Despite the long-time popularity as a tourist destination, Da Lat isn’t as inspiring dining-wise as many Vietnamese locations. But there are a few good eating places to look for. Da Lat is famous for its vegetables, so don’t miss skimp on the greens while ordering in local restaurants.

Fancy Eats

If you want or need a little fuss over your meal, go to Evason Ana Mandara Villas’ restaurant NINE (Le Lai St, west of the center) – with superbly prepared Euro cuisine served in a lovely high-ceilinged dining room or on an outside deck. Far more formal, and quite good, is Sofitel Dalat Palace Hotel’s main restaurant, LE RABELAIS (12 Tran Phu St), with French cuisine and a US$45 dinner.

Also classy MING DYNASTY (7 Tran Hung Dao St; dinner entrees US$10-20; open 10am-1pm & 5-9pm), in a renovated French villa on a hillside south of the lake, is a bit more about location than its Chinese fare. Many come for Peking duck dinners (US$25, though there was a buy-one-get-one-free deal going on when I visited) in one of the ornate villa rooms. I prefer lunch dim sum – it’s cheaper (about US$2 or US$3 per item) and you can take advantage of the lovely lawn seats with wide-open views.

In Town

Where do the locals eat? Try to the family-run spots on Phan Dinh Phung St. NHAT LY (Phan Dinh Phung St; near Dreams) is always full. TAU CAO (217 Phan Dinh Phung St) serves tasty bowls of Chinese wonton soup (with pork) for US$0.75.

If you’re just looking for a coffee, Nguyen Chi Thanh St (COFFEE STREET) has a stretch of cafes with alcohol and caffeine, and deck seats looking over the center.

Guidebook endorsements mean this cute French-style café with lacy curtains serves Vietnamese food and is often full. The food – vegetarian, seafood, local specialties like deer –is good, not great, but it’s a pleasant setting in the center for US$2 to US$3 dishes. It’s a couple doors down from the Dalat market.
3 Thang 2 St; open 11am-9pm

A lot more put into this old-school, open-front vegetarian restaurant’s meals than you’d expect for the low price. The xap xap (green papaya salad) – about US$0.50 – is a lovely crispy starter, fresh carrot juice is US$0.60, and fake crab noodles or mustard green and mushroom with rice are typical mains (running about US$0.60 to US$1). It’s on this small, traveler-oriented winding lane just behind (north) of the market.
46 Truong Cong Dinh St

The Sofitel Dalat Palace Hotel’s basement pub is a cozy spot with better-than-average pub fare, such as US$7 burgers and US$7.50 pizzas, plus a Friday night buffet (US$6.50; 6-9pm).
12 Tran Phu St, Sofitel Dalat Palace hotel; open 4pm-midnight

Xuan Huong Lake is a Dalat focal point – with nice trails and toy motorboats – and Thanh Thuy (at the western edge) is one of a couple places to take it in waterside (or use the free WiFi). It’s probably better for a drink, but there’s a Western/Vietnamese menu (US$3 noodles or pizza, US$1.50 breakfast). The name ‘blue water’ is a huge exaggeration of the lake’s hue.
2 Nguyen Thai Hoc St; open 6.30am-midnight