With over two million tourists crawling over Hoi An every year, it’s pretty hectic in the Old Town, especially early evening. Indeed, many locals have given it away as a comfortable destination. So, where are the fine-dining alternatives away from the common throng?
Within spitting distance of the center, Hoi An Riverside Restaurant (Anantara Hoi An Resort) enjoys a breathtaking setting. It’s a superb, tranquil watery vista away from hawkers and crowds with plenty of elbow room.
Scenically, Hoi An Riverside is at its best for lunch but the evening, when we visited, has its own charm with a dance of twinkling lights on the broadening river nearby.
Ahh. As we felt the tension leaving our bodies a superb culinary journey began.
The Culinary Journey
A complimentary, melt-in-your-mouth, golden chicken croquet served with a light, sweet chili sauce was accompanied by wafers and a standard soy/chili blend.
Next, beef steeped in ginger amidst a medley of julienned salad vegetables with a lively, piquant dressing delighted our palates.
The tour de force, however, the Cham Island Tuna, was so exceptional it had my companion – a beef steak devotee – ecstatically claiming it was the greatest tuna she’d ever eaten. I had to agree. Beneath a slightly crisp, peppery crust, the tuna was cooked so perfectly we spurned the sauces.
The other main course, some firm duck medallions in a classy, orange sauce served with a light noodle vegetable side dish, normally would have gained all the praise, but not that evening.
Customer Service - Like the Tuna, Just Right
Mention must also be made of the service which hit the right notes throughout. Because they have different expectations Westerners often feel wait staff either crawl all over them, snaffling glasses and plates before they’re empty, or perversely, abandon them altogether.
At Hoi An Riverside our wine glasses were topped up at just the right times, we were given time to consider the menu but, after deciding, waited no time at all to order and the food was served at perfect intervals. In Vietnam this is incredibly rare.
The Wash Up
Hoi An Riverside is not cheap by local standards, far from it. And, considering the gastronomic quality, the impeccable service and the killer setting, there’s no good reason why it should be. So, if you can handle US$40-50 a head including wine, which is very reasonable really for a to-die-for meal, get yourself down there before it becomes too popular.
Despite the incredible proliferation of restaurants in Hoi An in the Old Town and elsewhere, the reality is there are very few quality, fine-dining options. Without hesitation we include Hoi An Riverside Restaurant in this elite group.
Hours: 9am – 10.30pm
Add: 1 Pham Hong Thai
Tel: +84 (0) 235 3914 555