We searched hard for the best new places to eat and drink in Hanoi. From a gastro cafe to a Nordic-inspired cocktail bar, here’s our specially curated list.
Đọc bài viết bằng tiếng Việt
It’s been a while, Hanoi. The last time, we gathered together five of the capital’s best bars and restaurants. Then, we discovered The Haflington, a brilliant cocktail bar with a Natural History Museum theme, the bouncing Korean gastro bar vibes of Mildang, the chic-est burger joint we’ve been to, Ngoặm, and more.
This time, we discovered a restaurant focused on promoting and preserving ethnic minority cuisine. There’s a small bar below T.U.N.G Dining to recharge in, a brilliant theatrical rooftop bar in the same building as a chic Japanese lounge, and a traditional Korean inn reimagined as a restaurant, bar, and art space. There is also a modern, fusion dining restaurant in a four-floor building overlooking the West Lake.
Today, join Wink Hotels’ The Dot Magazine in discovering six of the best places to eat and drink in Hanoi.
The Hudson Rooms
It’s 9pm when you hear the whistle. General Manager William Pravda has snuck off, changed into a station master’s uniform, and is blowing the whistle in the middle of The Hudson Rooms.
Normally, this might come as a surprise. Especially here, considering The Hudson Rooms’ seriously chic art deco design and stunning, marble-swathed countertops. But suppose you’ve explored the lower floors of the Capella Hanoi, where breakfast is served in an opera house dressing room, where a diva dances through the lounge every evening to ‘Diamonds Are Forever, and where each room is fashioned after a starlet of the roaring 20s. In that case, it’s far less of a shock.
“At that time, one of the most expensive passenger trains in the world, the 20th Century Limited Steamliner, would board at Grand Central Station, bound for LaSalle Street Station in Chicago. Passengers walked a red carpet to the carriage. Then, once aboard the Steamliner, passengers settled into their luxury accommodation or a seat at the onboard cocktail bar. In honor of that experience, we roll out a red carpet here, too, from the bar to the dining area. And, as our imaginary train pulls out, we hand out espresso martinis to all our guests,” William Pravda explains.
The Hudson Rooms themed their cocktail menu after the four train lines running out of Grand Central: west to Chicago and out to the west coast, to LA, north to Canada, and south to Miami.
Each line inspired a different direction for its cocktails’ flavors: “Right now I love our Warbonnet cocktail. It’s a tribute to the Santa Fe Super Chief on the Los Angeles line. We love to combine spirits and play with the drink’s balance. Inside our Warbonnet is mezcal, with a juniper-forward gin, which is balanced by a touch of honey, and a pomelo and citrus herb cordial. It’s a long drink. And it’s full of aromas and character with a very funky soul.”
In other playful period details, there’s the oysters and caviar menu, which pays homage to New York’s Fulton Fish Market. And big photogenic platters of fruits de mer like their Estuary Arrival with oysters, mussels, langoustines, lobster, scallops, and octopus. They also incorporate the oysters into The Hudson Room’s whisk(e)y luges. Way back, New York was the Big Oyster, when New York Harbor was said to be home to half the world’s oysters.
“And we discovered mention of whisk(e)y luges – whiskies being drunk from the shells of the eaten oysters – at the city’s Distillery Tavern as far back as the early 1820s,” William says.
At The Hudson Rooms, there are huîtres spéciales N°3 oysters and Bowmore 12-year-old, Belon oysters and Dewar’s 15-year-old, and fine de claire with a Macallan 12-year-old sherry cask. Or a flight of all three. “We’ve been experimenting with other combinations, too,” William adds. “Lately with American whiskies like Michter’s rye, sour mash, and bourbon with Irish Rock Oysters.”
We’ve heard rumors of a secret speakeasy hidden somewhere around here, too, inspired by Track 61 beneath the Waldorf-Astoria, said to be used secretly by US Presidents and the mythical train carriage used by the longest serving, President Roosevelt. “I really don’t know what you’re talking about,” William shrugs suspiciously. “And that station master wasn’t me either!”
If you are looking for a must-visit restaurant and bar in Hanoi, The Hudson Rooms is perfect for you.
In short: Your cocktail train is now boarding.
