I have shown this establishment under "other" cuisine as it falls into about five of the categories offered. There really is an eclectic mix of food here. In the morning the usual Continental / American style breakfasts are served, later in the day baguettes, Spanish style tapas, Lao food and European mains are offered.
I only ate there once, a standard breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast and coffee which was well executed, with the coffee here being particularly good. For those of you who have not tried it, Lao produces some excellent coffee in the North.
What was noticeable was the service which, with the slightly hit and miss local standards was very efficient. There is also a wi-fi connection here, should you need to get on VT to post that all important tip. Chillout music plays in the backgorund.
Slightly upmarket, which is reflected in the price, it is a good choice and, let's be honest, in Lao even an "expensive" place is ludicrously inexpensive by Western standards.
Favorite Dish: As above, the scrambled eggs, toast and coffe were very good.
This hotel is located right next to the far side of the old bridge. We went here for a meal as it was close to our first hotel. It is located on the banks of the Nam Khan River and is a bit more upmarket than many of the other restaurants as it is part of a hotel.
We had excellent food. My husband had a baguette sandwich. I had a local stir fry meal. The beer Lao was lovely and cold.
The setting was relaxing and peaceful, service was friendly and pleasant. The price was still very cheap.
We were really spoilt for choice for restaurants in Luang Prabang there were so many located along the sides of the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers. It was wonderful to sit next to the river at sunset and watch the sun go down while sipping a cold beer Lao or coconut milk fruity shake.
Food was tasty and cheap everywhere we went. There were local Lao dishes, Thai dishes, baguette sandwiches, pizzas.
Going to the toilet was a little strange as it involved using the toilet in the restaurant owner's house. You just stroll into their front room, walk passed family members reclining on the floor, pass the kitchens where they are making your meal and ask to be pointed in the direction of the loo.
Every restaurant we visited on the river provided an excellent location and great value.
Whilst all the Lao standards are on offer here, along with a few concessions to Western palates, the speciality is the "Lao barbecue", very similar to a meal I had had in Thailand a few weeks before. As it was Xmas Day the first time I visited, I thought I would treat myself to a barbecue, although treat is hardly the right word, as my meal cost just over £2 (about $3 US). For those of you not familiar with the concept of the Southeast Asian barbecue, allow me to explain.
A metal brazier affair surrounded by a reservoir is put over a bucket of burning charcoal set in your table and you basically make a soup of barbecued meats, veg and glass noodles yourself, although I defy any one human being to eat the amount of food offered. You are served raw shrimp, squid, chicken, pork and beef accompanied by tomato, about three kinds of wild mushroom, the local watercress, pak choi, some sort of a flowering plant and Heaven knows what else. You barbecue the meats and seafood on the top of the brazier.
The photos give some idea I hope.
The idea then is to fill the reservoir from the "soup" which is really stock and add the noodles and vegetables to cook. You then season the whole affair with tamarind sauce and chopped garlic and transfer to your bowl. It was delicious and a suitable repast for the Christmas meal. I was on the point of asking the waiter to send my compliments to the chef, then I remembered it was me and it might have seemed conceited.
The service was attentive and very friendly so, as it was Christmas, I had a couple of cocktails although I rarely drink spirits. The lychee martini was particularly good.
There are many barbecue places in Luang Prabang but this one is highly recommended.
Update February 2013.
I was revisiting this tip today and found I had only attached one image due to internet limitations in Luang Prabang, so I have added a few more now. Isn't it amazing there is always something more to do on your VT pages? I should add that after I wrote this tip, I used to visit here regularly and became very friendly with the staff and the ownders family, some of whom are seen in one of the images. The two young ladies on the extreme left and right were two of the delightful waitresses there and both were studying at the local teacher training college, funding their studies by waitressing which seems to be a common practice here. After my efforts in Big Brother Mouse I used to drop in here for a coffee and invariably ended up giving impromptu English lessons. I really hope I did not hinder the poor girls studies too much.
Favorite Dish: The "Set 1" barbecue as detailed above.
I've eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner here during my time in Luang Prabang. Always delicious. But even more than the food is the dramatic riverfront scenery and beautiful wooden building and furniture. Yet in all this luxury there is a certain homeyness that makes you want to stay long after you've eaten. The staff are competent and sincerely friendly. They have done an excellent job of becoming part of the ambiance that is Luang Prabang.
Favorite Dish: Breakfast = Superbowl. A large serving of about 10 kinds of fruit topped with homemade yogurt and the best granola (muesli) ever tasted. Anywhere.
