Vietnam is definitely a foodie country. From vibrant, comforting dishes for $1 on the street, to fine dining drawing international attention, Saigon is a city filled with flavor. With so many options, determining the best restaurants in Saigon feels like a daunting task. I still have a long list of restaurants and street food spots I haven’t gotten to try yet!
The best food in Saigon is truly on the streets—no upscale restaurant I went to could measure up and frankly, Saigon really doesn’t have a huge fine dining scene (though it’s definitely growing). My advice? Eat on the streets, then hit one of Saigon’s best cocktail bars after. Eating in Saigon is cheap. it’s impressive how for $1-2 goes, for a big bowl of food packed with a punch.
Pro tip: If you’re looking to eat vegan or vegetarian in Vietnam, look for restaurants with “chay” in the title (no accents). Chay technically describes something as vegetarian, but authentic Vietnamese food really doesn’t use any dairy, making a lot of chay Vietnamese dishes naturally vegan. Some Vietnamese food, such as bánh tráng nướng, does use egg, so be on the lookout for the word “trứng” on menus.
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Best Restaurants, Street Food Stalls, and Cafés in Vietnam
Pho Phuong 25
25 Hoàng Sa, Đa Kao, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
You can’t visit Saigon without having at least oversized, comforting bowl of pho, and Pho Phuong 25 is the place. This unassuming, family-run pho spot is situated on a street corner in a residential ares of District 1. It’s straightforward, simple, and all kinds of comforting. We came here when I was so tired that I could’ve fallen asleep in the street, and Pho Phuong 25 was exactly what I needed to wake back up.
Popular with locals in the area, come here for a big, warm bowl of pho for a fair price, and a cold glass of tra da (the unofficial street food beverage of Saigon).
Chè Chuối Nướng Võ Văn Tần
378 Võ Văn Tần, Phường 5, Quận 3, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
This well known street food stall has quite the following locally. Bananas are wrapped in sticky rice and banana leaves and grilled to warm, gooey perfection, then topped with coconut cream, making chuối nếp nướng.
The stall also makes bánh chuối, which is steamed banana, rather than grilled. Whatever you order, make sure you let it cool down for a while before trying—that grill gets hot! Chuối nếp nướng is hard to find in most of the US, making this stall a must-go.
Quán Chay Sala
71c Đ. Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, Phường Phạm Ngũ Lão, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
Stop by this ultra-casual vegan restaurant for some of the best vegan bánh mì in Saigon. This was the first bánh mì I had in the country, and it was SO much better than the many many bánh mì I had in the States growing up. Crispy bread, the right amount of spice, and perfectly seasoned. I could eat it any day of the week.
Looking for the best hotel in Saigon’s District 1? Click here.
Also at Quán Chay Sala is gỏi đu đủ. This is one of my Dad’s (and my) FAVORITE dishes. Green papaya salad served with crispy, puffy, rice cakes—a light and refreshing way to start any meal.
This restaurant is on the pricey side for typical Vietnamese street food, but it’s located in District 1, which is expensive real estate, and is still much more affordable than dining at somewhere more upscale. While the banh mi and goi du du are absolutely worth the stop, reviews are mixed on other dishes, so proceed at your own risk.
Giác Đức – Quán Hàng Chay
492 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, P. 4, Quận 3, TP. HCM
This unassuming open-air vegetarian restaurant is a solid stop for vegetarian Vietnamese street food in District 3. Rumor has it that Giác Đức – Quán Hàng Chay has been around for over 25 years. Despite the small space, the restaurant has an extensive menu featuring all kinds of authentic Saigonese noodle soups, rice dishes, spring rolls, tofu plates, and so, so much more.
We settled in for big bowls of bún riêu chay, and cold glasses of peach tea. Bún riêu is a tomato and seafood noodle soup, and a FAVORITE among Vietnamese people—ask any of my family or friends. It’s difficult to find it in vegetarian form in New York, so I was very excited about this (frankly, as I write this, I’m still dreaming of all the amazing vegetarian versions of my favorite Vietnamese dishes back in Saigon. I wanted to cry, I couldn’t believe my eyes at all the options I had).
Prices are a little higher than average, but still very reasonable for the neighborhood. I won’t lie and say that this is going to be the best street food you have in Saigon, but it’s still a very solid choice for a hot, reasonably-priced meal.
It was definitely obvious that Giác Đức – Quán Hàng Chay was a favorite among locals in District 3—tons of diners and Shopee/Grab drivers came in and out as we were seated.
