Hanoi Bistro, Baldwin Village
Had dinner recently at Hanoi Bistro on the south side of Baldwin (on the second floor a few doors east of Jodhpore Club). Overall, a good neighbourhood restaurant with nicely spiced, tasty food in simple, pleasant surroundings.
Menu consists of a small selection of appetisers and a mains section of one-dish meals (noodle soup, meat/seafood with rice/vermicelli). We ordered 4 mains shared between 3 people, a durian shake and 2 Vietnamese coffee.
1. Noodle soup with white wine – flat noodles in a tasty broth with cubes of beef; raw bean sprouts, chilli and fresh basil on the side
2. Spicy beef with rice – a generous portion of stir-fried beef with turmeric and sesame oil (also curry powder and coriander?)
3. Shrimp in coconut milk with rice – decent-sized shrimps in a milky curry sauce
4. Hanoi-style fish with vermicelli – battered and deep-fried fish served on a sizzling hotplate with onions and dill. Description in menu mentioned shrimp paste but couldn’t really taste this. The blandest dish among the 4, the flavours didn’t really come through and the fish was on the chewy side
Durian shake was thick and pungent – the taste of coconut milk was very strong when the shake first arrived but this mellowed somewhat. The coffee was tasty but wasn’t really ‘brewed’ in the drip as there were no coffee grounds.
Prices were reasonable, with mains ranging from $6 to $10 (noodles $6, shrimp/beef $7.50, fish $10; coffee/shake about $3.50); total bill without taxes was $41. Would definitely go back to try other dishes, especially the pho.
I have had quite a few meals here at Hanoi Bistro (the last one being the weekend just past) and I have never been dissappointed.
This place is easy to miss on Baldwin St because of the uninviting staircase to the 2nd floor. However, once in the restaurant, it is very clean and well presented.
I have tried the Pho and the vermicelli dishes. Both of great quality and flavour. It tastes very much like home cooking. Their fresh spring rolls are great too. They tasted like they were made fresh to order, and not straight out of the fridge (unlike other places who pre-prepare them hours beforehand and store them).
THey do GREAT fruit shakes in tropical fruits. I have tried soursop and mango. Both wonderful! Their vietnamese coffee is also a nice post-meal treat.
Everything I have tried here is really delicious and when reading the posts for this Toronto downtown Vietnamese, I wonder why it isn't mentioned as anyone's favorite! It's in a great location and well away from the busy (and generally dirty) chinatown area.
The prices are decent and do not burn a hole in the pocket. You walk out feeling very comfortably full! I would definitely recommend this place to anyone who enjoys a good night out in a clean and well decorated restaurant.