This restaurant is righ across from the Cha Ca La Vong restaurant and serves only 2 things: Cha Ca and Bahn Cuon. (Bahn Cuon are steamed rice crepes stuffed with chopped meat.) Both are very good and the Cha Ca is really the same quality as the famous one across the street if not better. It's easy to find them -- right across the street from Cha Ca La Vong. Just look for the sign shown in the picture.
Heard so much about the restaurant and the dish, I thought I had to give it a try. I missed it a couple of times because it only opens for dinner at 5pm. So, on the last day of my trip, I made it a point to get there at 5pm for dinner, before rushing to the airport at 6pm. Well, it was a great disappointment. I find the dish (made up of grilled fish cubes and vege) tasteless and oily. Definitely not worth VND 75,000 per person.
This restaurant has been featured in all major tourist guide book, guide map and tourist own recommendation. It has indeed meet my high expectation.
It's a 2 storey shoplot located at Cha Ca (reads Cha Ga). It's small & packed with tables & charcoal stoves & tourists, and only turn on fans during spring. Could be a little stuffed but the fish is just so tasty that all i could do is to sip a can of beer to cool down and continue eating.
Favorite Dish: "There's only 1 dish served in the restaurant - Grilled Fish. VND70,000 per person. "
I was handed a piece of paper indicating me need not to think of what to eat and just order :). Eight of us can settle with 6 servings, fyi. Waiter served a basket of green vege, plate of bean sprout, a bowl of sauce that looked like lemon juice with chilli called "mam tom", plates of rice noodle without soup, and then followed by a charcoal stove with fish cube soaked in hot boiling oil. Just mix veges into the fish & oil to heat, and mix with the noodle to eat. Add the "mam tom" into noodle for taste
This place is famous enough that most people have heard of it by now, since it's probably the only place in the Old Quarters that serves the "Cha Ca" dish (grilled fish). But I noticed that the last time I was there, when we sat down, they served us the dish with the standard Vietnamese "nuoc mam." Traditionally, the dish is eaten with an odiferous shrimp paste sauce that non-locals would probably have to ask for. It's called "mam tom" and you can't miss it by the smell :-) If you're willing, ask for it and try it the way locals do!
There has been much hype about this restaurant, ran by 5 generation on Cha Ca Street. I have not tried any other Cha Ca but I will surely do in another restaurant the next time when I am there. They charge VND70,000 per person which I think if way too much for the portion but it is the way the food is being served. You get load of veg and noodles but there isn't enough of sauce to eat with... but should try at least once......
Favorite Dish: They do not serve anything other than Cha Ca
The entrance of the restaurant along Cha Ca Road is not very inviting, opps..main dining is on the second floor, it is air conditioned and jamp packed with tourist and locals alike.
Cha Ca, a special dish first made by Doan family in Hanoi. Cha Ca La Vong (name of the restaurant has been opened for more than 100 years, managed now by the fifth generation of the family.
In order of the dish, the street where it is located is named after it, Cha Ca street.
Favorite Dish: Grilled Fish and it cost 70,000 dong per person not including the drinks...
The river fish is very very tasty, cooked into special oil concoction..Then on the side of the grill, the herbs is placed in order to cook on the fish oil.
There is a process of eating Cha Ca, thanks Minh!
On a small bowl, place the cooked noodles, followed by the greens, grilled fish and herbs (from the grill), peanuts, then a teaspoon of fish sauce.
I see this restaurant more like a tourist trap. Advertising everywhere to go there. But what you get is this:
First you will realize that there are (almost) no locals but only tourists (don't think Asian looking people there might be always from Hanoi - there are Asian tourists too). You get the food without ordering. A view small pieces of fish in hot oil. You can add vegetables. The taste is an extremely oily experience - nothing more. But eat slowly since you do not have much to eat...
To summarize: an awful snack for far too much money... This restaurant seems to live mostly from one time customers - I will not go there anymore too. I write this after having been living in Asia for more than 10 years and so with some Asien kitchen experience... The best meals I found in Hanoi were in a small street next to the market in the old quarter. The street is Dong Xuan directly next to the market hall. It is only a few meters wide so that you can only walk there. There are many food stalls next to each other. The prices are even smaller than the street ;-) The quality and taste of our meals was always perfect. And you get real local food.
