It's not hard to guess what the most popular cuisine in the coastal city of Nha Trang is. Still, seafood comes in many forms and combinations so variety can still be the spice of your culinary adventures here.
Of course as Nha Trang is a tourist destination this means that you can try the upmarket five-star hotel dining options but it's nice to know that there are lots of local down-home choices. In fact the only obstacle you will find is that not all menus are in English.
Le Bouchon is a small French bistro-styled restaurant situated in Nha Trang town centre. But don’t be fooled by its petite size for the menu here has been hailed as authentic French food by many gourmet travellers. Even the French expats dine here, which is always a good sign.
There is the set menu of the day, and staples include warm goat cheese salad, steak with pepper sauce and French fries. If you happen to catch the owner at the bar, he might even offer you a glass of anise liquor pastis.
Address: 1P Hung Vuong Street
Tel: +84 93 895 2314
This restaurant was the first out of a chain of six that has opened in tourist centres throughout Vietnam. The food here is Italian and all freshly prepared and the best thing about it is that it is eminently affordable.
The house specialty includes the fritto misto deep-fried mixed seafood served on the pasta of your choice. Its pizzas are reputed to be the best in town.
Not the most romantic eatery in the world, Good Morning Vietnam is nevertheless a good people-watching venue. There is also a Good Morning Thailand situated on 111B Nguyen Thien Thuat.
Opening Hours: 10:00 – 23:00 daily
Address: Street 19B Biet Thu Street
Tel: +84 58 352 2071
Italian-owned Da Fernando is a reliable place, serving up classics like spinach and ham ravioli, caprice salad, and a variety of risotto dishes and dessert like tiramisu. All pastas are freshly made here.
The wine list is mainly Italian. This is a smallish one-up-one-down establishment but has easy-going atmosphere, Da Fernando is a good place for families with children.
Its location right in the heart of the city means that it’s popular locals and tourists alike.
Address: 96 Nguyen Thien Thuat
Tel: +84 58 352 8034
Ha Van ‘A’ Rooftop Lounge is part of the budget hotel Ha Van, famed as a hang-out for backpackers.
Situated on the top floor of the building, the sprawling place is divided into many areas: the main dining area has a commanding view of the city, a bar, lounge chairs and the internet area with a few computers.
The food is reasonably priced, and includes large American breakfast of eggs, bacon, and seasonal fruits with good coffee.
Other than breakfast, the cuisine is mainly Vietnamese at a reasonable price. Go there later in the day to enjoy the changing light in the sky, and a cocktail or two.
Address: 3/2 Tran Quang Khai
Tel: +84 58 352 5454
Cuisine: Vietnamese, international breakfast
If you're downtown and need some local food, Lac Canh is the place to eat. Always packed with locals, expats and tourists, Lac Canh is a typical bustling Vietnamese street-side restaurant, where you can barbecue your food at the table or simply order off the varied and wide-ranging menu.
Enjoy grilling your own marinated prawns, pork or squid, eaten with a variety of sauces, perfect with a local beer, while soaking in the authentic, street-side atmosphere.
Opening Hours: 09:30 – 10:00 daily
Address: 44 Nguyen Binh Khiem
Tel: +84 58 382 1391
This vegetarian restaurant is just southeast of the market. A plate of mixed vegetables and tofu/veggie meat dishes with rice or a bowl of noodle soup costs less than US$1 here. Just a little humble place, but a nice option for vegetarians and it is right next to the colourful and bustling market.
Address: Huynh Thuc Khang Street
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Vietnamese
Long established as one of the best places to sample authentic Vietnamese food in Nha Trang, Lanterns has undergone a complete renovation and now features smart décor with an al-fresco section in front.
Lanterns restaurant serves classic Vietnamese seafood and specializes in hotpots, seafood claypots and barbecued beef. Also try baked shrimps, noodles with seafood and lemongrass chicken.
Dine here and you will be part of the charity project run by the restaurant which supports local orphanages by inviting them out for a meal every month.
Those wanting to dig deeper into Vietnamese cuisine can enroll for a half-day cooking class, held four times a week.
Address: 72 Nguyen Thien Thuat
Tel: +84 58 247 1674
Not to be outdone by the rich variety of international cuisine on offer in Nha Trang, La Mancha serves up an array of Spanish dishes ranging from paella to spicy chorizo and stuffed pepper to barbecued meat on skewers. A rich collection of tapas is also featured on the menu.
The colour scheme (earthy yellow and ultramarine blue) and the ambience are unmistakably Spanish but is also modern in outlook. There is small bar within the premise from which sangria and Spanish wines flow.
Situated right in the heart of the tourist area, La Mancha is open for breakfast, lunch and late night dining.
Address: 78 Nguyen Thien Thuat
Tel: +84 58 352 7978
Louisiane Brewhouse is a classy beach club located on one of the best stretches of Nha Trang beach. With its seafront lounge chairs under thatched umbrellas, beautiful pool overlooking the bay, its own brewery, and good food, it’s all you’ll ever want from a lazy day by the beach.
