A for Atmosphere, B for Beverages and Bites
Posted on 04 / 08 / 2013
Nirvana hits the spot when it comes to ambiance. The music is always soft and relaxing, never intrusive. Plush chairs and stools make the balcony dining area super comfy and perfect for a date or an evening study session. The decor is understated and tasteful. The waitresses are usually dressed in elegant outfits that add to the classy-yet-casual vibe.
Because Nirvana isn't on the main street of this expat-friendly neighborhood, after being open for a year it still has yet to be discovered by most locals. It's been empty or nearly empty each of the half-dozen times I've stopped in for lunch or dinner. Great if you like a quiet, private place to eat, but possibly bad for Nirvana's longevity.
The waitresses check in with customers regularly. They're friendly and happy to chat, or leave you alone, as you prefer. They speak ok English, and I sometimes need to ask them what they're saying once or twice before I get it.
Some of the dessert teas, like the cinnamon-date and the passion fruit ice teas, are outstanding, and I can't bring myself to leave Nirvana without at least two glasses per visit. The complimentary mild iced tea is a nice touch.
The food is mostly excellent, to my taste, though one of my local Vietnamese friends wasn't impressed. Raw ingredients like herbs and lettuce are generally very fresh. I enjoy the pho and hue soups but find a couple appetizers, the yam cakes and the crispy coated seitan, really bland.
It's particularly nice that every vegan, gluten-free and nut-containing item is marked clearly as such on the food menu, though this isn't true of the drink menu.
Prices are in the moderate to high range relative to restaurants in other neighborhoods of Saigon, but are typical for expat-oriented fare in this neighborhood. Two dessert drinks, an appetizer, and an entree comes to a little over 200,000VND or US$10.
Free delivery. Offers catering.
vegan, gluten-free, nuts menu indicators, amazing sweet drinks, great atmosphere
drinks not marked as vegan, gluten-free, advanced English not spoken