6 of the best: Dining venues in Ho Chi Minh CityBy Duncan Forgan
29 Apr 2016
Ho Chi Minh city is a foodie’s paradise. More cosmopolitan than the country’s capital, Hanoi, the sprawling southern hub has a dining scene that encompasses everything from tasty snacks served streetside to upscale contemporary affairs. The city’s status as a hub for business and finance, meanwhile, has seen its MICE sector expand significantly in recent times, with excellent dining venues appearing with the regularity of a ticking metronome.
Ho Chi Minh City’s most opulent skybar remains one of the hottest spots for dining in the city. Designed by DWP Thailand, the firm behind the world-renowned Sirocco in Bangkok, the bar/restaurant justifies its lofty reputation with great cocktails and good food.
The restaurant on the 27th floor can seat up to 70 guests while the venue’s sky bar is ideal for any post dinner soiree with standing room for around 200 guests. The A-list Vietnamese celebs and models who have made this their watering hole of choice may beg to differ but the real star of the show is the stunning view over Saigon, which is utterly breathtaking.
Details: AB Tower, 76 Le Lai, Ben Thanh; chillsaigon.com; +84 93 882 28 38
The sprawling colonial villas that dot the central districts of Ho Chi Minh City make perfect settings for grand dining affairs. One such option is Ly Club, which is set in an elegant French mansion with an impressive dining room and expansive grounds with a charming—if slightly kitsch—feel.
With room for around 140-seated guests all in, this is the ideal place for a larger-scale dining event. Accordingly, the menu has a bit of something for everyone with dishes ranging from Vietnamese standouts such as sautéed clams with lemongrass and chilli to western temptations like chargrilled wagyu tenderloin.
Details: 143 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia; lyclub.vn; +84 8 3930 5588
Vietnam's culinary love affair with the pig is long established. Yet few could have predicted that one of the hottest tables in HCMC would turn out to be a humble American barbecue joint whose Vietnamese name Quan Ut Ut translates as "Restaurant Oink Oink."
The addition of a second venue to the expanding BBQ empire has opened things up for the MICE crowd. Event planners can rent out the entire new venue, which seats 350, or by section for groups of between 50 and 100. The restaurant, meanwhile, can offer free flow on food and drink or an a la carte option.
Details: 60 Truong Sa; quanutut.com; Tel: +84 3840 0420
A long-standing oasis by the banks of the Saigon River, The Deck remains one of the best places to escape the bustle of the city’s central districts. Despite being only about 15 minutes away from District 1, the setting here feels almost rural. Lounge space is on the riverside terrace, which is perfect for pre- or post-dinner drinks (and especially for sunset).
From intimate gatherings to dinners for up to 150 guests, the venue is skilled at catering to groups. The restaurant itself offers high-quality Pan-Asian fusion with highlights including fresh Nha Trang oysters and sumptuous tasting menus. For a special arrival get the venue to fetch guests by private boat.
Details: 38 Nguyen U Di; thedecksaigon.com; +84 8 3744 6632
This grand café and restaurant (the clue is in the name) didn’t waste any time in establishing itself as one of the best events dining spots in Saigon. With room for over 300 guests split between its informal restaurant, lounge and roof terrace, the venue has played host to a number of big occasions since opening at the end of 2015.
The menu by executive chef Steven Long, a finalist in popular cooking show Top Chef Vietnam 2014, is creative with an emphasis on roast and grilled items. However, the sparkling setting is arguably the top draw here. The restaurant itself is located in a century-old building while the view over to iconic Ben Thanh Market encapsulates Saigon’s effortless charm.
Details: 171 Calmette; crhcmc.com; Tel: +84 862 881717