Lunch = Fried rice with a coconut milk mango shake. Or for my western cravings, a cheeseburger or a tuna melt on a whole wheat bagel. It's suppose to be on toast, but they put it on a bagel for me - at no extra charge!
Dinner = Laap, eggplant, stir-fried mixed veggies and sticky rice. Or maybe another cheeseburger.
They have the full menu descriptions, prices and photos on their website.
The House Restaurant in Luang Prabang, Laos is simply the best food for the price. Friendly staff, beautiful garden seating and a great beer selection. A must go!
Favorite Dish: Kebab, Steak and Beef Stew hits the spot every time.
This is a really small local hangout tucked away next to the old bridge in Luang Prabang. Run by a young couple (Loulou and Vanphaeng) its a great place to meet the locals and have some great food. No menu, no restaurant name sign but easy to find next to the river. Just ask for whats good on the night (usually duck or pork etc) and of course the ice cold Beer Lao!
Favorite Dish: BBQ Duck is a must try! Not sure what they marinate it in before grilling it but its wonderful. The pork is great as well. Ask for vegetables and sticky rice as a side dish.
While at the night handicraft market you may come across an alleyway on the Mekhong side that is lined with many stalls where you can eat. Halfway down on the right hand-side there are 2 vegetarian stalls with perhaps a selection of 20 different foods to choose from. Grab a plate and load it up with the selections you choose, this will cost 10,000 kip and will be well worth it.
Try taking your breakfast at one of the restaurants by the Mekhong where you can idle over your meal and watch the activities on the river. Many boats will be jamming the tourists in for trips upriver and other will be crossing to the other side. There are many restaurants at the side of the river, we tried a few, they were all reasonably priced and the food was fine
When strolling around the night market you will come across a few hawkers selling baguettes stuffed with ham, cheese, veg, eggs, tuna or just about anything you desire. These are probably the best baguettes in the whole of Laos, and very filling too!! Also purchase a fresh fruit shake from some of the other stands, the fruit is already cut up and placed in plastic cups so you can have the shake of your choice. Recommend the dragon fruit shake. Baguettes start at around 10,000 and shakes are 5,000
After a long day of tromping around Luang Prabang, I was ready to settle in for the night. At the last minute, I decided to check my email and headed to the lobby. I met one of the hotels owners who struck up a conversation with me. The conversation gravitated toward restaurants and dining in general. She suggested I try a place called Arisai who is operated by a friend of theirs. I decided to get my shoes on and headed toward town. It was one of the better travel decisions I've made and was I trilled with the selection! Their menu items change daily and young prospective chef's are brought in from all corners of Laos to train. The head Chef Sommay Inthavong is originally from Thailand but has trained all over France and America. He led me over to the giant picture window viewing the kitchen and preparation. What a show!
Favorite Dish: I decided to dine away from the crowd down stairs since I can't bare to be around smoking. I was alone but oh so near to the wine cabinet with a view of the empty school yard and hills over the Mekong. I ordered a salad with spring rolls to start and a Moroccan style main course of couscous and sausage served with lightly braised vegetables. Their wine selection is fantastic and so are their deserts! They scored a Conde Nast Travelers US Editor's 2009 #1 pick.
There is one lane, a small side alley around Wat Xieng Tong, where all the houses produce rice cakes, actualy the main ingredience is the Kassawa root. Hundreds of bamboo sheets hang there covered all over with fresh rice cakes to dry in the sun. And the houses there sell it like a factory outlet ;-) Cant get it any fresher I would say.
Cai Pen: This really is a Lao specialty - not since his Hong Kong food hunter showed it on tv and brought it to the famous 5-star restaurants and hotels over this planet: the Mekong river weed/grass refined with chili, garlic and sesame.
Especially tasty when integrated into all kinds of meals like the Green Elephant offers - yummi!
I dont think there is a lot of difference between the riverside restaurants. I cant remember which one we ate at but it was good.
Tried some local dishes ie LP sausage, papaya salad, deep fried river moss etc all washed down with the great BeerLao. Cheap & tasty.
Opposite the Ancient Hotel, are a line of stalls selling freshly made baguettes for 10,000 kip; chicken, salad, cheese etc. Other stalls sell real fruit smoothies (5,000 kip) & beautiful Lao coffee (7,000 kip). Went there for lunch every day.
Stalls then move across the road in the evening to join the night market.