Cho Ho Thi Ky
Hồ Thị Kỷ isn’t just a flower market! You’ll find that Hồ Thị Kỷ is not just Saigon’s flower market, but also one of the city’s most concentrated areas for street food. Try some sizzling bánh tráng nướng, crispy bánh xèo, or a cold glass of nước mía. A few of my favorite street food stalls in Hồ Thị Kỷ are below:
Bánh Tráng Nướng
233b Tổ 15 Khu phố 1, Phường 1, Quận 10, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
You’ll find bánh tráng nướng all over southern and central Vietnam, but this bánh tráng nướng stall in Ho Thi Ky is by far my favorite. You’ll hear this dish described as “Vietnamese pizza,” because it’s essentially an egg cracked over rice paper and grilled, topped with scallions, crispy pork belly, and sweet chili sauce. So simple, but so delicious!
I have it on good authority that this stall will leave the pork off for a vegan/vegetarian friendly version. Just ask for bánh tráng nướng không có thịt, or bánh tráng nướng chay.
Across the street from 123B Đ. Trần Bình Trọng, Phường 1, Quận 10, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
Like bánh tráng nướng, bánh xèo is one of the most popular street foods in Vietnam. Banh xeo is relatively easy to find in the US, but the banh xeo at this Ho Thi Ky stall was the best I’ve had…in my life. SO crispy and the stall had all the flavorful greens to wrap it in, greens that are definitely hard, if not impossible to find at home.
Bánh xèo is often described as a Vietnamese pancake, but honestly, I think that’s really inaccurate. Bánh xèo is much more savory than sweet! Depending on how thick your bánh xèo is, I’d compare it more to a crispy version of a crêpe or an omelette.
Chè Mâm KHÁNH VY (KHÁNH VY Sweets)
Chung cư, 32 lô H, Ngô Gia Tự, Phường 2, Quận 10, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
If you’re craving something sweet, look no further than this dessert stall in District 2!
Must tries at KHÁNH VY Sweets are chè bắp, a sweet corn soup; chè đậu đen, a sweet black bean soup; and of course, flan, a Vietnamese staple. Before you say anything, Vietnamese flan is a bit different from French flan—I’ll let you try it for yourself!
For a truly affordable price, Chè Mâm KHÁNH VY is a really solid authentic dessert stall for a comforting bowl of chè (and definitely worth a stop).
Dừa tắc 250 Pasteur
250 Pasteur, Phường 8, Quận 3, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
Dừa tắc is the sweet, refreshing Vietnamese drink you’ve never heard of. Made of coconut and kumquat (or pineapple), it’s a must-try in Saigon.
Dừa tắc 250 Pasteur is the go-to spot in HCMC for dừa tắc. This longstanding stall is popular during the day, and bustling at night when groups of friends come to hang out. Prices are very affordable, which is good, because you’ll definitely find yourself coming back to beat Saigon’s heat! Personally, I think the kumquat is better than pineapple by far, but I’ll leave that up to you.
Pasteur Street is one of the most famous streets in Saigon. While you’re in the area, stop by Daphele Studios for shopping, just a couple blocks away.
Maison Marou Flagship Saigon
169 Đ. Calmette, Phường Nguyễn Thái Bình, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
Before I left for Vietnam, my dad was adamant that I needed to try Vietnamese chocolate. Vietnamese chocolate flies under the radar in most of the world, and in my experience, is unlike any other.
If you ask anyone where to get chocolate in Saigon, they’ll direct you straight to Maison Marou (then Alluvia, Bellevie, and the rest, which are also wonderful). Maison Marou’s flagship café is not only adorable, but conveniently located just a couple blocks from Ben Thanh Market.
At this popular café, you can try Maison Marou’s chocolate confections and drinks, and of course, purchase all kinds of chocolate bars, truffles, and other boxes. My chocolate pastry was so rich, fluffy, and wonderful, but of everything we ordered, my favorite menu item had to be the chili chocolate drink. It was sweet and savory—exactly up my alley.
You’ll find much more Maison Marou product here than you would at a grocery store, or one of Maison Marou’s other locations making the store a great souvenir stop.
Maison additionally has a location on Nguyễn Du, but it’s much smaller. It’s a good spot to stop if you want to be away from the crowd, but is really tiny. I preferred the flagship store in Nguyễn Thái Bình much more.
METTA Vegetarian Food and Drink
Số 6 Đ. Số 19, Khu B, Quận 2, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
Although I mentioned earlier that restaurants in Vietnam often don’t live up to the flavor of street food, METTA was a standout for me.
Located in District 2, METTA Vegetarian is a beyond tranquil semi-outdoor restaurant with beautiful design. As the name suggests, the whole menu is vegetarian. METTA’s menu is surprisingly extensive and features tons of classic Vietnamese dishes that are really difficult to find vegetarian. The menu also highlights a few dishes influenced by Korean and Thai food.