The cuisine here is eclectically international featuring Vietnamese, Thai and Japanese dishes. Of note are pork ribs with lemongrass and chilli, stuffed squids and sauteed eel. Beers produced from this micro brewery are pilsener, drafts and wheat beers, among others.
There are also cakes and pastries for that afternoon tea.
Opening Hours: 07:00 – 01:00 daily
Address: 29 Tran Phu
Tel: +84 58 352 1948
Situated in a small alleyway off Tran Quang Hai Road, the family-run Nha Hang Yen is as local as it gets. The restaurant has a genuine feel about it; even some attempts to smarten it up (and a good job it has done too) by ways of modern chairs etc don’t hide the fact that this is a no-nonsense place that focuses mainly on the quality of the food.
The menu is small, but all the local specialties can be had here - crunchy spring rolls, beef or chicken Pho (noodle soup), seafood crepes or Vietnamese hotpots. All at a very reasonable price too.
Address: 3/2A Tran Quang Khai | (next to Ha Van Hotel)
Tel: +84 121 955 6861
Picture this setting: a lotus pond, sweeping rice field, courtyard garden, 300-year-old rustic mansion, and you have Nha Trang Xua. Situated in the countryside, six kilometres from Nha Trang (the trip there, through windy country roads and paddy fields, is a prelude in itself), the restaurant is a converted traditional house owned by an American retiree Vince and his Vietnamese wife.
Most of the ingredients come from the establishment’s own vegetable plot. The kitchen is one fluid unit, with cooking activities spilling out onto the yard where barbecued meats are grilled right in front of you.
The cuisine is typical central Vietnam food. Try banana flower and chicken salad, beef clay pot, or crispy pancakes filled with meats and herbs.
Address: Thom Thai Trong – la Vinh Thai, six km from Nha Trang
Popular with Japanese groups, Nha Trang Seafood serves no-nonsense seafood dishes grilled, steamed, or fried. The typical Vietnamese blend of sweet, sour and spicy is featured extensively here, in dishes like shrimp in coconut and some clay-pot dishes. The upstairs dining area, which is lit up at night, can be crowded but lively and fun all the same. The restaurant is a Vietnamese chain and can be found in and around Nha Trang town.
Opening Hours: Daily 10:00-22:00
Address: 46 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street
Tel: +84 58 352 2644
Cuisine: Vietnamese, seafood
This is a popular backpacker storefront. The North Indian curries are on the ball and portions generous with the added upside that this is not an expensive place to eat at all. Authentic Indian fare with a sister branch near Evason Ana Mandara.
Address: 96A/8 Tran Phu
Tel: +84 58 381 4489
To get a better taste of a truly local dining scene, head to Quan Cay Man (Plum Tree Restaurant). The main restaurant has a plum tree growing on the roof, but most of the seating is on either side of the street nearby. The lau bo here is cheap and tasty. It's only open from 14:00 to 20:00 daily, so plan accordingly.
Address: Nguyen Cong Tru Street
Okay – so it's situated in a hotel – but The Pavilion is pretty much the last word in luxurious, innovative and stylish dining in Nha Trang. You can dine here on the oceanfront veranda, indoors, or by candlelight on the seaside jetty.
This is the best choice in town for a romantic atmosphere and fine dining.
Formerly Ana Pavilion, The Pavilion lets you start your day with a sumptuous international breakfast buffet served daily. For dinner, fine cuisine complements the exotic setting. An international house chef will recommend his concoctions using the best and freshest ingredients with added Vietnamese flavours. Try seabass rolled in roasted seaweed, served with tossed bok choy, or wok-fried Nha Trang Bay lobster, organic vegetables and seafood fried rice.
There are also vegetarian dishes prepared for the health conscious. The wine list is extensive, and features old and new world, and even organic, labels.
There is a weekly guest appearance by local cooks who will prepare street delicacies on the spot.
Opening Hours: 06:00 – 23:00 daily
Location: Tran Phu Boulevard, at the Evason Ana Mandara Resort & Spa
Tel: +84 58 382 9829
Cuisine: International, seafood, Vietnamese
Refuge, in the heart of the city and only minutes away from Nha Trang Beach, is a French restaurant with a Savoyard flavour. Refuge is owned and run by Dimitri, from Haute Savoie , and his Vietnamese wife Thien. Apart from the usual French fare, its Savoyard specialties include mountain sausages in white wine, tartiflette – sliced potato baked with cheese, bacon and onions – and regional cheese. As with any self-respecting French joint, Refuge has a great selection of desserts, including the chocolate mousse, profiteroles and a selection of ice creams and sorbets.
Address: 01L Hung Vuong, Quant Tran
Tel: +84 93 560 6226
Head for Romy’s for a fix of delectable Italian ice-cream. The owner used to work as a chef and ran his own ice creamery in his German hometown.
