10 best restaurants to enjoy Lao authentic food

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Lao food has simple flavors, composed of fresh, hearty ingredients, and is distinguished by its ubiquitous sticky rice, spicy meat or fish laap. Here are 10 restaurants to discover authentic food in Laos.

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Cafe Chai Dee

Café Chai Dee serves a mix of Japanese and international food with plenty of vegetarian options. The restaurant’s name means ‘good heart’, an appropriate characterisation of its warm and welcoming atmosphere. With a book exchange, free Wi-Fi, and comfortable seating, this laid-back restaurant is a popular place for travelers to hang-out and socialize. The menu includes Japanese options, along with vegetarian set menus and sandwiches served on whole wheat bread.

Address: Café Chai Dee, Unit 01, Lattanalansy Thai village, Kaisone Phomvihan District, Savannakhet, Laos.

Café Chai Dee (via www.cafechaidee.com)

Le Vetiver & Nava Mekong

Luang Prabang’s Villa Maly Boutique Hotel offers two distinct dining options; one at the hotel’s restaurant, Le Vetiver; and the other, a dinner cruise along the Mekong River. The menu features a smart mixture of Western and traditional Lao dishes. The restaurant’s atmosphere is relaxed and disarming, filled with painted woods.

Location: Villa Maly, BP 78, Luang Prabang, Laos.

Le Tangor

Le Tangor is a more recent edition to Luang Prabang’s selection of French Lao restaurants, but it has quickly gained a reputation for its superb food and cosy ambiance. The restaurant is known for its wonderful selection of wines, meats, and cheeses, not to mention its signature dish ceviche.

Address: Le Tangor, 63/6 Ban Xiengmouane, Rue Sisavangvong, Luang Prabang, Laos.

Vang Vieng Organic Farm

Located a few kilometres outside of town in a quiet spot along the Nam Song River, Vang Vieng Organic Farm is a restaurant, bar, organic farm, guesthouse and learning centre. Formerly known as the Organic Mulberry Farm, the restaurant creates imaginative dishes with produce picked right on site. The restaurant also offers Laos cooking classes, and art classes for local kids.

Address: Vang Vieng Organic Farm, 4km north of Vang Vieng, Laos.

Vang Vieng Organic Farm (via Green Traveler Guides)

Bamboo Lounge

Bamboo Lounge is by far the most popular spot in Luang Nam Tha to enjoy excellent food in a relaxed setting. The menu offers a diverse selection of international food, including sandwiches, pastas, and wood-fired pizzas. In the evening, the restaurant transforms into ‘Bamboo Bar’, featuring beer and a wide variety of cocktails.

Location: Bamboo Lounge, The Green Building, Phonxay Village, Main Street Louang Namtha, Luang Namtha.

Rosella Fusion Restaurant

This tiny restaurant is a favourite of local expats, known for its friendly service and affordable Thai and Lao dishes. Rosella Fusion Restaurant is set on a deck overlooking the Nam Khan River, with the interior offering just six teak tables surrounded by orchids. The menu features staples like pad thai, tom yum soup, lao beef noodle salad, along with what many consider to be the best steaks in the city.

Address: Rosella Fusion Restaurant, Group 1/14, Kingkitsarat Road, Ban Vat Sene Village, Luang Prabang.

Rosella Fusion Restaurant (blogger)

Lin’s Cafe

Lin’s Café serves a mix of Asian fusion and Western favourites in a former Chinese merchant’s house. The menu offers an eclectic variety of dishes, including stir-fries, breakfasts, sandwiches, and pastas. There’s also a number of fresh fruits shakes and Organic Laos Arabica coffee.

Location: Lin’s Café, Latsaphanit Rd., Xaiyaphoum Village, Savannakhet.

The Balcony by Lanith

The Balcony by Lanith offers an impressive menu of Laos-French fusion cuisine for a worthwhile cause. Operated by the Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (Lanith), the restaurant’s staff are trained through the organisation’s award-winning training programme, while profits are reinvested in the local community. The menu focuses on seasonal dishes incorporating locally-sourced ingredients.

Address: The Balcony, Ban Khoi, Nam Dong River, Luang Prabang.

Authentic Lao food (via Smokin’ Chokin’ and Chowing with the King)

Benoni Cafe

Benoni Café brings the elegance of European café culture to Vientiane. Attracting a mix of locals and tourists, this laid-back restaurant is located above the Phimphone Market, not far from the Nam Phou Fountain. The restaurant is well-known for its delicious homemade cakes and high-quality coffee, which is sourced from local coffee plantations and roasted on-site.

Location: Benoni Café, Rue Setthathilath, Vientiane.

La Scala

La Scala’s finely-nuanced Italian cuisine reflects chef Maurizio Boccoli’s more than 30 years of professional experience. The ambiance is beautiful yet casual, with seating offered in a charming colonial building with a pianist entertaining the diners; or outside in the garden. Breads and cake are baked in-house daily, and the restaurant’s lunch buffet, which features pizzas, pastas, salads and cold cuts, among other Italian staples, is particularly popular.

Address: La Scala, Thadeua Road, Vientiane.

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