In a region that’s always filled with tourists, Vientiane remains the least visited and most quiet capital in Southeast Asia. Not as many travelers choose to visit Vientiane as, per se, Bangkok, Saigon or Kuala Lumpur but the ones that do describe Vientiane as an undiscovered treasure. Laos’ capital has a diverse and colorful culture and that can be seen in the local food too. You might expect most of the restaurants to serve only local food but you’d be wrong. Laos has a lot of French, Asian, and Indian restaurants as well as a lot of amazing fast-food chains and great dessert spots. In this post, we’ll cover the best restaurants in Vientiane and show you where to eat when visiting the Laotian capital.
Naturally, we start with…
The Best Traditional Restaurants in Vientiane
If you’re visiting a new destination, the first thing you should do is taste some local food. Laos food is slightly different than Thai, Vietnamese, and Khmer cuisines, but even though it isn’t as famous, there’s a myriad of mouth-watering Lao dishes and the best places to try them are the restaurants that serve traditional local food.
If you want to try some traditional Lao food, Kualao is one of the best restaurants in Vientiane. The restaurant’s setting resembles an old colonial house and serves a lot of different traditional dishes in dainty servings. This is awesome because you can try a range of food in just one meal. In addition to this, the restaurant often features live music and traditional dances in the background. Hence, it’s no wonder this is one of the most popular restaurants among tourists visiting Vientiane.
Address: 134, Rue Samsenthai.
Xang Khoo Restaurant
Xang Khoo is a nice traditional Lao restaurant with a French twist. You just have to try some of their duck-based dishes. They also have some nice crepes and pizza and a great collection of French wines and cheese.
Address: 68 Rue Pangkham.
Located in the heart of Chinatown, this tiny local eatery is famous for its niem niuang (barbecued meatballs) and delicious spring rolls. It’s a great budget alternative as you can get full in less than $2. The niem niuang is absolutely amazing and I strongly recommend you taste it but even if you’re vegetarian, the spring rolls will leave you craving for more and I’m sure you’ll come to visit at least one more time.
Address: Rue Hengboun – near the above banh mi joint.
As the name suggests, this is one of the best restaurants in Vientiane when it comes to traditional food. Lao Kitchen serves practically all Laotian classics in a very elegant setting. One of the must-tries is the mouth-watering larb gai (spicy chicken salad) with a side of sticky rice served in a bamboo tube.
Address: 140/01, Unit 15, Rue Hengboun.
Soukvimarn Original Lao Foods
Soukvimarn is one of the older restaurants in Vientiane and a local favorite. The restaurant serves a variety of local delicacies, such as Khao piak sen (a rice noodle soup), mok lao (an exotic coconut curry), and of course, Lao sausage.
Address: 133 Chanthakhoummarn Road, Chanthabouly district.
Mieng Chao Kao
If you don’t mind the constant crowds and celebrations, you’ll discover a range of delicious traditional food at Mieng Chao Kao. Because of the large venue and upscale appearance, this seems to be a popular place among locals for their birthday parties and other celebrations. And with the amazing, affordable food available, it’s no wonder why locals love this place. If you choose to dine here, definitely try their beef laab.
Address: Kamphengmeuang road near Manoy Stadium.
Tamnak Lao has been serving the best Mekong fish in coconut mile since the early 1990s. Even though not as big as the Tamnak Lao in Luang Prabang, this restaurant is still one of the finest in Vientiane. The legendary Mekong fish is usually served with crispy bamboo shoots stuffed with sweet sauce and spicy vegetables. If you don’t like this, you can try some of the other traditional dishes on the menu. Whatever you choose, you won’t make a mistake!
Address: 23, Singha Road
I only have five words to say for Phakhao Lao; the best duck laap ever! Even though they have a lot of other tasty Lao and Thai soups and curries on the menu, the duck laap is a must-try. The restaurant isn’t very easy to find. It’s tucked in a tiny alley near Wat Chan Temple and it has a lovely terrace that overlooks the Mekong.
