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“Mr. Duc and his food: a great pairing!”
Review of Duc's Bistro

Duc's Bistro
Ranked #227 of 2,356 Restaurants in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Asian, Vietnamese, French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Business meetings, Romantic, Large groups, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Late Night, Full Bar, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Neighborhood: Downtown Honolulu
Laurel, MD
Level Contributor
66 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Mr. Duc and his food: a great pairing!”
Reviewed October 30, 2013 via mobile

We were greeted by Duc himself when we entered the small, intimate dining room. He is very personable and made us feel like honored guests. The food is wonderful, and the portion sizes are perfect. We had the lamb tenderloin, and the braised basa (a Vietnamese fish): both unusual, flavorful, and handsomely presented.

We just loved the experience. It is a quiet place, with music that complements rather than overpowers. This is a great place for a special night or if you want something a little different.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank LizLaurel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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101 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    72
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Kaneohe, Hawaii, USA
Level Contributor
355 reviews
265 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Charming and Delicious”
Reviewed October 30, 2013

Such a charming and quaint place in the heart of Chinatown. Not something you would expect. Homemade ginger ale is a must. The bass with lemon butter caper sauce is excellent. Everything here is good. Portions are small and the tend to be pricey but worth it.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Mark M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
218 reviews
93 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 169 helpful votes
“Joining the chorus: Great food, host - and Viet too!”
Reviewed September 23, 2013

What a delightful find - Vietnamese/French, not Chinese, despite being in the heart of Honolulu's Chinatown. The host was Duc himself, I learned, as he spoke about his many years here on this block, as well as his past in Vietnam. Though listed as French, it is truly a mix of Vietnamese and French.

Lovely setting, with music and artwork, a large back room where 'regulars' gather at tables or the large bar, serene and well-appointed amid the chaos of small storefronts in Honolulu's Chinatown.

Duc himself was most gracious, and sincere (as in passionately so) about his 'bistro' being his long-time love, along with his customers. "I need love", he said, adding that of course we all do, and delving into some philosophy as he demonstrated how to make the best of spring rolls - which I'll never look at the same. He brought all the condiments, including lettuce leaf, and gave a lesson on the best way to eat them.

A bit pricey on the French dishes, compared with the Vietnamese - appetizers, at least - and the spring rolls were quite plentiful so I wasn't so hungry any more! But I tried a duck dish (French style), which was terrific, wonderfully and lovingly prepared. Duc clearly wanted me to enjoy every drop, and even came back with a cold drink (non-alcoholic) to try, a refreshing mixture of club soda, lime juice, and ginger. Though it was a bit early for dinner when I arrived (from nearby Iolani Palace), there were a few obvious regulars at the bar, chatting about life. Lovely decor, ambience, and I can see why it's so well recommended. But it's not just French, Duc and chef cook up some mighty fine (and authentic) Vietnamese cuisine as well as some solid French dishes. Total price about $30 pp with appetizer, wine, main course, and free wisdom from Duc.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank drmikenyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maui
Level Contributor
56 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Amazingly tasty food elegantly prepared and presented!”
Reviewed August 18, 2013

We started with the Madame Vu house cocktail. We opted for the vodka version although they offer it with gin or rum as well. We asked Duc to order for us, gluten free please. What followed was green papaya salad like I've never had it before, Mahi in miso shoyu and truffle oil, steak marinated in a wonderful garlic based sauce, lamb chops that had us literally licking the bones, veal spring rolls, long beans and a special martini shot with jalapeño infused vodka. We also shared the taro tapioca- it comes warm! We finished it off with snifters of cognac. The ambiance is warm, tasteful and inviting. Duc and his wife were engaging and lovely and the service was easy and on top of it without being intrusive. As soon as you step in the door off of busy Maunakea street, the world melts away. No wonder they've been there for years!

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Goodwitch1965
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
Level Contributor
79 reviews
45 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
“Doesn't Get Much Better Than This”
Reviewed May 24, 2013

We actually found out about this wonderful place by chance while dining at BLT Steak. The couple next to us were locals and they highly recommended Duc's so we decided to give it a try and were so glad we did. First off, we both had the Madam Vu cocktail, which you can get with your choice of vodka, gin, or rum. It was so good we had two! We also tried the lobster bisque and Vietnamese spring rolls. Both were outstanding. Next we had the prawns curry, steak and green beans. The steak was cooked to perfection and was delicious, as we're the prawns. Green beans were yummy, too. I tried the tapioca for dessert and it was excellent. My husband had the creme brûlée which was great. The coffee was the best I have had in Honolulu. All in all, an extremely tasty meal.

I can't stop here, though. It would not be a complete review if I did not mention the attention and superb service we received from the owners themselves. Duc talked with us about how much he loves cooking and helped us make some of our choices. It was so clear that he really loves what he does. Mingh Na Vu also spoke with us about the food and menu items and could not have been more friendly. I think she also goes by "Christine". We liked it so much we decided to cancel a reservation we had elsewhere for dinner on Thursday and went back tonight. Duc greeted us with the same welcome as the first time and immediately thanked us for coming again. We had almost the same items as before but this time we tried the fire roasted eggplant, which was fabulous. Also tried the curried vegetables and they were outstanding. Dessert was fresh mangos and vanilla ice cream for me and chocolate cake for my husband. Both were big hits with us. Our only regret is that we cannot stay here long enough to go a few more times.

This is French/Vietnamese dining you will enjoy for sure. It is in Chinatown and will take some effort to find but with a GPS, no problem. Worth the trip! Do yourself a favor and cancel at least one of your dinner reservations so you can experience this wonderful restaurant. Thursday night the place was packed with "regulars" and they all seemed to be enjoying their meals. There was even live entertainment which was a guitarist and a woman who sang and did hula dancing. It was a nice touch!

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Wingnut57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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