La Habana. Photo by Francis Xavier

A 12-year veteran of the Saigon scene, La Habana maintains its charming, Spanish-terrace-inspired premises in District 1. Any night of the week, just off the main drag of Hai Ba Trung and along Cao Ba Quat, you’ll hear live music floating from its cavernous entertainment area. On the Thursday night we visited, it was ballad night, and a regular band from the Philippines were filling the place.

Le Corto. Photo by Kyle Phanroy

I’ve eaten at Le Corto three times, the first two times with the owners. On the third occasion I went unannounced with a friend. What I was told before turned out to be correct; thanks to their reasonably priced set lunch (VND180,000 for two courses, VND250,000 for three), even their lunchtimes are busy at the moment. It was a Tuesday and we were lucky to get a table.

Family Garden. Photo by Kyle Phanroy 

If you live in Saigon and are the complaining type, one of the things you’ve probably complained about, and with some justification, is the lack of green space in this city. It’s hardly a new debate.

Open since November 2014, North End first came into being as a village ‘providore’ of sorts, starting life supplying hungry Thao Dien expats with imported gourmet meats and produce.

In among the bustle of downtown Hoan Kiem lives Highway 4, an elegant yet laid-back setting with a knockout menu and an impressive selection of award-winning traditional rice liquors, all under the roof of a renovated French villa dating back to the 1950s; yellow brick with an inviting sign hanging over the door, nestled in green ivy.

Is “wannawaffle?" a rhetorical question? The obvious answer is, yes, of course I do. But the real question here is, what kind of waffle do you want? Chocolate, matcha, raisin? Do you want it covered in raspberry gelato or nutella or butterscotch sauce? Would you like it as a pizza? Maybe what we’re really being asked here is, do you want to waffle? Because it might take you a bit of waffling to decide on all these options.

Starting life as a café serving coffee, drinks and pastries, Eleven Café last year revamped itself as a dining destination by hiring a chef from a five-star hotel, promising vibrant, creative fusion cuisine.

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