Date Traveled, February 2013
Avalon cafe is a popular spot with Hanoi's younger urban crowd with a mix of both western eats and local fare, the rooftop views of this restaurant probably has the best views of the Hoan Kiem lake.
The restaurant is inside a building located around the north western side of Hoan Kiem lake. It is one of the handful of taller buildings on the street across from the lake but the entrance is actually on the street behind, at 73 Cau Go. Avalon cafe occupies the top four floors of the building with rooftop restaurant area taking up the seventh floor.
Hoan Kiem Lake
The food was decent
The claypots were hot and tasty and the coffee cake dessert good
For the best views of the lake you probably want the few tables right by the edge on either rooftop or the 6th floor although the tables close enough to the edge also get pretty decent views. I recommend asking for a table at the edge...we got lucky because it was pretty full at the rooftop when we went for dinner there but we noticed a table getting ready to leave and asked for that one. The views at night were pretty spectacular, you get to see the lake with all the pretty lighting and watch the bustling activity all around it. I could certainly enjoy an afternoon snack or drink with a view from here as well.But you are paying for the view more than the quality of the food. Now making it absolutely clear, the food was decent and we had a nice meal. We ordered the spring rolls which were alright but plentiful and claypot rice dishes which were hot and tasty. For dessert we had an excellent coffee cake.
It is just that it is possible to get better food elsewhere for a lower price if that is your criteria. If you are looking for a place to relax and enjoy the scene with a drink, Avalon cafe is as good an option as any. Certainly would consider a visit again if I had some time to kill in Hanoi.