Charlotte Vietnamese Restaurant Guide: Our favorite spots in the city

By Beth Mack

May 17, 2023 (updated)

A country’s cuisine is heavily influenced by its geography, terrain, climate, and history. Vietnam, a vastly coastal, rural country in Southeast Asia is no exception. With China encompassing its Northern border, Laos and Cambodia to the west, and the eastern and southern borders being formed by the Gulf of Thailand and the China Sea, you can expect to find a lot of influences from neighboring countries. Digging deeper, Vietnam has been the scene for multiple wars and periods of colonization that have left influences from its colonizers (mainly the French and the Chinese), and political instability forcing many to maximize ingredients to ensure no food goes to waste. 

Vietnamese cuisine is often broken up into three geographic regions influenced by the terrain, agriculture, and history. North Vietnam is mountainous, providing a cooler climate where chili peppers and fresh herbs don’t grow as well, lending towards more balanced and subtle flavors with a heavy Chinese influence. The cuisine of Central Vietnam is the most flavor-forward of the three and often incorporates more salt and spice into its dishes as well as seafood. Tropical South Vietnam allows for more fresh herbs and vegetables that are often sweeter than the other areas, as its cuisine frequently incorporates sugar cane, pandan, or coconut milk. 

Vietnam Tourism Board

Large amounts of fresh herbs and vegetables serve as complements for entrees. Meat and seafood are often small cuts that have been marinated for quick grilling, to be served with some form of rice and pickled vegetables. As is with the cuisine of most Southeast Asian countries, rice is ubiquitous. Whether it be steamed rice, rice noodles (vermicelli), rice paper used in fresh summer rolls, rice porridge, or even rice cakes, you will find it as a staple at every meal. 

One of the most popular Vietnamese dishes is phở, a broth-based rice noodle soup typically containing beef and vegetables served with overflowing platters of fresh cilantro, mint, basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, slices of jalapeño, and lime wedges. For additional customization, you can often find bottles of hoisin, fish sauce, soy sauce, and chili paste on the table at restaurants as well. 

Beef pho at Phở Hoa Noodle Soup

Bánh mì is another popular dish. This Vietnamese sandwich originated from French colonization when the French baguette was introduced. The sandwich consists of meat (with pâté), pickled daikon and carrots, fresh jalapeños and cilantro, and mayonnaise all on a lightly toasted baguette.   

While phở and bánh mì are delicious, there are many more classic Vietnamese dishes that are just as delightful. Appetizers often include gỏi đu đủ (papaya salad), gỏi cuốn (fresh summer rolls), chả giò (fried spring rolls), gỏi (meat salads with cabbage, tomatoes, herbs), chim cút chiên bơ (crispy quail), and bánh xèo (crispy yellow crepe stuffed with seafood and fresh herbs). 

To drink, there is the always the popular cà phê sữa dá (Vietnamese coffee: dark roasted coffee with sweetened condensed milk), Thai tea, bubble teas, and hot teas, but there are also some more unique options. Sữa đậu nành (Vietnamese soy milk that is typically sweetened with pandan giving it a green color), soda chanh muo (salted lemonade), soda hột gà (a soda drink made from egg yolk, sweetened condensed milk, and club soda).

After the fall of Saigon in 1975, the United States saw an influx of Vietnamese immigrants and the cuisine started to gain popularity around the country. Charlotte is no exception to this, with a substantial amount of authentic Vietnamese restaurants options. 

Phở Hoa Noodle Soup

When Binh Nguyen founded Phở Hoa Noodle Soup in 1983, his goal was to help Vietnamese refugees assimilate and achieve the American Dream. Today Phở Hoa Noodle Soup has expanded beyond its San Jose roots to become a global chain specializing in phở. The Charlotte location opened its doors off of Central Avenue in 1998 and is one of the few in the Southeast. While their menu predominantly features varieties of phở, you can also find gỏi cuốn, bún bò huế, bún, rice dishes, and bubble teas. Also, if you are into dangerously delicious heat, the ghost pepper sauce is a must-try. 

