SECRET GARDEN RESTAURANT REVIEW

Hello, Hive friends. Sometimes we need a little retreat to gather the strength to move forward. For us, one of the easiest ways to press pause on daily challenges is by visiting a restaurant. In Ho Chi Minh City, we found a Secret Garden which is certainly one of the best restaurants in district 1. This rooftop restaurant in Saigon offers more than good food. It is a place that allows you to truly enjoy a moment surrounded by views and sounds of the largest city in Vietnam. Of course, everything is easier on the full stomach, so let’s dive into the Secret Garden Restaurant review.

If you are hungry in Saigon and you are looking for some good Vietnamese cuisine presentation, Secret Garden is a place for you.
If you are hungry in Saigon and you are looking for some good Vietnamese cuisine presentation, Secret Garden is a place for you.

Ambiance 

Good secrets come at a cost, and this secret will reveal itself once you’ll climb the stairs of an eight-story high French heritage building. Nostalgy and rustical charm will keep you company even once you reach the top. Secret Garden rooftop restaurant in Saigon is airy and offers a view over the nearby streets and buildings.

Rustic, simple and airy!
Rustic, simple and airy!

Best of all is the peacefulness you get with distant sounds and living greenery. Noise reduction is just one benefit you get when you are surrounded by vegetation. Alfresco dining in Ho Chi Minh City comes with breezy benefits, although the fan is most welcome on a hot day. Oriental influence has its place on the table and is reinforced with the traditional Vietnamese lantern wall.

Lanterns are Vietnam
Lanterns are Vietnam

Some gush about the romantic vibe Secret Garden has, but we disagree to some extent. We see a problem in a cramped space, where you must fight your way to the toilet. Something manageable before the pandemic, but not really romantic. 

Secret Garden Restaurant can be a romantic place for sure. Just some fixes...
Secret Garden Restaurant can be a romantic place for sure. Just some fixes...

Drinks

Listed on the wine list are red and white wines from the US and Europe, so no wonder Secret Garden Restaurant is popular with tourists and western expats. The offer of classic cocktails is also quite ample and there are some interesting soft drinks and fresh juices as well. Given the fact that the Tea House is at the back of the name, it is safe to expect tea. Those looking, will find a handful of Tea TRA samples at the Secret Garden rooftop restaurant Saigon. 

Here you can also buy Vietnamese plates. Lovely stuff!
Here you can also buy Vietnamese plates. Lovely stuff!

Food 

The selection of Vietnamese goodies is quite big and we went quite big ourselves. So much so, that for the rest of the day we didn’t have to eat. Frankly, it is difficult to decide among so many tasty dishes. Did I ever mention that Vietnamese have over 3000 dishes…

Just a humble meal for two, please.
Just a humble meal for two, please.

However, we were happy to find some of the vegetarian options, like stir-fried okra or tofu fried with lemongrass. Both were delicious and spot on with pickled eggplants. Vegetables are still crunchy, not too fat, and super delicious, which can mean only one thing – fresh products.

How can something so simple be so good? Sometimes simple is the best.
How can something so simple be so good? Sometimes simple is the best.

Fermented eggplants were quite firm and effective palate cleansers.
Fermented eggplants were quite firm and effective palate cleansers.

On the other hand, meat options have a strong lead. We were quite tempted to try chicken feet, but other dishes were more inviting. Spicy braised ribs seasoned with lemongrass for example. How can one skip these? Meat was shredding apart in front of our eyes.

We licked our fingers after these BBQ ribs. Delicious.
We licked our fingers after these BBQ ribs. Delicious.

Soft beef stir-fried with crunchy onion and green peppers seasoned with Vietnamese favorite sauces.
Soft beef stir-fried with crunchy onion and green peppers seasoned with Vietnamese favorite sauces.

Not to mention beef with onions and bell peppers. A real treat for our hungry tummies. To keep some balance, we ordered some tofu which was one of the best I ever had, and delicious fresh papaya salad with shrimps and chili kick.

Fried tofu is awesome the way it is, but lemongrass really makes it better.
Fried tofu is awesome the way it is, but lemongrass really makes it better.

Whatever we had tasted was wonderful and was brought to the table by the kind staff the moment it was ready. Keep ’em coming, my friend.

If you are after some sweetness, just dip before you eat.
If you are after some sweetness, just dip before you eat.

Final Thought

After reading this Secret Garden Restaurant review you shouldn’t be in any doubt regarding where to eat in Ho Chi Minh district 1. Is this Vietnamese cuisine pristine? I think it is, even if there will be people protesting how “around the corner, aunty has better stuff”. Sure she has. Street food and specialized kitchens as I call them are the best and they should be. We are talking about traditional dishes, of course!

Secret Garden isn’t a secret anymore.
Secret Garden isn’t a secret anymore.

Before you head over there, we advise you to check their Facebook page for current opening hours. It comes as no surprise that reservations are highly recommended, especially on the weekends. Needless to say, the pandemic changed everything, and many restaurants, including The Secret Garden Vietnamese Restaurant & Tea House, had to put the business on hold.

Normally Secret Garden Restaurant is open from 10:30 am to 10:30 pm on 158 Pasteur Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1. As we said before check the latest info on their FB profile. Price? Cheap. A feast like ours will cost you about 30 USD. 

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