I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the restaurants and bars in Luang Prabang but it is safe to say that I ate very well indeed during my 5 night stay there. Here are the best restaurants and bars that I visited whilst I was there.
The View Point Café – Mekong Riverside Rd, Ban Xieng Thong,
Perfectly positioned where the Mekong converges with the Nam Khan, the View Point Café is a lovely spot for lunch or dinner whilst in Luang Prabang. They have an extensive selection of Lao dishes on their menu with a page dedicated to vegetarian food (which looked to be vegan as well) all of which are extremely reasonably priced, our total bill for lunch for two came to under $15! As I had enjoyed my Luang Prabang Salad so much at “My Dream Boutique” I decided to order the same again with my friend opting for a portion of fresh vegetarian Spring Rolls. Great value and in beautiful surroundings, Viewpoint Café is not to be missed.
Le Tangor – House No.63/6, Ban Xiengmouane, Rue Sisavangvong.
Le Tangor is styled as a sort of “gastrobar” happily welcoming guests for drinks or dinner. The eclectic menu has an interesting selection of dishes on offer from Local “sushi” or Ceviche to more French inspired Charcuterie and cheese boards or salads available. My Goats Cheese Salad was bright and flavourful but it was the ceviche that really wowed, showcasing great local ingredients bursting with freshness in a creative way – definitely one of the standout dishes of the trip.
Casa Lao – 60/04 Rue Sisavangvong road, Ban Xiengmouan,
Casa Lao is a restaurant, bar and coffee roasters on the same main stretch of restaurants and bars where Le Tangor is located. Beautifully decorated in vibrant tones of yellow, I was sorry not to have sampled their delicious looking Lao and Spanish Tapas menu better. Lao dishes included fried chicken skin with lemongrass and kaffir lime and trios of everything from Laap – a local salad made with fresh herbs, toasted ground rice and minced meat or fish to Steamed Banana Leaves and a sampler of Lao Dips – tomato, mushroom and aubergine – with sticky rice. They also have an impressive selection of Spanish Tapas; cold cuts, cheese and beautiful garlic olives as well as plenty of cocktails and wines although only one white wine and one red wine are available by the glass. Happy hour is from 5-7 and you receive a complimentary cocktail with every two purchased making it the perfect spot for a pre dinner aperitif even if you have other dinner plans.
Dyen Sabai – Ban Phan Louang
Located on the other side of the Nam Khan river (not far from “My Dream Boutique”) Dyen Sabai is made accessible to the old town during the dry season via a rickety bamboo bridge at the base of Mount Phoussi. Split into pretty bamboo huts overlooking the river, this is popular place to relax and unwind after a long day exploring and board games are even available to borrow from reception. We enjoyed cocktails and a Laotian Vegetarian Sharing Platter with steamed vegetables, Khaiphaen, spicy tomato, mushroom and aubergine dips and sticky rice over a particularly competitive game of UNO as the sun slowly set across the river, but a full menu with dishes like Lao Fondue, Fried Bamboo Shoots with Pork or Whole Grilled Fish is also available. Happy Hour is “Buy one, get one free” every day 12-7pm
Khaiphaen Restaurant – 100 Rue Sisavang Vatana, Ban Wat Nong.
Khaiphaen – named after the popular local fried riverweed – is the newest restaurant from Friends International and operates as a charity run hospitality training school/restaurant for poor and disadvantaged youths. Their mouth-watering tapas menu includes everything from Buffalo Steak Sandwiches to Duck and Miso Khao Soi, Papaya Salad with prawns and corn fritters and Or Lam, a local stew made with pork, aubergine, pepperwood and wild forest greens. Holiday mementos and gifts can be purchased at their small gift shop which sells unique items made by local families with the money raised going to ensure they can keep their children in education.
Blue Lagoon Café – Ounheun Rd, Luang Prabang.
The Blue Lagoon is definitely one of the fanciest restaurant in town and specializes in the unusual combination of Swiss and Laotian cuisine. Appetizers cover everything from Lao Sausage to Eggplant Rolls with Blue Cheese Sauce or Chilled Papaya Soup with mains including Swiss Fondue, Spatzli or Pork with Betel Leaf and Fried Rice. My “Or Padaek Goong” was an interesting spicy dip made from shrimp, crispy pork skin, galangal, aubergine and egg and the generously portioned Fondue lived up to its reputation. If you are looking for a special occasion restaurant, this is it.