Hi! Any recommendations for a cheap authentic vietnamese restaurant that would be great for watching the sunset over Saigon River?
Hi Amy, there're many authentic vietnamese restaurants with Saigon River view but the night-time dinner cruises might be the best ones with authentic vietnamese foods, fork music at not so expensive price range, from USD20-25/set menu pax. They open at 6:00 pm and the boat departs at 7:00 and it takes about 1 hour around the river for you to enjoy dinner on boat.
Hi Amy! Much of the authentic restos are, as Justin said, one-stop shops -- you go and you eat what they're known for, then you disappear into the sunset ;)
For some options of great Vietnamese food with a wider variety, I'd suggest two place:
1. May Restaurant (it's actually been renamed now as Bloom Saigon, but it's the same brother-sister owners who are lovely). Their website is here for more details and you can see the old colonial-era house. Call for reservations and ask to sit on the roof if you can! Note, this is NOT the "May Restaurant and Bar" that is on Trip Advisor's top 30 list - that one is elsewhere. Try the fried zucchini blossoms.
2. NHÀ HÀNG QUÁN BỤI, which is also central and not far from the river. Great views of the city -- again ask for the rooftop seating. And really delicious food. Their website is under construction but you can get a review from Rusty Compass here. Try the catfish in sweet and sour sauce.
Please let me know if you have any other questions! I realize the idea of a sunset view is a great one over the river, but honestly the quality of food at these two restaurants means I'd send you here instead. They each have a large sampling of Viet eats and then you can wander down to the river for a drink after your meal.
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Well, if you're looking for authentic ... the real-deal local places only specialize in one type of food. So if you want bun cha, go to a place that serves only bun cha and you'll get the authentic food. Oh, and sidewalk seating, preferably on undersized plastic chair. If you nearly get clipped by a motorbike while eating your meal, that's authentic. (And I say this kind of wistfully - it's really pretty darn fun to eat like this.)
As for the river, I'm not sure. I spent most of my time near the Old Quarter, and there are plenty of restaurants overlooking the lakes there.
Go to The Deck Saigon ( http://www.adventurefaktory.com/vietnam-the-deck-for-the-best-river-sunset-in-saigon/) for a cheap happy hour drink at 90k
then go out, turn to the right, restaurant 13! Local restaurant cheap by the river ;-)