Location: 11 Le Phung Hieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
A Ban Mountain Dew
The theme at A Ban Mountain Dew is ethnic Vietnamese cuisine. And fortunately, A Ban delivers with gusto, bringing the village to the city. Importantly, there’s lots of passion behind the project. “We’re all in love with this cuisine,” Huyen, one of the founders, tells us. “And we wanted to bring the beauty of the ethnic mountainous people to a bigger audience.”
Plus the chef knows his stuff. Chef Viet grew up in Son La, so he spent his formative years immersed in the food…and his mom’s cooking. So, A Ban is an act of preservation too. Here, they’re keeping alive the cuisine Chef Viet ate growing up.
The team made frequent trips to the northern provinces during the research period. Up there they discovered Tai, Hmong, Mong, Muong, and Tay indigenous cuisines. During one trip, they also spent time in Y Tí village on the slope of Nhiu Co San mountain.
“We even experienced their Tet celebrations,” Huyen adds, “taking part in the ceremony of slaughtering the pig, a custom of the Mong people.” The reverence for nature, and the culture of cuisine they discovered made them “more and more in love with the idea of A Ban.”
They’ve divided the menu into sections dedicated to each ethnic group. The Tai’s cuisine of complex flavors, the balanced cuisine of the Moung, delicate Tay dishes, and “wonderfully vital” Mong cuisine.
Huyen recommends the smoked cold cuts: “The hearth is the heart of the ethnic home, so every prized ingredient gets to sit on the stove, especially meat. So, the smell of smoke in our cold cuts is very authentic. And we serve them with chẩm chéo, which they call ‘magic sauce.’” Then there’s the glorious five-color sticky rice “that looks like a bowl of the bounties of nature.” And pa ping top, “a Tai grilled-fish dish with over 20 types of herbs.”
There are more challenging dishes too, like their assorted insects, sticky rice with ant eggs, and a hearty Mong hot pot that might contain a horse’s penis. But after a few flasks of their signature village wine, enchanted by the ambiance, you’ll be ready to try anything.
A Ban Mountain Dew offers a chance to try ethnic Vietnamese cuisine. It’s a place with exotic food, for adventurous individuals, or anyone, in fact, looking for traditional flavors creatively presented.
In short: Preservation and passion for ethnic Vietnamese cuisine.
Location: 76 Tran Phu, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Kuusi By TUNG
Disappearing through the door to Kuusi By TUNG, right next door to T.U.N.G Dining is like entering Mr. Benn’s dressing room or pushing through to the back of C.S. Lewis’ wardrobe. “Kuusi by TUNG is a very intimate space,” Mood Therapist Richard McDonough nods. “And there’s something about that heavy door and the fact there are no windows – which cuts the outside noise – that heightens that.”
The design, with extensive use of wood, the kuusi – or Norwegian spruce – in the corner, and the 12-seat shared table in the center add to the calm. “But how calm it all depends on the guests!” Richard McDonough laughs.
At Kuusi by TUNG, Richard joined forces with award-winning Chef Hoang Tung. The collaboration started when Tung dropped by Richard’s cocktail lab during one of those interminable days of lockdown.
“Then, while I was in the States, I started to get cryptic messages from him. And then a link to a magazine article. At the end of the article, he announced we were opening a bar together!”, Richard remembers. The Mood Therapist had turned down frequent offers in the past. But this time was different: “Because I love Tung’s drive and ambition, it was exciting for me to collaborate with him.”
The Kuusi by TUNG cocktail tasting menu revolves around five drinks with a food pairing. And the concept is about recharging. The five coasters go from low-battery red to fully-recharged green. “I think every bar has a concept,” the Mood Therapist muses, “whether it’s highly developed or simply a place to get drunk on cheap drinks.”
At Kuusi by TUNG, Tung and business partner Anh came up with the emotional recharging concept. “I think that was partly because they needed a space to recharge after the stress of the restaurant upstairs. And that fitted with my persona as the Mood Therapist…” Richard adds.
The first drink, a Mortlach Highball, is a carbonated spherification that the bartender presents on an exaggeratedly tall stand. It’s literally a high ball that “explodes in your mouth and releases an intense burst of flavor.” Next, what you see with the 66% More Bubbles is not what you get. “It looks like pink champagne but drinks like rich chocolate with a slight tartness and a little sweetness from rhubarb,” Richard says.
