There are plenty of places in Saigon these days to get your fork in pasta.
Cast your eyes down this list, for example.
Still, it’s by no means an exhaustive one, nor have we ranked them “YouTuber” style from best to whatever, or cheapest to whatever, or craziest whatevers.
We’ve just done a bit of research and woven in some good old time-honoured local knowledge (and humour?) to give you one of those listicles we all love to hate but somehow go desperately in search of when that friend from out of town drops in unannounced or you just need a break from the local stuff.
As usual, let us know if we should add more to the list or if any facts are, indeed, not fact.
With that, 2-4-6-8 dig in, don’t wait.
The Tevere serves Italian and Mediterranean cuisine in a casual setting, featuring a 48-opened bottle wine-by-the-glass dispensing system allowing the customer to pour their own glass of vino.
Alcoholics, don’t get too excited. You do have to pay for it.
At the front, a high glass ceiling looms over the bar, while the main dining area is accented with bronze-hued bricks, just like your living room was when you were growing up.
On the second level there’s a private room for meetings with the Don in your life, as well as a separate covered outdoor area for smoking.
The Tevere is at 55B Ngo Quang Huy Street, Thao Dien, District 2, HCMC
Founded in 1998, Pendolasco is one of Saigon’s longest-established Italian restaurants offering some of the most authentic pasta dishes in Vietnam.
Remember when it was on Nguyen Hue Street?
Now find Pendolasco in District 2.
Pendolasco is at 30 Tong Huu Dinh Street, Thao Dien, District 2, HCMC
Pho Ong Tay
A perpetual entrant in listicles and foodie Facebook group “best places for pasta” shoutouts, Pho Ong Tay is part Italian restaurant, part pho bar.
Not a bad concept when you think about it – and it works.
Pho Ong Tay is at 33/17 Quoc Huong Street, Thao Dien, District 2, HCMC
With bold claims that it brings the true taste of Italian cuisine to Vietnam, Pasta Fresca serves it up in true casual Italian style.
And, according to them, they do it at the most affordable prices you could ever ask for.
Free? We doubt it.
Still, there’s only one way to find out.
Pasta Fresca is at 28 Thao Dien Street, District 2, HCMC
Oh, it’s real folks.
While Reale has made a name for its pizza, especially with its founder Manuel topping the list of more international pizza making competitions than you’ll find basil leaves on a Margherita, Reale has a fine list of pasta options worth poking your fork at.
Pizza Reale is at 29 Nguyen Dang Giai Street, Thao Dien, District 2, HCMC
Despite the carnage COVID-19 has heaped on Saigon’s party street, Vicolo1 has soldiered on, as it has done since it opened in 2015.
With a mission to bring new food experiences and to keep on top of world dining trends, Vicolo1 is also a massive supporter of the local craft beer scene.
Not only that, they support local charities with their Pay It Forward project.
Look out for their late night deals starting from 10pm daily.
Vicolo1 is at 232 Bui Vien Street, District 1, HCMC
Okay, there isn’t an Italian within Cooee! of this family-owned Aussie style resto-pub in District 7, but hey, for a long time spag bog (spaghetti Bolognese) was Australia’s national dish (try claiming that one too, New Zealand), so don’t count out this friendly joint as merely an Italian cuisine also-ran.
Having said that, however, the kitchen here is all Vietnamese, but you wouldn’t know it from the pasta flying out of here most nights of the week.
After all, there’s a strong contingent of Aussie quality control on deck just to make sure it’s up to standard.
Wednesday night is pasta night.
Coolabah is at R15, off Nguyen Van Linh Street (in Happy Valley), Tan Phong, District 7
Red & Round
This new addition to District 7’s slowly-but-surely maturing dining scene is so new it’s not even listed on Google maps, nor has it a selection of Facebook posts for us to embed for your viewing pleasure.
But we needed to pop it in here because all the chatter online has been that it’s the real deal.
Time will tell.
Opens daily from 11.30am.
Red & Round is 15 Hung Gia 3, Tan Phong, District 7, HCMC
With the bashing restaurants have taken in the first half of 2020, they’ve had to be agile and willing to adapt in order to survive.
Introducing Nonna’s Pastaria, a new enterprise by Jane’s Bistro in District 7 that delivers freshly-made traditional homemade pasta to your door.
Even in this day and age of growing uncertainty and hyper-vigilance surrounding human-to-human contact, who wouldn’t want to see Nonna through the peephole on the other side of the door?
Call Nonna on 090 909 4638 or order online at https://www.foodbooking.com/api/fb/_jv_yp_e
We haven’t checked the history books, but it feels like Ciao Bella has been around since Adam was a boy.
But that doesn’t mean the food and service reflect that.
It’s no fuss, consistently high-quality Italian cuisine that we’d punt will still be around when your grandkids are old.
Ciao Bella is at 11 Dong Du Street, District 1 & 39 Vo Truong Toan Street, Thao Dien, District 2, HCMC
Feature photo by Jorge Zapata on Unsplash