Mì Quảng at Pho Hoa (rice noodles, shrimp, pork, herbs, turmeric, peanuts, sesame rice crackers, chili peppers, and lime). Photo Kurt Shackelford

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3000 Central Ave
Charlotte, NC 28205
(704) 536-7110

Lang Van 

Wedged in between Eastway Drive and Shamrock Drive is one of Charlotte’s oldest Vietnamese restaurants, Lang Van. Owner An “Dan” Nguyen, immigrated from South Vietnam in 1999 to join her husband Tuyen Tran, and began waitressing at Lang Van. Nguyen jumped at the opportunity to become part owner in 2004 and became Lang Van’s sole owner in 2009 when the original owner, No Duong, moved. The restaurant is a family affair with Nguyen’s husband Tran doing most of the cooking, her two children helping in the front of the house and, of course, Nguyen welcoming guests. Lang Van offers a robust menu of Vietnamese delicacies, but if you are unsure what to order, just ask Nguyen– she is always at the ready with suggestions. Lang Van also offers a vegetarian menu as well as a variety of unique drinks such as cà phê sữa dá, soda hột gà, and fruit smoothies made with jackfruit, durian, and soursop for a complete Vietnamese experience. 

Com Chien Thom (pineapple fried rice with tofu and shrimp). Photo: Kurt Shackelford

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3019 Shamrock Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28215
(704) 531-9525


Husband and wife team Hai Pham and Nga Thai and their son immigrated from South Vietnam to Charlotte in 1998 knowing little English and with no money in their pocket. Cooking was always a passion of Pham and his dream was to open a restaurant to share the culture of Vietnam. In 2012, his dream became a reality when they opened Doan’s, located in a strip mall off of Charlotte’s bustling South Boulevard. Today it is a family affair with Thai taking care of guests in the front of the house, Pham in the kitchen, and their son Andy managing the business. Doan’s offers a wide variety of classic Vietnamese dishes such as bánh xèo, chim cút chiên bơ, phở, cá kho tộ (caramelized braised fish), and lẩu (Vietnamese hot pot). Doan’s seeks to appease all appetites with a món chay (vegetarian) menu and other Asian dishes such as pad thai and Singapore-style noodles. Finish your meal with a refreshing smoothie available in jackfruit, avocado, or green bean, or opt for the more familiar Vietnamese coffee or Thai tea.

Spicy Lemongrass Chicken

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5937 South Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28217
(704) 733-9077

Cilantro Noodle 

Relatively new to Charlotte’s Vietnamese food scene, Cilantro Noodle opened its doors in June 2019 in Plaza Midwood. Owner Steve Li has employed his grandma as his cook to bring authentic Vietnamese flavors to the modern restaurant. Cilantro Noodle’s menu features a smaller menu that encompasses all of the trendy Vietnamese dishes such as bánh mì, phở, and build-your-own gỏi cuốn, chả giò, and noodle or rice bowls. You can also find appetizers such as wings and baos. Afterward, you can stop next door to Cilantro Noodle’s sister restaurant Ocha Time for some bubble tea, rolled ice cream, and taiyaki ice cream (ice cream in a fish-shaped cone).  

Seafood pho, bún bò huế, and bánh mì at Cilantro Noodle

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2001 Commonwealth Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28205
(704) 345-9490

Crispy Bánh Mì

Since 2016, family-owned Crispy Bánh Mì has been building its bánh mì empire. Touting a menu of 11 varieties of bánh mì, bún, gỏi cuốn, and gỏi (meat salads), the company has grown to four Charlotte locations. Crispy Bánh Mì also offers a variety of smoothies, bubble teas, frappes, juices, and is one of the few places in Charlotte that offers chè (dessert beverages or puddings). While the original location is located off of lower South Boulevard, you can also find them off of Shamrock Road in east Charlotte. Ayrsley Town Center, and their newest location in Ballantyne to get your bánh mì fix.

Crispy Bánh Mì

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5100 South Blvd, Suite C
(980) 859-1580
934 Shamrock Dr.
(980) 237-7704
2130 Ayrsley Town Boulevard, Suite C
(980) 335-0002
14825 Ballantyne Village Way, Suite 175
(704) 910-4142

Saigon Palace 

Owner Maria Hoang opened Saigon Palace in May 2002 to share her authentic Vietnamese cooking. While they no longer offer Sunday buffets, Saigon Palace still offers an extensive menu featuring phở, egg and vermicelli noodle dishes, rice dishes, cà ri,  bánh xèo, chả giò, and a large selection of gỏi cuốn, including a create-your-own option. Saigon Palace also features both a món chay menu (vegetarian) and a selection of Chinese dishes as well. 


