“A delightful piece of Italy in Vietnam”

“A delightful piece of Italy in Vietnam”
5 of 5 starsReviewed September 29, 2014 NEW
Our holiday this year was to Italy, and then to Vietnam. You may therefore understand the surprise I felt when we found this lovely Italian restaurant in Hanoi! We spent 2 nights in Hanoi on the way home from Halong Bay before we flew back home to Australia. My husband and I had just been talking about where we had been on our holiday and how wonderful all of it had been and – wow – we stumbled on this little place. It was the most perfect end to our holiday! The food was WONDERFUL. It was also wonderful italian food by italian standards – how do they do that in Vietnam?? You must go yourself and ask the lovely Italians who served us – Jess and Leonardo. They were friendly and answered all our questions, and we are happy to report that we had a lovely romantic Italian dinner in Hanoi on our last night on holidays! Thank you thank you thank you.

Visited September 2014
4 of 5 stars Value
5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
5 of 5 stars Service
5 of 5 stars Food



Italian Food Tour – This week Calabria

Most of the cuisine of Calabria is heavily influenced by the Mediterranean and is often spicy. Pasta dishes with peppers, onions and sausage sauteed with or without sauce are very common. Frittatas made with pasta and sausage are also prevalent. Eggplant/Aubergine is a favorite dish in the region and is served in a variety of ways, Ciambotta, stewed aubergine, tomatoes and potatoes seasoned with onion and peppers, is eaten either hot or cold. In Calabrian cuisine, pork is the preferred meat. Preserving meat as sausage, ham and salame keeps it fresh through the year. Murseddu is a savory pork and veal liver pie seasoned with tomato and peppers and Capocollo di Calabria is a tender pork marinated with vinegar, massaged and pressed with whole black peppercorns. Anime Beate, a sweet pastry pocket-style dessert is a traditional sweet and another local favourite is Torrone di Bagnara, a sweet nougat.


Polpette di Melanzane – Aubergine medallionsimages

Maccheroncini Salsiccia & Oliva – Fresh handmade pasta with aromatised sausage meat and olives.279855_2212872331664_1543210054_2358045_1647251_o

Maiale all’Aceto – Pork tenderloin cooked in a cherry vinegar sauce.dsc_0279

Anime Beate – Calabrian style doughnuts filled with chocolate.baos

Buon appetito!



Recipe – Sarde in Saor – an antipasto with fresh sardines

One of my favourite Italian antipasti, perfect for an aperitif is sarde in saor – fried fresh sardine fillets marinated in softly cooked white onions, usually with vinegar, raisins and pine nuts, all preferably prepared the day before serving. sarde-in-saor-feature-101

The sharpness of the vinegar wakens the tastebuds, while the sweetness of the odd raisin here or there and the creamy nuttiness of the pine nuts balances the sourness. It is the ultimate sweet and sour, or agrodolce, dish.

Sarde in Saor
12 fresh sardines, cleaned, heads and backbone removed and butterflied
Flour for dusting
Vegetable, seed or olive oil for frying
Some white wine
a handful of raisins
1 white onion
250 ml of white wine vinegar
1 clove, ground or crushed
1 tsp coriander seeds, ground or crushed
freshly ground black pepper
a handful of pine nuts
Dust the sardine fillets in flour and deep fry in plenty of oil until golden and crisp. Season with salt and set aside on some paper towel to drain until needed.
Soak the raisins in some white wine to soften them. Meanwhile, slice the white onion finely and saute gently in some olive oil until they are transparent, then add the vinegar, pepper and spices. Let it cook for a few minutes then remove from heat.
In a small terrine or deep dish, place a layer of sardines, top them with some of the onions, some of the raisins (drained) and pine nuts, and continue layering until the sardines are used up, then top with a layer of onions, raisins, pine nuts and finish with the vinegar sauce poured over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate at least 24 hours before serving.
Serve as part of an antipasto, together with a selection of olives and crostini. These are best eaten at room temperature, removing from the fridge a couple of hours beforehand.

Recipe – Saltinbocca Alla Romana – Veal escalopes wrapped with prosciutto, sage & lemon

To celebrate September’s food tour to Lazio, we have chosen one of the special dishes from the menu:piatto-pronto-bicchieri-tovagliolo-azzurro_dettaglio_ricette_slider_grande3

SALTINBOCCA This classic Italian recipe for veal means ‘jump in the mouth’ – serve it with crusty bread to soak up the delicious pan juices. Buon appetito.

