Thanks to the plucky Vietnamese community that has made New Orleans home since the mid-70s, the city has a thriving restaurant scene, one that’s gotten bigger and better in the last five years or so. It used to be seekers of the cuisine 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 are everywhere, from Uptown to Mid City to the French Quarter. Lovers of this clean herb-fueled cuisine couldn’t be happier.Read More
New Orleans’s 15 Essential Vietnamese Restaurants
From N.O. East to the West Bank to Mid City, there is no shortage of excellent Vietnamese cuisine
1. Banh Mi Boys
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. The menu ranges from straight up 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.
2. Singleton's Mini Mart
Singleton’s is a typical corner store, family run, 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.
3. Ba Chi Canteen
The menu at this Maple street gem is a kick: bacos (bao meets taco), gyoza nachos, kimchi fries, green tea Kit-Kat cheesecake — the mash-ups never stop. Insanely good, cheap, and friendly, Ba Hi Canteen is a winner.
Metairie, LA 70005
Consider heading to this Old Metairie cafe for happy hour, when spring rolls are half off and they are spot-on good. 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 here, one of few spots in town.
5. Mint Modern Vietnamese
New Orleans, LA 70115
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.
Namese is one of the new generation of Vietnamese eateries that honors tradition while breaking new flavor ground. There’s great pho and banh mi, but also surf and turf — shaken beef and garlic shrimp, lamb lollipops, and a Cuban made with braised duck, bacon, cheese, hoisin aioli, and pickled veg. Ingredients are pristine and every dish is postcard pretty.
7. 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.
8. Pho Cam Ly
Rub the jade Buddha’s belly for luck at the entrance to Pho Cam Ly; nothing to lose. And your luck is already improving once dinner arrives with deeply fragrant pho, crusty banh mi stuffed with Chinese sausage, and vermicelli bowls spiked with tofu or shrimp. A plus that pho comes small or large.
9. Pho Tau Bay Restaurant
Pho Tau Bay is a family affair, with roots that reach back to Saigon in the 60s, 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. Lots of good vegetarian dishes, a bonus.
Oddly closed Saturdays and Sundays, so take note.
10. Pho Noi Viet
Simply delicious Vietnamese food is the standard at Pho Noi Viet on Magazine. There’s a vegan pho option, but the rare beef brisket is tough to miss. Lemongrass chicken, shaken beef, and plump banh mi sandwiches all served in no time at all, with a smile.
11. 9 Roses Cafe
When 9 Roses opened in the French Quarter in 2015, it was absolutely epic. The same family that owns the large and newly renovated original restaurant on the West Bank opened this smaller cafe on Conti Street, delivering the same awesome fare, although without the Chinese food options. Never mind, as the crispy spring rolls, vermicelli bowls, and lemongrass tofu never fail to tantalize.
12. Thanh Thanh
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 fries — uh, sure. But the Vietnamese fare is the real deal, from the crispy filled crepes to the banh mi.
13. Tan Dinh
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’s also Korean style barbecued ribs served with kimchi and a nice line up Vietnamese beer.
14. Ba Mien Restaurant
One of the go-tos in New Orleans East, Ba Mien is a typical 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.
15. Dong Phuong
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.