Vietnam Cuisine Discovery: The 21 Best Vietnamese Restaurants In Australia | Vietcetera

Vietnam Cuisine Discovery: The 21 Best Vietnamese Restaurants In Australia

With the lockdown coming off and life’s slowing resuming to normal, here are the best Vietnamese restaurants in Australia’s biggest cities to try right now.
21 Essential Vietnamese Restaurants In Australia

21 Essential Vietnamese Restaurants In Australia

Australia is one the most ethnically and culturally diverse countries in the world, thanks in-part to its close proximity to Asia and Oceania. During the Vietnam War, thousands of Vietnamese people fled first to nearby Australia. Today, Australia is home to one of the world's largest diasporic Viet Kieu communities, with countless Vietamese supermarkets, bakeries, teahouses, no-frills eateries, award-winning restaurants, and more across the country.

There are now some 262,910 Vietnamese-born people scattered across the land Down Under, primarily in major urban centers like Melbourne, namely in suburbs of Richmond, Footscray, and Springvale. Meanwhile in Sydney, they are concentrated in Cabramatta, Canley Vale, Bankstown, Marrickville and Fairfield. Other cities of significant Vietnamese presence include Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth. Whatever suburb or central business district (CBD) you are in, there’s sure to be some quality Vietnamese food nearby.

As the number of Vietnamese restaurants has grown, so has it evolved — thanks to pioneers like Jerry Mai, chef of beloved Vietnamese beer hall Bia Hoi and Vietnamese–Australian celebrity chef and restaurateur Luke Nguyen, who owns and operates both Vietnam House in Saigon and Red Lantern in Sydney. Whether you’re looking for a perfect bowl of pho, rice paper rolls, more regional Vietnamese dishes or a contemporary, fusion spin on the classics, Australia’s Vietnamese restaurant selection has something for everyone.

Looking for the best Vietnamese restaurants and cafes in Australia? We’ve put together a list of the 21 essential Vietnamese restaurants bringing traditional flavors, quality service, and culinary innovation to the land Down Under.

Melbourne

Source: Instagram/ @banoi.au

Banoi

Opened in 2013, Banoi offers a contemporary dining experience while staying true to Vietnamese heritage and culture. The brand name, which implies grandmother in Vietnamese, honors Viet Nguyen and co-owner Michael Nham’s grandmother and her traditional recipes that had been passed down through three generations. While the focus of these early recipes was fish, Nguyen and Nham have brought a very Aussie love of beef, pork and chicken to the forefront to create a range of home-style dishes. For entrees, we recommend ordering their Hanoi prawn bites, maple sriracha chicken ribs and soy glazed pork summer rolls. Once you’ve sharpened your appetite, dip a spoon into some fragrant phở, bún bò huế or a more regional cao lầu (Hoi An cold wheat flour-noodle) with a Japanese citrus soy sauce. The first Banoi is located in Melbourne’s iconic Little Bourke Street. In 2018, a sister restaurant opened in Docklands (both remain temporarily closed due to the pandemic but we eagerly await their return).

Source: Instagram/ @biahoibar

Bia Hoi

Melbourne’s Vietnamese dining scene continues to diversify in the hands of Jerry Mai – the chef behind casual street-food spot Pho Nom, the more refined Annam, and the latest Bia Hoi that was opened in 2019. Located in the al fresco dining area of the Glen Shopping Center, Bia Hoi is in the style of the Vietnamese beer halls and small barbecue stalls that can be found in the crowded, bustling streets of Saigon and Hanoi. Have some of the on-tap Bia Hoi Lager — it has a light, crisp flavor that’s unforgettable. In addition to classic beers like Bia Hanoi and Saigon 333, there’s an impressive selection of cocktails, wine and soju. To soak up those drinks, chef Mai offers the best “đồ nhắm:” fried baby barramundi with tamarind caramel, pineapple and apple slaw or pho-spiced calamari with burnt chili mayo and fresh apple salad. There’s also JFC (Jerry Fried Chicken) — fried chicken ribs with your choice of fish-sauce caramel or fire hot chili sauce.

