I’ve never been a huge fan of Vietnamese food because I always found it bland and unexciting. Pho is something I associate with cold, sick days because of it’s light broth and flavor. I didn’t stop to think that maybe I’ve just been eating at the wrong establishment. With Ba Noi’s Kapitolyo being close to my condo and well-received, I decided to give Vietnamese cuisine another try.
Ba Noi’s Kapitolyo is a nice place to eat at. Dark wooden chairs and tables good for around 30 people comprise the first floor. There’s a second floor but I’ve never been up there. The place is simple but clean and neat. Plus points for it having available parking for 3 cars in front. If you’ve been to Kapitolyo before, you know that parking is always a challenge. We usually don’t have a problem parking in Ba Noi’s so it’s definitely a big plus!
Goi Cuon, Php195.00
Their Goi Cuon, or fresh spring rolls, are just that: fresh. You can tell that everything is fresh: the wrapper, vegetables, shrimp, and peanut sauce. With it being fresh, it is very refreshing and guilt-free. I could eat these every single day. It’s very light and satisfying, the peanut sauce adding a different texture to the spring roll, making all the flavors come together. It has plump shrimps, springy vermicelli, and tender pork. They don’t scrimp on the ingredients and the taste. Definitely try their fresh spring rolls. It does not disappoint.
Cha Gio, Php195.00
The Cha Gio, fried spring rolls, are definitely a must try as well. The filling is made of ground pork, shrimp, taro and mushroom which makes it very flavorful. You dip it in the sauce and wrap it in the leaves provided before taking a bite. Caution: these rolls are freshly fried so they may be a bit hot. The fried spring rolls are definitely not what I expected. It isn’t like lumpiang shanghai, which is what I was expecting. These are bite sized spring rolls that have flavorful filling inside a rice wrapper. This dish is very tasty and really so delicious. Less healthy than the fresh variant but you must try this too!
Bo Luc Lac, Php350.00
Bo Luc Lac, or beef with basil, is another dish that stands out. The price may be a bit too steep at 350 pesos but once you take a bite of the beef, you’ll find it’s worth it. The beef cubes are lean but tender, coated with some kind of sauce with sesame seeds that is a good complement to the meaty taste. Dip it in the lemon + pepper mixture and eat it with the fried basil and you’ll find yourself assaulted with the different flavors. It’s a simple dish with complex flavors that never fails to hit the spot. I could eat this all the time. For meat lovers, try this! Really good.
Pho Bo, Php260.00
The Pho Bo, or beef pho, is a discovery for me as well. Ask anyone from my family and they’ll tell you that I absolutely do not like soup, especially pho. I find it bland and not very filling which is why I usually do not eat it. Imagine my delight when I took a bite of the pho, expecting the worst, and immediately tasted the rich beef in the broth. I actually willingly took another bite. And another and another and another. The flavor was spot on: it was beefy, rich and comforting and made even better by a squeeze of lemon juice. There was a generous serving of noodles, herbs, and meat. Definite plus side is that it’s quite guilt-free because of the rice noodles and the vegetables, as well as the lack of oil. The serving is good enough for 1 hungry person or for 2 people sharing. I still crave for this every now and then.
Tip: You can order just the broth or noodles or if a bit bitin, order extra of both!
Bun Cha Gio Thit Nuong, Php230.00
This dish contained fried spring rolls, grilled pork, vegetables, and vermicelli noodles that you mix together with a special sauce. Everything was well-cooked and with just enough flavor to not overpower each other. The sauce is light with a hint of sweetness, making the dish refreshing. It’s not a bad dish but I’d personally just order the fried spring rolls separately and go without this. But if you want to try a bit of everything, this is the dish for you. Perfect if you’re by yourself or would like a complete dish.
Ga Nuong, Php250.00
The Ga Nuong, grilled lemongrass chicken, was perfectly cooked as well. It was juicy and tasty making it a satisfying protein dish. It was seasoned just right, I like it because it wasn’t sweet like the usual grilled boneless chicken we see around Manila. It tasted delicious as it is and could go without the sauce that came with it. If you want a change from the Bo Luc Lac, or are feeling more health conscious and would like to have chicken, try this! I just wish it came with more vegetables on the side to make it a complete meal.
Pork Banh Mi, 200ish (can’t remember)
I’ve been going to this hole-in-the-wall banh mi place in Makati for quite some time now and fell in love with this Vietnamese Sandwich. I decided to try the banh mi in Ba Noi’s to see how the sandwich in a restaurant with higher prices would compare to a hole-in-the-wall joint. Maybe my standards are too high but the banh mi wasn’t very good. The baguette wasn’t very crisp, I felt like it could have used more meat, herbs could have the taste more complex, and the price wasn’t commensurate to what was served. If this were cheaper, perhaps it would be okay, but all thing considered, I wouldn’t order banh mi here again.
I used to not like Vietnamese food but Ba Noi’s changed that for me. This is, in my opinion, the best Vietnamese Restaurant in Metro Manila (though I’ve only tried 3 others). The food is really delicious while still being quite light on the tummy. The place is nice and rarely too full to accommodate customers so you’ll always get your Vietnamese food fix here. The servers are attentive and the food is served quickly, while not sacrificing taste and freshness. This is a different kind of comfort food for me. My only qualm about Ba Noi’s is the more-expensive-than-usual-Kapitolyo-restaurants pricepoint, as I can’t afford to eat here everyday. If you have a bit more money to spare or would want to try (or re-try) Vietnamese food, do give Ba Noi’s a shot. You won’t be disappointed.
12 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig CityOther branches:
Ground Floor, UP Town Center, Katipunan, Quezon City
12B Tropical Palms, Dela Rosa corner Perea St., Legaspi Village, Makati