Ba Noi’s – Secret Vietnamese Hole-in-the-Wall in Makati

Related Post: Bawai, The Best Home Made Vietnamese I’ve Ever Tasted

Ba Noi’s is creating a buzz in the foodie community because it is probably the closest to authentic Vietnamese restaurant in Manila. It is authentic in terms of the imported ingredients used, their chef (who is Vietnamese) (it is confirmed that the pinoy chefs are the one cooking already), and the taste (which is yummy indeed). Bawai’s Vietnamese Kitchen in Tagaytay is still the best — for me, nothing can compare to their beef pho so far, but Ba Noi beats them in terms of accessibility.

In Vietnamese, “Bawai” means grandmother on the mother’s side, while “Ba Noi” refers to the grandmother on the father’s side. How coincidental could it be that two of the most authentic Vietnamese restaurants around are named after grandmothers?

I like Ba Noi’s attention to the branding details, which include a cool brand logonice restaurant facade, and good menu design (net food prices are included). It also has a unique educational table top on how to truly enjoy Vietnamese food, complete with photos (see above). For example, to enjoy the Shrimp and Pomelo Salad, you have to combine the shrimp cracker (as base) with all the different ingredients on top, including the sweet chili patis.

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The downside of the place is that the acoustics are really bad — I could literally listen to the conversations of the next table even if I tried to force myself not to eavesdrop. The cemented walls give it an aura of a hole-in-the-wall, but they also produce that chitter-chatter sound when everyone is talking. The waiters are lax and in black — a sign of bad luck for the Chinese (because they seem like they’re wearing funeral clothes, thus, giving bad energy to the restaurant). Why not use red instead, which is the color of Ba Noi’s anyway?

Ba Noi’s Menu:
Cover | Salad & Appetizers | Noodles | Beef & Pork | Chicken & Seafood | Vegetables & Rice | Dessert, Fresh Fruit Shake & Juices | Drinks, Coffee & Tea



Shrimp & Pomelo Salad (P175

Minnie Puno was the one who told us about Ba Noi’s, so we had high expectations. We ordered all our favorite Vietnamese food that we truly enjoyed at Bawai’s. With the first serving of Shrimp & Pomelo salad, we were already convinced of the resto’s yumminess. All the ingredients were prepared right — the lettuce and shrimps tasted fresh, the pomelo had the right kind of sweetness, the crackers had the right crispness, and the sweet patis was so good we were tempted to lick the plate clean.

Fresh Spring Roll (P165).

The wrap of the spring roll was a bit loose, so the ingredients inside wiggled a bit when we dipped the roll in the peanut sauce. The sauce was sweet, slightly diluted, and had little chunks of real peanuts. Overall, it tasted the same as Bawai’s but presented in an amateurish way.

Beef Noodle Soup (P225).

The beef pho met our expectations and had the right beef broth-y taste. It was full of flavor, but still light. However, it was delivered warm. It would have been nicer if it was hot. Bawai’s still has the best Beef Pho — but Ba Noi’s comes close.

I liked the educational table top that explains how to best enjoy pho:

First, you squeeze the lime on the noodles. Then, add the basil and bean sprouts. Sprinkle the fresh chili, depending on your taste. Lastly, add the black bean paste served in mini bowls. (We almost forgot the last step, if not for the table top.)

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken (P205).

This is dihya Joshua’s favorite. 🙂 The marinade penetrated through every part of the chicken, which is probably why even a toddler would like it so much. Joshua is a bit picky with food, but his palate knows what good food tastes like (as I would like to believe 🙂 ). My little boy ate most of the chicken — even if we liked it as much as he did.

Stir-fried Honey Spiced Beef with Fried Basil (P310).

This is the most expensive dish we ordered and our favorite in Ba Noi’s. 🙂 The beef cubes tasted like salpicao without the oil. I love how the Vietnamese have an extra step in enjoying their dish, such as wrapping the meat in basil and dipping it in a bit of pepper and salt with a dash of lemon. The fried basil was crisp and not oily at all. We loved it!

We love hanging out with Joshua because he is cute as ever. He enjoys having his photograph taken and likes to look at his pictures in the camera after. He always loves to hang out with his ahiya. 

