Thursday, November 08, 2007

Le Tonkin Restaurant

Le Tonkin Restaurant

We were all invited to join Lora's farewell party at Le Tonkin restaurant two months ago. This is one of the beautiful restaurants in Hanoi which is located in a gorgeous French building surrounded by nice gardens in Ngo Van So street. We were so excited to be there in such a nice place with friends and to eat nice Vietnamese food, at least that's what we expected.

Lotus Salad

After experiencing quite a few restaurants in Hanoi, I know a bit about Vietnamese food and this place was disappointing. They seem to use a bit too much seasoning, salt and MSG because even the salads were salty. For the prices we pay in these kinds of restaurants, I expect better.

Fresh spring rolls with pork and prawns

We ordered some beautiful Allan Scott white wine from New Zealand and they didn't have any bottles in the fridge. The waitress gave me a really warm bottle which she said was cold. I asked them politely to put it back in the ice basket and that we would wait, and also asked them to put few more in the freezer because we were a big group of 25 people. After awhile, they brought another bottle and put it on the table without an ice bucket. We were willing to pay over $30++ for a good and chilled bottle of white wine, not for hot white wine. Then, in the middle of the dinner, the waitress came over and told me that they had sold out of Allan Scott wine and could we choose a different brand but they once again came with warm bottles. What kind of service is that? In this kind of quality restaurant they should train their staff well as this is a really basic rule about wine but it seemed they don't really care about this.

Fresh fruit salad with pork

It seems as though it's the kind of restaurant that's only interested in serving tour groups - people who might complain but they are unlikely to see again. They are unlikely to see me again, either.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. I went to this restaurant and I didn't have a good meal at all. Bad service and expensive.
Hoa

LamCam said...

Tu - I don't drink wine or alcohol; but I was interested to learn about it when visisting vineyards in Napa Valley, CA. I've heard that people in VN prefer cognac and red wine over white wine, isn't true? And when you said "New Zealand white wine," is it the same as chardonnay or pinot grigio? And in VN, there is only white rice wine, right?

Godknows said...

Hi ba chi lam Cam,
In Vietnam, Rice wine is the most popular and Vietnamese people prefer red wine. New zealand wine is great and same as french wine but they are mmore popular now in the world. I love white wine :)
Thanks Hoa

Thuy said...

Vietnam is still lacking in the service department, in all aspect of business, but especially in hotel and restaurant. What would be considered a 4 or 5 stars hotels in Vietnam would barely meet the 2 or 3 stars hotels in the US.
I believe higher education is lacking in the people who own or upper management who runs the establishments.

Anonymous said...

Thuy...4-5 star hotels in Vietnam are comparable to the US and many other countries in Asia, Canada and South America. I havent travel to Europe yet so cant compare. Also, some of the 2 star hotels in Vietnam are pretty good in the service department.

Anonymous said...

Thuy,
Have you tried the Sofitel Metropole in Hanoi lately?
I'd take that to any 5, 6 or 7 star hotels anywhere in the world.
What about the Ana Mandara villas in Dalat? been there?
Yup, "higher education" may be required to run a 5 star hotel. But then, "higher education" could also be a prerequisite to appreciate one.
And last, but surely not least, I did feel very happy in some of the 1 star places in VN too.
Cheers.

lillian said...

I have lived in Moscow, Warsaw, Kuala Lumpur and a few other places. I think living in Hanoi is great and I love trying out the food as I have done in all the other countries I've lived in. I have been in Hanoi for 3 years and my favorite restaurant to eat Vietnamese food is Le Tonkin. I have a few other favorites but I keep coming to Le Tonkin because the atmosphere is pleasant, the food tasty and an adventure. They have never used MSG with our orders because we ask them NOT too. You do need to be patient and gracious with the waiting staff as they do not speak or understand English as well as the Metropole Sofitel or Sofitel Plaza. Still, this is, in my experience, one of the best restaurants in Hanoi!!!

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