The work of the eponymous owner and head chef Chi Nghia, Papaya is one of the city's unsung gems. Tucked down a tangle of streets near the canal on the edge of District 1, the cuisine here is presented simply but beautifully with an emphasis on top quality ingredients. Prices are cheap, too, with mains going for well under VND100,000, and portions are also on the large side. Well worth a visit
68 Pham Viet Chanh, Binh Thanh, Tel: 6258 1508. Open 10am to 10pm.
Swathed in deep red and with dark wooden lightbox panelling, the addition of black and white Saigon street-scene photos gives this three-storey restobar an atmosphere of an upscale, sleek equivalent in New York or London. Choose between the shared-table downstairs bar area or the more traditional upstairs seating and a menu that blends small fusion cuisine style plates with larger mains and excellent gourmet pizza.
5 Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: 3825 6257 www.alibi.vn. Open 10am to late daily
Bare brick walls, art-deco repro furniture and a parlour-like elegance that brings with it all the glamour of old Saigon puts La Fenetre Soleil in a class of its own. Serving up a range of cocktails, imported beer, coffee and smoothies together with a Japanese-Vietnamese fusion menu, atmosphere and the slightly-off-the-main-drag location makes this a great spot to while away those afternoon hours or catch a night-time drink. Does a set lunch menu from 11.30am to 2pm.
2nd Floor, 44 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: 3824 5994. Open 10am to midnight.
Fridays and Saturday until 2am. Contemporary international décor blends seamlessly with local themes to create the most lavish but tastefully designed bar in the city. It may mean you have to pay five-star prices – the cocktails here go for over VND200,000 – but the monied-up punters still come in their droves. Easy listening, dance-style music plays over the sound system while drinks go from a range of Martini-base cocktails through to spirits by the bottle and 15 wines by the glass.
Park Hyatt, 2 Lam Son, Q1, Tel: 3824 1234 www.saigon.park.hyatt.com. Open 4pm to 1am.
Fabulous–looking hotel in a prime location, with an attractive lobby bar and all the attention to detail you would expect from the Hyatt. But wait, there’s more. The Square One restaurant has garnered an excellent reputation as has the ground floor Italian-themed Opera, and Xuan Spa by the landscaped pool is unbeatable.
2 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: 3824 1234 www.saigon.park.hyatt.com