Bash out the escalopes until they are about 5mm thick. Place a sage leaf on each one, wrap with the prosciutto, then press another sage leaf on top and flatten out with your hand. Dust lightly with the seasoned flour. ( flour seasoned with black pepper and a pinch of salt) Heat the oil and the butter in a large frying pan until foaming, and fry the veal for 4-5 mins on each side until the prosciutto is crisp, then remove from the pan. Add the Marsala wine to the pan and sizzle to make a sauce. Add the lemon juice to taste. Put the veal back in the pan to heat through, then serve with a green salad and crusty bread.


3 veal escalopes, about 150g each
6 sage leaves
6 slices prosciutto
50g plain flour, seasoned
splash olive oil
small knobs of butter
200ml marsala wine
juice ½ lemon

“Find this place and you will have a fantastic dinner”

“Find this place and you will have a fantastic dinner”
5 of 5 starsReviewed September 20, 2014 via mobile
Was walking around Tay Ho some weeks ago with the purpose to explore the area. Passed by this place by accident this Saturday morning and they were just preparing for a Saturday market where they was going to sell freshly made pasta, wine, olive oil etc. Got a fantastic good feeling about the atmosphere, the whole table setting, romantic lamps and welcoming and friendly attitude. Decided tonight to visit the Il Faro for the Saturday night dinner. My short summary is that this a bit hidden place is absolutely worth to visit as the food, service and drinks were just fabulous. We were three people and we have been in many Italian restaurants both globally as well as in Italy. We are not Italian but know how the difference between good and bad Italian food. We tried their Carpaccio, Buffalo Mozzarella with sundried cherry tomatoes and a fried Mozzarella bruschetta as starters. The sundried cherry tomatoes had this very balanced taste and still fresh and you could almost feel the sun warmth left. The Carpaccio was delicious with a perfect cut and tasty meat. This was the first time having raw meet since we came to Hanoi a month ago. We also had the ravioli, gnocchi and pizza. All was perfect, balanced and very nicely served with small details creating both something for the eye as well as for the taste. Unfortunately we were so happy and enjoying the meal so much that thinking of taking pictures never crossed my mind until every bit was eaten:). As a dessert we tasted the Tiramisu that was freshly made, a chocolate mousse and the panna cotta. Just perfect as everything else. The most common mistake with a panna cotta is that there are too much gelatins, but not here. Of course we had to try the coffee and a grappa as well. Now we just tried the house wine and that was served at a good temperature but they had a very nice wine list from which we will select something from next time, The whole dinner was perfect and we will absolutely come back. A visit to this hidden treasure is perfect for the romantic couple as we’ll as for the family and friends. One addition is also that the service was very good as we’ll with a clear touch of the person running the restaurant I.e clearly communicated what the service should be to create a personality. Really liked this place! We will be back:)

Visited September 2014


Italian Food Tour – This week week Lazio

ravioli-con-piselliAt Il Faro this week’s culinary trip is taking you to Lazio. The Lazio region, located in central Italy, has always been a seat of cultural exchange, especially during the Roman Age. Simple pasta sauces, roast meats and pork products dominate the table. The sauces that adorn the pasta dishes in Lazio, vary from the very simple like cacio e pepe, or salty Roman pecorino and pepper, to much more elaborate recipes that may include butter, egg, pancetta or guanciale. The traditional pasta sauce from Amatrice, called Amatriciana, is made by sautéing onions in pork fat, adding tomatoes and spices and allowing the flavors to come together. The sauces are typically served with long pasta noodles like spaghetti and fettuccine. Short, or broken pasta, often appears in soups, where it is pairs with beans, chickpeas, cabbage, or broccoli and flavored with pounded lard, onions and herbs. Beef is the meat of choice in Lazio, however lamb and kid is also served. Coda alla Vaccinara, or braised oxtail, is a popular Roman dish. Outside of the city, and especially during the spring, you can find abbacchio, or lamb, baked in the oven, roasted on a spit or prepared in a fricassee. Many people eat chicken as well and either roast it or cook it with tomato and peppers, or in a pan with fiery spices. The most popular regional pork recipe is porchetta alla romana.

This week we have chosen 4 dishes that are typical of Lazio:


Prosciutto e Melone – Parma ham a jewel in Italian culinary tradition, a dry-cured ham that is usually thinly sliced and served with cool melon wedges, an explosion of flavours.

Il Primo:

Agnolotti alla Romana con creme di piselli – Fresh egg pasta parcels filled with roast beef and herbs in a delicious cream pea sauce.agnolottidutto

Il Secondo:

Salti in Bocca – veal Cutlets filled with sage and ham and cooked off in a white wine sauce.piatto-pronto-bicchieri-tovagliolo-azzurro_dettaglio_ricette_slider_grande3

Il Dolce:

Macedonia di Cesare –  A salad of fresh mixed marinated fruits.


Come by and try the best dishes from this region.