Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > France >
May 31, 2010 04:49 PM

vietnamese food in paris

Any good new (or old) places? Thanks

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Having had real Viet Namese food I'm a bit turned off by the Paris versions but here is a report of my most successful recent meal:
    3.0 Le Dan Bau, 18, rue des Trois Freres in the 18th,, never closed.
    As my loyal and not-so-loyal readers know, I don’t report/review ethnic places in Paris because unless I’m here for a year plus, I’m perfectly happy sampling new and old French places. But, but, but, I decided today (actually last week) to eat tonite at a Viet Namese place in the nabe because I was bushed after a flight across the seas, my regular 1st dinner rotisserie standby was closed and Richard Nahem of Parisist, a relatively new site that promotes itself as run by ex-New Yorkers, raved about it. What my readers don’t usually know, however, is that for Viet Namese cooking I have very high, impossibly high standards – having eaten out and had a cook-in chef in Viet Nam. Oh sure, I ate at Viet Namese places in Paris as a student, hey, they were cheap, good (what did I know about authentic ethnic cooking then?) and convenient. In any case, to my meal. Located on a “happening” street, just away from tourist central on Montmartre (La Famille par exemple) it’s only got 27 covers and has surprisingly terrific wall-art. The menu (carte) looks not much different from any other Viet place in Paris; but the food, the food? I started with the pork nems and couldn’t have been happier - crisp, great mint and lettuce leaves, too hot in temperature, but hey. Then I had the Pho, my sustaining breakfast in Viet Nam; bland but with perfectly undercooked (eg raw) beef (albeit a poor cut) and noodles and interesting lemon grass, etc, but wait, what’s that beside it; what my culinary guiding family (we term them Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-il) call “Big Red,” except that in Viet Nam there are legions of such sauces. That was it! With wine (1/2 bottle or 50 cl, it didn’t matter = 8.50 €.) My bill = 20 €. I challenge you on that. And they were turning people away. A downside – Don’t go if you’re subject to light-flashing induced seizures from light string fixtures – wow.
    Should one go? If one is on Montmartre, in need of ethnic food and not seizure-prone, definitely!

    6 Replies
    1. re: John Talbott

      It's not new (I've been going there for longer than I care to remember), and not having been to 'Nam, I can't vouch for its authenticity, but I love Minh Chau, 10 rue de la Verrerie, in the 4th behind the BHV.

      It's tiny (you have to ask for the key forthe toilet which is in the courtyard of a neighbouring building) but great value, and delicious.

      1. re: John Talbott

        based on this rec and craving viet food, i went to dan bau this july (i live in the south of france, where there is no good viet food). i grew up near little saigon in CA, i love viet food.

        however i was disappointed at dan bau.

        next time i go to paris, i will try out some of the places on blvd d'ivry, they looked promising, as well as the restos in rue volta (near the bahn mi place) - small, not at all chic, but completely packed full of asians, not a frog in sight... ;)

        1. re: juliadevi

          Merci pour le frog! French Chow Hounds will appreciate your comment. If you live in the South of France, where Vietnamese restaurants have been plenty since1954 (I think when we, the French, lost Indochine), there used to be a fantastic one, family run, in the casino in Bandol (this is between Marseille and Toulon) . Might be worth checking if it is still there. Unfortunately most of the original exiles from that time who opened restaurants are now dead or retired, their place taken by different cultures.

        2. re: John Talbott

          have you/anyone been to Kim Anh - it got 2 stars in frommers for paris this year, wanted to know if that was authentic or not, the mrs is vietnamese and we eat authentic all the time, so if it isnt the real deal she will know right away

          1. re: Dapuma

            i thought it was decent and authentic...not a destination place, but the outdoor seating is nice on a warm night

          2. re: John Talbott

            Can anyone provide a picture of their menu please? I stayed in Paris for 3 nights and had all of 3 dinners at this restaurant, Le Dan Bau. I can vouch for its authenticity since I'm from Hanoi myself and havent been away from Vietnam long enough to forget what it should look and taste like.

            I'm trying to make one of the dessert I had there but forgot the name. If anyone could provide a picture of the menu, that would be greatly appreciated!

            Thanks a lot.

          3. I don't think it's new, but Tin TIn (Louis Bonnet & rue de la presentation, metro belleville) has a particularly good Pho Sate.

            1. A really good but tiny place is in the 6th, at 21 rue des Grands Augustins. (Just a few doors down from Ze Kitchen Galerie). Food is quite good, husband in the front serving the tables, wife cooking in the back.

