob Martinez RE: Simon Jul 27, 2006 02:12 PM

                I've been to Tigerland. It's stylish and Americanized. The food is nice enough if you think of it a Pan-Asian rather than Vietnamese.

              2. m
                Muffin RE: kvn Jul 24, 2006 07:25 PM

                I've been to Vietnam several times (mostly Hanoi) as well, and I still haven't found anything
                close to 'authentic' in Manhattan. Not even in Chinatown - I found their dishes,
                no matter where you go, to be overly sweet. Then again, Hanoi food is not as sweet
                compared to the south, but my impression is that here in Manhattan, Vietnamese dishes are consistantly sweet, and whatever you get, they taste the same.

                That said, the restaurants that I think 'acceptable' are Hoi An and O'mai.
                I find the food at Hoi An less sweeten that other places.
                And O'mai, they try to make the food as authentic as possible. I was really excited to
                see 'Bun cha', grilled pork with vermicelli and lots of herbs, on the menu - I' had never seen it anywhere. What actually came out was actually a disappointment, as it was very different from what you get in Hanoi, but nonetheless, it tasted good.

                And I recently had a very disappointing meal at Bao Noodles.
                I don't think their food is authentic at all.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Muffin
                  Pan RE: Muffin Jul 25, 2006 05:40 PM

                  Where are Hoi An and O'mai?

                  Overly sweet food seems to be popular with a lowest common denominator of New York (and, I suppose, generally American) customers, which is why Chinese, Indian, Thai, and most any other cuisine that has to depend on such customers makes things sweet. Just think of the "sweet and sweet" dishes with red coloring that were originally "sweet and sour" and made with just vinegar and a moderate amount of sugar.

                  1. re: Pan
                    Muffin RE: Pan Jul 25, 2006 08:20 PM

                    Hoi An
                    135 W Broadway, New York 10013
                    Btwn Duane & Thomas St

                    158 9th Ave, New York 10011
                    Btwn 19th & 20th St

                    1. re: Muffin
                      Pan RE: Muffin Jul 26, 2006 06:07 AM

                      Surprising locations. I would have expected the best Vietnamese restaurants to have been in areas with large concentrations of Chinese (and therefore some Chinese-Vietnamese).

                      Thanks for the info. I look forward to checking these places out and intend to report back on my experiences.

                      1. re: Pan
                        Muffin RE: Pan Jul 27, 2006 02:01 PM

                        Forget Omai, and forget Hoi An.
                        See my new post below.

                2. f
                  food_connoisseur RE: kvn Jul 27, 2006 11:51 PM

                  Cong Ly on the corner of Hester and Chrystie by far is the best Vietnamese place I have been to in NYC. Otherwise I have been pretty disappointed with the Vietnamese food in the city.

                  1. p
                    Pan RE: kvn Jul 28, 2006 12:08 AM

                    Muffin, Bay Ridge is a real schlep. Do you still consider Omai and Hoi An acceptable?

                    1. w
                      weinish RE: kvn Jul 28, 2006 09:08 PM

                      Best Vietnamese in Manhattan is Boi on 44th and 2nd, hands down.

                      I've never even come close to disliking something there. It's all phenom...Dead serious.

                      I like cheap eats, and this isn't necessarily cheap. I'm a big Won Dee Siam fan, an Azuri Cafe fan, Joe's pizza, stuff like that.

                      The portions are not huge, but rather just enough. It's in a weird spot, but the place has become both my girlfriend and my favorite place in the city, period...

                      Atmosphere is nice. service is good. people are very nice. can get slightly loud, but not really. sorta small. largest group would be 6ish. even the deserts are phenom. they're made by someone else contracted out by the restaurant.

                      NOT OPEN ON SUNDAY because they cater to the area's workforce.

                      Boi. So good. And no, I do not have a stake in this restaurant :)


                      2 Replies
                      1. re: weinish
                        dbird RE: weinish Jul 30, 2006 12:19 AM

                        Boi... really? Blueberry chicken paillard on frisee and grilled catfish with dill-tumeric essence Boi? Curious that devil above feels Vietnamese in CA is no better than in Manhattan. I have not been to Vietnam but find a world of difference between Vietnamese in Westminster, for example, and in Manhattan. Occasionally I get the bo la me from Anh. But I would also like to know of a really good Vietnamese place. If not in Manhattan, is there Vietnamese worth the trip in other areas of NYC?

                        1. re: dbird
                          kenito799 RE: dbird Jul 30, 2006 01:48 PM

                          according to this person:

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