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“Simply delicious!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of the balcony by Lanith

the balcony by Lanith
Ban Khoi - Nam Dong River, Luang Prabang 0000, Laos
+856 71 211 040
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Ranked #5 of 156 Restaurants in Luang Prabang
Price range: $7 - $25
Cuisines: French, International, Fusion
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Free Off-Street Parking, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wine and Beer
Description: A RESTAURANT WITH A CAUSE! The Balcony is a restaurant with a cause. As a social enterprise all of our profits are reinvested into community development by providing access to international standard food and beverage skills training for young Laotians aspiring for a career in the dynamic hospitality and tourism industry. Exposure to a real life culinary environment, coupled with rigorous classroom learning is the backdrop for changing lives. As Laos' leading provider of hospitality and tourism education and training, the Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (Lanith) has operated the Balcony since 2013 as a training restaurant. All staff have been certified by Lanith to deliver service on an international level. These highly motivated locals are eager to exceed your expectations by focusing on every detail and to ensure an unforgettable dining experience. We are just minutes from downtown Luang Prabang, but light years from the tourist hordes. Step into the Balcony's spacious restaurant just moments away from Laos' ancient capital and make yourself comfortable overlooking Nam Dong river and the mountain panorama. Come join us for a memorable dining experience or stay in one of our four guest rooms and help us to make a difference in the local community. Our menu mainstays include signature seasonal dishes based on local ingredients some grown in our herb garden. We also offer a vast line up of top-shelf cocktails and a growing wine list. We pride ourselves on delivering top quality service and train our staff, from waiters to cooks, through our award-winning Passport to Success industry training programme. Come and stay with us! We offer four guest rooms and we also have a meeting room facility. The Balcony is open during the tourism high season from September until April. From May to August we do open for bookings with a minimum of five people - just phone the day before. WE PROVIDE FREE TRANSPORT!
Graz, Austria
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Simply delicious!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2014 via mobile

We went there yesterday and used the free pick up service which worked really well.

Balcony is a project which trains local people so don't be surprised when they first seemed a little bit shy. The whole evening the service did a really great job!

My boyfriend tried the bigger menue (risotto & braised buffalo cheeks) and I had the salmon as a starter and the mekong fish
for main course. They offered homebade bread which was delicious. We also had an amuse bouche, which was great too.
The risotto was one of the best we've ever had (and it means someting because we live close to Italy). My salmon tasted good but in my view not perfect. The main course,- especially the meat of the buffalo cheeks were melting on our tongues. The mekong fish was also really tasty and the homemade ravioli were a perfect combination. What I personally don't need is this "heavy sauce" so I was pretty full after a couple of bites.
Dessert was a highlight!

So as the last mentioned before one of the staff was sick and we also heard him or her chocking up loud cough. It sounded disgusting but I didn't see it.
I would highly advice the owners to avoid that, because you want to offer the Lao people a high-level education and to let someone work although he or she is pretty sick isn't high level at all.

All in all we had a really great evening and could highly recommend this food-experience!

Btw: They don't accept credit cards!

  • Visited May 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heintz V, Manager at the balcony by Lanith, responded to this review, May 23, 2014
Dear valued guest,

Thank your for this fantastic review, we are very happy that you liked the balcony experience.

I would like to mention that nobody of our staff is sick (no need to send anybody home), and that I'm really sorry that you feel disturbed by this sound. We will work on this matter, but please one more time it has nothing to do that somebody is ill and needed to be send home.

Best Regards,
Veronica Heintz
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58 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    47
    6
    4
    1
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Perth, Australia
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Hit and miss”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2014

We were one of two couples that dined last Saturday evening (low season). I wanted the Salmon, and out of their 5 main options they did not have it which was disappointing.

We ordered the longer set menu (4 courses) and I substituted beef cheeks for Mekong Fish.

The Risotto was undercooked which was sad particularly as the presentation was impeccable. Presentation of all meals was fantastic.

The main my partner got, Beef Cheeks, he loved - it was smooth and tender, and the potato mash was delicious. My Mekong Fish itself was cooked perfectly - however the sauce it was on was horrible, a light brown thick creamy sauce that didn't reflect the delicateness of the fish so I did not eat much.

The dessert however was fantastic, it was just how it is seen on pictures on the tripadvisor site - a chocolate/icecream plate, and the chocolate sauce accompanied with it was great.

The maitre de was fantastic, he was constantly supervising his staff - who were all very attentive and helpful, exceptionally polite, and although they were slightly nervous at the high standard of service required, they were trying very hard which was great.

