I guess i'm in the luck making the right decision leading my group of 40 pax opt not going to this restaurant at the end of Hanoi-Ha Long Bay visit. We're heading to airport unexpectedly early (something fishy) and no thanks to the local tour guide keep bragging about this 200 yrs. old restaurant serving Cha Ca fish trying to convince us to lunch promising good food at the price of USD10/head. The tour guide initially said he will only want to bring 10 persons due to the popularity of the restaurant and if we going in groups the owner will find out we are tourist and the price will be raised up. After just mere 5min. of making decision with my groups to my amazed the tour guide change his statement that he could bring us all with the price raised up to USD15 without any valid reason being explained. However judging from the trips with many empty promise of good food and lousy accomodation from the journey we decided not to go. We're so DAMM LUCKY.
Favorite Dish: Not even reach there.
First time i have been compelled to write a review, unfortunately a bad one. Tonight I went to Cha Ca La Vong with my girlfriend after seeing it recommended in the lonely planet. Sounded good as a local place that has been going for 5 generations serving only one dish...
BUT it was terrible. From the moment we arrived the staff ignored us. We found a table to sit down and then had some cold rice noodles and herbs dumped in front of us. The hot plate with fish came out next, the taste was ok but there was nowhere near enough of it- about 10 small pieces. And, at 170,000 Vietnamese Dong per person it was a complete rip off!! We asked for beers which arrived 10 minutes later with the top on. We then waited another 5 minutes until we were given a bottle opener to open them ourselves!
The place is filthy, and had a load of tourists who'd obviously read the same glowing lonely planet review..
For what came to $20 USD, try somewhere else that has a nice local feel to it and better value for money.
We just went to this restaurant and also got ripped off. We're Vietnamese but look viet kieu so we got the english plastic card stating that the dish is 150,000 dong per person. My wife and I were with our 8 year old and 5 year old so were required to order 4 portions (understandable at first)...which we soon found out consisted of 2 skillets of fish, each containing 8-10 tiny pieces of catfish covered in turmeric.
We assumed surely that such little food for 150,000 each would result in a skillet each...but when they told us each skillet was 2 portions i was floored.
I had to run to an ATM to grab cash as we didn't realize the price was so high...on the way I asked a motorbike taxi if the price was right and he confirmed it was definitely a foreigner rip off price.
I came back to pay and asked the lady if the price was a foreigner only price and she said she couldn't tell that I was vietnamese when I came in but insisted to charge 600,000 dong for the family...outrageous either way.
How this place gets on all the tourist maps and top ten listings for food in Hanoi I'll never know...the food was street food quality at best...the service was horrible (chronically constipated staff should not be dealing with customers)...and the prices we relatively outrageous.
Do not go there, it was a joke for us,we went there in May 2011 and it cost us $28 for a few pieces of fish and noodles. owner was rude, food was bad,I nearly punch the guys there after they toll us our bill was $28.
Favorite Dish: Nothing good about the dish or the Restaurant
Avoid this place. It has been featured in Lonely Planet, maybe at one time it was value for money but the guide we looked at said it was $6 per person; it was $10 per person and we needed to ask for more food because the portion was so sparse. Please note, we are not obese greedy people- we just needed more food because the portion served was not at all sufficient for one person never mind for two people. The restuarant is a dump, grubby dirty and lacks any soul. This place will give Hanoi a bad reputation if people continue to be ripped off like this. There's got to be better value for money in Hanoi, I shall pursue that tomorrow night. Save your money, do not eat here.
Favorite Dish: There is one dish on offer here- an insufficient amount of fish dripping in oil and dressed up with some rice noodles to make it look better than it is.
A total rip off, one of the most extreme I have experienced, even here in Hanoi.
The date: March 10th,09.
