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Directions: Near Truc Bach LakePhone: (04) 37 154 336
76 Yen Phu, Tây Hồ, Hanoi
“A restaurant with a strange name in a strange place. "Tivoli Cafe" and yet there is no Italian food. Coffee, I guess? And the Hanoi Club is just odd. Is it a hotel? A country club? Social club? And yet, the food here is actually good and cheap. Seen a foreign chef milling about. Looke...”
I have no clue what you guys see in this dump. Currently living around the corner of this restaurant we decided tonight to finally give it a try. It looks dirty and unkempt from outside and while my Vietnamese wife did not like this from when we set eyes on this establishment two months ago, my reckoning was that this was part of the "camouflage" of being an old fashioned "trading place" in difficult times.
We were neither greeted nor seated when we entered and looked around searchingly. Only after some Vietnamese "wake up" call a table was shown to us by waving a hand and without paying further attention. OK, part of the rough atmosphere, I said.
The menu looked "normal" for a Vietnamese joint - only the prices were high. The Truc Bach local beer place (Bia Hoi) at the end of Ngu Xa street (a few hundred meters away) certainly has a more extensive menu with excellent dishes (some the same as here) at half the price.
Unfortunately, we were seated in the back room next to the kitchen. And could see "first-hand" how they cooked and "cleaned dishes" and stored the food!
I am really easygoing but the dirt here was too much even for me. Food is served in metal bowls, tea etc. in metal cups. Since the opening of the restaurant they have never been more than rinsed in a cold water bowl I am sure. There are food stains everywhere on the metal. On the bowls, in the cups...
My wife could not drink her tea from the cup out of loathing and I cannot blame her.
The food itself was absolutely nothing special.
In short words: the visit to this establishment was like a survival training during the Vietnam war. An experience we did not necessarily have to have. Anyone who expects service or has a hygienic issue with food should stay far away from here.
I personally think this place is one of the gems in Hanoi. I would never have found this place if I hadn't been told about it. It's even difficult to figure out how to get there sometimes.
The food is really tasty, the service is good. The portion, to me, is a bit small.
They decorate the restaurant with wartime theme, and if you have a late lunch, maybe around 1p.m, you will hear the siren for airstrike, which is funny.
This place has it all: great atmosphere (I love all the war-era memorabilia), super tasty food, friendly staff, and reasonable prices. As the previous reviewer said, it is one of the hidden gems of Hanoi, and will make you want to go back for more. I stumbled upon the place some time ago while looking for something a bit different and it was love at first bite; ever since, I have been back dozens of times, and the experience has been consistently exceptional. The food apparently is inspired from traditional, old style dishes and is really interesting, to a point you will want to come back to try the dishes you didn't get the chance to give a go on your previous visit. I have brought numerous friends/family members to the place and everyone always loved it. Definitely on my list of top restaurants in Hanoi.
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