The best Vietnamese restaurants in Paris

Our editors' picks of the city's finest pho, banh cuon and more

© James Strange

Whether you're after Bánh mì or a smoking bowl of Pho, Paris boasts more than enough Vietnamese restaurants to satisfy your cravings. The 13th arrondissement in particular is teeming with restaurants offering the best Vietnamese food around. There are speciality restaurants dotted all around the city however, so wherever you are and whatever dish you're in the mood for, there'll be a Vietnamese restaurant serving it. Here’s our editors’ pick of the very best in town. Enjoy. 

Mitsou

The deliciously vintage décor of Mitsou in the very chic 8th arrondissement is the perfect backdrop for a dim sum session, with its turquoise walls hung with photos of the owner’s mother (Mitsou). The menu covers fusion dishes, dim sum (prawn, pork or vegetable) and bo bun (everything from pork satay to citrus-marinated prawns). Then there’s delicious chicken kebabs, spring rolls and a daily special like a red chicken curry with aubergine, healthy and full of flavour. At midday, a seat can be hard to find – but it’s a perfect spot for the evening, with the staff as full of charm as the surroundings, and a great value tasting menu at €20 for a salad, nine dim sum and coconut rice with orange zest. A refined and friendly canteen whose menu covers both east and west.

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Champs Élysées and western Paris

Taokan

Christophe Daine spent 7 years working in a luxury watchmaker’s in Hong Kong before he realised his dream of opening a super-chic venue for Asian cuisine in Paris. His learning shows ­– everything here runs like a Swiss watch, from the décor to the dishes and even the refined, relaxed clientele. The menu mixes Chinese and Vietnamese specialities with a scattering of Japanese influences. The dim sum are excellent, with their mouthfuls of different textures and flavours – prawns, scallops or chicken scented with herbs and spices in melting steamed packages. Spring rolls are crispy and satisfying. Of the mains, don’t miss out on the chef’s special loc la beef, from the selection of classic and more contemporary dishes. Prices match the quality of the cooking, with mains at around €25-€30 and a set menu for around €50.

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St Germain des Prés

L'Indochine

Vietnamese joints are a dime a dozen in the 13th, but a good pho soup is a rare find indeed. Three cheers, then, for Indochine's recipe: devoid of the oiliness that so often mars the broth, the pho here is light and revitalising, the freshness of its herbs and soya beans beyond question. The same goes for the assortment of salads on offer, from the green papaya to the chicken and basilic or (for the adventurous) the raw beef. The banh cuon ravioli are suppler, less chewy, than what you'll generally get in these parts; and the banh xeo (fried prawn pancakes) strike just the right balance between crispy and tender. If everything at Indochine is a cut above the average (even the lovely terrace), the restaurant is also busier than most. Get there early.

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Chinatown

Xinh Xinh

Looking for a Vietnamese restaurant in the 13th arrondissement, most Parisians will immediately head for Chinatown, around the Porte d’Ivry and Porte de Choisy stations. And yet just a few hundred yards away, opposite the Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrie, is the sign for Madame Tran’s Xinh Xinh, possibly the most authentic joint of the lot. She serves up traditional Vietnamese cuisine that’s a million miles from the places offering the same old Cantonese rice and sauce dishes.At Xinh Xinh, you can sample the famous banh cuon (rice pancakes filled with pork and mushrooms, steamed and served with bean sprouts and slices of gio, a sort of Vietnamese ham) or the vegetarian version with prawns; the banh tom (steamed sweet potato fritters sprinkled with minced shrimps); and fried noodles with pork, chicken or shrimp. You can also try slightly more exotic things such as proper Vietnamese caramelised pork – the authentic sauce recipe is a lot lighter and more flavourful than the sticky syrup found in many a bog-standard Asian joint.But the main reason why you should come to Xinh Xinh is the bo bun. It’s a little more expensive than elsewhere (€12 for the larger version with chopped noodles inside), but the quality of the ingredients is worth it: salad and fresh mint, vermicelli noodles, slices of seasoned and grilled beef, grated carrots and crushed peanuts. And at the end, the chatty propriétaire will undoubtedly offer you a Vietnamese sweet made of cream and soya noodles – all part of

