Ben Nghe St.
Ben Nghe is walking distance from Pham Ngu Lao and offers some fine options. The Stop and Go Cafe remains a sure bet, both to meet other travellers and enjoy a meal, with a menu featuring western breakfasts, burgers, sandwhiches, veggie dishes, hot pots, and softshell tacos with guacamole (if avocados are in season). Hue specialities like Banh Khoai are also on offer, along with frosty bottles of beer. But if you want to go where the locals go, try Chau Loan at the end of Ben Nghe near the traffic circle -- just a noodle shop, but a cut above the rest in terms of quality, attracting a steady Vietnamese clientèle.
There's a brand new Italian restaurant in town, at the top of Ben Nghe Street, that's set to give the other Italian places a run for their money. Mediterraneo D'Hue is run by two bona fide Italians who already run a successful place in Hanoi. The interior of the restaurant is beautifully designed, and they cook pizzas in a traditional brick oven. The prices are a little high, but you're paying for atmosphere, authenticity, and high quality. You'll get Italian specialties here that you wouldn't elsewhere, such as fresh, home-made mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes. The antipasto platters are superb.
Mid-way down Ben Nghe around the corner on Ngueyn Tri Phuong Street is a unique place for Vietnam -- a take-out salad and fresh-juice bar called Missy Roo. They have some tasty salads (Greek, Potato, Pasta) and the fresh carrot juice is recommended, as well as the chocolate mouse. They also serve less-healthy consumables like burgers and beer. One complaint -- they seem to run out of things a lot even in the middle of the day.
Chau Loan: 78 Ben Nghe St, Hue. T: (054) 822 777.
Mediterraneo D'Hue: 7 Ben Nghe, Hue. T: (054) 819 849, F: (054) 819 849. http://www.mediterraneo-hanoi.com
Missy Roo: 62 Nguyen Tri Phuong, Hue. T: (054) 228 628, (0914) 202 421.
Stop and Go Cafe: 18 Ben Nghe, Hue. T: (054) 827 051, (0905) 126 767.