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“My favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Chicago!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hai Yen Vietnamese Cuisine

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Hai Yen Vietnamese Cuisine
1055 West Argyle St, Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 561-4077
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Ranked #851 of 7,737 Restaurants in Chicago
Price range: $15 - $20
Cuisines: Vietnamese
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Broadway
Transit: One block east of the Argyle Redline train stop on the right hand side
Description: Hai Yen Restaurant welcomes you to experience the essence of Vietnam in Chicago. From our famous Bo La Lot (marinated ground beef wrapped in a Hawaiian leaf then grilled), to the very traditional beef noodle soup (Pho), or exotic salads such as the Lotus Root Salad, to our fresh fruit smoothies with tapioca, we have everything to please any one's palate. Vietnamese food consists of regional flavors with an infusion of French and Chinese cuisine. Our cuisine is incredibly healthy and is known as the cuisine of the dipping sauces. We use a lot of fresh vegetables and herbs, mainly for wrapping with different types of meat in a very thin, delicate rice paper with a dipping sauce on the side. At our restaurant, we allow you to join in on the fun of cooking Vietnamese food by letting you cook the food right at your own table with a fondue pot, soup pot or a grill. So stop by and create your own experience of Vietnam with us!
Chicago, Illinois
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“My favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Chicago!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2014

My girlfriend and I absolutely love this place and we love that it has delicious vegan and gluten free options. Their vegetarian pho tastes like magic and their vegan style salt and pepper tofu is my ultimate favorite.

  • Visited February 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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25 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    12
    9
    2
    2
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Michigan
Top Contributor
139 reviews 139 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
“This place just gets better and better”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

There is no place in Chicago that makes us feel so happy and well fed than Hai Yen. The food is interesting and always delicious and the service is incredible and informative. We tried many different dishes this time and were not disappointed with anything that we ordered. Hai Yen is the best!

Visited April 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“My favorite chicken Pho!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

Hai Yen serves my favorite chicken pho. Everything I have ordered there is tasty and the staff is nice and friendly!

  • Visited December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
“The absolutely sublime experience of Hai Yen's new tasting menu”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

I tried Hai Yen's new tasting menu with wine/cocktail pairings Saturday, and it was an absolutely sublime experience.

By any standard, it's the best tasting menu I've had. Whether comparing it to the "molecular gastronomy" of Moto, or to the "fine Mexican" of Sol de Mexico, this tour of Hai Yen's wide ranging menu proves their ability to transcend - fully and completely - the low expectations that can sometimes dog my adventures in Argyle or Chinatown.

Don't get me wrong - they do Argyle/Vietnamese staples fantastically well. This is now my go-to place for Bahn Mi because the bread is so fresh and flavorful, while the vegetables that come with it so arresting in their flavors. If you're not afraid of spice, the hot peppers in these can burn your tongue off - in the best way possible (my wife picks them out). I particularly like the steamed pork sausage and the lemongrass beef.

And it's this earthiness and down home simplicity that's really on display in the tasting menu - where a simple tamarind broth (expertly paired by Rashed, their sommelier, mixologist and all-around cruise director) became a surprise with every bite. With the palette evolving with the wine between the broth, vegetables, tomato and shrimp - each becoming an unexpected locus of startling flavor with each spoonful.

This was followed up with an appetizer again paired flawlessly with a sparkling white that brought out the snap in every single crunch of bean sprout. It was a beginning to a meal that set incredibly high expectations that had to be met and cleared. Which it did, in my opinion, with room to spare. A couple of courses in, both me and my former work buddy Janet were both stuffed with food and a little woozy from the generous wine "tasting portions." And yet the food kept coming.

The real highlight for me was the steamed seabass - with a sauce that I would dare anyone not to soak rice in and keep going until it's all gone. And yet as flavorful as it was, and as much as it was finely made, it didn't necessarily trigger for me the countless Cantonese restaurants in Singapore and Hong Kong that I've been to that can do this flawlessly. Rather it reminded me to my mom's home cooking - of how she would make it for dinner, and sometimes have leftovers for lunch, waiting for me when I would come back from school, she having picked out the bones, even as I would attend more to the book I was reading than to her or the food. I don't now remember what I read as I sweated from walking in the heat, head above the steaming food, but I remember that taste of fish in rich savory sauce.

By the time the tasting menu got to the short ribs, I was full to the point of being beyond eating, and yet, after a couple of bites, I couldn't stop myself from tearing each piece of short rib off the bone with my teeth and fingers, scooping the sauce up with the lettuce leaf below, and licking each digit clean after.

Yet the most unexpected part was still to come - for all this, course after generous course of superb cuisine (most of the last two dishes Janet had to take away), and each with its own wine or cocktail, the total bill came up to a total of $60 a person. If I had gone to say Saigon Sisters downtown - first of all the food would not have been at this level, and they would have charged half again as much just for that - before the alcohol at double or triple the price. More than anything else - the tasting menu here is a steal. Too good to be true, and you'd best take advantage of it before some fairy god-mother in too-tight Spanx waves her glitter wand goodbye to this impossible fantasy.

What you have to understand is that none of this takes place in an ultra modern space of pristine white, steel, glass, or wood paneling. It happens in a slightly aged place on Argyle across the alley from a Vietnamese supermarket and the other sundry gaudily lighted stores surrounding it. Yet the place feels cared for, spotless, and without rough edges - if they had existed, worn down with use and years. It was close to Christmas, so the season's music was playing, yet it wasn't booming or blaring like I've heard of Tank Noodle, nor was the ultimately very depressing 10 year old pop standards of the day on a relentless loop like at Pho 777.

There'll be people who pre-judge this place because of where it is, its outward appearance or its decor. But if you come here with good company for good company, and you're looking to have it enhanced with impeccably cooked food - made with care and feeling, paired with beverages that exhibit an unmatched understanding of the elemental flavors of Vietnamese and Asian foods - this is the only place in Chicago I'd ever recommend going to, and spending a very enjoyable quartet of hours being reminded of home.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
676 reviews 676 reviews
485 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 142 cities Reviews in 142 cities
272 helpful votes 272 helpful votes
“Reliable Tasty Vietnamese Food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2012

Many menu choices. Nice service. Good food. Parking scarce. Authentic dishes. Try the Vietnamese coffee without milk.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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