Owing to the French colonizing Laos, much of their wealth of culinary knowledge has rubbed off and you will find numerous French-style eateries in all of the districts. The best thing is that you can dine on the street with typical Lao rice and noodle dishes for next to nothing or go gourmet in the city’s best hotel restaurants.
Even without the French connection, Vientiane has a great variety of foods to sample and you will find many of them in the busy Morning Market as well as in Chinatown and at the night markets. Rice and noodles are the cheapest eats, while barbecued chicken and kebabs are also cheap and tasty bets.
Nam Phu Fountain
This is the best area in town to find a bite to eat. It is between Samsenthai and Setthathirat roads and has everything from small bakeries and cafés to full-blown Western-style restaurants. In particular, there are many upmarket restaurants with French cuisine dominating.
This is the largest market in town and has some good eating as well as the shopping. It is just north of Samsenthai Road and is especially good for a cheap breakfast, although mainly on the Laotian theme. There is also a smattering of stalls doing Western food.
Fa Ngum road
Fa Ngum road is right near the river in front of Setthathirat Road and has a vast choice of eateries, both Lao and Western. This part of town is especially good in the late afternoon for an early dinner, or for sundowners. In particular, there are several barbecue huts that set up for the sunset, where tourists can snack on chicken legs and Beer Lao while watching the sun falling into the Mekong.
Ban Haysok is a bustling area in the west of town and is good for eating at night. It is Vientiane’s Chinatown area and is ideal for snacking as well as for a proper meal. You can have super-cheap, yet tasty, one-dish rice meals here on the Lao or Chinese theme, followed by super-sweet banana pancakes.
Ban Anou Night Market
This fun night market is a good alternative to Chinatown and has great eating options. It is only a small market but is easy to get about and comes with a huge range of snacking options including so-called hand-pulled noodles, kebabs and chicken with sticky rice.
Up 2 U
Lane Xang Road
Phone: +856 21 671 1784
Open all day, Up 2 U is one of the most popular eateries for tourists in Vientiane. It is just a few minutes from the Morning Market on foot and is good for Lao barbeques and soups. It is pleasantly surrounded by colonial buildings and also has a decent range of drinks.
Tha Deua Road
Located a mile or so east of the city along Tha Deua, Lao Garden is good for top-end Lao food. It is a bit corny but is friendly and has good food. Lao Garden has great views over the Mekong River and is particularly popular with locals.
Fa Ngum Road, Chanthabouly district Situated in one of the most popular eating streets in town is Restaurant Kat. It has a nice setting over the river and is wide open with wooden awnings. The menu is small and non-pretentious with tasty Lao rice and noodle dishes.
Lan Xang Road (opposite Patuxai Park)
Phone: +856 21 213 174
Being a former French colony, Laos has an understandably good collection of French eateries and Le Nadao is one of the best of them. It does classic French food at a reasonable price and also has Lao goodies.