After that, there’s a twist on a Daiquiri called Quid Quo Pro. The drink contains Sampan Rhum, and it gets its bright green color from “a very cool herb from the highlands of the north of Vietnam called lá quế vị.”
Then there’s the Crystal Onion, “a relatively simple, stirred drink with an aged Sampan rhum.” Richard and Tung got to blend their own barrel at the Distillerie Indochine in Hoi An. “We are currently the only ones to have our own ex-cognac barrel of their Sampan rhum in our bar. And, of course, we’ll only ever be the ones to have this special custom blend.”
Finally, comes the CNDNSD MLK, Kuusi by TUNG’s take on the Vietnamese classic cà phê đá. It’s made with Hennessy VSOP cognac, cold brew coffee, a rum-based coffee liqueur, dulce de leche, and double cream. And it tastes something like “Bailey’s on steroids.”
Of the food pairings, one that stands out is the Crystal Onion with amaebi – sweet Japanese prawn with pickled mushrooms and chorizo oil. “We get a lot of compliments for this pairing in particular,” Richard says, “There’s something about the chorizo and the onion that makes it kick-off.”
If you’re still going after that, there’s another a la carte menu with drinks like Kuusi by Tung’s Infinite Space For Human Error with mezcal and an unreleased Song Cai Honeyed Amaro, and their Emotional Support Cocktail with Bulleit Bourbon and caramelized buttered apple juice.
For gastronomic snacks to curated, creative cocktails, KUUSI by TUNG is easily one of the best places in Hanoi. Moreover, the unique ambiance adds to guests’ enjoyment of this new bar in Hanoi.
In short: Tung’s gastronomic snacks and a Mood Therapist curated a five-drink tasting menu.
Location: 2C Quang Trung, Hanoi
A Jumarc, or traditional Korean Inn, might have first appeared over a thousand years ago. ‘Ju’ means wine, and ‘marc’ means space. “But there’s another meaning,” Sukmo Koo tells us, “because ‘marc’ can also mean magical, cheerful, or charming.”
At this modern reimagining of Jumarc, founders Sukmoo Koo, Matthew Lim, and Chef Joonhyuk Chi (from Labri Bistro) aim for both. They want Jumarc to be a place where you can sip some Chablis, bite into a mentaiko taco and wasabi cucumber salad, and enjoy the latest artworks installed on the walls. And the fusion of art, cuisine, drinks, and vibe “shouldn’t feel out of place if it were transported to Chelsea in New York or Gangnam in Seoul.” Korean-American Sukmo Koo should know.
“I like the counter seat the most,” Sukmo Koo says, “to watch our Korean Head Chef, Dongsol Lee, and our ‘wine mother’ Trang Nguyen, in action. Start with a glass of Albariños, which pairs well with Korean food, and continue with some soju and gamja jeon, our potato pancake, and jokbal, pig’s feet with our signature seasoning.”
Right now, they’re presenting the group show Color-In-Fusion, “transforming Jumarc into a colorful space, full of playfulness and excitement.” And before that, they premiered with 11,000 Feet: The Journey To The West, a solo show by David Ch. It was an exhibition where the artist reimagined the Chinese epic novel as a “vivid, colorful vision.”
Jumarc is one of the best places in Hanoi for friends looking for unique food and a social experience. Its cozy, design-conscious setting brings joy to its visitors, and so does its menu of original and quality Korean-style food.
In short: A traditional Korean inn reimagined as an arty bar-kitchen.
Location: 23C Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
At Akio, part of Capella Hanoi’s effortlessly chic Koki, House Of Senses, the theatricality (see The Hudson Rooms above) is dialed right back. Down here, the entertainment comes in the head-spinning range of spirits, sake, and shochu, including one sake, called Izumi, that’s made exclusively for The Capella Hanoi.
“Koki is the overlaying concept in which Akio and Hibana – our signature teppanyaki – reside. Think of Akio as the living room and Hibana as the kitchen,” Sean explains. “And we don’t try to compete with the playfulness and period details upstairs. We try to complement them. Capella Hanoi should be a one-stop destination with everything you could ever want behind our golden doors.”
