8 Must-Try Restaurants and Cafés in Ho Chi Minh’s District 2

Did you know that District 2 used to be one of the poorest areas in Ho Chi Minh City? It might be surprising, seeing as District 2 is now among the most quickly developing areas in Vietnam’s capital. However, back in the day, the neighborhood was isolated from the city center by the Saigon River. In 2008 and 2011, the Thu Thiem Bridge and the Thu Thiem Tunnel helped connect District 2 with Bin Thanh and District 1. This made transportation easier between the districts and helped boost District 2’s development.

Nowadays, District 2 continues to undergo this transformation and has certainly become more affluent. It’s still largely a quiet neighborhood, yet it has plenty of attractions for tourists like museums, parks, and temples. There are also plenty of hotel District 2 options. Visitors certainly won’t have any difficulty finding accommodation if they want to stay for a longer trip. Most of all, District 2 is now home to Ho Chi Minh City’s largest expatriate community. This has resulted in an increase in international schools and European-style shops and restaurants in the neighborhood.

Indeed, going on a restaurant and café hunt is actually one of the best things to do in District 2. Numerous establishments have cropped up to make this area a haven for foodies. Here are a few must-visit places for your gastronomic pleasure.

Mekong Merchant

This rustic, charming café is one of the first to plant its roots in District 2. They have an extensive menu that covers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and even a decent wine collection. They also serve juices and desserts, as well as three kinds of tapas. Mekong Merchant exudes a casual, welcoming vibe, but if you’d rather stay at your chosen hotel, they also have a home delivery service.

The Deck

The owners of Mekong Merchant also run The Deck, a more upscale place that’s become a favorite by both locals and frequent foreign visitors. The premium price is influenced by the spectacular view, but their food offerings are nothing to sneeze at either. Make sure to try the phu quoc prawn rolls from the lunch menu and the char-grilled wagyu rib-eye for dinner. You’ll also love their extensive cocktail and wine selections.

A Simple Place

The name of this Mexican restaurant is quite literal, in the sense that it truly looks like a simple place. It’s a little tricky to find, tucked in Quoc Hong Street in Thao Dien, but finding the restaurant is definitely worth it. A Simple Place serves Mexican dishes like burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and tacos, but with a Vietnamese twist. What’s great about this restaurant is that it has plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. It’s closed on Sundays, though, so take note of this when you visit the Thao Dien area.

The Hive Café 

Apart from their simple but utterly delicious coffee creations, what makes The Hive Café different is that it also has working spaces. You can get a day pass to gain access to their printing and networking services. They even have phone booths to make sure you can take calls or make recordings with no background noises. If you simply prefer to enjoy a cup of coffee, it’s a good idea to take it outside on the terrace or to the roof deck to enjoy the view. They also serve desserts, sandwiches, salads, smoothies, and even some beer for some Friday night cheer with your friends.

Quan Bui Garden

For some fusion-style Vietnamese food, visit Quan Bui Garden. They infuse a lot of creativity with their extensive menu, most especially with the presentation. Some of their dishes look too good to eat sometimes, perfect for those who love taking photos for social media. Another thing that draws people in is that Quan Bui Garden has an actual garden. You’ll surely love the peaceful dining experience surrounded by trees, plants, and flowers.

Haven Book Café 

If your idea of pleasure involves books and coffee, then Haven Book Cafe is the place to go. This café has a quaint, quiet charm that will make you want to stay for hours. Enjoy a cup of their homebrew while reading, eating delectable pastries, or simply surfing your favorite sites. The plants and flowers combined with the rustic wood and metal furniture create a welcoming and peaceful atmosphere that’s perfect for relaxation.

Bep Vo Kitchen

The owner of this small restaurant is from Qui Nhon, so the dishes served are prepared Binh Dinh style. From rich pho to delicious banh mi sandwiches, you’ll definitely notice a distinct taste that’s homey and quite delicious. The menu changes daily, tempting you to come back again and again to try all their offerings. The space is small but wisely designed to make it look cozy and not cramped.

Snap Café 

Having a vacation with your family? Snap Cafe is the perfect place for a bite to eat. The place has a kid-friendly menu, not to mention a playground to counter a child’s boredom. Snap Cafe has a wide range of dishes, from burgers and sandwiches to pizza and pasta. They also serve pho, com tam, bo kho, spring rolls, and other Vietnamese specialties.

These are just a few of the many dining options you have in District 2. The next time you visit Ho Chi Minh City, make sure to check them out and enjoy a food crawl like no other.

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