215 South Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28217
(704) 529-0098

Bánh mì Brothers

At the age of two Hau Doan and his family fled Vietnam hidden in the bottom of a fishing boat as they made their way to Malaysia and eventually to Virginia. Doan went on to graduate college with a degree in finance but kept coming back to his passion of cooking. In 2016, he partnered with his brother Luan Doan to open Bánh Mì Brothers. Located in the University area, Bahn Mi Brothers offers classic takes on the popular bánh mì and bún, but the menu includes some unique twists such as phở-tine (phở-inspired poutine) and porchetta bánh mì. Bánh Mì Brothers also have a food truck that can be spotted all over Charlotte. 

Classic This Nguon (cold cuts of Vietnamese ham, pork roll, head cheese, and pate.

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230 E W.T. Harris Blvd Suite A
Charlotte, NC 28262
(704) 900-7842

Phở Hương Que

On your next visit to Super G Mart Charlotte, swing by Phở Hương Que located in the same shopping plaza for some traditional Vietnamese cuisine. Their menu features Vietnamese staples such as bánh xèo, gỏi cuốn (fresh summer rolls), phở (including a build-your-own phở) bún, and a variety of noodle and rice dishes. End your meal with chè ba màu (sweet three-colored pudding dessert with beans), sữa đậu nành (Vietnamese soy milk), salted lemonade, Vietnamese coffee, or one of their many flavors of bubble tea.

Beef pho at Phở Hương Que

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7211 E Independence Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28227
(704) 536-0401

Phở An Hoa Restaurant

Tucked off Central Avenue, located in the same plaza as Cedar Land Halal Market, is Phở An Hoa. Tiep Pham started at Phở An Hoa as a dishwasher and worked his way up to cook before purchasing the restaurant in 2011. You can find a robust variety of phở, but don’t forget to try the other Vietnamese staples such as gỏi cuốn, chả giò, chim cút chiên bơ, gỏi đu đủ (papaya salad), and other noodle soups. Finish off your meal with bubble tea, smoothies, green or white sữa đậu nành (Vietnamese soy milk), or soda hột gà (egg soda).

Pho Hai San (Seafood pho) at Phở An Hoa Restaurant

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4832 Central Ave
Charlotte, NC 28205
(704) 537-2595

Phở @ NoDa 

In 2019, Trung Cao opened his second Vietnamese restaurant in Charlotte, Phở @ Noda. His original restaurant, Saigon Bay, has since closed but the more modern Phở @ Noda is thriving. Located in Charlotte’s Villa Heights. While this restaurant specializes in phở, that is not all that they offer. Guests can also find an assortment of gỏi cuốn, chả giò, bánh xèo, bún, lemongrass stir-fries, and other rice dishes. 

Bún bò huế at Phở @ NoDa

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2100 N. Davidson St. Ste. A
Charlotte, NC 28205
(980) 201-9564

Pho Van 

Opened in early January 2024, Pho Van is one of Charlotte’s newest Vietnamese restaurants. Located off of South Boulevard in the former Vietnam Grille space, Pho Van brings new management and an extensive menu with all of the classics. The multipage menu features a variety of vermicelli and rice dishes, Bahn mi, and the beloved pho. With a substantial vegetarian menu, both meat eaters and non-meat eaters will be satisfied. 

5615 South Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28217
(704) 910-0169

Le’s Sandwiches & Cafe 

Le’s Sandwiches & Cafe has reopened with the son of original owners, Tuan Nguyen, leading the charge. Opened in 1996, Le’s has become a regional staple for their bánh mì sandwiches. The new location offers a larger footprint to allow Nguyen to expand their menu beyond bánh mì and bubble teas. 

Le’s Sandwiches & Cafe. Photo: Kurt Shackelford

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217 East Sugar Creek Road, Suite 150
Charlotte, NC 28213
(704) 921-7498

Phở Quỳnh Restaurant

While Phở Quỳnh Restaurant is quaint, they offer a vast and traditional menu. In addition to traditional appetizers like gỏi cuốn, they have an array of entrees that include lẩu, phở, cá kho tộ (caramelized braised fish), bún bò huế, cháo lòng (pork offal congee), and more. They also offer a món chay (vegetarian) menu with numerous options as well. For a sweet accompaniment to your meal, try out a bubble tea, Vietnamese coffee, sữa đậu nành (Vietnamese soy milk), or soda chanh muo (salted lemonade).


4900 Central Ave
Charlotte, NC 28205
(980) 201-9124

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