METTA is such a good place to spend a lunch and unwind. Sip one of their many wonderful teas or juices (don’t skip the tea!), while trying a comforting noodle soup in the shade. Although the heat in Saigon normally ranges from “NYC in July,” to “so hot you think you’ve already passed out,” METTA uses Vietnam’s infamous heat to its advantage to help curate the atmosphere.
Unlike many vegetarian restaurants, METTA tends to stay away from imitation meat and lean into vegetarian-friendly ingredients as they are, which I always appreciate.
MORE OF THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN SAIGON
I came close to visiting these restaurants in Saigon, but unfortunately didn’t get the chance. These street food stalls and fine dining restaurants are high on my list for my next trip.
89 Tôn Thất Đạm, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
Located in Chợ Cũ, the oldest wet market in HCMC, ANAN (translating to “eat eat”) is a trendy street food-inspired restaurant by Vietnamese-American chef, Peter Cuong Franklin. The restaurant has steadily been attracting international attention, making World 50’s Best Saigon local guide, and hitting #39 on Asia’s Best Restaurants.
I missed ANAN in Saigon in favor of street food stall, but will definitely be trying to make a reservation next time I’m back.
Cơm Tấm 44
185 Đ. Trần Bình Trọng, Phường 3, Quận 5, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
Cơm tấm is a quintessential Saigonese dish. This is the type of dish you make when you don’t know what to make for dinner—warm, comforting and simple.
Recommended by a Vietnamese community I’m in, Cơm Tấm 44 is a street food stall in District 5 known for its delicious food and inexpensive prices. Don’t worry about getting there early—the stall is only open from 6-11pm.
89 Tôn Thất Đạm, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
The younger sister to ANAN, NHAU, NHAU (translating into drink, drink) is a modern Vietnamese pho bar with a retro feel. NHAU NHAU has a sexier feel, with rich teal Bac Trang wall tiles, and photos of Saigon in the 1960s on the walls.
NHAU NHAU’s menu feels even more experimental, with a cocktail list to match. Also attracting attention from World’s 50 Best, NHAU NHAU makes for a perfect date night restaurant in Saigon.
Cửa Tiệm Mộc Little Farm
38/16a Đ. Trần Khắc Chân, Tân Định, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
I was SO close to visiting this adorable café. I mean really—we were walking towards it and just 10 minutes away, before we got caught in a torrential downpour and caught a Grab back to the hotel.
With a cozy atmosphere, and comforting menu to match, Cửa Tiệm Mộc Little Farm offers both light, western favorites like yogurt bowls, and Vietnamese classics such as bánh xèo.
Lo Banh Mi Da Kao
18 Ng. Tất Tố, Phường 19, Bình Thạnh, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
My cousin, who lived in Vietnam for a couple years, claims that there’s something extra special about the bánh mì at Lo Banh Mi Da Kao.
I almost headed to this sandwich shop, but unfortunately, I realized that Lo Banh Mi Da Kao isn’t exactly vegetarian-friendly. If you do eat meat, this bành mì spot is likely worth a stop!
37bis Đ. Ký Con, Phường Nguyễn Thái Bình, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
Quince Saigon is a modern European restaurant located in a colonial French mansion, making waves in Saigon’s fine dining scene for its unique plates. Noticed by World’s 50 Best Discovery, the restaurant brings something new to the dining scene in Saigon. The menu at Quince changes based on seasonally available ingredients, so don’t expect to eat the same meal twice!
If you’re looking to get a break from Vietnamese cuisine, trying to impress a date, or maybe just want to try something new, reserve a table at Quince.
Restaurant Esta Saigon
27 Trần Quý Khoách, Tân Định, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
By Vietnamese chef Francis Thuan Tran, former head chef at Quince, Restaurant Esta is an Asian fusion restaurant in Tan Dinh. The chef’s love for nature inspired him to use local ingredients, and cook in fire—hence the flame grill in the heart of the restaurant.
This dark, vibe-y restaurant with a cozy, homey feel makes for a chic night out in the city. Come to eat some truly innovative dishes, representing the future of Vietnamese fine dining.
Looking for more to do in Saigon? Click here for more of the best places to go and things to eat in Vietnam.
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Eva Phan is the founder of Eva Darling, a travel and style website aiming to empower women to see the world solo while sharing on-trend, luxury feminine style inspiration. Featured in publications including Forbes, Thrillist, and Yahoo News, Eva has combined her education from Parsons School of Design with her incurable case of the travel bug to create a global destination that encourages others to romanticize their everyday.