              Here's another good list:


              3 Replies
              1. re: menton1

                Menton, that webpage seems to have the strangest wrongly paired resto names and addresses.

                Paris Restaurant – Le Dan Bau – Montmartre
                * Tel: +33 1 44 78 09 19
                · Location: 8 rue de la Bastille, 75004 Paris
                * Type of Cuisine : Vietnamese Restaurant – Paris

                Paris Restaurant – Le Petit Bofinger – Bastille
                * Tel: +33 1 45 85 81 31
                · Location: 15 Avenue de Choisy, 75013 Paris
                * Type of Cuisine : Vietnamese Restaurant – Paris

                What's that about?

                1. re: Parigi

                  Maybe it's a misprint. Most of the others all look like accurate listings. You might want to click on that "contact us" link on that site to let them know...

                  1. re: Parigi

                    Thanks for feedback ... You may check it out again... Paris4Travel

                2. I know that Tan Dinh is officially a Viet place, but they have few of the traditional dishes. The vin carte is extensive, and can be grossly expensive. I once ordered an old Sauvignon Blanc, and the owner/chef refused to sell it to me; rather, he brought me a similar wine at half the price. It was superb. But I definitely felt like an ignorant tourist. No pressure to order a full meal here, at least for lunch.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Oakglen

                    Ate @ TD years ago and had a bad experience. So so food, very expensive and the wine we ordered was clearly off. They argued with us, implying that we didn't know what we were talking about. We were 2 Americans and a French woman from Burgundy. Not worth a detour.

                    1. re: Oakglen

                      I agree with Morekasha. Tan Dinh is expensive and on our one visit two of our three dishes were not good. I also think it is generally thought of as French/Vietnamese rather than Vietnamese.

                      1. re: Fuffy

                        I forgot to mention Aux Saveurs d'Indchine, rue Dante, super cheap and decent.

                    2. There are excellent Vietnamese restaurants in Paris. They are generally packed at mealtimes and even at other times. Their interior is modest (avoid the Tan Dinhs and other posh places) but sometimes more stylish or at least decorated.
                      Not being an authority on Belleville Vietnamese joints (though I know there are good ones), I will focus on the South Chinatown (the XIIIe) which I know better.

                      Pho Bida Vietnam on rue Nationale,
                      Le Bambou on rue Baudricourt,
                      Indochina on avenue de Choisy,
                      Pho 14 on avenue de Choisy (just pho and banh cuon, etc.)
                      There used to be the wonderful Pho Bida Saigon (tucked in a covered arcade) but it closed a few months ago.
                      (To be completed.)

                      23 Replies
                      1. re: Ptipois

                        I'd add Co Tu, on rue Croix-Nivert, and Lac Hong ($$$$) on rue Lauriston.

                        Indochine has the best nems (springrolls) I ever had. There really are plenty of lovely small vietnamese joints, and I wouldn't pretend to know them all.

                        1. re: souphie

                          I confirm, Indochine has scrumptious nems. And other good things too.

                          1. re: Ptipois

                            Bumping this great thread: does anyone have a (preferably central) address for spring rolls (not deep fried nems)? Am looking for a lunch option, similar to the now famous banh mi shop on Volta. Looking for grilled pork or grilled chicken options, not prawn, which is common and available at most Asian traiteurs.

                            1. re: mangeur

                              Could you explain "spring rolls (not deep fried nems)" ?

                              1. re: Parigi

                                The 8" log of noodles, carrots, radish, cilantro, mint and meat wrapped in moist rice paper, to dip in fish or peanut based sauce.

                                Perhaps aka goi cuon?


                                1. re: mangeur

                                  You mean anything wrapped in rice paper? (gỏi cuốn is the most famous option, it's salad, shrimp and pork and rice noodles and assorted herbs), but you also have nem nướng (grilled pork) and tôm bò lui (shrimps wrapped in beef), and chạo tôm (shrimp on sugar cane).
                                  Comme au Vietnam 134 rue de Tolbiac, mentioned elsewhere in this thread, serves nem nướng and tôm bò lui. Pho 67, rue Galande, serves chạo tôm (and maybe good gỏi cuốn, but I've never tried them there).
                                  I tend to make my own gỏi cuốn at home so have never eaten them in a restaurant, sorry...

                                  1. re: aliettedb

                                    Rue Galande is certainly central and will try here first. Then on to Tolbiac, certainly doable but a bit of a stretch for a snatch and grab lunch. Many thanks for these.

