Gia Restaurant on Van Mieu Street, Hanoi, offers a high-class culinary experience inspired by Vietnamese ingredients.
Gia was one of the first four restaurants in Vietnam to win a Michelin star in June, honoring restaurants with “delicious food quality worthy of enjoyment”.
The restaurant is located on Van Mieu Street, opposite Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam, formed from the appreciation of traditional Vietnamese cuisine and regional cultural beauty. This is also reflected in the Vietnamese design style inside the restaurant.
Images of water puppetry culture are integrated in the staircase leading to the second floor of the restaurant.
Gia has two floors to serve guests with 14 tables. The tables are arranged relatively sparsely despite the small space, ensuring privacy and concentration for diners when dining.
A dining table has been set up waiting for diners. Gia serves a “tasting menu” style menu. Diners will have a journey of flavor experience with more than 10 preset dishes, served with drinks prepared to best suit the flavor of each dish.
Each dish consists of a small portion, just enough for one person, and is refined in both presentation and flavor. Before eating, the staff will tell diners a short story the chef wants to convey through the dish and instructions on how to enjoy it to experience the fullest flavor.
The storytelling takes less than a minute, ensuring a seamless meal, without distracting from the diners’ food experience.
The restaurant’s current menu is called “Full Moon”, on the occasion of the northern autumn. This is also how the restaurant celebrates its first “full moon” milestone with a Michelin star.
In the photo are beef tartare with lolot leaves (left) and devil’s fish liver with sturgeon eggs, wrapped in biscuits (right) – the first two dishes of the lunch menu, priced at 1.2 million VND per person. Both dishes remind of the image of the moon, sometimes full but sometimes waning.
The next dish is polyscias fruticosa served with guava leaves and passion fruit sauce. According to the restaurant representative, most dishes are made directly, except for some ingredients such as cookie crust. To enjoy the entire menu of about 10 dishes, diners will need at least 1.5 hours.
With this dish, diners use chopsticks. Before eating, the staff will bring the restaurant’s chopsticks collection for diners to choose from. This collection is handcrafted from ebony and rosewood.
The main dish on the menu, Phu Quoc egg squid, is dipped in a sauce made from crab sticks, tomatoes, and topped with salmon eggs. The squid is soft, the egg is fatty, and when combined with the sauce, it creates a rich, fragrant taste.
The small “vegetables” on the side help reduce the greasiness, inspired by “wrap”, reminiscent of the vegetable baskets of Hanoians when eating bun cha and vermicelli noodles.
Next is the A4 Wagyu beef dish, served with mashed pumpkin and a little basil, reminiscent of Hue beef noodle soup, as recommended by the restaurant staff. However, this is only partly true in appearance and flavor of A4 Wagyu beef, which is different from the beef we use in beef noodle soup. The meat is soft, combining well with mashed pumpkin.
Mushroom rice is considered a signature dish of Gia restaurant, cooked from Bac Huong rice, the grain is flexible, slightly sticky and fragrant. Diners are advised to try the steamed egg bowl with snow mushrooms first.
Inside the kitchen of Gia restaurant. Chef Sam Tran and his colleagues spent two weeks going to the West to find ingredients, but in the end used nothing for the “Full Moon” menu.
“The creative process requires a lot of trial and error. We plan to use Western ingredients for the upcoming menus,” said a restaurant representative.
Michelin stars make Gia more crowded. The restaurant’s reservations are currently full until early November.
The exterior of the Gia restaurant stands out with wooden doors, creating a feeling of closeness and harmony with the ancient space of the Temple of Literature.