First went here 12 years ago, before the air cons were put in, been taking people here ever since they put a drop of what they said was beetle semen in there to "help me through the night" (I was with me girlfriend). White fish cooked on charcoal burner in saffron oil and lots of greens, eaten with cold rice noodles and shrimp paste. I know lots of people literally turn their noses up at shrimp paste but once you get past the smell it tatses wonderfull.
Favorite Dish: There is only one.....Cha Ca
Cha Ca La Vong is the oldest restaurant in Hanoi spanning five generations. It is so famous, the street was even named after it. Cha Ca is a fish and noodle dish cooked with tumeric, dill, noodles, spring onions, peanuts and the special Vietnamese sweet sauce all of which you throw in and mix yourself. It was excellent and a trip to Hanoi is not complete without a visit to Cha Ca La Vong.
The only drawback was that the hot coals made us feel like we were frying along with the fish, and when we turned the electric fan above us on, it blew ash everywhere. So we had to endure the heat , but the entire experience was well worth it!
Written on the back of their business card:
Cha Ca, a special dish, first made by the family Doan in Hanoi
Cha Ca La Vong restuarant has been open through five generations for over one hundred years and has now become very famous at home and abroad.
Cha Ca has been so appreciated that the street is named afterwards.
Cha Ca La Vong is the only three restaurants to serve authentic Cha Ca in Vietnam and has no branches.
Favorite Dish: There's only one dish! - Cha ca
We really didn't need to say anything when we ate at Cha Ca La Vong. We just took our seats and signalled how many servings we want. The attendant returns with a bubbling iron plate of fish with plates of noodles, herbs and fish sauce.
Before finishing the first plate of this Vietnamese specialty, customers usually ask for another one. Again, no need to talk. There is no other dish served in the venue, so no explanation necessary. Anyway, mother said don't talk when your mouth is full.
You shouldn't leave Hanoi without having tasted Cha Ca. Don't be intimidated if the attendants seem not the usual smiling faces of Hanoi. I think it's part of the charm of the place. My husband and I even regret not returning before we left Vietnam.
Cha CA La Vong is on Cha Ca Street where you can see the sign of ''Cha Ca'' everyehere so dont go in the wrong restaurant. We went to no.17 on Cha Ca St. first and it wasnt look like the oldst restaurant so we checked the addrees again then moved out quitely.
La Vong restaurant has 2 floors with very steep stairs --- becareful when you climbing down.
Favorite Dish: They asked us only how many person we wanna order---7,000 dong per person---they put hot pot on the desk --- and put pieces of fish with curry oil in---put vegetable too. They tought us how to eat as well LOL eatting thing from hot pot with rice noodle ( if you like put some sweet clear sauce )
This you must do, have cha ca in Hanoi. It will be a little difficult to find this restaurant in that it is located in the Old Quarter in Hanoi in the middle of a block with no special sign that says "Hey You are Here", but boy is it totally worth the search. Cha ca is a type of white fish that is cooked in a skillet that is prepared right at your table. Don't worry if you look clueless, the waiters and waitresses will help you. The taste is so AWESOME. Be careful not to splatter any of the brilliant yellow sauce that it is cooked in on your clothing because believe me it will not come out.
I saw this restaurant in the book "1000 places to see before you die" of Patricia Schultz, so i thought it´s going to be the typical touristic place, but it wasn´t. The place was full of local people (we were the only foreigners), and the food, a only one dish menu, was GREAT. Try the Cha Ca, with a cold Hanoi beer, delicious. A must in Hanoi.
The old establishment is famous for it's fish hot plate dish served on mini charcoal stove. The food was alright - afterall, they only have one dish there! The ambience was much to be desired however, you have to walk up a narrow flight of wooden stairs, but the "old" setting smacks of character. The service was pretty good though - the lady obviously knew we were foreigners and showed us how to cook the food, dumping in a load of vegetables and stirring everything together!
All in all, it certainly was an experience, but dining here is rather pricey. Dinner with drinks cost the two of us 160,000 dong.
For a restaurant that has such a long history, the interior is a let down. It's just like other local eating places in the old quarter, If you want a taste of dining at some hundred year old houses, you would have a better bet in Hoi An. For a hefty 70,000d per person, the portion is miniscule and we realise the foreigners are being discriminated against. The two locals beside our group of four had servings twice of our shared portion! When we questioned the waitress about the apparant difference in food portion, she couldn't answer us and ignored us instead. Service is definitely not good; we get no smile from anyone at all! So try the Cha ca somewhere else!