Address: Chao Anou Road, near Wat Chan
Hidden in a maze of quiet alleys near Wat Ong Teu, Ban Vilaylac is a great budget option for people who want to taste the best of Laos’ traditional food. Their menu features many stir-frys, coconut curries, tasty soups, laap dishes, and perhaps their best- a mouth-watering Lao sausage.
Address: Street behind Wat Ong Teu on the intersection between Chou Anou and Francois Ngin.
Han Sam Euay Nong
If you’re looking for some fine traditional rice noodle soups, this is one of the best places in town. The restaurant is located near the Mekong riverfront, making it a great starting point for exploring the riverside and tasting all kinds of delicious street food dishes. Nothing can open up an appetite like a good spicy soup!
Address: Chao Anou Road, near the intersection with Quai Fa Ngum.
The Best Asian Restaurants in Vientiane
In case you didn’t know, the traditional cuisine in Laos is strongly influenced by Chinese and Thai cuisines. Hence, it’s no surprise that you can find a lot of Thai and Chinese restaurants in Vientiane but there are also a few restaurants that serve delicious delicacies from around the continent.
If you want to try some Japanese food, especially sushi, Fijiwara is one of the best restaurants in Vientiane. However, keep in mind that this is also one of the priciest restaurants in Laos.
Rue Setthathinath, Vientiane, Laos.
Khop Chai Deu Food
With its great location in the heart of the capital and wide variety of Asian and continental dishes, this is one of the most popular restaurants in town. The restaurant is located in an old colonial building and is decorated with traditional Lao-style ornaments. Tourists love it because, in addition to the amazing food, the restaurant has its own well-equipped bar with a lot of tasty wines and liquors from around the world.
Address: 54 Sethathirat Road, Namphou, Vientiane, Laos.
Fu Man Lou
Unlike most of the above-mentioned restaurants, Fu Man Lou isn’t that popular among tourists but this restaurant is a real hidden gem. At the time we were there, the people working in the restaurant didn’t seem to understand English but somehow, we got past the language barrier and I was served a mountain of rice with at least 6 other dishes. I was starting to think that we might get scammed as this often happens in Laos and you’re rewarded with a big, juicy bill. However, that wasn’t the case and this rich meal cost only $5 USD.
Address: Rue Asean, opposite of the Jian Guo Grand.
Pho Zap is serving one of the best pho soups in town since 1958. In fact, even the name of the restaurant translates to ‘delicious pho’. Sure, pho is a hot dish and the weather in Laos is hot and humid throughout the year, but when it comes to this restaurant, there’s no such thing as a ‘bad time for a pho’.
Address: Phai Nam St, near That Dam stupa, Vientiane.
If you’re a fan of Vietnamese food, you’ll absolutely love this charming little eatery. In addition to the delicious Vietnamese food, you can also get some amazing spicy patisserie sandwiches that cost only 10,000 kip (around $1).
Address: The corner of Rue Hengboun & Chao Anou Rd.
Yes, this eatery’s name is Delicious Noodles. And to be fair, from our experience, they really do have the best noodles in Vientiane. Noodles here come in all shapes and sizes, including, delicious pork broth noodles, mee egg noodles, thick rice noodles, pho noodles, cow piek noodles, duck noodles, chicken doodles, etc. All noodles are topped with a tasty mix of fried shallots that smells so tasty that you’ll wish it stays on your plate forever.
Do you love noodles? Make sure to check out our recipe for homemade udon noodles in less than 30 minutes.
Address: Khun Bu Lom Rd.
Niku O Yakiniku
No Vientiane food experience is complete until checking out one of the locals’ favorite; Niku O Yakiniku. It’s another Japanese restaurant but it’s a lot more affordable than Fujiwara and even better; everything is served buffet style. And if you’re a gourmand you know how feasible dining buffet style can be! Their sushi are delicious and the barbecue hot is to die for! It might not look very authentic but don’t let this fool you. The food is absolutely amazing!