Source: Instagram/ @codamelbourne

Coda

In 2009, Coda opened to a flurry of media excitement. Since then, it’s lived up to the hype by cementing itself as an exciting and innovative addition to the city’s crowded market of upscale eateries. As a ‘French – Vietnamese’ or ‘Modern Asian’ restaurant, the menu is a representation of Chef Adam D’Sylva’s love for Asian heritage, innovation and extensive years of travel around the globe. The top-pick of the menu has always been the Javanese curry. Served with warrigal greens, choko, tempeh and macadamia rempeyek, it’s arguably the best dish to get you through a winter weekend in Melbourne. Unpredictable, cold Melbourne nights also call for steak and red wine — striploin with betel leaf spread and Vietnamese herbs. Despite its popularity, Coda has no pretensions — you can walk in and enjoy a selection of French varietals or killer cocktails. Due to its ever-changing, exquisite range of fusion dishes, versatile setting, and spot-on service, Coda has earned The Age Good Food Guide's 'Hat Award'.

Source: Instagram/ @hanoihannah_

Hanoi Hannah

In 2013, chef Simon Blacher, Paul Nguyen, and Nick Coulter teamed up to open the first Hanoi Hannah. The three chefs thought that Melbourne’s south-east was lacking an establishment which captured Vietnam’s fresh and vibrant flavors. Rather than blending Asian cuisines, the diner built its name on entirely Vietnamese street-eats such as Peking duck rice paper rolls, beef, chicken and mushroom pho, and Hanoi-style pork spring rolls. But executive chef Anthony Choi has added a wealth of modern twists too. Start with chicken ribs with pickled chilli and lime salt, then braised beef in a rich, slightly sweet aromatic stew with bánh tiêu (savoury Vietnamese doughnuts) on the side. Hannah quickly became a Chapel Street staple, leading the team to open a more spacious sequel -— Hanoi Hannah vol. II — in 2019. The decor here is a lot more polished and contemporary with soul and disco classics playing from a stereo and a big center-staged bar where you can wrap up the night by indulging in a Hanoi Mojito — bacardi rum with lime, fresh chili, mint, and ginger beer.

Source: Instagram/ @eatclubapp

Hem 27

Flemington might be best known for hosting the race that stops the nation, but mere meters away from the racecourse is Hem 27, a Vietnamese eatery in the Showgrounds Village shopping complex where you can bet on a winning meal for less than $20. Opened in 2016 by Michael Nguyen, Hem 27 brings not only unique culinary experiences of Vietnamese street hawker food to Melbourne’s diners but also many memories to the vendors who have sold their traditional family dishes and locals who has enjoyed these finest dishes in the narrow “hẻm” of Saigon. All the recipes have been handed down from Nguyen's mother and are prepared by his wife and co-owner Tiffany Truong. Besides the stalwart Vietnamese regulars such as pho and rice paper rolls, there’s also a variety of not-everywhere dishes ranging from the northern bún thang, the middle cơm gà Tam Kỳ to the southern canh bún and bánh canh cua. Hem 27 also offers a have-it-your-way hủ tiếu experience with a selection of six toppings like wontons or grilled pork chop, served either in hot pork broth or dry with soy dressing & a small bowl of broth on the side.

Source: Instagram/ @breakfast_adventurers

Pho Thin Australia

Located in the southern fringe of Hanoi’s French Quarter, Pho Thin has remained packed since its opening 42 years ago with customers frequently returning for its one and only phở bò tái lăn (half-done stir-fried beef noodle). In 2019, husband and wife Nguyen Lam and Duyen Le Ky, who traveled all over Vietnam in search of the best pho, ,brought Pho Thin to Melbourne’s CBD. Master Nguyen Trong Thin, founder of Pho Thin, came to Melbourne to test and pick ingredients himself to make sure that the authentic northern-style flavor and presentation would be retained. What’s the secret behind this iconic bowl of pho? The thin beef slices are flash-fried in oil with garlic and ginger before being topped off with noodles with lots of sliced spring onion. There’s also red-wine pho that’s absolutely delicious. The beef is marinated in a red-wine sauce overnight, boiled for an hour until soft, then added to a bowl of broth. And of course, no good pho is without a piece of dau chao quay (fried dough) that is dipped into aromatic broth and cooked for at least 12 hours.

