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Wild Lotus, Hanoi

55A Nguyen Du Street
Hai Ba Trung District
Tel: 84 4 943 9342
view web site ›'s insider take:

Located just south of Hoan Kiem District, Wild Lotus has an ethereal elegance and even better food. Inside the walled compound, paving stones bridge a reflecting pool that leads to a staircase winding past a grotto holding a large Buddha image. Inside, the intimate rooms of this old French villa feature 13-foot ceilings, hand-painted wall murals, and lotus-theme tiles. But it's the meals that command the most attention, with gourmet Vietnamese dishes like peanut-crusted shrimp on green mango salad and grilled duck with orange sauce. The generous portions are thoughtfully presented, though some diners may prefer spicier interpretations, such as the prix fixe "spice route" meals, which explore a variety of Asian cuisines. Less formal than its upscale sister property, Wild Rice (6 Ngo Thi Nham St.; 84-4-943-8896), this rambling, romantic space appeals to expat couples and hi-so (high society) Vietnamese families and is usually packed by 7:30 pm. The third-floor terrace holds an open-air bar that's ideal for a digestif.

Open daily 10 am to 11 pm.

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