Address: Avenue Kaysone Phomvihane.
I know this is a list of the best restaurants in Vientiane but Pricco Café still deserves a mention. In addition to some fine coffee, they also serve delicious rolls and Asian-style baguettes but their specialty is the lamb kebab and the shepherd’s pie.
Address: Rue Nokeokoummane.
You probably wouldn’t have guessed it but Laos also has a couple of very nice Indian restaurants. One of them is Nazim and it features a wide range of both, North and South Indian dishes.
Address: Chao Anou Road
Jamil Zahid’s Indian and Pakistani restaurant
Even though it doesn’t seem like it at a glance, this restaurant is a real hit in Vientiane and Jamil, the owner is a local legend. It’s a family-owned restaurant that serves some very spicy and affordable food.
Address: Khun Bu Lom Road, near the Manorom Chateau.
The Best Continental Restaurants in Vientiane
Laos was a French protectorate between 1893 and 1953 and this left a strong mark on the country’s capital. You can find a lot of colonial buildings, French quarters, you can find baguette stalls around every corner, and hence, it’s no surprise that there are a lot of continental restaurants in Vientiane- here are the best of them.
L’Adresse de Tinay
If you’re looking for some delicious French food with an Asian flavor, look no further than L’Adresse de Tinay. The menu consists of some of the most popular French dishes and desserts but some of them are mixed with local ingredients and even though oftentimes, this doesn’t sound like a good idea, most of their dishes are surprisingly delicious.
Address: behind Wat Ongteu, opposite of Setthathirath Road.
The Bistro 22
Bistro 22 was known as Chez Philippe in the past. The name of the restaurant and the interior changed but most other things remain the same; Bistro 22 still serves delicious French food and is one of the best restaurants in Vientiane when it comes to continental food.
Address: Rue Hengboun, Opposite KP Hotel.
With so many French restaurants in Vientiane, it’s very difficult to rank the best of the best, but La Signature just has to be on this list. It’s one of the best restaurants in Vientiane for a romantic dinner and their fresh aromatic baguettes are as good as the ones you’d get in France. The restaurant also has a roof terrace with a gorgeous green garden.
Address: Quai Fa Gnum, Ban Vat Chan Tha, Hom 5.
L’Opera is a great place for people who have a craving for Italian food. They have some amazing pasta dishes, some very decent pizzas, and an incredible collection of Italian and French wines. In addition to this, you also get to enjoy the view of the beautiful Nam Phou Fountain in the background.
Now that we covered French and Italian food, the next thing on the list would be Mediterranean food and when it comes to this, there’s no better place in Vientiane than Pimenton. From marinated grilled steaks to tapas and tasty fish-based dishes, Pimenton offers a wide range of delicious dishes. The quality is always high and even though prices are on the high end, the restaurant is still very popular among both, locals and tourists.
Address: 5 Rue Nokeoukoumane.
Even though the brunch culture in Vientiane isn’t strong (yet) if there’s one place where you can get a perfect brunch, it has to be Makphet. They have a myriad of delicious light continental and Asian snacks, as well as some ‘modern Laos food’ as they like to refer to it. Definitely worth visiting.
Address: Entrance of Peaun Mit center, Rue Phai Nam, Vientiane, Laos.
If you haven’t heard about it, Sticky Fingers is an international chain of restaurants specializing in Memphis-style barbecue. Their barbecue is absolutely delicious no matter where they go and Vientiane is no exception. They also have some delicious desserts, the prices are reasonable, and it’s a great choice for families.
Address: 103/3 Francois Nginn St.
The Best Fast-Food Restaurants in Vientiane
Sure, Laos doesn’t have McDonald’s, Burger King or even KFC but that doesn’t mean they don’t have any good-fast food restaurants. Here are our favorite fast-food restaurants in Vientiane.
