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“Slow service, but good food.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Saigon Cafe

Saigon Cafe
1575 Manheim Pike, Lancaster, PA 17601-3072
717-509-7008
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Ranked #216 of 510 Restaurants in Lancaster
Price range: $5 - $10
Cuisines: Asian, Vietnamese
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Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Doing business, Dining on a budget
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
58 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Slow service, but good food.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2012

I have gone to Rice and Noodles, this place's competition, several times. I was curious to try it since it got somewhat good reviews, and people said it's better than Rice and Noodles. For one thing, parking is SO MUCH easier since it's part of a little shopping center of sorts. We were seated right away and were approached by our waitress within 2 minutes, which is much quicker than Rice and Noodles. After a few minutes, my boyfriend and I were ready to order. I had seen several reviews stating that the avacado milkshakes are really good, so I ordered that to drink and the spring rolls to start. The one thing about Sai Gon is that they only have one type of spring roll--shrimp and pork inside. I'm not really a big shrimp person unless it's fried, but I thought I'd give it a try. For my entree I had the lemon grass stir fry, medium spicyness, with beef. My boyfriend got stirfried noodles with beef. The waitress brought out 2 waters for us right away, but didn't bring out my milkshake. I figured that she had to make it. 10 minutes passed and still no milkshake. Other tables who ordered it got thiers, so I figured since they came in first, she would obviously make mine afterwards, and it would probably come out with my food. Our food comes out shortly after that thought. Still no milkshake though. The waitress leaves before I can say anything. We start eating and my meal is DELICIOUS!!! The beef is so tender and the sauce is zesty and flavorful-so good! I didn't really care for the spring roll though, Rice and Noodles has them beat by a long shot in that category. We eat for another 10 minutes and another woman walks by, I'm assuming the manager by the way she talks, and I ask her for my milkshake. She nods enthusiastically, but then ends up getting busy with other tables asking her for stuff. Our waitress is the only one bringing out food so she's too busy. After I've been done with my meal for 5 minutes, my milkshake comes out. Now, I was a little disappointed with the waiting, but may I say that it was so worth it. That milkshake was so light and sweet! I would come here and suffer through slow service just for that milkshake! It seems like every Vietnemese place I have eaten at has slow service. I think they are just understaffed. Either way, the food here is much more flavorful than Rice and Noodles, with a much better atmophere. However, they are also a bit more expensive. The food is really, really, good though. I was disappointed that the service was so slow, because I would have liked to have taken my leftovers home. I give this place a 4 because the food is so good, it's worth the slow service. If they hired one more waitress I think it would have been perfect.

  • Visited June 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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31 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    10
    17
    1
    1
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Stevens, Pennsylvania
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Such horrible service!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2012

It's unbelievable how horrible the service at this place is! We are regulars at this restaurant, and there's always been SLOW service, but tonight's of service just takes the cake. We called and made reservations for 7PM for our group. We waited half an hour before we were finally seated. There was a group that I'll call "group 1" that arrived after us that was seated immediately and served drinks immediately. Finally after we were seated, it took the staff forever to give us menus and then another 10+minutes to come back to take our order. Then there was a second group that came after us and were seated immediately as well. Group 1 got their food before our waiter even came to take our orders, saying unchalantly, "sorry for the wait..." It took them another 20 minutes to slowly start bring us our drink orders while we watched group 1 and group 2 chow down on their meals! Group 1 finished and left before we even got all our drinks, which were missing 2 drinks! Another group arrived, were seated and served drinks immediately. Finally our appetizers came out, one by one, and still they missed an order! And to add to the insult, we didn't even have any utensils! It was already 8:30 by this time! Group 3 got their food and chowed down while we waited for ours. Why? These 3 groups were all Vietnamese people! We didn't start getting our food until close to 9, and by this time, I had made it known that we had been waiting forever for our food and all they could say was "sorry" blah, blah, blah, blah, blah... The whole time we were waiting to be served, their staff was doing who knows what?! And to make it worse, all 3 groups that came AFTER us, all got served before us. This kind of INTENTIONAL service, serving their own people first, is just utterly unacceptable!!!! We will no longer be going to this place and unless you're Vietnamese or want to wait 2 hours to get your food, you'd do the same!

  • Visited May 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Excellent soup!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2012

Had the soup with shrimp, jumbo lump crab, rice noodles, cilantro, bean sprouts, lime and basil (sorry can't remember the name, think it was #32). Excellent! So fresh! I love how they bring a side plate out with little stalks of fresh cilantro and basil so that you can add to your soup to suit your taste!
Will definitely be returning! If you want something that is healthy, fresh and a party in your mouth, not to mention a good value, then I suggest you visit Saigon Cafe. Enjoy!

  • Visited March 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“My new go-to for a delicious lunch!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2012 via mobile

I was excited to try this place after reading other reviews we went at 8 pm on a Sunday and they were still busy. My confidence grew immediately.

I let the waitress pick my entree which was the seafood soup; I won't embarrass myself by trying to remember the name or it's spelling.

The crab and shrimp were very fresh. The broth was clean and had a depth of flavor that is sometimes lacking in other restaurants. I didn't get an MSG or sodium headache/overload. This was the real deal.

My husband ordered their version of wonton and pork with broken rice. He wasn't thrilled with his choice, but admittedly, he's got a Westerners palate. The pork skins were less like the bacon he envisioned and more like dry pig-flavored scraps. They tasted like rubber bands covered in peant dust. But, I'm sure somebody's palette loves 'em: probably Andrew Zimmern.

He enjoyed his wonton, too. He wasn't used to wonton having veggies in the broth, but soon enjoyed the savory napa and other fixings.

The ambiance in this place is old, retro Asian restaurant. But, who cares? I'm there to eat some real food that someone's grandmother's grandmother passed down. I can deal with ugly carpets.

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Try it, you'll love it!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2012

The Saigon Café is probably the best Vietnamese “down home” cooking you’ll find in this part of the state. We have gone there for many years, and often, we are the only non-Vietnamese eating in the restaurant - which is a very good sign! I like the shrimp salad with rootlet vegetables (the version without the jellyfish) or their fried shrimp with spicy dipping sauce. I also love their version of Wonton soup (with a side of fresh basil, parsley, bean sprouts and lime) and then the Vietnamese Crepe is also devine. So don’t be afraid to try it if you are unfamiliar with Vietnamese food . . . because the menu has pictures!

  • Visited March 2012
    • 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.

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