Ba Dinh District also called the French quarter is a pleasant interlude from the chaos of the Old Quarter (especially if you are staying in the Old Quarter like we were).
The area is home to wide tree-lined streets, French colonial buildings,
posh hotels, fancy restaurants and swanky shops.
On our way to lunch, we walked through Trang Tien, the main artery of the French Quarter, walking pass (but never entered) the famous ice cream store, Kem Trang Tien.
Elegant French style buildings and villas replaced the old Vietnamese buildings in this section (as the name suggests) when the French occupied Hanoi in the last 19th century.
At the end of Trang Tien, on the August Revolutionary Square, the Hanoi Opera House, stand proudly as an architectural, political and cultural symbol of the capital.
Lunch at Au Lac House along Tran Hung Dao was a pleasant default. We were headed to La Badiane (which we never got to try but came highly recommended) but were unfortunately closed for the day. The reason is a blur to me now but because we were there during the Lunar New Year, it could be because of that, but I digress.
So, just a few steps away from La Badiane is Au Lac House, a large French Style garden house built during the French colonial period restored into an elegant dining venue.
The food was Vietnamese Specialty (a sudden mind-shift from the expected French lunch at La Badiane) and quite impressive too. Truth to tell, Vietnam is always a gastronomical delight whether it be hole in a wall or high-end.
You can walk through the different stations with your server and point and choose and the food will be prepared and served accordingly.
The beautiful house and stunning interior with old photographs were icing on our cake.