                                    We've a wonderful source at home and maybe shouldn't push our luck in Paris, but they are such a good light, healthy and delicious lunch.

                                    ETA, I just pulled up your website, Aliette. You are one interesting lady!

                                      1. re: Parigi

                                        Central, I like the spring rolls, and everything else infact, at Ming Chau rue de la Verrerie, just behind the BHV.

                                        1. re: vielleanglaise

                                          This has been our usual stop for Vietnamese for a number of years. The spring rolls are the fried rather than fresh/moist variety. To quote myself, it is "different" from what we eat in SF, a little more dense, flavors more assertive, a little heavier. Maybe the California influence here?

                                          1. re: mangeur

                                            No. The "pâté imperial" served at Minh Chau l are indeed fried. Their spring rolls though "rouleaux de printemps" are of the fresh variety. They serve them with a gloopy sweet sauce.

                                            1. re: vielleanglaise

                                              Thanks. Can/would they substitute nước chấm? Or is the sweet sauce their only style.

                                              1. re: mangeur

                                                They've always been very accomodating. They once gave my wife a bicycle after her's was stolen, so I'm sure they'd see their way to giving you some fish sauce.

                                            2. re: mangeur

                                              Excellent fried cha gio at Lao Viet, boulevard Massena.

                                              I confess my ignorance of reliable places for the moist/raw/rice filled rolls, never having been a fan or them.

                                          1. re: aliettedb

                                            On the other hand, I'm still game for top-quality banh cuon.

                                            1. re: Ptipois

                                              Those at Comme au Vietnam are very good, though they're more in the format of a Hội An white rose (ie they don't lie flat).

                                              1. re: aliettedb

                                                Now you've got me interested.
                                                Those at Pho Bida Saigon were unmatched. Now I'm looking for their brothers.

                              2. re: souphie

                                I ate at Co Tu a few weeks ago with a French friend. The meal was totally unacceptable. The place smelled like disinfectant, the water tasted of chlorine, the nems were hard and tasteless. The waitress knew almost nothing about the dishes, except that the restaurant did not make most of their nems. My shrimp dish was ok.

                                I do know something about Vietnamese food, having lived around San Francisco for 30 years, and studying Vietnamese cuisine in Vietnam with the CIA--Culinary Inst Amer, St Helena.)

                                1. re: sderham

                                  I'm sure you do, and I'm sorry you had a bad meal. This raises an issue that applies to most cheap Asian joints in this town, and frankly to most cheap joints in this town, which is that owners and chefs change quickly. Thus Yong, on rue de la Colonie, has been wonderful for a year or two, and while the restaurant is still there, it is not nearly as good anymore. Same with Apsara céleste, whose ownership seems to change every year for the last twenty years. In that ever changing landscape, Pho 14, Likafo, Shandong are islands of stability.

                                  1. re: souphie

                                    The difference lies in the type of management: family-owned restaurants are not the same thing as family-run restaurants. That is precisely what explains the reliability of places like Likafo, Lao Thai, Lao Viet or Tricotin. The staff includes family members, both in dining-room and kitchen. The presence of a resident head chef also does help: Aux Délices de Shan Dong shines from the intense presence of its chef-owner.

                                  2. re: sderham

                                    Like many places, Co Tu is nice for some things, and not for others (and I highly suspect most Vietnamese restaurants don't make their nems, the amount of work involved is just too insane...). The two times I've been I found the food good but not extraordinary; I suspect soups are just not their things, but my husband liked his duck dish very much.
                                    Insofar as I know, it's a family-owned and family-run joint though.

                                    (I would, though, reiterate the caution that Vietnamese-American food, Vietnamese-French food and Vietnamese food are related but by no means equivalent)

                                2. re: Ptipois

                                  In the same neighborhood as le Bambou and Pho 14, I would add
                                  La Mangue Verte (Avenue d'Ivry). It serves both Thai and Vietnamese dishes.
                                  I had dinner there last year during a trip to Paris. The spring rolls were good,
                                  and its bon bo hue was decent (by Paris standards). I had it with a bottle
                                  of Chinon which they served at the proper cool temperature for a cab franc.
                                  It hit the spot on a hot summer day.

                                  I was not as impressed by Pho14 as some of the other posters. Compared to
                                  most northern CA pho restaurants, it was unimpressive, but I agree that it is
                                  the best of a sad bunch of pho restaurants in the same neighborhood.