One real downfall of the evening was one of the staff was sick - a westerner. At first when we arrived we thought it was an animal like a dog in the building, having that choked up loud cough where you think they are almost going to throw up. This continued ALL during our service, and during our entree my partner saw it was one of the servers which made it even more offputting. Send her home!!!! She wasn't needed, the restaurant was so quiet, and her cough was just horrible. We would be eating our meal, hear it, stop and look at each other, it was just the worst sound.

The tuktuk pick up service was however, great.

7/10.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heintz V, Manager at the balcony by Lanith, responded to this review, May 23, 2014
Dear valued guest,

after reading your comment I'm really surprised to here that you did no like the Risotto, i will take care personally of it, especially as all our guests love it and we get fantastic feedback for it.

I would deeply appreciate that all our staff is treated with respect and not considered as a dog. There is no reason to send anybody home, no one of the balcony staff and no one of the western supervisors is sick.

I apologize for the inconvenience caused and we are working on a solution.

Thank you.
Veronica Heintz
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Mexico City, Mexico
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Stay there on No 1 ! You deserve it”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2014

Thank you Veronica and your team.
Was a lovely evening. Great services. Great Food flawless pick up and drop off from our Hotel. May be lighting can be improved...
Great

  • Visited March 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
thebalconyLPQ, Owner at the balcony by Lanith, responded to this review, September 1, 2014
Dear Lutz D

So sorry it has taken us so long to reply. We really appreciate your review and are so happy you had a good visit with us. The team is really pleased. And by the way we have fixed the lighting!
Take good care and once again a big thanks
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London
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“World class dining experience in Laos”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2014

Decided to try The Balcony after seeing all the great reviews here - and I'm so glad I did! Getting there was easy as they provide a free pick-up and drop off -service from your chosen location in town. You could also make your own way there as it's easy to find, just continue a few km down the main road heading out of town (past Joma) towards the Kuang Si waterfall, probably a 10-15 min ride.

The menu is small but perfectly formed. Two set menus provide 3 or 4 courses and a complimentary bread basket. You can also order a la carte, and there are options for vegetarians too (although stay vigilant as there may be hidden meat bits in the starters - see below).

There is a good selection of drinks, including a few 'signature' cocktails. I tried the one with vodka and basil and it was great. A good selection of wines, many also served by the glass.

The bread was fresh and fluffy, the chef's starter served on a bed of some chocolatey thing which was sounds weird but was perfectly matched.

The main was an absolute winner, Mekong fish with farfalle and fresh vegetables. Who knew Mekong fish could taste so heavenly? The farfalle was home made and perfectly al dente, as were the vegetables (may have been the first time ever in Laos). The sauce was sweet and delicious, bringing everything beautifully together.

Ice cream, sorbet and biscuits for a dessert, served on a long plate that required a panorama photo setting. But it was very yummy and I wish I would've had the guts to lick the plate.

Uuuh. I felt quite stuffed at this point, and grateful I didn't go for the longer menu. My neighbours at the next table had, and were unable to eat their dessert.

The whole fare came to US$25, plus drinks, which were also very reasonably priced. The Balcony may well be the only place in the world where it's possible to have such a dining experience for this price. The restaurant only use fresh, high-quality and largely local ingredients and everything is prepared to a perfection, with lots of attention to detail. I would highly recommend this place anyone travelling in the SEA region to instantly make their way to The Balcony at Luang Prabang.

The only thing I would change about this place would be the plate that my main was served on. Well, it wasn't a plate but a very small wooden board. I know it looks lovely, but it was just too damn unpractical and I ended up getting the chocolate everywhere and smearing the white tablecloth for the rest of the dinner. I was also served bread with bacon bits and a starter with bacon sprinkled on top after telling the waiter I did not eat meat, but luckily I'm quite good at spotting these so no harm done and they were more than happy to change them for me.

The service was friendly and attentive without being intrusive at any point. It was nice chatting with the chef afterwards at the bar while waiting for the tuktuk to take me back to town, sipping a complimentary tea. He is due to leave the country soon so we can only hope that his successor will not let the standards drop.

Can't wait to be back next time I'm in town!

  • Visited April 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
thebalconyLPQ, Manager at the balcony by Lanith, responded to this review, April 28, 2014
Dear valued guest,

we thank you so much for this fabulous review! We are very happy that you had a great experience and we hope to see you back soon!

Best Regards,
Veronica Heintz
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Switzerland
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“Great creative food!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2014

Loved the place like everyone else...food is truly amazing. Service will gain self confidence as they train which is the whole idea of the place.

Addendum to a previous post: They do accept credit cards now as we were told...

Visited April 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
thebalconyLPQ, Manager at the balcony by Lanith, responded to this review, April 28, 2014
Dear customer,

thank you for your support and for your nice review, and we wish to see you back in Luang Prabang soon!

All the best!
Veronica Heintz
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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