Fancy (a) Bún chả? Review of Hanoi Square Restaurant

Xin chào!

You probably know by now (or you’ll find out very soon) that we’re crazy about Vietnamese food. We’ve visited dozens of bistros and restaurants in both Brno and Prague (Czech Republic), and across the world. That’s why we couldn’t miss the opening of a new Vietnamese restaurant here in Prague: Hanoi Square Restaurant.

The place makes a good impression as soon as you see the entrance. The restaurant is situated in a historical building pretty close to the city center.

Hanoi Square Restaurant entrance
Entrance from Štěpánská street, Prague

Hanoi Square Restaurant has two floors. The main floor, serviced as a restaurant, is nicely decorated in French colonial style with some extra dangling cables for a typical Asian vibe. The lower floor is more of a shisha lounge, with an army vibe. We’ll maybe visit it some other time.

Interior of Hanoi Square Restaurant
Interior of Hanoi Square Restaurant

So what’s with food? We’ve ordered two homemade iced teas, Nem Cuốn Tôm (fresh rolls with shrimp), my favorite Bún chả, and something new we haven’t tried before – a dish called Phở Trộn Thịt Xá Xíu.

The restaurant was not too busy at that time, so a few minutes later our drinks and food were on the table.

The presentation was quite lovely. There was an abundance of herbs accompanying the dishes, as it should be. Let’s try to break it down per dish to describe the taste in fullest.

Starters:

Nem Cuốn Tôm are fresh rolls made of fresh rice paper stuffed with Bun noodles, veggies, herbs, egg omelette, and meat (beef, pork), or shrimp, and served with one of the many varieties of dipping sauces. We ordered the ones with shrimp, and they came with a fish sauce-based nước chấm dipping sauce. Unfortunately, the sauce was very weak, neither salty, nor sweet, nor sour, nor spicy. Shame it wasn’t a pineapple-based dipping sauce that takes fresh rolls to the next level. For now, no one serves such a sauce here in Prague; only Vietnamese bistros in Brno have it (Go Brno or Bonjour Vietnam, as examples).

Food in Hanoi Square Restaurant
Nem Cuốn Tôm (above) and Phở Trộn Thịt Xá Xíu (below)

Main dishes:

I loved the Bún chả – the meat had an excellent seasoning. It looked and smelled as it was just freshly cooked on the fire, which is how it’s supposed to be. It was one of the better Bún chả’s I had in my life, definitely in the top 3 🙂 The portion size was reasonable, but I couldn’t justify its price of 239 CZK, which is a way higher than any other place I’ve been in both Prague and Brno, where the average price would rather be around 160-170 CZK.

Bun cha at Hanoi Square Restaurant
Bún chả and homemade iced tea

The other dish called Phở Trộn Thịt Xá Xíu consisted of Pho noodles served with Xa Xiu pork, a boiled egg, some herbs, and corn. Served more like a salad or a “dry” Pho soup, if you wish. Quite an interesting dish with soft, balanced flavors, reminding of dry ramen, but in a Vietnamese style.

 

All in all, Hanoi Square Restaurant is a fancy joint with good potential and plenty to offer but also some things to improve. Come by for a tasty, healthier snack, coffee, or cocktails. If we visit again, we’ll try out their lounge zone and report back!

 

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