La Cuisine French Restaurant

Scoping Saigon for where to eat fine French food in a cozy, home-like environment? La Cuisine presents a gastronomic retreat in the midst of the city center’s chaos.

On a hot summer day in Brazil in 1996 Erwann was promoted to chef at 23. He would either try and make it or fail miserably. Nearly 20 years later, the evidence speaks for itself. La Cuisine, a French restaurant near the center of Ho Chi Minh City, serves French cuisine that falls into the category of, “close your eyes and savor every bite”. Behind the scenes, Erwann is painstakingly observing, correcting and testing to see if his chefs are producing the quality he expects.

At around 6 years old, inspired by his mother’s and nanny’s cooking, Erwann designed his first themed restaurant: an eatery set in a submarine. While the idea never panned out further than a pencil drawing, his obsession with gastronomy translated into an international life of apprenticeships and perpetual mastery. In 2009, after nearly nine years working as the head chef for La Camargue, one of the city’s most famous French restaurants, Erwann decided to open his own restaurant despite many of his friends warning against it.

 

The eatery is now one of the top French restaurants in Saigon. Erwann has a keen ability to take elements from his childhood, his years abroad and the meals he enjoys of other notable chefs, and incorporate it into a fine French meal paired with some good wines.

White brick walls and French posters hug a cozy, two-floor interior. The space is more laid-back than the gastronomy at La Cuisine would suggest. And while the white linen only covers half the table, the chic, intimate environment pairs well with the finely prepared but nostalgia-inducing meals.

While the restaurant is packed on most days, with a more familial and colloquial air about it, on a quieter evening a more hushed atmosphere gives stray guests the chance to really focus their senses on the fare before them.

If you prefer to feel at home while you dine on top-quality restaurant food, La Cuisine presents an excellent environment in the city’s loudest and busiest district.

Speaking of familial, La Cuisine’s staff is limited, closely knit and joined with Erwann on his journey to culinary betterment. Several of his staff has worked more years with him than fingers can count. Others have come on board with little knowledge or pretention and have been built up by Erwann to the level they’re at now. As a practical chef who has built his experience through the chaos of kitchens across both hemispheres, Erwann has chosen staff that mirrors his capacity to learn and adapt.

As you can expect, service is courteous and professional, and the majority of the staff can safely give you excellent recommendations.

Erwann’s menu has some of longest titles for menu items you’ll see for french food in Saigon. The chef wants transparency, to let customers know exactly what they’re getting. A beef cheek, for example can be braised, stewed, pan-seared, broiled and so on.

The french and English menu specifies the method used to avoid misunderstanding. The braised beef cheek is cut in larger pieces and cooked for hours in a stock of jus de veau and red wine. Stewed beef cheek is cut smaller, and completely immersed in liquid during the cooking process. Asking for a medium-rare pan seared beef cheek, for example, would result in a chewy, inedible mess.

The dishes served at La Cuisine are French modern Mediterranean, and borrow French, Italian and even Japanese elements, along with elements from different regions in France, to create a sophisticated and quite detailed menu.

We sat down with Erwann to sample select dishes.

  • Pan-Seared Scallop on Kombu (VND 375,000):

    We began with a glass of Moulin de Gassac, a relatively dry but still somewhat sweet chardonnay with a low gravity. This wine functions well as a sipper before the meal and goes great with the freshly baked bread and Erwann’s favorite salted butter, imported from Brittany.

    We were presented with two dollops of pan-seared scallop resting on Japanese kelp (Kombu), covered in diced bits of oven-dried tomatoes, black olives and extra virgin olive oil. The lightly oiled vegetables and the soft, buttered scallop paired well with the dryness of the chardonnay, with the low gravity of the wine keeping the food from being overpowered by the wine.

  • Terrine de Foie Gras “Maison” (VND 415,000):

    In the mood for foie gras? La Cuisine’s foie gras was served with Guerande rock salt, onion and fig compote, dark freshly baked multigrain toast, and some mixed greens on the side. The wine was an Allan Scott Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

    Per our preference, we had the foie gras with the bread and the onion and fig compote, leaving the sauvignon blanc to sip afterwards along with the mixed greens. The foie gras was delicate, but not as buttery as we expected, likely due to the excellent compote and soft dark bread edging the richness of the terrine. The sweetness of the sauvignon blanc went smoothly with the lightly-dressed greens.