Source: Instagram/ @unclerestaurants

Uncle

Nestled right on the iconic Collins street, Uncle is a welcome addition to the burgeoning Vietnamese scene in Melbourne’s CBD — a modern, stylish and casual Vietnamese eatery offering high quality dishes for lunch and dinner by chef Rene Spence and Dai Duong. While it’s a little less traditional than other eateries on this list, it is still just as delicious. For entree, try the burrata with heirloom tomatoes, pickled papaya, Thai basil and puffed wild rice — the only one (for the moment) to feature Duong’s experimental whisky-barrel-aged fish sauce. While you can find excellent pho and banh mi (try the crispy pigs ear banh mi for something different), there are also a range of fusion mains like master stock crispy pork hock, served with banh hoi, lettuce wraps, fragrant herbs and nuoc cham, or lemongrass-marinated Black Angus Scotch filet, served with pickle charred radicchio, taro-crisp and black garlic butter.

Sydney

Source: Instagram/ @14north108east_sydney

14 North 108 East

Opened in 2019, 14 North 108 East is a clever nod to the geographical coordinates for the Vietnamese city, Pleiku — an area of personal significance for the owners. Under the magical hands of chef Alex Zucchi and Leo Nguyen, this eatery is an all-day dining in a casual place, featuring a relaxed café and breakfast bar, main dining hub and sophisticated cocktail bar. Prepare to feast on local Vietnamese delights because 14 North 108 East serves up a pitch-perfect take on bo luc lac (wok-fried scotch beef filet with onion, capiscum and special house-made black pepper sauce), banh xeo (savory pancakes with pork and prawns, and salmon and papaya), com ga Hai Nam (poached chicken with chicken infused rice and cucumber with chili and ginger fish sauce) and a range of excellent skewers. Combining these flavorful dishes with stylish interiors and an epic floor-to-ceiling graffiti mural by Sydney artist Sophi Odling, 14 North 108 East is a cultural dining experience that will easily seduce all of your senses.

Source: Instagram/ @hungryfio

Great Aunty Three

Every epicure in Vietnam knows that the best, authentic local food comes from street vendors. and chef Michael Le was not an exception. Armed with the 100-year knowledge and recipes from his Grandmother Ba (which means 'three' in Vietnamese), and the strong support of his mother, Michael quit his corporate job to open Great Aunty Three in 2011. The menu celebrates nostalgic, homestyle cooking and includes the signature pho which comes in veggie, chicken, and beef filet and brisket, with a broth slow-cooked to perfection (This is a 100-year old family recipe). Another highlight is the vermicelli noodle salad bowls topped with the famous “Slowwwwww” crackle roasted pork, crunchy fried shallots and house-made GA3 dressing — a perfect option for a hot sunny day. To wash down your meal, try the house-made lemonade or go old-school with Vietnamese bạc xỉu.

Source: Instagram/ @helloauntierestaurant

Hello Auntie

You really get the best of family at Hello Auntie in Marrickville. As a collaboration between chef Cuong Nguyen and his mother Linda Tran, this Vietnamese restaurant is the perfect mix between authentic Vietnamese cooking and modern Australian fare. With pared-back industrial interiors, the food really shines. Almost all of Nguyen’s dishes feature pork, beef or seafood that’s been spiced and grilled with a live flame. Start your meal with the refreshing bo la lot (ground wagyu wrapped in betel leaf) or get addicted to the rice paper roll kit that comes with a massive spread of whole prawns, chicken skewers, and spring rolls. For something a little more modern, try the Pan-roasted barramundi (with Vietnamese curry, pickled garlic stem, bean sprout & perilla) or the triple smoked braised pork belly (with fish sauce, caramel glaze, and whipped tar). You won’t go wrong with anything on the drink menu, but make sure you ask for the “secret food and cocktail menu” which can only be viewed under a UV light at night.

