Where to go for best restaurants in Ho Chi Minh city?

To some people, eating and drinking can be the utmost hobby. Meanwhile for most people, it feel great to have good food. Especially in a city with rich cuisine and nice culture like Ho Chi Minh city, finding a good place to eat can bring you an amazing experience. So, where should you go for best restaurants in Ho Chi Minh city? In other words, which areas have the best restaurants in Saigon? My Saigon Friend (MSF) is glad to recommend the most popular places that expats and travelers can explore.

1. Thao Dien area in District 2

Thao Dien is a ward in District 2, being one river away from the busy center of Saigon. Known for its laid back vibe, low-rise buildings and creative atmosphere, Saigon’s Thao Dien neighbourhood is all about a slower pace of life and a chilled-out atmosphere.

best restaurants in ho chi minh city
Landmark 81 seen from Thao Dien area

Thao Dien is well-known for being expat friendly. The residents here are usually open to speak English, at the same time you can also find many expat pedestrians here. With such a big expat/foreigner scene here there are are a high proportion of international food options. This place is famous for the dense presence of villa restaurants, cool café, bars and pubs. And yes, among those are the best restaurants in Ho Chi Minh city.

2. “Japanese town” in District 1

Saigon’s Japanese town, aka Little Japan is an area of less than one square kilometer starting from the junction of Le Thanh Ton and Thai Van Lung streets of District 1. Saigon’s Japan Town is a colorful treasure trove of high-quality Japanese restaurants, cafes, and lounges lining the lantern-lit alleyways (yokocho).

Although there are a few other so-called Japanese corners which have recently appeared in District 2 and Binh Thanh, Little Japan still remains as the most popular lunch-break and nightlife spot for the Japanese expats and others. Apart from more than 70 privately-owned businesses catering to every need of a Japanese businessman, this neighborhood is home to 300 local Japanese, conserving the authenticity of traditional Japanese culture in the area.

best restaurants in ho chi minh
Saigon’s Japanese town – Le Thanh Ton street

Even though the town transforms from day to night, most of the food venues inside the town are open at lunchtime from 11:30 AM to 2 PM, and then close, and reopen again at 6 PM, together with the bars and other fun-loving places.

3. Ben Thanh market’s area

Ben Thanh District is famous for being home to the Ben Thanh Market (in Vietnamese: Chợ Bến Thành). The market is one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon and an important symbol of the city and has become a famous destination for many local and foreign tourists from all around the world. 

best restaurant in Saigon
Ben Thanh market

Due to the popularity of Ben Thanh market, a good number of luxurious hotels, restaurants, café and bars have their location close to or very near the market itself. Besides, from here you have easy access to other tourist attractions like Bui Vien beer street, Nguyen Hue pedestrian street, Takashimaya, etc.

4. Nguyen Hue walking street– next to Ben Thanh area

Nguyen Hue Street is a broad walking promenade in the middle of District 1 city centre. This pedestrian area is flanked by some beautiful French colonial architectural wonders like the People’s Comittee, the Rex Hotel and a luxury shopping mall. In front of the People’s Committee you find a statue of Uncle Ho Chi Minh and a fountain show by night.

best restaurant in Saigon
Nguyen Hue pedestrian street

From Nguyen Hue street other sightseeing places are easily reached, you find the Saigon Opera House and Dong Khoi shopping street only 100 metres away. Besides this, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Reunification Palace are only a five minute walk. In the surrounding area you also have a wide variety of restaurants and bars to spend your time. Therefore it is an ideal location to do some sightseeing and relax afterwards.

5. Bui Vien walking street

Bui Vien walking street, also known as Bui Vien beer street or the backpacker street, is a busy nightlife haven for expats and locals alike. This is the second walking street in Ho Chi Minh city, after Nguyen Hue walking street. Walking time start from 7:00 pm to 2:00 am of Sat and Sun.

Many restaurants and eateries have sprung up in Bui Vien Street from high-end to low-end types, creating a diverse rich cuisine with a variety of dishes that can’t be ignored at every opportunity. Food Stalls of Street food are quite popular here, and just 2-3 dollars are sufficient to fill your stomach and satisfy your appetites. In general, the foods are reasonably priced and cooked according to Vietnamese, Indian, Italian, Chinese and Western cuisines; just from 100,000 VND to 200,000 VND for a decent filling meal with beverages. Meanwhile, the most ubiquitous in Bui Vien street is the barbecue offering grilled chicken, pork, beef and even seafood.

where to eat in ho chi minh
Bui Vien walking street

Disregards of the fun, travelers visiting Bui Vien street should take high care of their belongings and as long as they can keep that in mind, it is not likely that you will be victimized in illegal activities. 

6. Phu My Hung new urban area

Phú Mỹ Hưng New Urban Area is a planned city located in District 7, southern Ho Chi Minh City. Built by the Vietnamese-Taiwanese joint venture Phu My Hung Corporation since 1997, the new city features one of the largest Korean expatriates communities in South-east Asia. As such, this is one of the most civilized and modern areas in Ho Chi Minh city where you can find quite a few nice and luxurious café and restaurants to enjoy your time.

where to eat in saigon
A part of Phu My Hung from above

8. The best shopping centers in Saigon:

For those who find the above listed too general ideas, below are a few specific shopping centers where you could also seek decent café, restaurants and of course, fun shopping.

  • Landmark 81 Tower, Nguyen Huu Canh Str., Binh Thanh District
  • Takashimaya/ Saigon Center – Le Loi Str., District 1
  • Vincom Center – Le Thanh Ton Str., District 1
  • Bitexco Financial Tower – Hai Trieu Str., District 1
  • Estella Shopping Mall – Song Hanh Str., District 2
  • Lotte Mart Shopping Mall – Nguyen Huu Tho Str., District 7
  • Crescent Mall – Ton Dat Tien Str., District 7


We hope the above is helpful. In case you are looking for an apartment for rent in Ho Chi Minh city, please let us know. 




In case you would like learn more about the Food, People and Culture of Saigon, please click here.

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