  • Osso Bucco, Wild Mushrooms, Risotto (VND 375,000):

    In the six years La Cuisine has been open, the osso bucco has never left the menu. It’s never left Erwann’s mind either. From the days his nanny used to cook the traditional recipe, to the plate set before us during our time at the French restaurant, the osso bucco has been one of the chef’s proudest and most nostalgic dishes, reminding many French customers of their childhood.

    Exceptionally tender braised veal shank painted with demi-glace sits atop risotto alla Milanese, the meat soft, but not so soft that it loses its texture. A bit of creamy risotto quickly followed by some of the hot glazed veal is prone to close some eyes: childhood is just on the tip of the tongue. This one brings you back, even if you’re not well versed with French cuisine.

    The paired Parallele 45 red wine unquestionably went well with the meat, but the osso bucco does not necessarily any additional elements.

    The demi-glace is made in-house and comprises of oxtail, vegetables, wine, filtered water and spices, cooked for three days and two nights, a process not allowed in restaurants in France.

  • Trianon: Choco-Almond with Strawberry Sauce

    Unfortunately this dessert was a special menu item and may not be available on the main menu at all times. If the occo bucco reflected Erwann’s childhood experiences of mouthwatering after-school dinners, the Trianon is the embodiment of childhood sweets in a refined, expertly crafted package. Chocolate, almonds, hazelnuts, and a layer of feuilletine produce a creamy fudge that is topped with popping sugar. Leave the fudge on your tongue and allow the sugar to pop under the roof of your mouth – it’s another eye-closer, and the Nutella-like fudge makes this an addictive treat.

The majority of reviews on TripAdvisor are five bubbles, with everything from service to food to the 79-item wine list lauded and relished. People comment the prices are high for Saigon but very reasonable when compared to French restaurants abroad. People seem to unanimously enjoy the cozy home setting.

What's Nearby

Q Spa and Salon

For the last seven years, Q Spa & Salon has been providing the highest level of service to both tourists and the business and local community o...

Vietnam Cookery Center

When in HCMC learn the secrets of Vietnamese gastronomy with a hands-on cooking course. Meet your instructor chef at Ben Thanh Market and discover ...

Saigontourist Travel Service

Saigontourist provides quality tailor-made excursions and daily coach tours around Ho Chi Minh City and other parts of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and ...

A O Show

A O Show is a unique blend of bamboo cirque, acrobatic acts, and theatrical visual drama, which depicts the beauty of Vietnam lives in villages and...

Kara Salon & Spa - Fitness Centre

Kara Salon & Spa, a tranquil 750 square meter sanctuary, offers a wide variety of high quality health and wellness therapies, hair and beauty t...

Vegas Club

Vegas Club is one of our Top 10 Casinos in Saigon. Located inside Caravelle Hotel in the heart of Saigon, Vegas Club is an electronic gaming ven...

Sen Spa

Vietnam’s Premier Spa, Providing Mind and Body Relaxation Nurturing in the pureness of nature, Saigon’s Sen Spa is a sanctuary for tho...

Walking Tours

Start at the Rex Hotel on Nguyen Hue and go through the /median park, pausing at the statue of Ho Chi Minh. In front is City Hall. Turn right on Le...

The Landmark Health Club

Located in the modern Landmark building along the river, this gym is fully equipped with cardio and training equipment. Trained teachers are availa...

Fanny Ice Cream

Frenchman Jean Narc Bruno trained at the world famous Le Notre Paris school of ice cream. More than 20 years ago he met Italian frozen dessert make...

Finewines in HCMC

When you go on the search of great wine, you need to find people with a passion for good wine pushing for better standards. You’ll find none ...

L'Usine Café

A hip, warm space creatively designed down to the last detail, L'usine plates Western favourites accompany your espresso. As a retail space, ca...

Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now, or colloquially, Apo, is a Saigon nightlife institution. As one of the oldest nightclubs in town, Apo dates back to American soldie...

Xu Bar and Lounge

Searching for a high-class, stylish restaurant and bar in the heart of HCMC? Look no further than Xu, which features Vietnamese cuisine made with q...

Saigon Saigon Rooftop Bar

Looking for a place to share a craft beer or cocktail created by award-winning bartenders? Sharing food platters with friends while soaking up the ...

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

One of the beverage mainstays of America, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, has come to HCMC. Sip Western style coffee and tea in a modern setting. T...

Starbucks Coffee

With four central locations in District 1, this iconic coffee shop aims to bring it’s coffee specialty to Ho Chi Minh City. Order from a wide...

Mojo Café on Dong Khoi

Mojo Café is nestled under and owned by the Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers. It sits on Dong Khoi and has an impressive frontage that can...

