Not far from the monolithic Deutsches Haus and the French and American consulates, along the same tree-lined street where you’ll find the Saigon botanical garden, sits the newest Quan Bui restaurant. Spanning the corner of Le Duan and Dinh Tien Hoang, Quan Bui Central is a welcome local addition to a neighbourhood filled with international chains such as Hard Rock Cafe and Starbucks.
Rather than sitting down to a mundane burger, guests at Quan Bui Central can experience Vietnamese comfort food in style. Deep terracotta tones merge with hardwood and artfully selected ceramic tiles to create a homey atmosphere from a different era. Indochine-style art graces the walls and the warm lighting puts a soft focus on everything. This is the perfect place for a business lunch or a dinner date because the restaurant can accomodate intimate get-togethers as easily as it does large groups.
The dishes at Quan Bui are meant to be shared “family-style”. Start with a spring roll platter so that you can taste the differences in flavours between northern Vietnamese spring rolls (filled with crab and prawns), the central version (stuffed with minced pork and sausage), and fried Saigonese rolls, which are a mix of both worlds and feature shrimp and pork equally.
A classic green mango salad is a nice side dish to pair with the restaurant’s signature basa fish with passionfruit sauce, but for those who prefer beef, chicken or vegetarian food there are options for every palate. One of the reasons that Vietnamese food has become a beloved world cuisine is the combination of flavours that excite even the most refined tastes. Quan Bui’s chefs know how to utilise the punch of lime and chili with the depth of fish sauce and a touch of sweetness to create dishes that are traditional yet sophisticated. The fact that no MSG is used in the restaurants can take away any worry about indulging in the delicious food.
Pair the meal with a tra da (iced tea) in the afternoon or in the evening partake of one of the restaurant’s signature cocktails. The cocktail list changes monthly, which makes this a perfect place to come for repeated visits.
Prices ranging from VND69,000 for spring rolls to VND360,000 for a special fillet of seabass remain reasonable for the area.
Quan Bui Original on Ngo Van Nam is the most well-known location in the Quan Bui group and the first to have opened after the beloved flagship restaurant previously located in Saigon’s “little Hollywood”. The group includes two other locations as well, Quan Bui Bistro centrally located at the junction of Hai Bai Trung and Ly Tu Trong in District 1, and Quan Bui Garden, which features an open-air patio in District 2.
The rooftop at Quan Bui Original or the Garden in District 2 are perfect for events such as birthday or corporate parties or a small wedding reception, while an intimate wine tasting or business dinner can be organised at the Bistro or Central locations.
Events can be created sur mesure and the Quan Bui team will work with you to find the perfect combination of food, drinks and ambience. International and Vietnamese guests will equally appreciate the restaurants’ attention to detail and high quality Vietnamese food combined with modern style.
The restaurant group scored an excellent 4.5 out 5 on TripAdvisor with 787 reviews at the time this article was written. Many reviews talk about the quality of the food and the fact that diners can try dishes from regions across Vietnam in one location. The general consensus is that while the restaurant is more expensive than street-food, it is less expensive than most restaurants in the area. The price is worth it for the delicious flavours and comfortable atmosphere. No tiny plastic stools here!
Easily one of the best sit down Vietnamese restaurants to be found in HCMC. Excellent professionalism, presentation and selection, with well thought out decor. It is everything one hopes to find in a Vietnamese restaurant when visiting the country, and is a great choice for residents to return to again and again.