The food in LP is really good and very inexpensive. For sure you should eat at Tamarind but you will need a reservation. It was by far the best meal we had in Lao on this trip. The location of the restaurant has moved since our last time there and it is now across the street from the Nam Khan River, next to The Apsara Hotel. The food has its roots in Lao but offers a refined touch to local ingrediants. We ordered banana blossom salad, Luang Prabang sausage, stuffed (with chicken) lemon grass and a grilled eggplant dish. Everything was terrific.
Tamnek Lao has the reputation of being one of the best choices in the city for traditional Lao cuisine. We found the food to be decent…nothing fabulous but certainly good and reasonably priced for tourists. It’s located on Sakkarine Road, the main drag in town. Assuming the temperatures are mild, try to sit either on the street or the balcony on the 2nd floor.
Our 3rd dinner in Luang Prabang was a street restaurant selling Lao barbeque soup…an interesting concept & experience. It’s in an open tent located across the street from Tamarind. It’s very popular with locals and tourists and was crowded the night we went so we had a beer while we waited for a table. The menu is pretty simple; a choice of meat, chicken, fish, vegetable and any combination of the above. A coal burner is brought to the table and a large flat pot with broth is placed on it. You grill the meats on the dry dome in the middle of the pot and cook the veggies & eggs in the broth. When the cooking is done, you fill your bowl and put a 2nd round on to cook while you eat. One note: if you order pork, it is likely to be 100% pork fat. I don’t recall exactly what we paid but this place was really inexpensive.
We had inexpensive and satisfying lunches at the Coconut Restaurant and another at Tad More N. Both are on the Sakkarine Road. These places are pretty much oriented to tourists but both were good for what we wanted.
Be sure to order a fruit “shake” early in your visit to Luang Praband as you’ll likely love it and want to order more. It’s basically a frozen smoothie. Mango and pineapple were our favorites. And you will like the big bottles of Beer Lao.
There are several markets every day in Luang Prabang. There is a morning market and an evening market which is also known as Hmong Market. Any grilled meat dish is good. And fresh water (river) fish dishes tended to be very fresh.