It’s impossible to speak about New Orleans food without the mention of Vietnamese cuisine, a central presence that’s only gotten bigger and better in the last decade. Seekers of the cuisine once had to go to New Orleans East or the West Bank to sample lemon-grassed scented bao and pho fragrant with star anise and cardamom. Now, mom-and-pop shops and upscale destinations are everywhere, from Uptown to Mid City to the French Quarter. Lovers of this fresh, herb-fueled cuisine couldn’t be happier.Read More
New Orleans’s Essential Vietnamese Restaurants
From New Orleans East to the West Bank, there is no shortage of excellent Vietnamese cuisine in New Orleans
For a strip small, Pho NOLA’s space on Transcontinental Drive is spacious, light, and airy, with a nice L-shaped bar for post-work dining. It’s a favorite for its vast menu of boba and special teas as much as for banh mi, pho, and other noodle soups,
Banh Mi Boys (Multiple Locations)
Although it looks like part of a gas station (actually it’s just next door), Banh Mi Boys on Airline Highway is worth the drive — and now there’s a second location right on Magazine Street. The menu ranges from Vietnamese specials like spring rolls, vermicelli plates, and banh mi to a mash-up of Cajun, Korean, and local flavors — try the bulgogi beef banh mi, the Asian wings, and the darn good soft shell crab po’ boy. Owner Peter Nguyen cares and it shows.
Singleton's Mini Mart
Singleton’s is a family-run corner store located a few minutes from Tulane and Loyola. The family happens to be Vietnamese, which means the fried egg rolls are homemade, the pho (only offered Saturdays) is super, and the banh mi po’ boys rock. The “usual” po’ boys are also good, from fried oysters to roast beef.
Ba Chi Canteen
The menu at this Maple street gem is irresistible, from traditional pho, also with shrimp or chicken, to inventive bacos (bao meets taco with all kinds of fillings), kimchi fries, and banh mi. Insanely good, affordable, and friendly, Ba Chi Canteen is a winner (although plant-based options are scant).
Located on a busy section of Metairie Road, Rolls-N-Bowls specializes in two things: spring rolls of all flavors and steaming bowls of pho on the quick and cheap. The tasty bowls are crammed with vegetables, nice and fresh. Bubble tea is also on the menu.
Also featured in:
Mint Modern Vietnamese
Mint Modern Vietnamese doesn’t follow any rules when it comes to Vietnamese food. There’s a banh mi burger (which also happens to be one of the city’s greatest burgers) and banh mi stuffed with everything from fried soft shell crab to french fries and mushrooms. A meat lover’s option combines barbecue pork, pate, Vietnamese ham, and meatballs. This contemporary spot has a full bar, table service, and a playful menu.
Le's Baguette Banh Mi Cafe
Serving breakfast from 11 a.m. every day but Tuesday, Le’s is yet another family-owned Viet cafe that exceeds expectations. Fans appreciate spring rolls, steamed buns filled with lemongrass chicken, banh mi sandwiches, and steaming pho. Worth noting: Le’s Baguette gets its bread from Dong Phuong bakery in New Orleans East.
This polished French Vietnamese white tablecloth spot on Canal dishes swanky entrees like five spice lacquered duck and Vietnamese barbecue catfish, with most dishes incorporating Vietnamese spice and ingredients. Cafe Minh offers banh mi sandwiches at lunch, also on the non-traditional side, with the likes of charcoal pork and garlic beef dressed with sambal aioli and vegetables.
Pho Tau Bay Restaurant
Pho Tau Bay is a family affair, with roots that reach back to Saigon in the 1960s when the family patriarch owned restaurants there. Spiced beef stew is a specialty here, served over rice noodles or warm French bread, but all the usual suspects are represented on the menu. There are also lots of good vegetarian dishes, a bonus.
Simply delicious Vietnamese food is the standard at Pho Tran on Magazine. There is a myriad of spring roll options, along with steamed flour bun stuffed with marinated chicken or shrimp. Excellent pho includes a tofu option, butr the rare rare steak is a house favorite. Lemongrass chicken, shaken beef, and plump banh mi sandwiches all served in no time at all, with a smile. The fresh rolls have avocado in them, not too common but yum.
Mr. Bubbles (Multiple Locations)
This delicious Hong Kong Market eatery also has a shop on Canal Street, where owners Brian Smith and Thao Nguyen epand on the Gretna banh mi and bubble tea menu with spring rolls, Dong Phong pastries, and even a crab boil hot sausage banh mi.
Also featured in:
This sweet and cozy Vietnamese cafe in the Lower Garden District has been a longtime lunch favorite, with quick and friendly service. The rich pho broth simmered for eight hours puts it at the top of the city’s crowded pho list. Worth noting that Lilly’s not only doesn’t serve booze; the owner doesn’t allow spirits on the premises.
Situated in the heart of Old Gretna steps from the river, Thanh Thanh serves something to please every palate. Avocado toast? Yep. Omelets, sure. Buttermilk fried chicken with truffle fires — why not? But the Vietnamese fare is the real deal, from the crispy, filled crepes to the banh mi.
Also featured in:
Phở Bang Restaurant
Along the same highway as Ba Mien in New Orleans is the locally owned Pho Bang, flying under the radar but not to be overlooked. Try the cold bun salad and ultra meaty house pho featuring tripe, flank, brisket, ‘navel’, and tendon. The family also has locations in Harvey, Metairie, New Orleans East, and Kenner.
The menu at Tan Dinh is vast, just one reason this Gretna eatery is such a hot spot. Try the rice paper-wrapped or fried spring rolls filled with shrimp or pork, anything with lemongrass tofu, flavored rice bowls, and tangy vegetable-forward vermicelli bowls. There are also Korean-style barbecued ribs served with kimchi and a nice lineup of Vietnamese beer.
9 Roses Restaurant
The huge Nine Roses on the West Bank delivers awesome Vietnamese specialties and Chinese food alike, but it’s the crispy spring rolls, vermicelli bowls, and lemongrass tofu that bring us in. There’s a solid vegan menu, too.
Ba Mien Restaurant
One of the go-tos in New Orleans East, Ba Mien is a strip mall joint with a menu that delivers traditional Vietnamese flavors and lots of options. There’s tripe in some pho — which isn’t always offered — and banh cuon, or steamed rice flour rolls (think feather-light Vietnamese manicotti), stuffed with grilled pork, a Saigon specialty.
Dong Phuong won a James Beard America’s Classics Award in 2018, and deservedly so. Revered for its fresh bread delivered to restaurants all over the city and its king cakes during Carnival season, Dong Phuong was one of the first to offer banh mi sandwiches when it opened in 1982. Still drawing crowds in the morning and at lunch, the restaurant and bakery deserves a visit. Don’t miss the pâté chaud, a Vietnamese savory puff pastry.