Pakse, Laos is full of old French colonial architecture and is situated on a peninsula created by the Mekong and Se Don. Stay over for a few days to see the temples, enjoy the sunsets and cycle through town. Enjoy a variety of Asian and Western cuisine at these top restaurants in Pakse.
LE PANORAMA BAR AND RESTAURANT
Le Panorama is located on the roof of Pakse Hotel, and offers the city’s best views of the sunset over the Mekong from its sixth-floor terrace. Happy hour every evening from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. means buy one get one free cocktails, beer and wine with complementary appetizers and dazzling views. For dinner, try a curry or one of the Western dishes such as stuffed chicken or steak.
Dao Lin is a casual, budget-friendly, family-run cafe open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with no shortage of choice on the menu. Fresh juices and smoothies, and all manner of Asian cuisine are available. Try the spring rolls, Lao dips served with steamed vegetables or any of the noodle dishes.
Lane Xang is near the VIP bus station on the Xe Don. Visit their shellfish and juice bar on dry land, or climb down the steps to the floating restaurant and enjoy cold drinks, river views and a menu of Lao and Asian food, including rice, noodles, Laap, fried vegetables and fish. Later in the evening, patrons can sing karaoke on board.
DOK MAI LAO TRATORIA ITALIANA
For the best pasta, thin crust pizza and cheese plates in town, look no further than Italian-owned Dok Mai Lao Tratoria Italiana. Ask to be seated in the secret garden and you’ll be led down an alley two doors down into a back patio oasis. Sip a glass of wine, chat with the jovial owner and enjoy the charcuterie and bread in a laid back atmosphere.
If you’re looking for a local spot on the peninsula that’s close to the river, Nyek is your place. This open air restaurant serves local cuisine, including grilled meats, fish, fried vegetables and Lao salads. Practice your Lao or be prepared to use tourist charades, as the staff’s English is limited but the friendly atmosphere and clientele more than makes up for it.
Just across the street from Dao Lin is Sabaidee Restaurant, serving a range of Asian and European fare primarily to travelers due to its generous portions and low prices. Try the noodles with seafood, or a bahn mi style sandwich with pork. Vegetarian dishes are available and free, fast Wifi is a plus for those traveling without a phone plan.
Hasan offers a range of Indian, Malay and Western dishes. Consistently lauded as the best Indian food in Pakse, is serves up crowd favorites such as kebabs, samosas and chana masala. Fluffy naan, roti and fruit lassis round out any meal. Hasan is Lao-Indian family-run business and has more options than most restaurants in Pakse for vegetarians and vegans.
VIDA BAKERY AND CAFE
Vida Bakery and Cafe serves some of the best coffee and pastries in town. The business is focused on providing language and vocational training throughout southern Laos both in Pakse and rural areas. Perfect for breakfast or lunch, Vida Bakery serves up bean and kale quesadillas, breakfast sandwiches and fantastic coffee. The quiet location is perfect for doing some work or kicking back with a good book.
Cafe Sinouk is located on the ground floor of Residence Sinouk in Pakse. It serves coffee made from the beans harvested from its plantation in the nearby Bolaven Plateau. In addition to coffee, the cafe serves sandwiches, croissants, soups (try the pumpkin), rice dishes and noodles. If coffee’s not your thing, a variety of frappes, shakes and teas are available. Bags of coffee beans and gifts are available for purchase as well.
VEGETARIAN FOOD PAKSE
A Vietnamese family runs Vegetarian Food Pakse, and satisfies cravings for classic Vietnamese fare that even carnivores will enjoy. Noodles, pho, fried mushrooms and tofu are all simply yet excellently prepared. One wall of the cafe has photographs and quotes from famous vegetarians, like Leonardo Da Vinci and Paul McCartney. The service is excellent and the price is right.