Catherine Denoual Maison

Catherine Denoual's light airy boutique is a haven of beauty in Ho Chi Minh City that elevates soft furnishings to haute couture. The shop stocks C...

L'Usine

HCMC's L'usine is a haven for everything the rest of the world forgot. A loft cafe, vintage racing bike and Lomo heaven, L'usine also s...

Parkson Plaza

With locations throughout Ho Chi Minh City, Parkson boasts a thorough selection of cosmetics and a wide range of clothing. It is the place to go fo...

Vincom Dong Khoi

Opened in 2010, Saigon’s Vincom Center is a commercial, business and living complex located between Notre Dame Cathedral and the Saigon Opera...

Model Boats

Boat modelling is a craft as old as shipbuilding, and dates back to the development of water transport. In Vietnam, model boats hail from a woodwor...

Nagu

A whole host of beautifully made souvenirs awaits you at Nagu. On display are countless hand-crafted accessories that make great gifts and are quit...

Mai Lam

A continually evolving boutique underneath Saigon's Hotel Continental, Mai Lam features pieces made with passion and dedicated to her family and th...

Annam Gourmet Market

Great Food, Good Times For over 20 years, Annam Gourmet Market has quite simply been the most high-quality international food market in Vietnam. I...

Therese Jewelry

Since 1980 Therese Jewelry has been selling jewels and lavish accessories to an adoring audience of diplomats, celebrities and high end travellers....

Norfolk Hotel

Norfolk Hotel is the perfect choice for business and pleasure. Set in a prime HCMC location just minutes from historic Ben Thanh Market, Saigon Ope...

Paragon Saigon Hotel

Managed by H&K Hospitality, the Paragon Saigon Hotel is one of the top 4 star business and leisure hotels in Ho Chi Minh City. Located in the h...

Caravelle Hotel

The Caravelle Hotel is Ho Chi Minh City's leading five star hotel, and rents 335 luxuriously appointed rooms including exclusive Signature Floors a...

Saigon Sky Garden

A comfortable living environment in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon Sky Garden Serviced Apartments are ideally located in the centre of ...

Sheraton Saigon Hotel And Towers

Ideally located in the prime touristic area of District 1 - Dong Khoi / Nguyen Hue, Sheraton Saigon Hotel And Towers promises a relaxing and wonder...

InterContinental Residences Saigon

While InterContinental Saigon is notorious for the free-flowing champagne at Market 39’s Sunday brunch and, of course, best known as a hotel ...

Rex Hotel Saigon

The five-star Rex Hotel Saigon, strategically located at the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, with 286 sheer luxury rooms and suites, 5 restaurants &...

InterContinental Saigon Hotel

InterContinental Saigon, Where Local Knowledge Makes A Genuine Difference. InterContinental Saigon, honoured as Vietnam’s Leading Hote...

Bong Sen Hotel Saigon

Set in the midst of business offices, banks, souvenir shops and department stores, Bong Sen is three star Asian-styled boutique hotel located on bu...

The Saigon Opera House

The Saigon Opera House is one of the two top venues in Vietnam to listen to opera and classical music. The other one is the Hanoi Opera House. One...

Dong Khoi street

Formerly known as Rue Catinat during the French colonial days and Tu Do in the 1960s, this street was reborn during Doi Moi as the centre of Saigon...

Jamia Al Muslimin Mosque (Central Mosque)

Jamia Al Muslimin Mosque is one of 12 mosques serving HCMC. Built in 1935, it was constructed for Saigonese worshipers from southern India, but now...

City Hall

In the centre of HCMC, at the end of Nguyen Hue, sits the magnificent office of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee. Completed in 1908 by the F...

Saigon Central Post Office

One of HCMC's most popular attractions, Saigon Central Post Office is the largest post office in Vietnam. Built between 1886 and 1891 by renowned...

Notre Dame Cathedral

The famous central Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, built between 1863 and 1880 by French colonists, is one of HCMC's architectural marvels. Erected ...

Ho Chi Minh City Museum

Built around 1885, this elegant yet understated building has been called, at various times, the French High Commissioner's Office, Gia Long Pal...

30-4 Park

This small, shady, central HCMC park takes its name from Vietnam's Reunification Day as April 30 marked the fall of Saigon. It offers a cool re...

District 1 - Point of Interest - Attractions in Ho Chi Minh City

District 1 is the financial and commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City. Most travellers will spend the majority of their time here. Home to most o...

Opening Hours

  • From 11:00 am to 2:00 pm & 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Contact

48 Le Thanh Ton Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Tags