Hanoi Travel Blog› entry 11 of 25 › view all entries
People who made my travels more enjoyable: Michelle (USA)
My only plan for the day was to eat as much delicious food as possible. I skipped breakfast and went with Michelle to a French restaurant in the Old Quarter. We had decided to try a place named La Ba Diane (it had received a lot of positive reviews online). We meandered through the streets of Hanoi and after about 15 minutes arrived at our destination. The entrance to the restaurant was unassuming, but charming. What really impressed us was the kitchen.
We were met by the head chef, a pleasant Frenchman, who arranged for us to be taken to our table. The dining room was very clean and air conditioned. The food could have totally sucked and I would still have recommended this place. Our waiter was in training and he struggled a bit with English (he actually spoke French better than English), but he was attentive and polite. We both could tell he was make a serious effort and he was being trained by people who knew what they were doing.
Then the food arrived! It was absolutely delicious. I'm not talking delicious compared to what we had been eating, delicious by any standard. If this restaurant had been located in San Francisco I would have frequented it. It was hands down the best meal we had in Vietnam to-date. Each dish was exquisite by itself and collectively the meal was perfect. I can't stress it enough, if you ever travel to Hanoi you must eat at this restaurant.
I spent the middle half of the day resting in the hotel room.
For dinner we had made reservations in the West Lake area of Hanoi. West Lake had some decently sized apartment complexes, many of which housed Hanoi's ex-pat community. The restaurant we had chosen was named Bobby Chinn, after the proprietor himself. I can't remember how we initially heard about it, but it had received many positive reviews on Tripadvisor.
After dinner Michelle and I took a cab back to our hotel. We had some time to hang out and relax before the big event. Tonight marked a very special occasion, the World Cup Final would be played between Holland and Spain. I really enjoyed watching the world's greatest soccer teams compete over the past month. My favorite teams had performed well (they all made it out of the group stage), and some tremendous events had occurred. I didn't have a strong preference toward Spain or Holland, but if I was forced to pick, I would have chosen the Dutch. Sadly, the match wasn't that great. The Dutch forgot their game plan and ended up playing like a bunch of thugs. Had it not been the final, I imagine several red cards would have been handed out over the course of the match. Despite Roben's standout performance, the better team eventually claimed the title. It was nice to see that one of the world's greatest footballing nations was finally able to bring the trophy home. I hope that the Dutch will also have that opportunity in the near future.