Source: Instagram/ @madamenhu

Madame Nhu

Chef Minh and Nhu Nguyen have been supplying Sydney with quality Vietnamese summer rolls since 2007. What was once SummerRolls® in a small food court in Sydney CBD is now Madame Nhu — a slice of old Saigon right here in Sydney. The restaurant is named after chef Nguyen and is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the controversial Vietnamese political figure who has often been referred to as the “dragon-lady.” This restaurant and bar chain focuses on Asian beers, cocktails and Vietnamese street food. The signature dish, pho dac biet, features three different cuts of locally sourced Tasmanian beef. The unique broth is slow-simmered for 8 hours in two types of bones, fresh roots, allium, veggies, and eight different spices. For those looking for something that’s more regionally specific, try the spicy chewy pho chua which originates from Lang Son province. When you step inside Madame Nhu, you’ll find a mock Vietnamese-French villa, aged outdoor furniture and colorful tropical plants. The striking interior is reminiscent of the rapidly disappearing French villas of Saigon city.

Source: Instagram/ @phillxiaaaaa

Marrickville Pork Roll

If you live in or around Marrickville, you’ve probably seen people from all walks of life lining up for the hole-in-the-wall takeaway street food Marrickville Pork Roll. Chef Khiem Du and his wife Nga’s restaurant, which opened in 2008, is largely considered to have the best banh mi in all of Sydney. Though there are more than 10 ingredients to choose from for that pivotal crunchy, white bread roll, pork is generally the shining star here. There’s a range of traditional pork, barbeque pork, and crackling pork belly. If you aren’t in the mood for pork, don’t worry — you can enjoy other options like meatballs or chicken. The banh mi is topped off with a big swipe of paté, mayonnaise, fresh and pickled vegetables, and of course, a good kick of chili. We recommend eating it as soon as it's served so you get that memorably crispy bite.

Source: Instagram/ @mekongchippendale

Mekong

Mekong is another prominent restaurant located in Marrickville. Once called Little Athens due to its vibrant Greek community, the blossoming suburb has lately become a mini-mecca for Sydney’s Vietnamese community. Opened in 2016, Mekong is brought to you by award-winning Chef Tiw Rakarin, formerly of Mama’s Buoi and Alphabet St. With an intimate ambiance that’s reminiscent of the ports of Mekong River and a diverse and culturally entwined cuisine of French Indochin, Mekong is a sophisticated, memorable dining experience. Give your tastebuds a little snippet with Mekong Share Plate which includes grilled scallops, spiced chicken satay, Burmese vegetable samosas, and crispy chicken wings. Then, fill your bellies up with the famous spicy soft shell crab (served with cashew nut, onion, chili powder and mushroom). Another must-try dish is the Duck confit served with sweet mashed potato, lychee, pineapple, tomato and spicy curry. Apart from food, this restaurant also has selections from Australia’s finest wineries and Southeast asian-inspired cocktails which brilliantly accompany the nuanced flavors of every dish.

Source: Instagram/ @redlanterngroup

Red Lantern

Red Lantern focuses on fresh, aromatic and regional Vietnamese cuisine. Since its opening in 2002, the collaboration between Masterchef’s Luke Nguyen, Pauline Nguyen and Mark Jensen has had a delicious Indochine menu. Standout dishes at this Sydney Vietnamese restaurant include wok-tossed Angus beef with king mushrooms, green peppercorns, and the chargrilled five spice and soy chicken with ginger and shallot oil. After nearly two decades in operation, Red Lantern switched up the menu in November with a renewed focus on street food and more traditional Southeast Asian flavors. Thus, expect a more casual and regional experience that’s perfect for grabbing after-work cocktails and bar snacks such as bánh cuốn (rice noodles with pork, wood ear mushroom & Vietnamese herbs) and bánh khọt (turmeric cakes with tiger Prawn and green shallot). With an emphasis on authentic street food and constant innovations, it’s no wonder Red Lantern was voted the Winner of TripAdvisor Travelers’ 2020 Choice Award.

