The city of Dubai has always been a melting pot of different cuisines. Thanks to its international nature, there are populations from almost every country in Asia, including Vietnam. This isn’t too surprising, given the fact that the UAE is the largest Arab investor in Vietnam, and much of the population shares a common religion in Islam. And, as culturally different as the two countries may be, there’s no denying that the residents of Dubai love Vietnamese food. One only needs to look at the quantity and popularity of the best Vietnamese restaurants in Dubai to see it.
There’s a lot to like about Vietnamese food. It’s arguably one of the best cuisines for hot weather, thanks to its soothing drinks, fresh tastes and use of sweetness. The iced coffee is widely considered the best in the world, made with condensed milk. The bread is also some of the best in the world, a hangover from the French occupation. This bread is used in banh mi, the popular street food which sees the almond-shaped baguette filled with pork, pickled vegetables, various sauces, chillis and fresh herbs for a winning combination. Other classic dishes include summer rolls, spring rolls, pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) and bun cha. Funnily enough, bun cha is often advertised as “Obama noodles”, ever since he ate the dish on a visit in 2016.
We’ve rounded up the best of the best, but made sure to include a proper range. You’ll find cheap and cheerful canteen-style restaurants, as well as blow-out fine dining establishments housed in luxurious hotels. Many options on this list serve other south-east Asian cuisines too, so you can try traditional dishes from Thailand, Laos and Malaysia too. So have a gander and see which one takes your fancy, then hit 'book now' and you’ll be shown loads more information, including how to book a table.
You can’t talk about Vietnamese restaurants in Dubai without mentioning Indochine. After the original New York site’s decades of success, Indochine subsequently opened in Dubai’s busy International Financial Centre. This French-Vietnamese restaurant entices with cosy, plant-filled interiors and mouthwatering menus. Signature dishes include Hanoi crispy chicken, lemongrass and mukrat lime butter escargots and Vietnamese ravioli, but be sure to save room for a dessert such as banana beignets or spiced pineapple creme caramel.
Where: Gate Precinct Building 3, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai
Book now: Indochine
Having earned a place as one of the Shangri-La hotel’s seven restaurants and bars, Hoi An dishes out elegant plates of traditional Vietnamese food to guests and non-guests alike. Sample the various summer rolls, soups and salads, before moving on to bigger things. Highlights include an oven-baked sea bass wrapped in a lotus leaf with kumquat compote, or a Saigon-style braised beef cheek with pearl onions and carrots. Finish with kem soai nuoc cot dua, a chilled mango soup with coconut milk and coconut ice cream for a refreshing end to your meal.
Where: Hoi An, Level 1, Shangri-La Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai
Book now: Hoi An
Boasting an outdoor terrace looking over Almas East Lake, Saigon is a charming and relaxed place to enjoy home-style Vietnamese cooking. Try the discovery platter, which offers a selection of various summer rolls, lobster fried wontons and papaya salad. Don’t miss the pho, the quintessential Vietnamese dish. This hearty, fragrant noodle soup comes with either chicken, beef or vegetables, topped up with fresh herbs and chilli. Bubble tea and Vietnamese iced coffee are also available, as well as various coconut and mango-based desserts.
Where: Lake Terrace Tower, JLT Cluster D, Balcony Level, Dubai
Book now: Saigon
Sometimes the best restaurants are also the simplest. Hanoi Naturally offers Dubai diners a short menu of classic Vietnamese and Japanese dishes, including spring rolls, summer rolls, gyoza and ramen. You can also customise your ramen with extra toppings such as egg, chicken, tofu, beansprouts, bok choy and more. Drinks include umeshu (plum wine), sake, fermented black tea and other east Asian staples.
Where: JLT, Cluster C, Ground Level, Dubai,
Book now: Hanoi Naturally
At Vietnamese Foodies, owner and executive chef Lily Hoa Nguyen has created a menu packed with flavour and authenticity. Each dish uses the freshest ingredients available, along with plenty of salt, spice and sweetness. Vegetarians should try the ca tim om dau phu (tofu and eggplant, cooking in a traditional clay pot), while fish enthusiasts can sample coconut braised prawns or baked seabass with shimeiji mushrooms. At the meatier end of the menu, you’ll find roast chicken bao, grilled hoi sin duck breast and beef tenderloin pho. Sip on lychee soda, herbal tea or classic Vietnamese iced coffee.
Where: PL-04 Lake Terrace Tower, Cluster D, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai
Book now: Vietnamese Foodies
While Wox is best described as pan-Asian, there is still some excellent Vietnamese cooking to be enjoyed here. Start off with some classic spring rolls before diving into some brilliantly authentic pho, noodle dishes or fried rice, with plenty of add-ons such as kimchi and prawn crackers also available. Alcohol is served at Wox, so you can sip on the likes of mango bellinis or Italian wines during the meal. Although it’s technically more Thai than Vietnamese, we recommend going for the sticky mango rice to finish.
Where: Grand Hyatt Dubai Convention Centre, Sheikh Rashid Rd, Umm Hurair 2, Dubai
Book now: Wox
Another pan-Asian entry, Blue Jade celebrates the cuisines of not just Vietnam, but Thailand, Singapore, China and Japan. The head chef, Ta Van Huong, however, is Vietnamese and highlights some traditional favourites from his native country. Enjoy crab and prawn spring rolls, crab cakes and pho, alongside dim sum such as gyoza and rice or noodle dishes. To finish, be sure to try the fruit spring rolls, a playful take on the savoury dish served with chocolate sauce and ice cream.
Where: The Ritz-Carlton, The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai Marina, Dubai
Book now: Blue Jade
LAO takes inspiration from comfort foods and classic dishes, serving up authentic south east Asian plates to Dubai diners with a lively, bistro-esque vibe. Vietnamese options include tuna tacos, crispy prawns with spicy mayo, beef pho, grilled chilli beef, summer rolls and tofu and eggplant in tomato sauce. For dessert, try the pandan creme brulee, or ice cream for something a little more familiar.
Where: Waldorf Astoria, East Crescent, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
Book now: LAO
While Mekong is technically more Thai than Vietnamese, there are still some great Vietnamese dishes on the menu so we had to include it. Housed in the glamorous Anantara Resort, the restaurant is a favourite among locals and regulars at the hotel. Start off with some classic prawn rolls, packed with prawn, mango, cucumber, sweet basil, mint and coriander, then move to the various hot dishes, such as crispy vegetable spring rolls and canh ga chien nuoc mam (Vietnamise fried chicken). Bento boxes for kids are also available here.
Where: Mekong, Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa, East Crescent, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
Book now: Mekong
In the bustling area of Business Bay, you’ll find Miss Tess, a restaurant that offers a huge range of pan-Asian dishes. Not only this, but it also regularly hosts events such as all-you-can-eat sushi deals, kushiyaki grill nights and a ‘wok your way’ build your own noodle feast. The more standard everyday menu, however, isn’t to be sniffed at. Try the ‘Miss Saigon’ rolls, papaya salad and various mixed platters, although there are lots of non-Vietnamese items worth a look too.
Where: Taj Dubai Burj Khalifa Street - Business Bay, Dubai
Book now: Miss Tess
If you've completed this list, or Vietnamese food isn't your thing, check out our guide to the best Korean restaurants in Dubai too. It's packed with brilliant spots for K-BBQ, kimchi, Korean fried chicken and more.