For Vietnamese food, the three Truc Linh restaurants are extremely popular and tourist-friendly. Across all restaurants Vietnamese seafood is a speciality, with the catches displayed outside nightly. They also have an extensive range of western foods on the menu. Truc Linh 2 has some Thai options, and Truc Linh 3 some Chinese options.
Swanky Thien Minh
Swanky Thien Minh has a stone garden area for outside dining, where ‘fusion’ dishes are advertised on the menu, although perhaps not wisely as no real fusion is taking place, only a typically broad menu covering traditional Vietnamese and Western foods. This restaurant is not as expensive as it looks.
In town, Lac Canh is the place to go. Long established and always packed with locals, expats and tourists alike, Lac Canh is a typically bustling Vietnamese street side restaurant, where you can BBQ your own food at the table or enjoy any of the other seafoods or rice dishes on offer.
If you’re looking for some real Vietnamese food and you want to get away from the tourist scene, Nha Trang has plenty of places to sample the further you get from the beach, but typically you’ll find no English-language menu — you can always pick and point and try your luck, but we thought we’d start you out with a couple of places we found.
There’s a string of street-side ‘Lau Bo-Lau De’ places along Nguyen Thi Minh Khai between Me Linh and Nguyen Huu Huan Streets. ‘Lau,’ means ‘hotpot,’ a Vietnamese variation on sukiyaki — Bo (as is ‘baud,’ without the ‘d’) is beef and De (as in ‘yet’ without the ‘t’) is goat. It’s a great meal for groups — usually served with dried noodles you can add to the broth once you’re done with the meat. If you can’t decide which place to chose, follow the crowds to Quan 6 Phong. To get a better taste of a truly local dining scene, head to Quan Cay Man (Plum Tree Restaurant) on Nguyen Cong Tru. The main restaurant has a plum tree growing on the roof, but most of the seating is on either side of the street nearby. The Lau Bo here is cheap and tasty. It’s only open from 14:00 to 20:00 daily, so plan accordingly.
If you’re up to your ears eating pho for breakfast and lunch, a good alternative is mi quang nam — fat noodles in a bit of savoury broth with meat or veggies in it, served with a slice of rice cracker and fresh greens. We found some absolutely delicious dishes at Quan 127 — just a normal little noodle joint where they happen to do things a good bit better. If you’re wrestling with the menu, hen is mussels, xao means fried, mi quang thap cam is a medley of meats and fish, and tom thit is shrimp. Meals are served with a glass of warm ginger tea, compliments of the house.
The selection of Italian food is superb. La Taverna is a popular place on Nguyen Thien Thuat St, with excellent pasta dishes, and of course the ubiquitous pizza that isn’t too bad either. Just across the road, the long established Cyclo Cafe has a decent Italian menu along side it’s Vietnamese dishes. Food here is very good and comes recommended as ‘cheap and cheerful’ — it’s certainly one of the best budget cafes in the area. Another Italian here is of nationwide fame, having branches in five other cities. Good Morning Vietnam is a more spacious dining area both inside and out, and food is cooked by an Italian chef. Carlo’s Restaurant is good for takeaway pizzas and they also have a Vietnamese/Italian menu which includes risotto, gnocchi and seafood. Delivery is free.
An extremely popular Indian restaurant is Omar’s. The Indian owners and chef will boast to you about their quality fare, and rightly so as this small yet busy place feeds spicy sub-continental food to the masses.
Good Morning Thailand
A part of the Good Morning chain, Good Morning Thailand is the only Thai restaurant in the area — expect the usual spicy salads, sea food hotpots and fried rice. A small Cafe called Same Same But Different also has some Thai dishes on offer, along with Vietnamese and western food. Austrians and Germans can celebrate, because also at Same Same are German sausages along with tasty side dishes such as potato salad.
The French have plenty to choose from, including Nha Trang Yacht Club which boasts ‘grand French cuisine’ with specialities such as Clams in Saffron Cream Sauce and Fillet Steak with French Blue Cheese. The restaurant also has a takeaway menu which includes baguettes with pate and freshly baked croissants.
There is even a Mexican option, El Coyote, although it too serves French food on top of the nachos and tortillas.
If all this continental food is getting a bit much and the belly is striving for a taste of home and some egg &chips, head over to Shorty’s, the self proclaimed ‘best from the west’, from the full English Breakfast to the real hamburgers. Also, Shorty’s has an extensive library of books available for sale or exchange.
Carlo’s – 91A Nguyen Thien Thuat St, T: (058) 521 462. Daily: 06:30-23:30
Cay Man – 13 Nguyen Cong Tru St, T: (053) 821 964. Daily: 14:00 to 20:00
Cyclo Cafe – 5A Tran Quang Khai St, T: (058) 522 259. Daily: 07:30-24:00
El Coyote – 76 Hung Vuong St, T: (058) 526 320
Good Morning Vietnam – 19B Biet Thu St, T: (058) 522 071. Daily: 10:00-23:00
Good Morning Thailand – 111B Nguyen Thien Thuat St, T: (058) 527 308. Daily: 10:00-23:00
Lac Canh – 44 Nguyen Binh Khiem St, T: (058) 821 391. Daily: 07:00-10:00
La Taverna – 115 Nguyen Thein Thuat St. T: (058) 522 259. Daily: 10:00-23:00
Omar’s – 96A/8 Tran Phu St, T: (058) 522 459. Daily: 07:00-23:00
Quan 127 – 127 Hong Bang St, T: (058) 511 668. Daily: 06:00 to 14:00
Quan 6 Phong – 78 Nguyen Minh Khai St, T: (058) 512 372. Daily: 14:00 to 23:00
Nha Trang Yacht Club – 1/21 Tran Quang Khai St. Daily: 07:00-22:30
Same Same But Different – 111 Nguyen Thien Thuat St, T: (058) 524 079. Daily: 07:00-22:00
Shorty’s – 1E Biet Thu St, T: (058) 524 057. Daily: 07:00-23:30
Thien Minh – 30 Tran Quang Khai St, T: (058) 524 899. Daily: 08:00-23:00
Truc Linh 1 – 11 Biet Thu St, T: (058) 526 742. Daily: 07:00-23:00
Truc Linh 2 – 21 Biet Thu St, T: (058) 521 089. Daily: 07:00-23:00
Truc Linh 3 – 80 Huong Vuong St, T: (058) 525 259. Daily: 07:00-23:00