We recently checked out one of Tel Aviv’s hottest new restaurants, Ca Phe Hanoi, and came away pretty impressed!
After two visits to Vietnam (returning from there just a few weeks ago), we like to think we know what Vietnamese cuisine is all about, and were keen to find out if it could be replicated in Tel Aviv.
Located on the corner of Frishman and Malkhei Israel (in other words, Rabin Square), Ca Phe Hanoi is out to impress from the start, with huge, red doors opening to reveal a funky, stylish eaterie. There seem to be a number of different rooms and places to eat within the restaurant, and coming without a reservation (we highly recommend you book in advance) we had to settle for the only free option, a strange bamboo like high-chair, which was reminiscent of sitting in a rickshaw! Not great for eating, but perfect for one of their late-night cocktails and a chinwag!
Moving quickly on to the food, we had better fortune! Don’t expect totally authentic Vietnamese cuisine here, as they seem to stress on their website that they have a unique take on traditional Vietnamese cooking infused with French and Israeli touches. They also import Vietnamese “flavors”, although unfortunately don’t import any Siagon Special or Bia Hanoi beers…the only “authentic” beer you can drink is a Singha, which, of course, is Thai…
But there is some great food to savor – try the delicious spring rolls (go for the crispy ones), the delicious Vietnamese papaya salad (complete with sliced and diced banana flowers), and the traditional and very tasty Bo Bun (the delicate “bun” like concoction). Personally, I was less inclined to go for the Pho Bo, one of Vietnam’s most famous dishes, as it’s never likely to be the same or as authentic as back in the side-streets of Saigon…but if you’ve still got room for some dessert, you won’t be disappointed with (we’ve heard) some very tasty dishes to round off your meal! And yes, the legendary Vietnamese coffee is also on the menu!
A couple of things we found a little disappointing – no Vietnamese beer, and no traditionally dressed waiters/waitresses. Those silly flowery wraps all the waiting staff were wearing looked kinda lame…
Not having tried the other Vietnamese restaurants in Tel Aviv – including Vong on Rothschild Street and Hanoi on Lilenblum Street – it might be a little early to label Ca Phe Hanoi as the best Vietnamese option in Tel Aviv, but it’s certainly worth a try if you’re after a good evening out! And expect it to be heaving in the summer!
Oh, and one last thing, this place is Kosher and is NOT open on Fridays and Saturdays.