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Salpêtrière

Le Rouleau de Printemps

The secret’s been out about Le Rouleau de Printemps for some time, but it never disappoints, with its reliable quality and disarming simplicity. You can’t reserve a place in one of the two postcard-sized rooms, so arrive early to get a space on the shared tables. A coriander-scented bo bun, some plump crunchy egg rolls, a vegetarian spring roll and some steamed prawn ravioli washed down with jasmine tea or Tsingtao beer won’t cost you much more than €20, so go easy on the sometimes chaotic service. The staff are always charming but the dishes arrive haphazardly, sometimes poorly presented, as and when they’re finished by the matron in the kitchen – but at these prices it would hardly do to complain.

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Belleville

Le Drapeau de la Fidélité

Get ready for a tight squeeze. Le Drapeau de la Fidelité, a simple and characterful little hole run by a former philosophy professor from Vietnam, is as small as it is inexpensive – but then this only adds to the conviviality. And what prices: they’ve barely gone up in the restaurant’s 30-odd-year history, allowing you to indulge in a beer for €1.50, and a range of unpretentious Vietnamese dishes for €6 (€5 for students). Mr Quan, the owner, lets his eccentricities shine through in the décor: tracts on metaphysics plastered over the walls, the old State of Vietnam flag perched over the bar, French pop songs from the ‘80s playing in the loo… It’s a hoot, and the cheapest in the capital to boot. But take note: the kitchen closes at 8.30pm, the venue at 10pm.

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Vaugirard

Pho 14

Look beyond the cheap furniture and the waiters’ grumpy faces: Vietnamese canteen Pho 14 is the place to come for delicious Pho soups, filled with noodles, meat-balls, beef, and prawns, all served with fresh mint and basil. Other specialties worth testing are the crispy pork spring rolls (nems) and squidgy ravioli vapeur (steamed dumplings). There’s take-out too, if you don’t want to wait for a table (there are usually queues). This restaurant serves one of Time Out's 50 best dishes in Paris. Click here to see the full list.

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13th arrondissement

New Hawaïenne

New Hawaïenne serves fantastic, good value Vietnamese cooking in a down to earth atmosphere. Small and friendly, the place feels like a real haunt of regulars – plenty of people order without looking at the menu or chat with the staff. You might start with some classic boiled Vietnamese ravioli, the fine supple dough enhancing the stuffing, accompanied by some great fried ravioli with prawns, and some crunchy and flavourful spring rolls washed down with some Tsingtao. For mains, perhaps a well-balanced tamarind soup with prawns or a plate of tender beef with addictive ginger sauce. With its simple well-executed dishes for a few euros per person, the New Hawaïenne is one of our favourite Asian canteens.

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11th arrondissement

Le Cambodge

The system at Le Cambodge is simple: you write your order on a piece of paper, including preferences such as 'no coriander', 'no peanuts' or 'extra rice', and after a short wait the dishes appear. Two favourites are the bobun spécial, a hot and cold mix of sautéed beef, noodles, salad, bean sprouts and imperial rolls, and banhoy, a selection of the same ingredients to be wrapped in lettuce and mint leaves and dipped in a sauce. They also serve soups, salads and curries, including stewed pork in a fragrant coconut sauce.

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North-east Paris

Cyclo

Named for a Vietnamese rickshaw, Cyclo's tiny room of just fifteen tables is a casual and inviting space. Starters (€5–€7.50) include banh khot (small, soft, prawn-flavoured pastries) and banh cuon (small steamed pancakes stuffed with pork and mushrooms). Then move on to the bo bun (€8 or €9.50 with spring rolls) flavoured with lemongrass, or the ga lui, ginger chicken skewers with vermicelli rice noodles, salad and fresh mint (€10.50). For dessert, try the delicious steamed banana or the crème brulée with mango (€5.50) all washed down with Saigon beer or jasmine tea.

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Belleville

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