Review By Michael Rice
You know when you are in new york or chicago or even portland and you find one of those great authentic ethnic restaurants.  Where the combination of ingredients and spices and skills results in an almost magical combination that creates something more than just a meal.   I have discovered just such a diamond in the rough hidden right under my nose in downtown salem.

I have walked by Saigon probably 2000 times and never given it a second glance.  Then a client took me there for lunch and I was blown away.

The flavors are hard to describe, they are just "right".
The right combination of spices and ingredients.  And skill.

Ate there last week:

My wife had curry chicken and just raved about it.  She shared with me and the curry was as good as I have ever had.

My sister had a noodle soup and commented on the balance of flavors and said it was delicious.

I had the lemon grass tofu and the tofu was just right and the vegetables were delightful.  I just can't stop craving it (been back three times this week).  The lunch buffet is wonderful (and quick!).

It is hard to write a review because I keep wanting to write awesome, perfect...etc.  But it really is that good.

The owners are the servers and are very friendly.

I can't find a single fault and I should mention that I own restaurants, have been in the industry all my life, and can be very critical.

Bottom line:  AAA plus.  The only other restaurant in town that gets that rating from me is Mortons.

Located next to the Governor's Cup on Court St. Downtown.


KandN said...

Oh! Sounds good Michael! Can't wait to give it a try!

Lise M said...

That tofu looks really good. I've been afraid to eat tofu in a restaurant since a Pad Thai disaster this winter. Yet another place I will have to try! :)

Anonymous said...

Been going there since it opened and never had a bad experience. I feel a little guilty taking it to go because it's so cozy inside.
Always wondered why it hasn't caught on with the mainstream.
The owners are very friendly and service is super fast. Curry chicken, broccoli and beef, wonton soup and and the spring roll thingy are the staple.

Sam I Am said...

I love the Saigon lunch buffet; it's a great price, and it saves me the struggle of trying to decide what to order! I can just get a little of everything. Mmmm! (Plus, when EVERYTHING was closed during the snowstorm this winter, Saigon was open, warm & friendly)

Sarah said...

We like Saigon, too. Great lunch buffet and also good pho.

Lynn D. said...

I went there today because I noticed they were advertising Vietnamese sandwiches and I love banh mi! I ordered a chicken banh mi to go; it took a short while so I know it was freshly made. It was divine. The bread was soft but crisp, the sauce was just right, the chicken was delicious and there were lots of crisp vegetables (daikon, carrot, cilantro, cucumber and jalapeno). At $3.75 it was a real bargain. I split it with my husband and it was almost enough for two. Someone should write a special banh mi review of this restaurant.

Anonymous said...

A couple of weeks ago I was walking by in the evening and saw a group of six older folks studying the menu outside Saigon. They looked skeptical so I stopped and highly recommended they try it. They did. The funny part was that I just happened to be coming out of the gov cup a hour later when they were leaving. One of the gals grabbed my arm and thanked me up and down. They clearly enjoyed the food.

Very good food and attentive service. I eat there three days a week.

Anonymous said...

After reading the reviews I'd like to give this place a try! It looks like they are near Whitlocks and Olsons. Their Restaurant Inspection Scores are consistently high!

Anonymous said...

I had a wonderful meal here tonight for dinner. It was a peanut sauce based seafood dish that was amazing. It was packed with flavor, spiciness and so many bites of various seafood that I don't know how they could make much money on it at $12. Shrimp, squid, fish balls and more were present. I am not doing the meal justice, so just ask for 43 if I've piqued your interest.
My date had a meal she really enjoyed that was pork, egg rolls and shrimp over rice noodles, lettuce and cucumbers. We've had similar dishes at Super Pho and have always enjoyed them.
Last and certainly not least we shared a sandwich at the start, which was the initial reason why this place was on my radar. It was probably the best sandwich I've had in recent memory.

Long story short, this place is really a special treat and I'm sad I hadn't discovered it sooner.

Chuck Bradley said...

Today, after over a year’s absence from this interesting place, I tried their Bun Tom Thit Nuong (BBQ Pork & Shrimp over Rice Vermicelli Noodles and Fresh Veggies and Herbs drizzled with their House Sauce.) I’ve had similar dishes at Super Pho and Kim Huong. Saigon Restaurant can hold its head up among such excellent competition.