Starting from the rude madam at he door who snapped at us as we entered the main downstairs part of the restaurant, and subsequently forced us up a narrow wooden staircase to an upper level where there were a few tables left in this grubby run down area obviously not designed for dining and possibly a storeroom, but used as a back up area for the GREEDY owners to stuff in even more dumb ass tourists...
Maybe we though with great expectations it will STILL BE great.
I got suss when an unspeaking male person threw onto the table a plastic coated notice stating the cost is Vnd 10,000 and its just that, and nothing else is available.
Well my Lonely Planet copy says VND 8,000 but that no surprise once Lonely Planet puts these places in their book prices always soar.
Still we waited with great expectation to try these reccommended Fish feast at this hyped up so called 200 yr old establishment.
What we got was a maybe 500 VND [50 cents] worth of food, being 7 pieces of so called fish per person , no bigger than my small finger nail, [I do not jest] and not much thicker than a postage stamp, with a few greens, heaps of Oil and tossed in a hot dish with a fire under it by the young guy servicing the table.
We felt totally ripped off, and looked around at all the other wanker tourists being politically correct.
My gripe is not about the dump itself, or the rude Greedy owners, thats character, but the outragious exorbitant price asked for a few very boring scraps of food and the way they keep filling the place with these stupid tourists is my gripe..
I know when Im getting screwed, Ive been in the restaurant buss long enough to know costs, so we left to do battle with the madam at the reception who we told them it was crap for the almost A$10 per person asked.
After a lot of yelling back and forth,and the head madam getting more backup support at the reception to try to intimidate us, we eventually got bored with arguing and threw half the amount asked on the desk ,and walked out. Even at VND5,000 each we left, that was 5 time more than it was worth.
The place is also a FIRETRAP there being NO way we could exit down the narrow steep attic stairway if one of the blazing fire cookers on each table fell over.
How do these crooks get away with these rip offs.
You know how these rip off artists keep getting away with it, dumb first time tourists, being too politically correct, and not complaining!
Favorite Dish: You mjust be Kidding!!
Lonely planet recommended but it is totally OVER-RATED in my opinion. 100,000VND per pax for few pieces of fish in oil. Avoid at all means.
When i enter, they brought me this card "we only sell one dish - grilled fish, 100,000VND for one". Looks like they really know that they are popular with tourists. Check out the review of other VTs who went there earlier, you can compared who much have they increased in price.
If you really want to try this local dish, go to Ladybird Restaurant @ 57 Hang Buom, the menu calls it “Hanoi grilled fish”, but it is Cha Ca. You can enjoy it at half the price, twice the portion and in a much better ambience.
Favorite Dish: None.
It's located in the old quarter..Need to be careful as there are similar restaurants offering similar dish. Picture of the original restaurant is attached.
It's a two floor restaurant. Don't bother to ask the staff in front of the restaurant to get a table for you, either wait on 1st floor or just go upstairs. You need to queue in the alley, when there is an empty table just take it.
Favorite Dish: Only cha ca (fish and veggies fried) offered here. You should put all the veggies in the pan. After all get cooked, put it on your rice noodles and add several condiments for additional taste. I personally prefer the fish sauce added with fresh red chillies instead the one with shrimp paste..
Btw, I overcooked my dish as shown in the attached photo.. ;)
Fried fish and vegetables simmering before you over a charcoal stove and eaten with the chewy noodles. Taste ok with beer. A little too oily for my taste and honestly, I think the price is a little of a rip off.
Try if you must for the "famous" fish dish in Hanoi but you could get nicer food elsewhere.
Give this place a miss unless you have extra cash and don't know what to spend on. The place is small and cramp, it will be hard to run for your life if a fire were to break out.
A rip-off for a few miserable pieces of fish swimming in oil - not for the health conscious. Paid 200 000 dong for a meal for 2 including 2 bottles of mineral water. Taste is not bad but for the meagre portion and location with zero ambience, 80 000 dong will be more like it. Even a random coffee shop in my homeland fill my stomach better for less than half the price.
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