Downtown Vientiane has a wide range of dining options from budget to expensive, from local Lao to French.
Having a steady expat population means that restaurants need to have a good quality to keep them coming back and this is a very good thing.
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Best of the bunch is AMPHONE, but this is also the most expensive in the local options. Anthony Bourdain ate here when he visited Vientiane. Right in the centre of town on the side street by Joma, with the Jazzy Brick –Jazz cafe on the corner. Budget about 30,000 – 50,000 kip for a main here. There is indoor/outdoor seating options.
For modern fusion Lao and to support a good cause MAKPHET –is a good option Makphet Restaurant. Established by friends international it is a training restaurant helping street children into a new career. Staff are lovely and well trained. Also attached is a gift shop selling unique hand crafted items Budget about 40,000 – 50,000 for a main
Mekong River Stalls are coming back to the Mekong. For a period these disappeared while earthworks were done along the riverbank. Now you can pick a vendor and sit out and eat a simply cooked Lao grilled fish or chicken, perhaps Green Papaya salad.
On the road out to the friendship bridge, 3km from the city centre is LAO GARDEN. Patronised by both locals and expats they serve up a consistently good range of Lao and Western dishes. Budget between 25,000 – 40,000 for a main
As this was once a French colony there is still a strong French influence on the dining scene.
A newcomer on the fine dining scene is Bistro 22, on Th. Samsenthai (one way heading to the airport, near the Catholic Church, EDL) A tiny space but with excellent food. They offer fixed price lunch menu at 45,000 for a main through to 70,000 for a starter/main/dessert. Closed Sunday
LE SILIPA, near Wat Inpeng, offers a range of well cooked French favourites. They also offer fixed price menus
LE CAVE DES CHATEAU, on Nam Phu square offers French a la carte and an outdoor BBQ where the chef will cook your meat.
Opposite Wat Mixai is the CINNAMON LOUNGE. Offering a fusion of good Sri Lankan dishes and western favourites. The staff are friendly and offer good suggestions.
Just around the corner, also facing Wat Mixai is ARIA. This is an Italian restaurant that consistently produces great meals. Their pizzas are legendary and the chef cares about the food.
If you want good old western food STICKY FINGERS on the same street, near the Mekong is another good performer with good food.
On Nam Phu is also OPERA. It often looks empty but the the food is good and worth trying.
And for the Best coffee in town JAPANESE COFFEE HOUSE wins hands down. Located towards the Mekong on the street where Union des Femmes office is.