Here we explore the best restaurants in Luang Prabang, Laos. All serving up fresh Lao cuisine in ambient settings.
Set in a restored colonial building, L’Elephant Restaurant offers some of the finest French and Lao cuisine in the city. The restaurant uses fresh ingredients, sourced from its own private vegetable garden, to create daily and weekly specials. The menu is a mix of typical French specialities such as steak tartare and frogs’ legs, along with traditional Lao dishes such as lemongrass pork and river fish grilled in a banana leaf. The restaurant’s elegant interior is a perfect match to its superb cuisine, with dramatic high-ceilings, stucco pillars, and exotic bamboo shades. In keeping with its French elements, L’Elephant also offers an excellent wine menu of both local and imported bottles.
Apsara Restaurant & Bar
Apsara Restaurant & Bar is part of the Apsara, an upscale boutique hotel set in a wonderfully-restored school building. The interior emphasizes the former school’s open floor plan, with Vietnamese lanterns, a sleek wooden bar counter, and flourishes of bright fabric; while the outside terrace offers picturesque views over the Nam Khan river. The menu consists mainly of traditional Lao dishes, along with a selection of Asian and Western fusion cuisine. Highlights include the Lao sour and spicy fish soup; and the yellow curry with pumpkin, apple eggplant, bamboo, and Lao basil. Diners have the option of sharing their dishes in the traditional Lao style, or having the dishes served Western-style as individual courses.
The Coconut Garden offers well-prepared Lao cuisine in a charming outdoor setting. The restaurant’s set menus, which each include five different Lao dishes, provide a wonderful introduction to the different flavours of Lao cuisine. The vegetarian set menu features dishes such as fried glass noodles with bamboo shoots; and banana fritters in pineapple syrup for dessert. Like many of the city’s restaurants, the menu also includes a few Western dishes to satisfy picky eaters. Coconut Garden mainly offers outdoor seating, including a courtyard located along the road in the front, and a shady back patio decorated with fountains.
(To be continued)