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Directions: food court of vincom towers on ba trieuPhone: unknown
44 Chau Long, Ba Đình, Hanoi
“This review is long overdue. A few reasons for writing it now: Firstly, some years ago, I confess, I was a little critical of HCC's fairly expensive, advertised cooking classes. Unfortunately, I was critical without having actually attended a class...! I have since had the opportunity to at...”
I actually really enjoy this place and rely on it for when I'm at work feel the need for a western-style sandwich at lunch. They have a club-type sandwich that includes ham, egg, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo (and french fries as a side) that I am crazy about. It's served on toasted white bread and they actually have ketchup for the fries! The atmosphere is laid-back and the service was quick and adequate.
Now that I have raved about my sandwich though, I will get to the down points. The location is a little tricky to find in the food court. The prices are a bit high. I can see how the portion sizes would be small for most people, although I don't have a huge appetite so it is probably the first time I have actually been able to finish an entire meal! The drink prices are also pretty steep.
I would only recommend eating here if you have the appetite of a sparrow and the budget of a tycoon. The beefsteak I had was minuscule and I had to order a second dish to satisfy my appetite so it's basically 1 for the price of 2. Not good logic for a customer but great for the retailer. My advice is to give this place a miss!
The first thing that comes to my mind when I see a restaurant in a commercial center like Vincom, Trang Tien Plaza, Viet Tower, or Ruby Plaza is: They pay a sh*tload of money on rents. Naturally, these restaurants tend to charge higher prices, but still need to make sure they generate a customer base large enough to support their business. Your typical Vincom restaurant usually relies on visitors that only eat there on their occasional visit to the shopping centre. Some do a decent job, some are terrible but people still come there because they haven’t eaten there before and they don’t know.
I first saw Long Monaco when they were fitting out the space, and quite liked the vibrant colors that they choose. It seemed very apt for Vincom, though in retrospect it’s probably a strange combination of Pizza Hut, Lotteria, and What’s your nem.
I’ve eaten at Long Monaco several times, the first time being on their opening day. That was a bad experience: orders were messed up and the place was a total zoo. To their credit they gave us a free lunch, but perhaps they should have done a soft opening. I came back a couple of weeks later to give them a second chance. And third.
But quite simply put this restaurant just fails to impress me. I appreciate the cleanliness and decent service but the food quality is seriously lacking and in terms of value for your money it is definitely one of the worst in Hanoi.
First of all Long Monaco has the terrible fate of securing the last spot available on the 6th floor food court of Vincom. This means they are sandwiched between Chiem Restaurant and the Thai Snack Restaurant, which between them generate so much smoke that you can barely see your chopsticks and are guaranteed to smell terrible for the rest of the day. Their dishes are mediocre and unimaginative at best (see the photos attached) and most Vietnamese would agree that the portions are simply too small to fill you up. If they’re charging 50-60 thousand a lunch set they can’t just have a bit of rice and literally several small pieces of meat. But that’s the price you pay for not getting out of the building and exploring the delightful selection of restaurants around the Bui Thi Xuan-Mai Hac De-Trieu Viet Vuong-Ba Trieu area.
This restaurant puts up a good effort, and I like the friendly owner/manager, but unless you really do not know your ways around Hanoi there is no reason why you should be eating here, except for breakfast. Their Bun bo Hue at 25 thousand is quite tasty and is a good option for an early morning snack.
A good place to eat lunch at must have the following criteria:
1. Food preparation must be quick. After all, lunch is usually eaten under time pressure.
2. The food must be decent, if not delicious.
3. The food choices must be diverse, for the times when you feel indecisive.
4. The food must be prepared in a clean place. What's the use of good food if you get sick afterwards.
5. The pictures must have a reasonable likeness to the actual product being served. I call this the reasonable likeness rule for menus with pictures.
6. The prices of the food must be fair, if not cheap. You and your stomach must walk away happy and content after paying the bill.
Well, dear reader, I think that Long Monaco may just be that gem. Of all the places where I've had lunch here in Hanoi, this place is the one that satisfied all of the criteria. Even if it's located in, gasp, a mall! I did not take this against the place, however, as its speed in serving freshly cooked food by itself alone, already merited a positive review.
As a bonus, the staff speaks communicative English, and when I peeked into the kitchen, I saw the cooks wearing white chef garbs, a good sign for such a cheap place (lunch platters start at around 40,000ish VND). And it's also open for dinner, but with its diner atmosphere, i wouldn't recommend it for romantic candle-lit dinners.
Don't ask me where the name came from. The only logical thing that I can think of is that a certain person named Long, probably the owner or someone close to him, has a restaurant in Monaco. Or had a restaurant with a good reputation in Monaco. Or a person named Long worked in Monaco and earned enough money to open a restaurant in Hanoi. Or the person walked the entire length of Monaco and had the impression that it was long. Or there really is a person with the name of Long Monaco. Your guess is as good as mine. Of course, I'm just trying to be funny.
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