Luang Prabang Restaurants 2013

Since this wasn’t our first trip to Luang Prabang, there were several places we had eaten at before that we knew we wanted to eat at again. But since this was going to be a much longer (11-day) stay than previous visits, it also afforded us the opportunity to try some new places too.

We had thought we might want to take a cooking class at some point during our stay in Luang Prabang so on our first full day in the city, we stopped in at Tamnak Lao on Sakkarine Road for lunch and to get information on their classes. We were looking for a lite meal and the 2 of us ended up sharing a lunch of crispy spring rolls, stir fried morning glory greens in garlic, a Lao style pho (soup) and an order of chicken salad. In general, the meal was exactly what we wanted and we enjoyed the morning glory greens so much that we frequently ordered it in other LP restaurants.

Service at Tamnak Lao is friendly but not always speedy but the extra time allowed us to enjoy a cold Beer Lao and do some major league people watching from our curbside table

In all honesty, I’m not one that would say that Tamnak Lao serves the best Lao food in Luang Prabang but can’t deny that we really enjoyed our lunch; enough so that we came back for another lunch and a dinner later in our trip. The Luang Prabang pork sausage we had at that dinner was one of the better versions we’ve ever had.

The restaurant by the Mekong River where we ate that first night probably does have a name but we never saw a sign. It’s one of numerous non-descript fish places that are in the general area of (our hotel) Chitdara 2 with a few tables set up on bluff overlooking the river. All serve similar menus that are not exclusively seafood but you would be remiss if at least one in your group didn’t order fish. Among other dishes the traditional Lao grilled whole river fish was the highlight of our meal there that night.

Speaking of Chitdara 2 Guesthouse, any discussion of our meals in Luang Prabang during this trip would be incomplete without some mention of how much we enjoyed breakfast there. Not only was the setting overlooking the Mekong River stunning but the food was equally tasty, beautifully presented and served with a smile.

One of the places we knew from previous visits and wanted to return to was Tamarind and we had a most excellent meal there on our 2nd night in the city. Favorites included Smoky Eggplant with Luang Prabang sausage, Stuffed (with chicken) Lemongrass (see photo below), Mok Pa or fish in dill and basil sauce steamed in banana leaf (similar to Cambodian fish Amok), and Ginger & Pumpkin soup.  As noted in our 2012 Luang Prabang restaurant reviews, you would be wise to make a reservation (at least a day ahead) for visits to Tamarind.

We had lunch one day at Luang Prabang Guesthouse and Bakery. It is on Sakkarine Road right at the beginning of the Night Market. We enjoyed their version of stir fried morning glory, chicken curry and chicken fried rice but would warn against ordering the iced tea.

After a tough session of negotiations on textiles at the Night Market one evening we also grabbed dessert and coffee at the same place. The dessert was a pretty average Lemon Pudding Cake, which basically turned out to be a slightly dry bread pudding.

We were in the Night Market area early one afternoon and got caught in a short rain shower so we were looking for a spot to get out of the weather. We liked the look of Tangor so we stepped up into the restaurant/bar. It’s located in the same block of Sakkarine Road as Luang Prabang Guesthouse. We really weren’t sure what to expect but liked the very short French/Lao fusion menu they were serving that day. In fact, we liked it so much that we made a point of coming back for dinner on our last night in the city before heading back to Bangkok. You’ll find the prices a bit higher than most places in town but the food and atmosphere are great. Tangor is now our favorite new restaurant in Luang Prabang.

In the middle of our stay in Luang Prabang, we transferred from Chitdara 2 Guesthouse to the more upscale French owned Villa Maly. As we were walking to our room, we spotted another guest being served a club sandwich. After 3-weeks of all Asian cuisines, we couldn’t resist the smell of bacon so after we unpacked, we headed back to a pool side table and ordered a club sandwich with fries, pork fried rice and papaya salad. Our lunch was good and surprisingly reasonable given that it was from a hotel kitchen. The breakfast buffet was also very nice.

Café Toui has an extensive al a carte menu but for those looking for an introduction to Luang Prabang cuisine, the Traditional Lao Taster Set at 80,000 kip or about $10 USD is a great choice. On the night we tried it, our dinner included tastes of quite a few local specialties like pork laap, a really nice chicken curry in coconut milk, fish steamed in banana leaf and Luang Prabang sausage. A vegetarian set is also available. One note, the wine glasses here are way too small.

We didn’t take advantage of it but Café Toui also offers a smaller lunch set for 35,000 kip. It is located in the old section of the city on a side street off of Sakkarine Road near the Luang Prabang Primary School

We were dining with some friends at Tamarind one night and arranged to meet them for a pre-dinner drink at Rosella Fusion Restaurant, located just across the street on the banks of the Nam Khan River. The service was extremely friendly and while we enjoyed our beverages we took a look at the menu and found a nice sampling of Thai and Lao dishes at reasonable prices. So a few nights later, we set off to eat there.

I was craving Thai so I ordered the Tom Yum Soup and chicken curry. Our friends had read that Rosella Fusion had the best steak in Lao so they gave that a try. Everything was delicious and the prices were very reasonable.

Khem Khan Sin Dad is another place we had enjoyed on a previous trip and is located only a few yards down Kingkitsarat Road from Rosella Fusion. It’s specialty is Laos BBQ Soup. We have a review of our first visit there at Luang Prabang Restuarants 2012. It was again a lot of fun and a very satisfying dinner at a very reasonable price.

We were tired from a long day of being tourists one evening so we didn’t want to stray too far from Chitdara 2 for dinner. We could have picked one of the seafood places down the street but we were attracted to a sign offering 40% off all wine in front of the patio dining area on the Mekong River of the Beau Rivage, the hotel right next to ours. As we approached to look at the menu, I also noticed reds being served in Shiraz glasses so a decision was made. To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember all that much about the meal other than the wine was good and the server brought a proper pour but with 40% off on a good wine list, who needs all that much food anyway?

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