The best restaurants in Pham Ngu Lao Street attract travellers looking to enjoy a wide range of delicacies at reasonable prices. A renowned backpacker district in Ho Chi Minh City, Pham Ngu Lao’s dining scene has vastly improved in recent years, from quaint cafes offering high-speed Wi-Fi and western-style breakfasts to stylish restaurants serving authentic Viet and pan-Asian cuisine.
Saigon’s street food scene is also a must for first-time visitors to the city, where they can enjoy local favourites such as banh mi sandwiches with all the fixings, banh xeo (pancakes), pho (the most common and popular rice noodle soup), bun bo hue (rice noodle stew), and Vietnamese coffee. Read on for our guide of Pham Ngu Lao Street’s most popular restaurants.
Chi Café Saigon, located in the middle of Pham Ngu Lao’s vibrant nightlife area, is a compact dining venue that serves a variety of local and international cuisine. It attracts even weary travellers with its winning formula of a cosy setting and friendly service. Priced at VND 10,000 upwards, its food menu ranges from sandwiches, salads and toasties to baked potatoes, fried rice, pastas, and steaks. For breakfast, we highly recommend the vegetarian breakfast (VND 120,000) which comes with crispy hash browns, baked beans, avocado, mushrooms, tomato, toast or baguette, jam, poached, fried or scramble eggs, and a choice of coffee or tea. Chi Café Saigon also offers motorcycle rental and visa extension services for travellers in Ho Chi Minh City.
- Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 22:00
- Location: 185/30 Pham Ngu Lao Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
- Tel: +84 90 364 3446
ORYZA Viet Cuisine is a locally-owned restaurant along Bui Vien Street, where you can enjoy affordable and authentic Vietnamese cuisine in a homely setting. Service is prompt and friendly, with the staff taking the time to explain its menu and ingredients for visitors trying out Vietnamese food for the first time. They also show diners the right way of enjoying local street foods such as nem nuong (grilled fermented pork roll), banh beo (savory steamed rice cakes), and banh xeo (crispy pancakes). Open daily, ORYZA Viet Cuisine is furnished with only six tables, so head there early to avoid a long queue.
- Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 – 23:00
- Location: 40/24 Bui Vien Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
- Tel: +84 90 560 0090
Sorae Restaurant & Lounge is a chic and pretty pricy restaurant, but one of the very best for anyone looking to enjoy Japanese cuisine and imported sakes during their stay in Ho Chi Minh City. This elegant dining and nightlife venue occupies the 24th and 25th level of AB Tower in District 1, offering expansive views of the city and beyond. Featuring an open kitchen concept, expect an extensive menu of air-flown sashimi and sushi, as well as yakitori made with wagyu beef, poussin chicken, and pork belly. Meanwhile, its upstairs lounge area is fitted with a well-stocked long bar, where you can enjoy quality sake, cocktails, boutique wines, and spirits after your meal. The restaurant is connected to the very popular Chill Skybar so you can carry on the party late into the night.
- Opening Hours: Daily 11:30 – 14:00 & 17:30 – 01:00
- Location: 24th & 25th Floor, AB Tower, 76A Le Lai Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
- Tel: +84 93 868 7689
Red Bean Saigon specialises in modern Vietnamese cuisine, but also offers an extensive list of western fare at reasonable prices, making it a popular dining spot amongst expats and travellers alike. Located on De Tham Street, there’s also a vegetarian set menu that comprises mushroom soup, deep-fried Hue spring rolls, a choice of vegetable noodles or braised aubergine and tofu broth, followed with sticky rice ball with red bean for dessert. Ala carte offerings range from traditional pho (VND 120,000) and Vietnamese caramelized catfish (VND 200,000) to grilled Australian T-bone steak (VND 440,000) and spaghetti carbonara (VND 130,000).