Brisbane

Source: District 1

District 1

Chef Phillip Pham’s original plan was to set up a banh mi cart on a Fortitude Valley street corner, but council bylaws shut down the idea. He didn’t give up, though, and District 1 was finally opened in the busiest part of The Valley, taking Vietnamese cuisine back to its roots with tasty fare that won’t break the bank. The venue’s bright neon signage and wide wooden tables are inspired by the original District 1, a hip and vibrant neighborhood of Ho Chi Minh City. All the traditional Vietnamese favorites are here, including the banh mi rolls which are baked in-house and come with an abundance of options such as lemongrass sirloin beef, xíu mại, slow roasted pork belly and sauteed mushrooms. Their rice paper rolls are some of the best in town with fillings of tofu and nuts, roasted Peking Duck, pork belly, and chicken and avocado. Wash it all down with a refreshing glass of lemon soda or Vietnamese iced coffee sweetened with condensed milk.

Source: Red Lotus

Red Lotus

Red Lotus was started in 2010 by chef and owner Leighton Rossi. With his sister Margaret Nguyen at the helm of Cafe O Mai — a coffee-shop that offers tasty Banh Mi and fantastic beverages — the siblings have made a notable contribution to the food scene in Fortitude Valley. While Café O’Mai shines during the day, Red Lotus rules the night. Using traditional Vietnamese charcoal cooking methods, the restaurant serves signature dishes like dat lamb tho and Pepsi-marinated pork belly. Other popular menu items include deep fried quails with special five spice salt, tamarind chilli prawns or crackling pork stir fried with shrimp paste and green bean that they cheekily named “What the heo!.”

Adelaide

Source: Instagram/ @madamehanoi

Madame Hanoi

Opened in 2015 in North Terrace, Madame Hanoi showcases how ever since the colonial era, the Vietnamese have put their own unique spin onto French cuisine. Chef Nic Watt’s French-Viet inspired menu is great for sharing. Since every dish is so different and unique, you should consider coming with a big group and ordering family style to avoid food-envy. Highlights include the heo quay cuốn rau (crispy pork belly with lettuce cups and hoisin sauce), and cánh gà chiên nước mắm (crispy chicken wings with fish sauce, chilli and mint). Though that may not sound very French, the fusion stems from the use of French cooking technique — the way beef is braised, or the duck cooked confit-style which accompanies the watermelon salad. Compliment it all with a Vietnamese-inspired cocktail or delight in an impressive selection of South Australian wine, draught and craft beers.The attentive, sneaker-clad staff will guide you through the extensive choices. This multi-award winning French-Vietnamese restaurant will make you fall in love at first sight with its sophisticated interior which includes artist Emma Hack’s striking two-storey portrait of “Madame Hanoi.”

Source: Instagram/ @nnqwoodville

Nghi Ngan Quan

Since opening in 2002, Nghi Ngan Quan (or NNQ, as it’s affectionately known) has gone from being a small Vietnamese diner to South Australia’s award-winning Vietnamese chain. Chef Huong Ngo moved NNQ from a darker, dingier spot at Ferryden Plaza to a bright and spacious new location at Woodville. NNQ’s menu goes beyond the usual cold rolls and pho and gives you a local sense of the diversity of Vietnamese cuisine from A to Z. As summer approaches, let NNQ take you on a virtual cruise down the Mekong Delta River through the taste of tamarind barramundi, served with Vietnamese green mango salad; or stir-fried prawns with satay sauce. Then, go to the mainland with NNQ’s bestseller, curried lemongrass and chili chicken, slow cooked caramelised pork belly with eggs or Vietnamese six-hour stewed beef noodle soup. For something more fun, order grilled meats that you can cook at the table.

