First impressions: Acting on a tip from our local tour guide, we sought out this little gem. It is the sister concept restaurant of the one in Hanoi (26 Tran Hung Dao, Hanoi) -- they use the same name and logo, although I'm not sure which came first. Offering cheap, tapas-style, street food in a normal-height-seat restaurant setting, it is of excellent value. Grade A-minus.
Pros: For a visitor, it's a good introduction to Vietnamese cuisine. This place has many outdoor tables. The atmosphere, though plainly busy, is laid back. Several cooking stations are lined up along the side of the restaurant, each with its own particular set of dishes they made. From a highly-extensive menu, you can choose from a wide range of dishes and desserts. A very close competitor to my usual favourite: Red Bean Slushee, the three-coloured dessert drink was heavenly. Upon returning home, I sought it out from every Asian store/restaurant I can find.
Cons: Though the food is quite tasty, my Vietnamese friend swears it's not exceptional. In fact, she insists that, for certain dishes, she can find better ones at a cheaper price --- elsewhere!
Another downside relates to dinginess. (This is where the Hanoi restaurant gains a 1/2-star for its cleaner, neater Old French villa setting.) While service is good, it is the first thing that suffers when it gets very busy. Arrive real early as wait times can extend to 45 minutes. And watch out for sudden downpours if you are seated outside (that's when it can get vermin-ugly in a hurry).
Verdict: For a first-timer, it's worth a visit, if you can reserve beforehand, arrive early and able to see past the dinginess. Frankly, between the two, I prefer its Hanoi sister site.
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