Price: VND1,500,000++ (without drinks), VND2,260,000++ (free flow wine), VND2,900,000++ (free flow champagne)
Hours: Noon to 4pm
Address: 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem
Save room for: Chicken with balsamic marmalade, daikon and fruit ‘ravioli’, the entire dessert table
Between the paneled walls of Le Beaulieu, Olivier Genique whips up tiny, inventive dishes that reflect his background at some of Paris’s more distinguished restaurants: Lasserre, Le Jules Verne and Le Citrus Etoile. Two-bite morsels of chicken come topped with onion balsamic marmalade, carrot puree and lemon confit; thin daikon shavings hold a spiced fruit filling in a bold reinterpretation of ravioli. These dishes won’t fill you so much as they whet your appetite; but given that you’ll want to sample everything on the dessert table, from the raspberry creme brulee to the four varieties of dark chocolate cake, that might be a lifesaver.
Price: VND1,075,000++ (without drinks), VND1,290,000++ (free flow wine, draught beer, soft drinks, juice, tea, coffee), VND2,365,000++ (free flow champagne)
Hours: 11.30am to 3pm
Address: 1 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho
Save room for: Lobster, Peking duck, nuoc mia
This sophisticated up-and-comer serves elegantly crafted Vietnamese classics like cha ca and pho cuon, though the real winner is the Peking duck: sumptuous layers of fatty meat and crisp skin, balanced by cucumber and hoisin sauce. There isn’t much for vegetarians, but omnivores will feel they’ve gotten their money’s worth at the grill station alone, where rack of lamb, steak, salmon and lobster are cooked to order and served with tangy chilli sauce. Peter Littlejohn combines international ingredients — lobster, Camembert, gnocchi — with Hanoi-specific details. A nuoc mia cart serves freshly squeezed sugarcane juice and a kebab station doles out flaky buns stacked with shaved chicken that nearly-but-not-quite approximate to the ubiquitous curbside banh mi Tho Nhi Ky. Try to snag a seat by the floor-length windows, which offer spectacular views over West Lake.
Price: VND990,000++ (free flow drinks, except champagne)
Hours: 11.30am to 3pm
Address: Ngo 1 Au Co, Tay Ho
Save room for: Banh cuon, crepes, papaya salad
Significantly cheaper than its West Lake neighbours, the Sheraton seeks to atone with wallet-friendliness for what it lacks in ambience. The most popular dish is grilled lobster, served in grandiose style still in the shell and topped with a crust of sharp cheese. Across a stretch of beige carpet you’ll find the foie gras station, from where adults wishing to indulge in this controversial luxury can watch the kids pile made-to-order crepes with decadently gooey dark chocolate spread and slivers of fresh mango. Mike Drews, who previously headed the kitchen down the road at Sofitel Plaza, turns out Vietnamese staples like banh cuon and xoi xeo, as well as serviceable sushi and snappy papaya salad.
Price: VND755,000++ (without drinks), VND905,000++ (free flow drinks)
Hours: 11.30am to 2.30pm
Address: 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem
Save room for: Beef Wellington, tiramisu, Sangria
In his three-decade career, English native Paul Wood has worked in kitchens from Egypt to Mongolia. Here, he puts out a satisfying spread of British comfort food. The best time to go is right after opening, when the cavernous dining room fills with the buttery aroma of Beef Wellington and Yorkshire pudding. Attempts at American cuisine (Hawaiian pizza? Really?) can be forgiven after a glass or two of house Sangria, and a glance at the chic array of desserts: dense, rich tiramisu, crumbly Linzer tart, bits of creamy taro immersed in sweet coconut milk.