Lan Vietnamese Restaurant
By Karen Lloyd

Pho Real

With over 40 authentic Vietnamese dishes on the menu and a luxurious dining room in which to enjoy them, Lan Restaurant brings old Ha Noi to life in Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood.

Owner Lan Nguyen describes the menu as light yet fulfilling with minimal use of dairy, oils or MSGs. Instead, meals are flavoured with fresh ingredients like lemongrass, ginger and chilli sauce. “I really want to bring the Vietnamese cuisine to the high end and classic level that it well deserves to be rated,” says Lan, who opened Lan Restaurant with her husband Danny Dang in 2016.

The Queen Street East restaurant features pho with homemade broth, spring rolls with special rice paper, fresh prawn, crispy baguettes and Lan’s favourite, Vietnamese “shaking beef,” which is a beef tenderloin served with bell pepper and onion. “They are all special, unique, authentic and delicious dishes,” she says. The restaurant also features a kids menu and six vegan dishes.

I really want to bring the Vietnamese cuisine to the high end and classic level that it well deserves to be rated. - Lan Nguyen, co-owner
At Lan Restaurant, the menu is light yet fulfilling with minimal use of dairy, oils or MSGs.

Savour the Flavour in Style

For Lan, the restaurant is a way to tell her family and friends back home that she has never forgotten about them or where she came from.

Built in refined French architecture and classically decorated with warm lanterns, aged solid wood tables, terracotta shingles and art from King Khai Dinh's dynasty, Lan Restaurant is spacious yet cozy, and can accommodate up to 90 guests in two rooms joined by a hallway. "Lan restaurant is so much more than just a restaurant,” says Lan. “It is actually more like a piece of art that perfectly combines the food passion of my husband, and the biggest dream of my life to bring a real image of beautiful Hanoi City, where I grew up, to Canada, which I proudly call my second home.”

Prior to opening the restaurant, Danny worked 18-hour days as a mechanic, but would still look forward to cooking when he came home at three am. “Cooking is the real thing that makes him happy,” says Lan. “Just the way he chopped onions and sang at the same time with the happiest voice, especially after such a long day of work.” Most items on the menu come from Danny’s box of family recipes.

With over 40 authentic Vietnamese dishes on the menu and a luxurious dining room in which to enjoy them, Lan Restaurant brings old Han Hoai to life in Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood.

Liquid Dessert

From the dessert menu, you can order steamed banana cake garnished with coconut milk and peanuts, coconut jello or fried banana with ice cream. But the egg yolk coffee at Lan Restaurant, made with top quality Vietnamese coffee, is perfect if you have a sweet tooth and need to pull an all-nighter. “It’s described by people as liquid tiramisu because of its sweet taste,” says Lan, who warns the beverage is strong enough to cause insomnia if consumed too close to bedtime.

Egg yolk coffee is a complicated drink to make at home, even though the ingredients are few: egg yolks, sugar and condensed milk. Other popular drinks include the avocado smoothie and lychee in syrup with ice and lime juice.

Next time you’re in the mood for an authentically Vietnamese dining experience, check out Lan Restaurant. It’s the real deal, and far less expensive than air fare to Ha Noi City.

With over 40 authentic Vietnamese dishes on the menu and a luxurious dining room in which to enjoy them, Lan Restaurant brings old Han Hoai to life in Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood.
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