Recently, I ate dinner at Le Dalat Indochine, the most popular, and many say the best, Vietnamese restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand. I’ve lived in Bangkok for years, and prefer Thai food to Vietnamese food so rarely eat at Vietnamese restaurants. But, a Thai friend who loves Le Dalat Indochine, told me I must eat there and assured me I would love it. Was she correct? Heck, yes. Le Dalat Indochine served a lovely Vietnamese meal and is one of the prettiest Bangkok restaurants I’ve been to in a while.
Atmosphere at Le Dalat Indochine – Definitely one of the prettier restaurants in Bangkok, Le Dalat Indochine is located in a 1950s Thai house on Sukhumvit, Soi 23. The first thing you notice is the beautiful garden you walk through to get to the entrance of the restaurant. Lush and green and beautifully lit at night, it sets off your mood just right before you even get there.
Inside, the restaurant is even more charming. A little cramped and crowded, you soon forget this as you start to notice the unusual posters and art work all over the walls, as well as the lovely plants everywhere. While we waited for a table to open up, we sat at the bar just at the entrance to the restaurant and enjoyed a glass of wine. It was nice to relax and not worry about time, but simply watch the waiters dressed in traditional Vietnamese costume rush by.
Food at Le Dalat Indochine – Before you try the restaurant, you have to be aware that the food is not typical Vietnamese food. The restaurant is owned by a French-Vietnamese family so the menu is an interesting mix of French and Vietnamese flavors. They also use many family recipes that have been created from trial and error, to come up with some of the best tasting food ever. One thing I really loved is that the menu has photographs so it was easy to see what you were ordering.
We started off our meal by sharing an appetizer. Hue Flute, which my friend told me was the dish Le Dalat Indochine is most famous for. When it arrived, I was fascinated to discover it was a delicately flavored crab meat that had been stuffed into rice paper and then fried. It was delicious.
In true Thai style, my friend and I ordered two entrees that we also planned on sharing. I decided on the charcoal grilled chicken brochettes, that arrived with a side of fried sticky rice. My friend ordered the duck curry and rice. Both dishes were cooked to perfection. The chicken fell off the skewers it was so moist, and the duck really did feel like it melted in your mouth. Portions are not overly large, but enough for two people. For dessert, we went for the rum raisin ice cream and, this time, didn’t share.
The Staff – The staff at Le Dalat Indochine is lovely. Friendly and helpful when it comes to asking questions about the menu, they serve everything quickly and efficiently but are also unobtrusive, leaving you alone until waved over.
The Price – The only thing I do think is a negative at Le Dalat Indochine is the price. The food is good, but the prices are high for what you get.
One item I noticed on the menu were the King Prawns which, at over $30 for two prawns, was simply stupid. Needless to say, we didn’t order those. The dinner for the two of us that evening was over 2,000 baht ($67), which is expensive for Bangkok. That being said, I did enjoy the meal and the atmosphere and would eat there again – but only for a special occasion.
Le Dalat Indochine is a lovely restaurant in a pretty location. It’s particularly nice for a special occasion and also if you like to be surrounded by the more affluent as, from what we saw of our fellow customers, most seemed to be quite hi-so (high-society) Thais. It’s not a restaurant I would eat at often, more for the high price than anything, but I do plan on eating there again soon.
Photo copyright – Vietnamese food, photographed by Barnaby, Creative Commons License