There’s a dreamy, otherworldly feeling down here. “Right,” Sean agrees, “Akio is a place where you can forget about time.” And, as curator of the experience, Sean’s put together a menu that deep dives into Japanese cities and culture.
The names of the cocktails in the Breeze From The Paddy Field section come from different cities in Japan: Nara, Niigata, Okayama, Yamagata, and Okinawa. “All these drinks are based on rice, in some form, including the side serve with every cocktail,” Sean adds. For example, the Yamagata contains Roku Gin and Tatenokawa Junmai Daiginjo from a Yamagata brewery with a 185-year history. It also includes wasabi and yuzu, sour plum, and soda. And it comes with a soy and miso rice cracker with wasabi cream.
The Land Of The Rising Sun section conjures the spirit of different places. There’s Nikko, Ginza, Miyazaki, and Oita. And for example, Nikko, where cherry blossom blooms the latest in Japan, is a fresh, springtime cocktail, with Sakura Gin, shiso cordial, yuzu, pear, lemon, cream, egg white, and orange flower water.
What connects the two menus is the carefully selected Japanese ingredients and the perfect balance of flavors. “Key ingredients are flown in from Japan,” Sean nods, “and our spirit list only includes Japanese spirits, sake, and shochu.” But most importantly, he says, “We focus on the marriage between alcohol and balance.”
Akio is a perfect date spot or convivial lounge to catch up with friends over Japanese-inspired drinks and snacks.
In short: Japanese balance in a chic basement lounge.
Location: 11 Le Phung Hieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Culina Modern Dining & Gastro Café
“Hmm,” Mattia, who co-founded Culina with Le An and Chef Nico, says when we ask him about the best feedback for Culina Gastro Cafe & Modern Dining. “One person said, ‘It feels like home, but without needing to serve classic food.’ That’s what we’re trying to do,” he smiles.
And they do it across four floors in a villa they’ve taken over on the east side of Hanoi’s West Lake. “Each floor has a different character,” according to Le An. There’s the Gastro Cafe on the first floor. On the second floor are a garden patio and an open kitchen. Upstairs is an intimate dining space. And finally, on the 4th floor is a private whiskey lounge.
They make some classic dishes. But Chef Nico says they focus on modern, fusion cuisine: “East and West is a fantastic mix of flavors and has the potential for plenty of interesting combinations.” Dishes like their Egg Tapa, with its sharply flavored blue cheese and a sprinkle of rice, are incredible.
But back on the familiar side, they also serve a mean Eggs Benedict. “True,” Chef Nico agrees, “we’re also a place for a good cup of coffee or a tea and pastry, but also a plate of fish and chips and a craft beer, or even a dry-aged steak with a Grand Cru Classé wine.” Plus, you can have a bottle of fine whisky in their lounge. Or an intimate dinner in their private room.
“Personally, I’d order a bottle of bubbles and some tapas and watch the sunset from our air-conditioned second-floor terrace,” he smiles.
“I’ll let you in on a secret, too,” Mattia adds. “We’re building a breathtaking open terrace on the third floor. It’s going to be a unique space. But I guess it won’t be secret for long….”
Few restaurants in Hanoi can compare with Culina Modern Dining & Gastro Café for the way they turn simple food into extraordinary meals. Its classic wine list is a must-try, and it’s a perfect place for family gatherings or for dinner with your colleagues or friends.
In short: East meets West across this villa’s four floors.
Location: 142 Tu Hoa, Tay Ho, Hanoi
Create Great Memories in Hanoi
For flavorful meals, exotic food, and unique drinks, rest assured that your friends and loved ones will enjoy a stay in Hanoi. So, be sure to visit these best bars and restaurants in Hanoi.
If you are traveling to Saigon and you’re looking for a place to stay, you can visit the Wink Hotel Saigon Centre. And Wink Hotels is coming to Hanoi soon.
To know more about Wink Hotel Saigon, contact the team at::
TEL +84 28 3826 9999
Looking for more insider tips on what to do in Hanoi, go over to The Dot Magazine’s bilingual guide.