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“Worst experience!”
Review of L'essentiel

Ranked #179 of 3,794 Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City
Price range: USD 5 - USD 30
Cuisines: French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, After-hours, Lunch, Reservations
Description: A recent arrival to the growing ranks of authentic French dining experiences in HCMC, L'essentiel Restaurant offers a quiet intimate dining experience downstairs with space for private functions and alfresco dining on an upper floor.Open from Monday to Saturday, 11:00am to 2:30pm and 6pm to 10:30pm, Chef Vanessa who has been after 14 years experience in France makes variety of classic French cuisines. The menu for lunch changes weekly and monthly for dinner. The food is fresh and the wine list carefully collated.
Reviewed 8 March 2016

Had booked La Villa but after reading rave reviews, decided to change my booking to L'essentiel. I had requested for terrace seating upstairs as we both were afraid of the cold air conditioning. It was dinner on a Friday evening and thought the place will be packed out. My best friend and I were looking forward to some amazing French food and already had what we wanted memorized. Were we shocked! Upon arrival, we found that we were the only 2 customers in the restaurant and were seated downstairs as the terrace was closed (no customers). The wine list was nothing to shout about. We were skeptical about the wine offerings and decided to order the house wine, in case we did not like the wine. It was so bad! Many decent restaurants will have decent wines even if the choice were limited. Service staff were inexperienced and do not know their menu well.Kept running to the kitchen when we post questions.I cannot even remembered what I had for appetizer though I have been back only 2 days ago. I ordered a beef tartare as main and were told that it is not available. They later offered to make one with tenderloin at the same portion and same price after I showed major displeasure (so disappointed I almost wanted to walk out). My friend ordered duck breast with orange sauce. The meat was overcook and the sauce tasted more like black pepper with a slice of orange as garnish. We were told by the service staff that the Chef lived in France for 20 years. This was the worst experience we had in the 4 day trip to Saigon. Without doubt, KFC and Burger King would leave a better impression.

2  Thank 23lifeisgood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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8 - 12 of 159 reviews

Reviewed 27 February 2016

Well,to start commenting on the title:we are a french couple living in Australia for the last 45 years and have been working in the restaurant industry for most of that time.
The welcoming staff was average if non existent though we were at the time the only customers.The menu,if appealing,did not transfer to the plate.I ordered snails.6 tiny little things came,only the garlic butter was acceptable,and I had to ask for bread to dip the little sauce.I had beef tongue for man,tasteless.We asked to see the chef;she was not here,just a "commis"appeared with lame excuses.On top,2 entrees,2 main courses and 2 glasses of wine cost me $120,which is a ripoff in a city where you can eat beautiful fresh japanese equivalent for a third of the price.A place to avoid at "all cost".

    • Value
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    • Food
2  Thank Philippe C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 February 2016

We loved our dinner here - although I'm a big fan of Vietnamese and Asian food in general, it was a nice contrast to roll the changes with some western style food during our 2-week trip. L'essentiel provided just what we were looking for - excellent steak frite washed down with a good bottle of red and a very nice cheese plate then coffees to follow. The atmosphere was cool and on the quiet side which was a nice change from the humid heat and noise in the surrounding streets. Expensive by local standards but a steal compared to prices for this quality in W Europe.

    • Value
    • Service
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1  Thank Gordon2112
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 December 2015 via mobile

They close in the afternoon. We arrived there late for lunch. They offered us lunch menu which is much cheaper than regular price. Very nice environment. I ordered a flank steak but I feel it's a bit too hard. Mojito is so-so. While we were still relaxing having our lunch slowly, they rushed us away at 3pm.

Thank Black_Rabbit_X
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 December 2015

I made a reservation, but it didn't look necessary because the restaurant was empty. The room lacks atmosphere although there was an interesting picture on the wall I could not stop staring at. Anyway the food was good. Great escargot, although I would have loved if there was more than six. The main (boeuf bourguignon) was good (but my own is better ;)) and the dessert (lava chocolate cake) is always a winner :) Not many choices when it comes to whine on glass (two whites, two reds and a rose), but the two I had was good and reasonable priced. I recommend the Chilean red. An overall nice experience.

Thank Hawkeye099
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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