Whether you're after Bánh mì or a steaming 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.
Seated in this pocket-sized restaurant Vietnamese canteen in the 5th, it's easy to see why it's become an institution. The service is faultless and the reasonably priced food is all cooked on site, such as the €12 lunch menu of fragrant caramel pork and super-fresh, crispy nems. The rest of the menu includes soups, banh cuon dumplings or the excellent bo bun.
The cosy benches, open kitchen, stone walls and wooden décor make it the perfect place to soak up the beers after a concert at La Maroquinerie. Expect the Vietnamese classics; pho, thai basil fried beef, crusty caramelised cod and perfectly balanced bo bun. The lôc lac is particularly good; meat (chicken is our favourite) with fried tomato rice, a fried egg, sliced onions, cucumber and tomato – all served on a lettuce leaf.
Named for a Vietnamese rickshaw, Cyclo's tiny room of just fifteen tables is a casual and inviting space. Starters 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 flavoured with lemongrass, or the ga lui, ginger chicken skewers with vermicelli rice noodles.
The excellent food at this Vietnamese noodle joint attracts a buzzy crowd. The delicious bành cuôn, steamed Vietnamese ravioli stuffed with minced meat, mushrooms, bean sprouts, spring onions and deep-fried onion, are served piping hot. Com ga lui, chicken kebabs with tasty lemongrass, though not as delicate, come with tasty rice.
A few blocks from the Arènes de Lutèce and the Jardin des Plantes, traditional Vietnamese canteen the Foyer Vietnam specialises in cheap, simple, yet high quality moreish food. The menu is standard Parisian Vietnamese fare, though every month there are several new specials added.
Don’t let the valet service out front or the lounge-like atmosphere of Lao Lane Xang 2 fool you: although slightly more expensive than its shabbier parent restaurant opposite, the South East Asian cooking here is still deliciously affordable. For the best experience, reserve a table upstairs with its fountains, plants and statues.
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).
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.
Vietnamese joints are a dime a dozen in the 13th, but a good pho soup is a rare find indeed. Three cheers 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.