Vietnamese Hot Coffee (P85).

We liked the Vietnamese coffee with its drip filter set-up and the condensed milk. Aidan wanted to help in mixing it and ended up eating the condensed milk on its own. Sadly, the coffee was served warm. By the time we mixed the milk in, our drink was already at room temperature.

Overall, Ba Noi easily beats all the pretentious Vietnamese restaurants in the Metro. I don’t mind the amateur staff and the amateur service because it really was supposed to be a hole-in-the-wall kind of set-up. I’m happy that I can now get my Vietnamese fix without having to go all the way to Tagaytay. 🙂

Ba Noi’s. The Fresh Flavors of Vietnam
G/F Greenbelt Mansions
106 Perea St., Legaspi Village, Makati
Monday-Saturday 11am-9pm

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P.S. For Bawai’s Vietnamese Kitchen-lovers out there, check out Ba Noi’s and let me know what you think…

35 thoughts on “Ba Noi’s – Secret Vietnamese Hole-in-the-Wall in Makati

  1. hi,
    when was the last time you ate in ba wai’s? because i ate there early this year and their food was bland. it did not taste as authentic as i expected it to be. we didnt finish any of our noodle soups or any other food that we ordered.

  2. Hi Stef,
    I ate there late last year… Hmmn I've been receiving feedback nga that the food quality is getting mixed reviews 🙁 
    Thanks for sharing your experience…
    Sent from Mobile

  3. Hi! I totally appreciate what you do! always find myself on your site when i look for reviews about things going on in manila.
    i linked back to this entry because i know the designer of the resto’s branding and wanted to show people just how great her work really is.
    thanks for doing what you do, and i hope you keep on doing it!

  4. IMO, Vietnamese coffee is better served on ice. I’m guessing that the coffee was warm because they used a slow-drip coffee maker (caphe phin).
    About Bawai – not so good for me (I lived in Vietnam for a while).

  5. Nice find! I miss Vietnamese food so this is just great. Quick question: Do they serve Banh Mi as well?

  6. hey Jamie, I think I know you from another forum. But I agree with you. Those slow drip coffee makers work better for Iced Coffees. I get very impatient when I use them and find the end result… lukewarm.

  7. If you tried Bawais, forget Ba Noi’s. My favorite chicken cabbage salad was not that good. The service of amateur staff was really terrible, natapon yun sweet fish sauce to my right arm and straight to my pants. Worst of all, they don’t have plastic cups if in case you want to take out the Ice Coffee.

  8. Hi Anton! My boyfriend and I just had dinner at Ba Noi’s last night and we loved the food!!! It is probably the only authentic Vietnamese restaurant in Manila! We ordered the exact same stuff that you ordered (except for the coffee – I had the iced version), and everything was yummy!!! The pomelo was indeed very sweet and combined nicely with the kropek and the shrimp (although the shrimp pieces were too few). And the beef was awesome!!!! I can’t help finishing off the sauce from the plate! For the fresh spring rolls we still prefer Bawai’s. I also liked the knowledge of the servers on the food. They know what they are serving which is a big plus! Overall we really enjoyed our experience there! 😀
    Thanks Anton for posting Ba Noi’s in your blog! Now I don’t need to go to Tagaytay anymore to have an authentic Vietnamese meal! :D:D:D
    P.S. I really do hope a Viet restaurant here in the Philippines would use the net-like wrapper for the fried spring rolls. I have been searching for one and is still unsuccessful to date. Those wrappers are marvelous!

  9. hi,
    we tried ba wai’s last year because i read it in your blog; i visit your blog when we are in the mood to try something new. we were also very disappointed. the service was bad, the beef soup you were raving about was served warm and bland, our orders came one at a time. we were thinking maybe only when you bring your ultimate food tour there was the only time they really prepare ?? sad. maybe you should visit it again before recommending them again ?? 😉

  10. Hi Anton, this is Diego and we met at Palawan a few years back. I’m glad you liked the place, I worked with Patch in making the menu and I took the photographs. It’s great to see you doing well, buddy!
    Best regards,

  11. I tried a Vietnamese place in Palawan. Bona’s, if I’m not mistaken. It’s a carinderia-type Vietnamese restaurant that serves really affordable and, supposedly, mega-authentic food. They have different types of vietnamese noodles but their specialty (which all the tricycle drivers recommend) is the buto buto. The selection is limited as opposed to Ba Noi’s but the quality and the price is very very good. Just sharing my experience. Thanks!

