The French influence in Hanoi is obvious almost immediately. The colonial rulers may have left but they left behind a legacy of architectural wonder. Some of the French buildings in the city are simply beautiful. Vietnam’s capital city has some amazing architecture, and this is part of the legacy of the former colonial rule. St. Joseph’s Cathedral, The President’s Palace and The Hanoi Opera House are three superb examples of the design skills of the former French Rulers.
Of course the French are also noted for culinary excellence and again Hanoi has benefited by their former presence. Some of the influence is by way of subtle and indirect takes on Vietnam favourites, whereas others are more obvious. The banh mi, sold on street corners everywhere, is merely a French sandwich. Over the years it has been adapted but it remains a simple filled baguette.
But what of French Restaurants in Hanoi? They are certainly plenty from which to choose. They come in many styles and prices vary as well, so you are never short of somewhere to get your French favourites. One of the local favourite French restaurants is Green Tambourine in the Old Quarter. It is pitched at the higher end of the market but is a lovely place with a really pretty courtyard. This is the most expensive part of town also, you pay for history. They throw in some great fusion dishes as well, namely the the fish with passion fruit sauce.
The geography in the Old Quarter really lends itself to a great night out dining. The architecture here is very romantic and the winding lanes all add to the ambience. However this is Hanoi, and it tends to close early. Don’t plan your restaurant meals for late at night. For the most part they close at 10 p.m.
The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is one of the finest hotels in the city and their French Restaurant is as you would expect, sensational. The hotel wouldn’t look out of place on the streets of Paris and the cuisine is full on bona fide French feasting.