Recently on a business trip, I was in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. With my wife to celebrate our wedding proposal date, I took her to La Villa, one of the highly rated restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City which won TripAdvisor’s traveller’s choice for restaurant. We managed to get a booking for both of us in the restaurant through the hotel conceirge and arrange transport to go to the restaurant as it is located in the outer part of the city. A different fine dining experience with French food in a renovated mansion with a beautiful pool outside. It lived to the reputation except with a little glitch.
For the evening, we headed out on a cab from the Sheraton Hotel Saigon to La Villa. It took about half an hour and the journey was pretty smooth. We came to the location and entered into what I thought was an old French mansion along a quiet street. Of course, along the path into the mansion where the restaurant was, we saw a beautiful garden by the side of a small pool. We were greeted by the reservation manager and waiters as we were brought into the seat. Once we entered into the mansion which is part of the La Villa restaurant, the seats were laid out sparsely with a stairway leading up. I would probably count that we were lucky to get a booking on a Saturday evening, as the whole place was fully booked. I have done some research earlier about the restaurant and was aware that the restaurant was run by a French chef named Thierry Mounon with his Vietnamese wife Ms Tina Trang Pham. Much to my surprise, we were greeted by Ms Tina Trang Pham in the evening and she gave us some thoughts on what would be good be on the menu for the evening.
One of the issues which I have faced in Ho Chi Minh City is that not everyone including service staff are fluent with English. Hence, I find it difficult to communicate with them. Sometimes, they mistook what you meant. It was the same for La Villa and the waiters were unable to provide me the information I need for the choice of red wine and even cuisines. It was not a major issue because it turned out in this case, the fine dining experience was totally consummated by the taste of the French cuisines, and excellent service from serving the dishes on the table and then taking it out. Unlike Singapore, which I have been to several restaurants, I don’t feel that I was being rushed so much in La Villa.
For me, I picked the “Menu De La Villa Gourmet” which comprised of the following:
- Temme de Fois Gras – Duck Foie Gras Terrine, poached fig in muscat wine, salted honey caramel
- Pan Fried Sea Scallops with Walnut Breadcrumbs & Roasted Pear
- Roasted Australian Lamb Duo
- Le Paris-Brest (Parisian French Pastry, Hazelnut Cream and Chantilly)
and it came with two free appetisers served before the fois gras: (a) a salmon roll, a cookie & a lollipop on a plate and (2) lamb spring roll with tartar sauce. At the end, we were served free desserts with sweet orange wine & tea. My wife picked her dishes in an al-carte manner, and we both picked the same glass of red wine which is the Vin de pays d’oc Marius Chapoutier 2012.
The overall experience was good for a fine dining experience in Ho Chi Minh till the bill payment part. The waitress made a mistake in giving me the wrong amount to pay for and have to charge my credit card twice as a result. Typically, that should not happen. One interesting anecdote in the story is that I did get a good reference on the restaurant from my current boss who was also in Ho Chi Minh at the same time while I was there. His recommendation was spot on, and both my wife and I had a very good time in La Villa, and I would not hesitate to make the same for those who would be in Ho Chi Minh, looking for a fine dining experience.
Here’s my rating for my first experience with a Vietnamese fine dining restaurant:
- Service Standards: 7.0/10
- Ambience: 9/10
- Food: 9/10
- Knowledge of Waiters: 7/10
- Overall: 8/10
Information about this restaurant:
- Restaurant Name: La Villa
- Food Genre: French
- Address: 14 Ngo Quang Huy | Thao Dien Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City 0084, Vietnam
- Reservations: Call (08) 3898 2082 or Hotline +84907719879