305 Meridian Street, East Boston, MA 02128
Once in a while, Boston's Hidden Restaurants finds a great dining spot that is so hidden, so totally unknown, that we are hesitant to tell anyone about it. Saigon Restaurant (formerly Saigon Hut) in East Boston is just such a restaurant. Located in Eagle Hill, a pleasant neighborhood that also is the home to the great Italian restaurant Rino's Place, Saigon Restaurant is a tiny hole in the wall with big flavors that few Vietnamese restaurants in the Boston area can match.
Family-owned and operated, Saigon Restaurant is a friendly little place with a few small tables in a simple room that looks out toward a bustling East Boston street. When we went on a recent Friday night, the restaurant was about half full, mainly with small families and older couples dining on all kinds of exotic dishes. And exotic is the name of the game at Saigon Restaurant. This is truly authentic Vietnamese food, with entrees such as noodle soup with flank steak and meatballs; vermicelli with chicken, lemongrass, and hot chili peppers; and clear noodle soup with crab meat, fish cakes, shrimp, and squid. These last two dishes are simply delightful, though perhaps not for Americanized taste buds. Saigon Restaurant also has tasty appetizers such as fresh spring rolls with mint and cucumber, and duck salad. And if you are more interested in Chinese food, there are a handful of items on the menu that you may find familiar, such as chow foon and lo mein.
Boston's Vietnamese restaurant scene is becoming more and more impressive with such standouts as Le's (formerly Pho Pasteur) in several locations around Boston, Pho So 1 Boston in Dorchester and Randolph, and Pho Hoa in Dorchester and Boston. Except for perhaps Pho So 1 Boston, not one of these places is more hidden than East Boston's Saigon Restaurant. And Saigon Restaurant competes quite nicely with all of these top Vietnamese restaurants. If you happen to be in East Boston and aren't in the mood for pizza at Santarpio's or pasta at Rino's, give Saigon Restaurant a try. And don't let the exterior of the place fool you; this is most definitely a special little restaurant that is worth seeking out.
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