- Opening Hours: Daily 06:30 – 23:00
- Location: 216 De Tham Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
- Tel: +84 83 838 566
Pho Quynh Saigon is a fuss-free dining venue that’s heavily frequented by the local population thanks to its quick service and generous portions. Occupying a busy corner on Pham Ngu Lao Street, a bowl of pho costs about VND 65,000 and although it’s pricier than other local venues, you get a substantial amount of beef slices, meatballs, brisket, and fresh greens. Another must try at Pho Quynh Saigon is pho bo kho, which consists of rice vermicelli with a thick and flavourful beef stew.
- Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 - Late
- Location: 323 Pham Ngu Lao Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Baba’s Kitchen Saigon, set along Bui Vien Street, serves authentic Indian curries, skewers, breads, and rice dishes in a simple and cosy setting. The butter chicken curry (VND 105,000) comes highly recommended, comprising juicy chicken tenders cooked in a creamy, mild tomato sauce. Other must tries are the tandoori, tikkas and kebabs, all of which are marinated in a mix of chili, cashew nuts, yogurt, and garam masala before being cooked in a traditional clay oven.
- Opening Hours: Daily 11:00 – 23:00
- Location: 164 Bui Vien Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
- Tel: +84 83 838 6661
Bookworm’s Coffee Saigon is a vegetarian-friendly cafe in Pham Ngu Lao Street, where bibliophiles can enjoy an extensive collection of books with their meal. Open daily, its menu is predominantly British, featuring fresh salads, toasties, pizzas, sarnies (sandwiches), burgers, pies, and dessert. Highly recommended is the Full English Breakfast (VND 140,000), which comes with two pork sausages, two fried eggs, two 2 rashes of bacon, hash brown, mushrooms, Heinz baked beans, fried tomatoes, two slices of toast with butter, and tea with milk. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, try its vegan fish 'n' chips (VND 120,000) with a hoice of Heinz baked beans or garden peas.
- Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 23:30
- Location: 4 Do Quang Dau, Pham Ngu Lao Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
- Tel: +84 83 838 9487
Sandos Restaurant Saigon boasts a good selection of local and western cuisine, cheap beers, fresh fruit juices, and efficient service in Pham Ngu Lao Street. Exuding a casual and cosy setting, this quaint eatery features a spacious patio section with plenty of colourful wooden furnishing while its indoor dining section is ideal for those looking to escape the city’s often scorching afternoons. Food-wise, we highly recommend the Vietnamese chicken curry rice, beef stew, and spaghetti carbonara.
- Opening Hours: Daily 09:00 – 24:00
- Location: 28/23-25 Bui Vien Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
ABC Bakery & Cafe Saigon is a renowned bakery chain with over 30 outlets throughout Vietnam and Cambodia. It offers more than 30 types of European breads, pastries and cakes with prices starting at VND 17,000 upwards, as well as freshly brewed coffee, fruit juices, and smoothies. Occupying a two-storey building along Pham Ngu Lao Street, this fully air-conditioned café is a popular spot amongst travellers looking to enjoy a light meal and spend some time away from the often bustling city.
- Opening Hours: Daily 06:00 – 22:00
- Location: 223 -225 Pham Ngu Lao Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
- Tel: +84 83 837 0489
Lost in Saigon is a frequently-packed dive bar along Bui Vien Street, where you can enjoy Vietnamese and Mexican-style fare as well as strong cocktails, beers, and liquor until late. Located in the bustling Pham Ngu Lao, there are plenty of tables on the open-air sidewalk with views of local vendors, street performances, and pedestrians. Highly recommended dishes include cheese nachos (VND 79,000), pho with beef or chicken (VND 65,000), and banh mi bo ne (VND 129,000), which is a Vietnamese-style sizzling steak served with bread. For drinks, classic cocktails are priced at VND 130,000, while whiskies start at VND 70,000 per shot and VND 1,500,000 per bottle.
- Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 - Late
- Location: 51, Bui Vien Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
- Tel: +84 120 395 6169