The culinary scene of Da Nang isn’t as nearly exciting as Hanoi or Saigon, or even Hue for that matter. There are plenty of street food and cheap eateries, but they mostly offer the same fare: mỳ Quảng (Quảng province noodle), bún thịt nướng (noodle with grilled pork), and nem lụi (grilled ground pork on skewers). Non-Vietnamese options aren’t that diverse either.

I actually cook for the most part, and only eat out when visitors are in town. Following are the places that we’ve graced 🙂 Ideas mostly come from tripadvisor, indanang (a site for expats in Da Nang), foody.vn (the tripadvisor for food in Vietnam), and danangcuisine (a site dedicated to local food).

My reviews are divided into Vietnamese, Western, Cafes, and Bars.

eating out

Vietnamese:

– Quán cơm Huế ngon (Delicious Hue food): The name is confusing as this restaurant sells lunch plates to office workers at lunch, and has bbq from the late afternoon on. We wanted to come for lunch, and wanted bbq, so I called ahead to ask and they were nice enough to accommodate. It’s DIY-at-your-table bbq style, which I love. There’s no better way to wet your appetite than hearing the sizzling and inhaling in the smoke as the pork fat drips into the burning coal.

– Dạ Bến Bờ: A chain of country food restaurants in Da Nang, and there’s one a few blocks from my house on the riverside. By country food, I mean walking (ie. free range) chicken, river fish, and the like. We ordered lẩu cá kèo lá giang (gobies hotpot with sour leaves). The water bought out the fish by trapping them between a plastic bag and a glass lid. I thought he’d dump the fish into the boiling hot pot, but he proceeded to put the lid right on the pot. The fish wriggled violently from the heat for a few minutes. Disturbing but it still turned out tasty.

– Cơm niêu Tuyên Sơn (Clay pot rice): features traditional dishes and within walking distance from my house. When we visited, there were buses after buses loading tourists off. We were understandably relegated to a corner and didn’t have any waiters bother with us the whole night. I didn’t care, still had good food.

– Bún chả cá ông Tạ (fish cake noodle): I came upon this place one late noon on my way to Katyna cafe. The fish cake and the broth are both tastey, and they even have their own garden plot growing organic herbs in the village of Tra Que (Hoi An). Score! I came back often, until one day. That fateful lunch, I saw one waitress drop a spoon on the yucky sticky floor. She promptly picked it up and tossed it into the clean spoon basket. This incident might or might not have anything to do with me having to use their bathroom later. The toilet was disgusting and I had to tiptoe to get around buckets of fermenting left-over. All this by no means is atypical of Vietnamese restaurants, but I’ve not found any motivation to come back.

– Mỳ Quang bà Vi (Mrs. Vi’s noodle): recommended on danangcuisine as the place for Quang noodle. Worst noodle I’ve ever tried anywhere in the whole province.

– Trần bánh tráng thịt heo (rice paper rolls with pork): despite a limited menu of only 5, 6 dishes, they seem to be doing very well with 4 big restaurants within a 1.5km radius. I usually go to the one at 4 Le Duan street for its nice garden setting. Food is good, but nothing to rave about. Bonus marks for great service and cleanliness.

– Mỳ Quảng bà Ngân: one of the most famous places for noodle in the city. Good, but can’t say that it’s any better than the no-name stall a few doors down from my house.

– Seafood: The seafood strip is 5km long, ranging from mansions decked out in neon lights to shacks with little plastic chairs. I’m loyal to the end of the strip by the Man Thai fishing village. A few stalls pop up in the late afternoon selling fresh catch of the day. You can buy directly from these ladies and get the food cooked for a small price, VND10,000 – 30,000 per dish.

Western:

– Nhà Léo: pizzeria and dessert place run by a former pastry chef. Though I’m a fan of thin crust, the crust here is just too skinny it can’t even support the moderate topping. Not good! The cakes are much much better done. Too bad it’s a little out of the way for me so I don’t get to stop by for treats more often.

– Bread of Life: ranked first on tripadvisor. It’s certainly commendable for its social purpose, but the food was a let down. We got a bacon cheeseburger, a pizza, and a lasagna. The burger had one strip of bacon (I feel like that shouldn’t even count) and was tasteless. Both the pizza and the lasagna were equally mediocre. This place is the final straw that convinced me I should stop looking for a decent Western eat in DaNang, at least for a long while.

– Luna Pub: love the converted warehouse feel with high ceiling. Best pizza I’ve had in Da Nang, but the standard is not very high here.

Cafe: (Keep in mind I mostly go to coffee shops to work, so I seek out quiet places).

– Katyna cafe: my favorite. I suspect the owner is an architect as there are so many quirky little things in the design and the decor. Friendly staff and generally quiet on the 2nd floor. They have live music on weekend evenings but I’ve never been.

– Ghita mộc cafe (Acoustic guitar): A few steps from my house. Low-key, cheap and basic drinks, mostly students and young salary men. Live music Thursday-Sunday, can be a hit or miss.

– Velo cafe: a 3-story book coffee shop. There are random books on shelves but most people bring their own, or come with their laptops. Great place to work as it’s very quiet.

– Long cafe: Most famous cafe in Da Nang. Cheap, no-frills, and it closes at 8pm. You can order a coffee and sit for hours drinking free free. Majority of customers are male. Most crowded during office hours 8-11a.m., 2-5p.m.

Bar:

– Golden Pine: One of the most popular on the Bach Dang st bar strip. 1st floor can get ultra crowded and way too rowdy for me so I usually end up on the 2nd floor where a pool table takes up most of the space. Stays open late till 3, 4 a.m

– Tourane: right by Golden Pine. Inside is too dark and too loud. Outside is much nicer as they have a DJ play right on the sidewalk.

– Waterfront: Only been here for happy hours. Nice and spacious with few people around at that time of the day. Buy 1 get 1 free so I’m pretty happy.

– Bambino: It’s actually a restaurant but we didn’t eat here. Came here for drinks on my bday because I craved cognac (ended up getting a grappa). One of the fancier destinations in the city and the setting lived up to the reputation. We sat by the pool and had the whole place for ourselves.

– Memory Lounge: oppoMemory Lounge, Da Nang, live musicsite from Golden Pine. The most famous “tea room” (a bar with mini music show) in Da Nang. It’s owned by the famous Vietnamese-American NCKD. You can see that money and connections help, as it is the only bar on the Han river. The view is top-notch. Prices are expensive by Da Nang standard, but comparable to Ho Chi Minh. Shows go on until 11, 11:30p.m. and sound system is very good.

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