Remember that time we went to Vietnam as a family? It feels like it was ages ago, but that might be because since then, we’ve gone to the Philippines, left South Korea, traveled across the USA, crossed the Alaska-Canada Highway, and moved to our new home in Alaska. I digress though. Way back in March when we went to Vietnam, Ryan and I had a rare date night out – and a big one, at that. We decided to go big or go home. So, today, we’re finally sharing our review of La Maison 1888 in Da Nang, Vietnam’s first restaurant featuring a Michelin-starred chef.
All About La Maison 1888 in Da Nang
If you’ve read this blog for a minute (or a few years), you know that Ryan and I are self-proclaimed foodies. We love a good meal, and we can’t resist an amazing dining experience. So, when we planned our trip to Vietnam with kids, we knew we also wanted one meal alone – just the two of us – and we wanted it to be good. After a lot of internet sleuthing, we opted for La Maison 1888 at the InterContinental Da Nang Sun Peninsula Resort.
La Maison 1888 has been hailed by critics worldwide since its opening and was noted among CNN’s Top 10 World’s Best Restaurants in 2016, the Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence 2018 through 2023, one of Architectural Digest’s Top 10 Most Beautiful Restaurants in the World, and more. Perhaps most notable, however, is that La Maison 1888 is Vietnam’s first restaurant ever to feature a Michelin-starred chef, Pierre Gagnaire. So, needless to say, we were intrigued.
Our Review of La Maison 1888 in Da Nang
We knew going into our meal at La Maison that it wasn’t going to be a cheap meal, and we budgeted accordingly. There is a set menu available from which diners can choose a seasonal 4-, 5-, or 7-course set menu. There is also a vegetarian menu, and guests are encouraged to note any allergens when submitting their booking request online. We decided to go big, and we each opted for the full 7-course menu.
Now, let me state that menus like this are deceiving. You think that because each plating is small, you won’t be too full by the end of it, but let me clear any confusion. Try the 7-course menu like we did, and you’ll be well stuffed by the end of it – and with some of the greatest food of all time, at that.
What We Enjoyed Most About La Maison 1888 (and What We Didn’t)
Okay, first of all, if you know us and our family, you know that we’re about as un-pretentious as it comes. Nevertheless, we brought nice clothes, we put some proverbial lipstick on the pig (aka: we dressed up), and we got a Grab to the InterContentinental hotel in Da Nang, only to discover I’d made reservations on the wrong day. They were so kind, and our driver managed to negotiate entry, and we got seated a day earlier than we’d scheduled. My mixup, and they fixed it!
The entire staff was wonderful. No single person’s job seemed unremarkable, and the whole place was incredible. The venue was stunning, and people were so kind, giving us space to eat in peace and finding our pace to deliver each of the next courses. They even gave us a special 8th course – an extra dessert – to celebrate our 9th anniversary! It was rich, and decadent, and wholly incredible. And it was also unfamiliar.
Look; we don’t hobnob with the rich and the famous. We budgeted for this meal, and the price tag was still way more than we’d normally go for. The other patrons seemed more at ease with the finery and, perhaps, that was on us. We just weren’t completely comfortable and were always worried about the social faux pas we might make…like when I dripped gravy on the pristine white tablecloth…and they brought a tiny cloth of linen to cover it.
What We Thought of the Food at La Maison 1888
Y’all. This was some of the most decadent food we’ve ever had in our entire lives. From petite canapes of pate and oyster foam to crispy vegetables and scallop tartare, langoustine, hamachi, veal, and then a trio of desserts, it blew our minds. There was just so much flavor. I loved the langoustine most of all, and Ryan loved the veal, while the sorbet was definitely a hit in terms of desserts.
Most dishes were extremely rich, though petite, and I was grateful for the lighter ones (like the scallops) interspersed throughout. By the end, I’m fairly certain we waddled out. It’s a culinary experience, and the beverage selection didn’t disappoint either.
Our Final Thoughts (and the Real Budget)
Overall, it was a really neat experience for Ryan and I to have together, and the food was incredible. We loved it, and we loved the time to wine and dine together, which is something we rarely have the time to do. That being said, neither of us would go back. We’ve had so much good food in our lifetime. It’s comparing apples to oranges, but the banh mi we had in Hoi An? It was just as spectacular in terms of deliciousness – just different.
Likewise, when we were in South Africa last, we visited Belly of the Beast in Cape Town and had an equally incredible meal for a quarter of the cost. Granted, that restaurant doesn’t have a Michelin-starred chef at the helm, but it’s just as good.
So, should you go? If you can afford it and want to experience grandeur, this is it, and you won’t regret it. The price tag of $868 was a bit much for our tastes though, and it’s definitely not one of those we would repeat. Can’t afford it? Don’t fret…the food in Vietnam is incredible regardless.