  12. Not too impressed with this resto. There were 3 of us and we ordered 1 appetizer, 3 viands, 3 fried rice, 1 soda, 1 iced coffee and it all totaled to P1,3xx. Their servings are so small, just good for 1! The sizzling crepe was not sizzling at all. They served lettuce (and other sliced veggies) with everything we ordered – sizzling crepe, stewed pork, crispy catfish, and caramel chicken.

  13. I think not having plastic cups (very shallow, really!) could be overlooked, considering the food is good. Try their other dishes. Was just there the other week and going back this weekend, will be trying out different dishes every visit!

  14. I didn’t enjoy it as much as i thought i would! Hey that’s us you took a photo of in Ba Noi’s 🙂

  15. If you haven.t been to Vietnamn don.t comment about authenticity. It/s like a Japanese saying that the kare kare in Hokaido is authentic.

  16. I tried Ba Noi today and I felt that the chicken noodle soup was too salty for my taste. I wonder if they’re reacting to the comment above about their food being bland 🙂

  17. Last I heard was, the owner of ba noi is a filipina woman married to a vietnamese man who does’nt cook. We were told that they flew in a vietnamese cook to teach their staff for 6 months. Im actually quite in shock with the comments I’ve been reading. A comment about authenticity means actual knowledge about cuisine. Anyhow, make sure you’ve been to both north and south Vietnam to have comparison with regards to taste. Better yet, make sure you’ve been to Vietnam before you say it’s authentic or not.

  18. Hi Carlos,
    Yes you are right — I also learned that it is the pinoy chefs who are cooking already using ingredients from vietnam and recipes from their grand mother. Of course I’ve been to Vietnam but you are right I should go to North and South more often before I could comment on authenticity.
    Thanks for the feedback.

  19. hi stef, how can you say that its not authentic? are you Vietnamese? or have lived in Vietnam for a long time? I lived in Vietnam and have a lot of Vietnamese friends and for us its authentic 🙂

  20. Hi Anton
    First thank you very much for all your interesting and great tips and reviews!! So far we were always very happy following them, with the exception below:
    We went to Ba Noi’s last night, looking forward to good vietnamese food… but were very dissapointed..
    – Half of the order got “forgotten” (like the ordered BeefPho I was really excited about..)
    – But the forgotten items still appeared on the bill!!
    – Water was never refilled and a later arriving guest at our table didn’t even get a glass
    – a “Vietnamese” special crispy noodle dish as advertised on the menu turned out to be nothing else then a bland version of ChowKing’s crispy noodles
    – and now the funniest: Behind the counter are several very nice Vietnamese beer and Singapore beer displayed, many of them! BUT: apparently they are not allowed to sell those due to a missing license.. so why put them on display ??
    anyways, looking forward to the next tips, rock on!

  21. Hi Tom, 
    I'm sorry to hear about your experience. Thanks for putting it here in the comments, so that the next reader will be more aware of what to expect if ever they visit Banoi.
    Thanks for reading and following OAP!

  22. hey there!
    went to ba noi’s when i read this review, and was happy to find that the pho wasn’t bland.
    until i went back last saturday. i don’t know what happened–the pho was bland and warm (not hot), and the service was bad. sayang, we were very happy with our first experience, but sorely disappointed with the second. if they can’t keep the quality of the food and the service consistent, hindi siya worth going back to. it’s going to be a guessing game every time.

  23. Super late na ng comment.. Haha.. My friends and I tried Bawai’s okay naman but I liked Ba Noi’s pho better.. As for banh mi, there’s this place in Puerto Princesa near the airport, called Rene Saigon restaurant, they have great Banh Mi! Worth a try, also lots of Vietnamese cafes in Palawan… 🙂

  24. Good food, Bad service! This waitress rhea was a snob…
    baka its a bad day for her but still not an excuse

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