All the ingredients are imported from Italy and the waffles and cones made in-house. Their bestseller is ‘Special Dalat,’ a rich mixture of huge ice cream topped with local fruit and whipped cream. The gelato waffle with chocolate sauce is also commended.
Address: 1C Biet Thu
Cuisine: Ice cream, dessert
This is a small café serving Vietnamese, Thai and international dishes. Situated in central Nha Trang, Same Same is popular among tourists who want simple but good food at distinctly affordable prices. All the Asian staples seem to be there: Thai green curry, Vietnamese spring rolls and even the pseudo-American banana pancake.
Dat, who owns the place, is also a knowledgeable tour guide. Well-versed in the history and culture of Vietnam, Dat will either arrange tours for you or give helpful tips and suggestions.
Address: 111 D Nguyen Thien Thuat
Tel: +84 58 352 4079
Cuisine: Vietnamese, Thai
Sailing Club is great for days based on the beach and for live evening entertainment. Basically, punters can rent a chair, order lunch and snacks, and have drinks delivered all day. People complain that it is overpriced and in comparison to local 'normal' prices the Sailing Club suffers a little but standards are higher and what's most important to a lot of visitors to Nha Trang is that the Sailing Club stays open later (02:00) than the competition.
Sandals Restaurant is part of the iconic and chic Sailing Club venture which comprises international restaurants, a bar, and a nightclub all under one roof. Occupying the prime beachfront area of the Sailing Club, Sandals has a sophisticated décor with cuisine to match. An international master chef serves up his specialties blending the flavours of Asia, the Mediterranean and the Pacific Rim.
Among the delicacies on offer are potted crab & ciabatta, African-style calamari (with molasses, peanuts and lime) and shellfish paella. Also try the Sandals Seafood Platter – a mixture of lobster, prawn, calamari, fish and mussels, perfect as a shared appetizer. The Sailing Club has two more restaurants – Ganesh and Sen – offering Indian and Vietnamese cuisine. There are various dining areas with Sandals at the beachfront terrace being the best for the sea views and people watching. All the dishes can be ordered from anywhere you choose to sit.
Address: 72-74 Tran Phu Street
Tel: +84 58 352 4628
Cuisine: Seafood, international
One of many humble shacks that line the surfer beach of Bai Dai, Shack Vietnam comes up trumps with its excellent food (travellers rave about the hamburgers here) and unique atmosphere. Situated 23km from Nha Trang, this wood-and-bamboo establishment has beachside tables and deck chairs and is perfect for parents with small children. Bai Dai is a surfer beach, but also good for swimming and walking. The American owner Tippy is friendly and chatty. You can hire surfboards, boogie boards, and swimming rings here.
Address: Bai Dai Beach, 23 km from Nha Trang
The place to go for jacket potatoes, full English breakfast, bacon and eggs, burgers, salads, steak and chips, shepherd's pie and more. Shorty's also features Vietnamese food. Happy hour is from 18:00 to 22:30 with two-for-one specials.
Address: 4 E Biet Thu Street
Tel: +84 58 381 0985
Cuisine: Pub food
Hailed as one of the most authentic Tex-Mex restaurants in town, Texas BarBQ is the place to go for a great Western food fix. Its respectable menu includes the signature dish spare ribs with BBQ sauce, Southern- fried chicken, hamburgers and chili. Though not exactly cheap, the servings are generous. In the evening the music is lively and the Margaritas flow.
Address: 26 Tran Quang Khai
Tel: +84 58 224 0979
Cuisine: American, Mexican, Vegetarian
Tex Mex El Coyote Mexican restaurant is the first and only Mexican restaurant in Nha Trang and offers all kinds of genuine Mexican cuisine, from costillas el coyote, burritos de marisco and more. The restaurant plays Latin music and has a free pool table.
Address: 76 Hung Vuong Street
Tel: +84 58 382 0202
Truc Linh 2 has a seafood display on ice out front from which you can choose your own jumbo shrimp, crab, squid, or fresh fish of the day and then have it weighed and cooked to your taste. There is an eclectic and far-ranging menu including the typical cook-yourself Vietnamese-style broth fondue (with lots of fresh vegetables, herbs, seafood and meats), various mixes of clay-pot dishes, and the all-time favourite shrimp spring rolls.
Popular with all classes of visitors and residents and Truc Linh 2 has become one of the hottest spots in Nha Trang, but don’t confuse it with the smaller Truc Linh 1, on the same street, which offers a far simpler menu.
Opening Hours: 07:00 – 22:00 daily
Address: 21 Biet Thu Street.
Tel: +84 58 352 1089
Situated right in the city’s touristic area, Veranda is small restaurant and café serving a mixture of Vietnamese and Western food at reasonable prices. The décor is modern and stylish; its air-conditioned glass-front section provides a welcome respite from the bustle of Nha Trang streets and the heat. There is also a garden area out in the back. Veranda offers a variety of set menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Address: 66 Tran Phuu
Tel: +84 58 352 7492