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Lazy Day

Hanoi Travel Blog

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Immaculate kitchen

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.

Lunch at La Ba Diane
It was immaculate! Open windows allowed us to peer in and admire all the modern appliances. The Chef's wore white coats and hats, not a spec of dust or dirt could be seen. This was a HUGE contrast to every restaurant we'd been to so far in Vietnam. In fact, it was a huge contrast to the whole city. Our hotel room wasn't as clean as the Kitchen at La Ba Diane. 

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.

The happiest I looked the whole time I was in Vietnam
The owner of the restaurant was a well-dressed gentleman with a very professional demeanor. He came in and out of the dining room several times to check on us. We were impressed before the food even arrived! 

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.

Michelle is equally happy :)
I'm really not that lazy, the main reason I would always spend the middle of the day in my room was the heat. I just couldn't handle being outside for a long period of time. The middle of the day was unbearable, so I would try and stay in my room with the A/C. If we were lucky enough to find a restaurant or shop with A/C that would work too, but they were few and far between.  

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.

West Lake
Furthermore it had been described as one of the classier places in Hanoi, complete with good service and tasty food. In truth, only part of the previous statement was correct. The service at Bobby Chinn was fantastic. The waiters and waitresses worked incredibly hard to make sure that both Michelle and I were pleased with our experience. Unfortunately, no matter how great the service is, the food also needs to be good. The food at Bobby Chinn was horrible. They had a three course menu, but rather than the usual arrangement, appetizer, main-course then dessert, Michelle and I had to order one appetizer and two main courses. The food was very filling and the portions were substantial, but everything tasted bland or downright bad. The food was very expensive by Vietnamese standards, and tasted worse than anything we'd had in the country thus far. Frankly, it was quite a forgettable experience and I recommend that any tourist avoid this restaurant like the plague.
Zakumi
  

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. 

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Immaculate kitchen
Immaculate kitchen
Lunch at La Ba Diane
Lunch at La Ba Diane
The happiest I looked the whole ti…
The happiest I looked the whole t…
Michelle is equally happy :)
Michelle is equally happy :)
West Lake
West Lake
Zakumi
Zakumi
The food looked better than it tas…
The food looked better than it ta…
My entree
My entree
Propaganda in the Old Quarter
Propaganda in the Old Quarter
My dessert
My dessert
Michelles dessert
Michelle's dessert
Michelles entree
Michelle's entree
Delicious bread
Delicious bread
Store front
Store front
Place setting
Place setting
More West Lake
More West Lake
Restaurant La Ba Diane
Restaurant La Ba Diane
Women selling wares
Women selling wares
Place setting at Restaurant Bobby …
Place setting at Restaurant Bobby…
Hanoi Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
French Restaurant in Hanoi Deserves Special Mention
This is an absolutely delicious establishment in Hanoi. I normally don't write reviews about restaurants, but La Ba Diane deserves special mention. Th… read entire review
Hanoi
photo by: mario26