Source: Instagram/ @adelaidewestend

Sit Lo

Sit Lo is another Vietnamese gem in Adelaide that will take you right back to the nostalgic alleyways of Vietnam, where all the best street food is found. Since its opening in 2014 by chef Vinh Nguyen, the award-winning restaurant has earned a lot of love and attention largely due to its striking interior that was inspired by the back streets of Hoi An. As an ode to one of Vietnam’s most sought after attractions, mini-rickshaws adorn each table. Though the interior is surely spectacular, the dishes are authentic and creative and should be considered the main reason to visit. If you like bánh mì and tend to enjoy your meals in novelty portions, Sit Lo will knock your socks off with its signature foot-size long banh mi. The crispy and caramelized roasted pork perfectly balances the pickled carrot, cucumber and coriander. There is also an impressive number of salad noodle bowls that come with either roasted pork, BBQ pork, or grilled chicken, (or try them all in the deluxe portion!).

Perth

Source: Instagram/ @chopsticksvietrestaurant

Chopsticks Viet

Chic and stylish, Chopsticks Viet is one of the latest additions to the Vietnamese dining scene in “the city of lights”. In the heart of the Perth CBD, this Vietnamese haven is killing it with an extensive menu that’s packed with creative takes on this much-loved cuisine. Keep an eye out for their signature dishes like duck sticky rice squares, sour prawn soup and rice combos that include the famous shaking beef fried rice and grilled lemon leaves chicken rice. For an ultra-traditional optional, try the cơm tấm sườn bì chả, bánh xèo, and bún riêu cua from the south or bún đậu mắm tôm and chả cá lã vọng (turmeric skate) for a northern nostalgia.

Source: Instagram/ @mamatran_au

Mama Tran

When Khuu Thi Gioi, the woman behind Mama Tran, first came to Australia as a refugee in the early 1980s, she had no idea that the business she opened to raise her ten children would eventually become one of Perth’s most popular restaurants. Adored for its homestyle Vietnamese food, the family-run eatery has been feeding hungry patrons on Milligan Street for more than three decades. Though the menu offers all the classics, standouts include the piping hot pho dac biet with hand-squeezed Harvey beef balls, rice paper rolls with Shark Bay prawns, roasted pork banh mi from Linley Valley and the melt-in-your-mouth cơm tấm sườn bì chả (broken rice with grilled pork, shredded pork, pork terrine and slow egg). Despite its traditional ethos, there are vegan and gluten-free options. With its nostalgic homestyle dishes, affordable prices, and laid-back atmosphere, Mama Tran is like a warm hug for anyone who is feeling a little homesick for their homeland.

Source: Instagram/ @supsogoodperth

Sup So Good

Sup So Good is a new hot spot in Northbridge that will definitely satisfy your cravings for fresh and authentic Vietnamese food. Expect to find the usual, beloved dishes here — there’s a variety of fried rice, vermicelli noodle soup and spring rolls. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, you can also find a bunch of Vietnamese local dishes that can’t be found at other restaurants on this list, like ốc hương xào bơ tỏi (stir-fried whole round whelk with garlic butter), dồi heo thập cẩm (Vietnamese blood sausages and chili sausages) and gỏi khăn long bò Củ Chi (Cu Chi beef stripe salad). Nevertheless, Chef Mike Nguyen will soothe your soul with his signature hot stone bowls of pho — the one and only hot rockstone pho bowl you can find in all of Perth. In addition to the combination of fresh wagyu beef slices grade 6/7, tendon, beef balls, oxtail and beef stripe, the 16-hour slow-simmered bone broth has an excellent depth of flavor that will make you fall in love after just one sip. Last but not least, with four hotpot flavors in house (we recommend hot and sour hot pot), the place is also a great venture to take a group of friends or family for a casual outing.