I was thinking whether I should say it but Ray’s Grille has arguably the best burgers in Southeast Asia. The owner is an American and the burgers served are made American-style. If you’re a sucker for burgers like me, this is one place you definitely shouldn’t miss. The prices are a bit more expensive than what you’d expect to pay for a burger in a country like Laos (45,000-60,000 kip) but it’s completely worth it.
Address: Capitol Residence.
Sputnik is another amazing burger joint in Vientiane. Personally, I think their burgers aren’t as good as Ray’s even though they’re still pretty damn good but they have one of the best pulled pork meals in town and some great chocolate brownies.
Address: Sybounheuang Road.
There’s always a debate about whether pizza should be included in fast food or not. Personally, I believe that every pizza that needs less than 30-40 minutes (and this is the case with most pizzas today) to prepare is a fast food. So, even though Via Via is technically an Italian restaurant, they are famous for their pizza more than anything else.
Address: Rue Nokeokoummane.
Khouvieng Fried Chicken
Vientiane might not have Kentucky Fried Chicken but it has its own KFC- Khouvieng Fried Chicken. This eatery is located in a shack on Khouvieng Road but don’t let its outside appearance fool you; they cook some of the best fried chicken in Laos in that tiny shack. You can’t miss it as you’re walking down Khouvieng Road because you’ll always find a long queue there. And there’s a good reason for this!
Address: Khouvieng Road, across the road from Vientiane International School.
The Best Seafood Restaurants in Vientiane
Yes, Laos is a landlocked country but that doesn’t mean they can’t have good seafood. Even though there aren’t a lot of options, there still are a few decent restaurants in Vientiane when it comes to seafood.
Even though the name of this place suggests it’s just another café, this is actually one of the best restaurants in Vientiane when it comes to seafood. The venue looks like a mix of a traditional Lao restaurant and an old-school American diner and are famous for their grilled sea bream. If you decide to dine here, you absolutely have to try this! The restaurant also has a fine collection of Western and Laos cuisines and has a beautiful garden with a picturesque small pond.
Address: inside Ban Naxay, Nongbone Road
Bor Pen Nyang
Overlooking the Mekong River and downtown Vientiane, Bor Pen Nyang is located at one of the best locations in town. The restaurant is huge and has a wide range of Lao-style barbecue and continental food but their spicy seafood soup is one of Vientiane’s finest delicacies. They also have a bar on-site, and you can come across a different atmosphere inside, depending on which time of the day you decide to visit. During the day, the restaurant looks like a casual dining spot but in the night it turns into a backpacker-friendly club.
Address: Quai Fa Ngum, near the intersection with Chao Anou Road.
The Best Dessert Spots in Vientiane
Finally, we have a few spots for everyone who has a sweet tooth. Sweets aren’t a big part of Lao culture and most of their desserts are different variations of sticky rice combined with a mix of fruits but you can still find a few great dessert spots in the capital.
Sweet Moo specializes in ice cream and bubble tea; a perfect combo to counter the hot and humid summers of Vientiane. Personally, it’s far from the best ice cream I tried but with the limited choices around, I suppose this is the best ice cream in town. Their menu also includes a variety of sweets, smoothies, shakes, brownies, etc.
Address: Near the corner between Rue Pangkham and Rue Setthathilath.
Noy’s Fruit Heaven
If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, definitely stop by. They have a wide range of sandwiches, salads, and burgers, but the place is famous for its fresh fruit shakes. You can get a smoothie from practically any exotic fruit you can think of for only 10,000 kip (a little more than $1).
Address: Heng Boun Road, Ban Haysok.
Bakery by Boris
Finally, we can’t talk about dessert spots in Vientiane without mentioning this elegant French bakery. Its modern, classy interior sets this bakery apart from its competition but that’s not all. Boris’ Bakery is probably the best place in town to taste French pastries, such as custard cakes, hazelnut danishes, and croissants and their latte is top-notch as well.
Address: Ban Kao Yord, near Icat Gallery.
Did you ever visit Vientiane? What do you think about this list of the best restaurants in Vientiane? If you visit Laos’ capital which place would you dine in first? Let us know in the comments!
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