Coming a close second to Yen’s restaurant, the team at Lanterns have shed an amazing light on Vietnamese cuisine for their customers, offering exceptionally friendly service, top notch food and beautiful surroundings to enjoy it in. Lanterns was set up by an Australian man by the name of Robert Costabile who wanted a venture than could fund his charity work with local orphanages. If that doesn’t melt your heart, then try his warming honest hot pots and clay pots, literally creating speechless food moments.
Being one of the owners of Roll’d, the insanely popular Australian franchise, Robert is no stranger to successful restaurant ventures. His business models reflect a strong sense of customer service, fair pricing and give diners a chance to sample local delicacies with the freshest ingredients. Lanterns focuses on local delights such as the popular clay pots, not unlike a perfectly marinated casserole, hot pots which cook in front of you and of course all the old favorites like seafood pancakes and rice paper rolls.
We devoured the Vietnamese chicken curry (95,000 VND) and the shrimp clay-pot (95,000) on the first night and came back the day after and had pork clay-pot and the sizzling pork clay-pot. The Chicken curry is a coconut milk based dish that is creamy and filling, not a trace of a watery consistency. The waitress gave me a no bullshit response when we couldn’t pick a clay pot, being a seafood town, fish or shrimp were the tastiest options. Her suggestions did not disappoint, not a scrap was left on the plate. Other dishes to note are the beef wrapped in lot leaf, the Vietnamese BBQ (189,000 to share between two) and the Bánh Xèo (seafood pancake). If you’d like to view the whole menu and drool all over our keyboard then click here.
Lanterns also caters to the less adventurous among your group with a few good Italian options.However the local cuisine really is the highlight. Walking out having spent about $15 AUD on two mains with rice and a few beers, it’s an absolute steal. Even better they offer 20% between 2-4 pm so it gives budget travelers an even better reason to get down and sample the food. Most dishes are under 150,000 VND with many being under 100,000 VND, a fair price considering the quality and the beautiful open air setting.
The last area to comment on would be the staff, they don’t do justice to the word lovely, but we’ll use it anyway. They are full of smiles, co operation and helpfulness. They are the best people to ask your local questions to and they are keen to practice their English, (Robert teaches them English once a week for an hour to help them with their pronunciation) not everyone understands or speaks English but they will smile shyly and find someone that does. Staff made one mistake on our order due to misunderstanding and looked as if the world was over when we pointed it out, they really take their customer service seriously and go above and beyond what is expected. I really cannot understand several of the bad reviews on Tripadvisor, we couldn’t fault a thing and believe a lot of suspect reviews could be competing business’s trying to up their own business. With over 900 positive things to say, we can’t all be wrong. We cannot wait to return again before our stay in Nha Trang is over.
ARM & A LEG: WHAT IT COST US
34/6 Nguyen Thien Thuat St, Nha Trang.
Meals typically cost between 92,000 VND to 189,000 VND for well portioned dishes. Local dishes are more reasonably priced.