BARS & NIGHTCLUBS
●Bobby Chinn – 77 Xuan Dieu Road (Hoàn Kiếm, Old Quarter); 011-84-04-3934-8577; bobbychinn.com; excellent mixed drinks.
●19C Ngoc Ha Street – Ba Dinh; bia hoi joint that caters to upper-class Vietnamese crowd; great place to get afternoon beer after waiting in line to see Ho Chi Minh in casket (mausoleum is literally just out back).
●22 Hang Tre Street – Hoàn Kiếm (Old Quarter); bia hoi joint or 2, occupying both sides of street; just off main tourist drag, but totally off most tourists’ itineraries.
●De Syloia Hotel – 17a Tran Hung Dao; 011-84-04-824-5346; desyloia.com; boutique in former villa with “gentle” prices.
●Hilton Hanoi Opera – 1 Le Thanh Tong Street; 011-84-04-3933-0500; Hilton.com/Hanoi-Opera; ask for room 336, which overlooks Hanoi Operahouse.
●Sofitel Metropole – 15 Ngo Quyen Street; 011-84-04-3826-6919; sofitel.com; fusion of French and Vietnamese styles; near Opera House.
●Angelina – 15 Ngo Quyen Street (at Sofitel Metropole); 011-84-04-3826-6919; sofitel.com; fusion of French and Vietnamese cuisine.
●Banh Cuon Thanh Van – 14 Hang Ga (Hoàn Kiếm, Old Quarter); 011-84-04-3828-0108; try banh cuon (steamed crepes); please note that ca cuong is made of “water beetle essence,” in liquid form tastes like green apples.
●Bún Chả Hàng Mành – 1 Hang Manh (Hoàn Kiếm, Old Quarter); 011-84-04-3828-5022; tnhvietnam.xemzi.com/en/spot/129/bun-cha-hang-manh-old-quarter-hanoi; popular bún chả (bowl of rice vermicelli topped with grilled pork patties & broth) joint & great crab springrolls.
●Le Beaulieu – 15 Ngo Quyen Street (at Sofitel Metropole); 011-84-04-3826-6919; sofitel.com; French; where locals go for brunch.
●Cha Ca La Vong – 14 Pho Cha Ca (Hoàn Kiếm, Old Quarter); 011-84-04-3825-3929; be careful – many restaurants on this street have same name; make sure to go to “14”; 2nd floor should be overflowing with people; try cha ca (grilled fish) but be careful – can be very hot; also, restaurant is like sauna.
●Chim Sao – 65 Ngo Hue (Hoàn Kiếm, Old Quarter); 011-84-04-3976-0633; chimsao.com; among city’s best restaurants; housed in 2-story building; chic and old-fashioned at same time; local artists’ work hangs on walls; sublime food.
●Bobby Chinn – 77 Xuan Dieu Road (Hoàn Kiếm, Old Quarter); 011-84-04-3934-8577; bobbychinn.com; blends East & West (salads, fish & chocolate bombs); elegant setting.
●La Cooperative – 46 An Duong; 011-84-04-3716-6401; hoptacxa.net; place favored by expatriots, foreigners, and locals; French-Vietnamese fusion; try foie gras, fig terrine, caramelized pork slow-cooked in ginger fish sauce.
●Emperor – 18b Le Than Tong Street; 011-84-04-826-8801; eat by candlelight, beneath banana palms in courtyard; excellent grilled chicken and prawns served in “paste.”
●Ly Quoc Su – 10 Ly Quoc Su (Hoàn Kiếm, Old Quarter); 011-84-04-3825-7338; tnhvietnam.xemzi.com/en/spot/2863/pho-ly-quoc-su-hanoi; only serves chicken soup.
●Pho Huyen – 31 Chau Long (Ba Dinh); 011-84-49-1276-9129; noodle shop in French Quarter.
●Quan An Ngon – 18 Phan Boi Chau; 011-84-04-3942-8162; excellent bun cha (grilled pork belly and meatballs with rice noodles) and ca kho to (braised fish cooked in caramel in clay pot).
●Restaurant at Press Club – 59a Ly Thai To; 011-84-04-934-0888; world-class steaks, chops, and more; woody décor.
●Seasons of Hanoi – 95b Quan Thanh; 011-84-04-843-5444; in pretty red and yellow room; superb food; deep-fried shrimp, beef in lemon-grass, and squid salad; try to sit at table on 1st floor.
●Sen – #10, Lane 431 (Au Co Road); 011-84-04-719-9242; excellent bun cha (grilled pork belly and meatballs with rice noodles) and ca kho to (braised fish cooked in caramel in clay pot).
●Spices Garden – 15 Ngo Quyen Street (at Sofitel Metropole); 011-84-04-3826-6919; sofitel.com; some of best pho in city.
●La Verticale – 19 Ngo Van So Street; 011-84-04-3944-6317; vertical-hanoi.com; near French embassy; Vietnamese fare with modern twist; gift shop on premises.
●Wild Lotus – 52 Nguyễn Du (Hoàn Kiếm, Old Quarter); 011-84-04-3943-9342; wildlotus.com.vn; .
●Ha Long Bay Junk Boat Trip – 115 Le Duan Street, Thang Long Building, Suite 707; 011-84-04-3942-9442 or 011-84-04-3941-2243; halongviolet.com; traditional Asian sailboat outfitted with 6 ultra-luxe suites; visit Cua Van fishing village (floating); sleep over night outside ancient cave.
●Hanoi Cooking Centre – 44 Chau Long Street (Ba Dinh); 011-84-04-3715-0088; hanoicookingcentre.com.
●La Casa – 12 Nha Tho Street; 011-84-04-828-91616; adorable, small home décor and souvenir shop.
●Cho Chau Long Market – corner of Chau Long and Nguyen Streets (Ba Dinh); tented food wonderland.
●May – 7 Nha Tho Street; 011-84-04-828-9650; embroidered cotton and linen.
●Minh Tam – 2 Hang Bong; 011-84-04-828-9907; hand-made, traditional lacquerware of highest quality, combined with modern look; specialty is eggshells incorporated in about 20 layers and polished, resulting in smooth, unusual finish; stylish black and white products include huge plates and vases, masks, plus unusual turtle paperweights.
●Red Door Deco – 15 Nha Tho Street; 011-84-04-824-5194; reddoordeco.com; home furnishings.
●Tan My – 66 Hang Gai; 011-84-04-825-1579; beautiful embroidery and silk.
SIGHTS & SITES
●Bia Hoi (“Beer”) Corner – Luong Ngoc Quyen & Ta Hien Streets; central gathering place for some of freshest, best tasting bia hoi.
●Halong Bay – near Hanoi; stay night or 2 on Vietnamese junk; can rent kayaks and explore caves beneath limestone islands along shoreline.