Once a upon a time, those who wanted a warming bowl of pho went to Kingsland Road. The sheer volume of Vietnamese restaurants lining this east London street is comforting, if not a touch overwhelming. Now, it’s possible to boldly venture beyond ‘Little Vietnam’ to find fresh, flavourful ingredients and cosy Vietnamese restaurants and cafes all over London. Kingsland Road will always have a place in our hearts, but there’s no denying the thrill to be had in finding a great local place within walking distance of one’s own sofa.Read More
Where to Eat Vietnamese Food in London
Classic, aromatic phở, barbecued lemongrass pork, crispy chilli squid — and more
1. BunBunBun Vietnamese Food
A relative newcomer to ‘Little Vietnam’, BunBunBun has been serving its signature dish since they opened in 2015 — bun cha ha noi. Grilled lemongrass pork, pork patties and a spring roll is served in a meat broth instead of the traditional fish sauce, giving it a uniquely rich, smoky flavour. The honey marinated chargrilled pork belly slices are tender and incredibly satisfying.
2. Nem Nem
Nem Nem is a modern Vietnamese restaurant with impressive vegan options — offering plant-based alternatives to almost everything on the ‘regular menu’. The Vietnamese chicken salad is a standout: a well balanced mix of complex flavours and fresh herbs. Don’t miss the Hanoi sweet potato cake with prawns — a moreish regional dish that’s typically hard to find on the average menu.
3. Sen Viet
Those who have a Vietnamese grandmother will recognise the whole steamed sea bass with soy sauce, ginger and onions. Or the iconic cha ca la vong dish from Hanoi, fish marinated with herbs, served with vermicelli noodles, and traditional shrimp sauce — grilled tableside. Dark and inviting, it’s the perfect place to come in from the cold for a warming bowl of classic beef phở noodle soup.
4. Sông Quê Café
This busy corner restaurant is packed full on the weekends for a reason. It’s the ideal place to have a spirited group dinner on a Friday night — for those who don’t mind the crowds. Brisk and efficient, it’s impossible to go wrong with its greatest hits: crispy chilli squid, grilled beef wrapped in betel leaf, traditional Vietnamese pancake with prawn and chicken. And of course, the phở.
5. Bánh Bánh Brixton
A Brixton outpost of the original family-run Peckham restaurant, the brightly modern interior belies its traditional roots. With recipes inspired by a grandma who worked as a chef in Saigon, the flavours are well balanced and the ingredients fresh and local. The popular bun bo hue, thick vermicelli noodles in a hot and spicy beef bone broth, is aromatic, uplifting, and perfect for winter. The sticky fish sauce glazed wings pack a lot of flavour without being overwhelming.
6. CôBa Restaurant
On the cusp of where King’s Cross meets Caledonian Road, this is Vietnam by way of Australia. Don’t be alarmed though, CoBa’s chef Damon Bui’s food is based on traditional dishes his mum used to make, paired with a creative cocktail menu. Start with the crab and pork spring rolls and the can’t-go-wrong vermicelli noodle salad paired with barbecue prawn or marinated meats. The flavoursome duck ramen is a worthwhile stray from the classics.
7. Bánh Mì Etc
London N16 0NX, UK
Pop in for a banh mi and a takeaway Vietnamese coffee — the ideal lunch situation. If it isn’t raining, stroll down to Clissold Park and enjoy it on a park bench. A tiny cafe with only a few tables, it also serves classic phở, bun cha noodle salad, and prawn summer rolls. The star on the menu is the classic banh mi sandwich with roast pork, pork meatballs, ham terrine, and pork paté. Vegetarians can join in with a fried tofu and shiitake mushroom version.
8. Viet Garden
Serving homestyle Vietnamese food in a quiet corner of Islington, Viet Garden is so unassuming from the outside, it’s easy to walk right past it. Surprisingly spacious and comfortable, this is where to go if in search of a warming bowl of phở in N1. Served with all the classic trimmings — bean sprouts, fresh herbs, and lemon — the broth is richly satisfying, the service friendly and attentive. The wafer wrapped seafood in rice paper and crispy spring rolls with mince pork and prawn were both incredibly moreish.
9. MAM — Vietnamese BBQ
Notting Hill isn’t really known as an enclave of Asian food. From the team behind east London’s Salvation in Noodles, MAM is inspired by barbecue street food stalls in Vietnam. Cooked on a robata grill, the meat and seafood skewers are best eaten with the banh hoi platter: rice vermicelli sheets, herbs, and pickles wrapped up in fresh lettuce — dipped in a unique shrimp paste and pineapple dipping sauce. Fresh and satisfying.
10. Bánh Mì Kêu Deli City
Does a queue always mean it’s good? In the case of Bánh Mì Kêu Deli, yes it does. Nestled between Moorgate and Liverpool Street, the queues are always out the door come lunchtime. The Vietnamese banh mi baguettes are perfectly light and crispy and served warm — with a choice of filling from original (four different kinds of pork and homemade paté) and pork shoulder, to the more non-traditional duck, coconut curry chicken, or smoked aubergine. There are two other locations for the best banh mi sandwich fix in town — in Shoreditch and Soho.