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“A tourist trap but the food was good”
Review of Kualao Restaurant

Kualao Restaurant
Ranked #16 of 408 Restaurants in Vientiane
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$5 - US$30
Cuisines: Asian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Groups
Dining options: Dinner, After-hours, Lunch, Reservations
Description: Kualao is not just a paragon of Vientiane hospitality, but is also a charming example of French colonial architecture and a treasury of the finest, authentic Lao cuisine. --------- Kualao Restaurant is Vientiane's most popular, internationally recognized, up-scale and authentic Lao food restaurant, where both local and visiting diners bask in an ambience that flawlessly reincarnates the romantic and sophisticated atmosphere of early colonial French Indochina. Kualao is discretely, and conveniently, nestled on the corner of the city's landmark That Dam Intersection, which is known for the famous 'Black Shrine' stupa that sits at the center of the nearby roundabout. The restaurant is housed in a charmingly elegant, vintage villa that, until only decades ago, formed the residential estate of French colonial officials. The restaurant's exterior epitomizes architecture 'a la francaise', invoking thoughts of the society parties, business deals and political intrigue that must have taken place there in the colonial era. The interior, however, whispers the soft Lao overtones of a traditional Southeast Asian interior. The distinctively patterned textiles, the rattan wall rendering, the discrete lighting, the traditionally glazed ceramic plates and the elegant golden cutlery is distinctly Lao and has been fused with modern, international essentials, such as a fully stocked wine cellar and an English language version of the menu. The harmonious blend of East and West is typified by the beautiful female hostesses in their traditional, multi-colored Lao Sinh skirts and the male 'garcons' in their formal, western-style black trousers, white shirts and bow ties. In its days as a prominent colonial estate, the Kualao building played host to Vientiane's elite society. Now, as Vientiane's most prestigious Lao restaurant, it is still the perfect place to meet, relax, enjoy sumptuous food and impeccable service and be captivated by enchanting Lao entertainment. You cannot truly say you have experienced the best that Laos has to offer unless you have dined at Kualao.
Surrey, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
180 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
“A tourist trap but the food was good”
Reviewed 16 April 2014

This place is obviously used by tour groups, so includes a display of local music and dance.

If you are going independently, as we were as this had been recommended by our tour guide and was only a short walk from our hotel, ask to eat in the smaller room which is more like an ordinary restaurant, with a mix of tourists, businessmen and local people. You can still get up and see all the action if you want to.

The food we chose was very good and reasonably priced too.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank PennyH2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kualao, Owner at Kualao Restaurant, responded to this review, 21 August 2014
Dear Thames Ditton,

Appreciate the kind words, will relay your message to the chefs that the food was prepared to your liking. Tourist trap but the food was good and reasonably priced - what a relief! We hope then that it wasn't too much of a "trap"! Thank you again for the positive comments.

Thank you again for taking the time to review. We look forward to your next visit to Kualao. If there is anything that we can help with, please do not hesitate to ask to see the manager/owner.

Thanks,
Kualao Management
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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284 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Polish first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Thai first
  • Any
English first
Chicago, Illinois
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Authentic laotian food. Wonderful service.”
Reviewed 16 April 2014 via mobile

I ate there 3 time during my 10days stay. It serves one of the most authentic lao food without the risk of getting sick as a foreign er. Nice to see white table cloth in a lao restaurant. Hands down for the best lao food in town.

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Al M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kualao, Manager at Kualao Restaurant, responded to this review, 19 June 2014
Thank you for taking the time to review about our restaurant. Your kind compliment is greatly appreciated. I will share your comment with my team, especially our housekeeper, to show her that her hard work in keeping the white table cloth clean is appreciated by our customers.

We hope to see you again soon.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney
Level 6 Contributor
73 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Authentic Lao dining in Vientiane”
Reviewed 14 April 2014 via mobile

Not touristy & quite atmospheric, Kualao restaurant in Vientiane is a good place to enjoy authentic Lao cuisine.
Cocktails & a reasonable wine list (mostly French) round out the drinks menu, and the large menu of mainly Lao food sourced locally is inventive & very fresh. The fish from the Mekong river is served fried, steamed or grilled & is delicious. The fish soup is wonderfully aromatic & tasty.
Service is unobtrusive but good (if a little slow, but when you're on holidays it doesn't matter).
Each night live traditional Lao music is played by accomplished musicians as well as traditional Lao dancing.
Obviously not as cheap as some of the smaller restaurants, but good value in my opinion.

Helpful?
Thank suzanf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kualao, Owner at Kualao Restaurant, responded to this review, 21 August 2014
Dear Suzanf,

We are enormously delighted that you had a fantastic time at our restaurant. We will relay your message to the chefs that they prepared the meal to your liking. We are in the process of updating our wine list to include Spanish, Italian, German, Portugese, American and other international wines.

We hope to be able to manage our staff better to ensure that your service is more prompt and attentive than it had been while you were here.

Thank you again for taking the time to leave comments. If you would like to speak with us privately and directly, please do not hesitate to email us at reservation@kualaorestaurant.com. We look forward to your next visit to Kualao.

Thanks,
Kualao Management
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington Dc
Level 6 Contributor
217 reviews
138 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
“Very nice place to have a taste of Lao food, dance and music”
Reviewed 20 March 2014

The restaurant is located in a very large and old colonial house. It is patronized by locals as well as expats and tourists. The main dining room tables are set around a small stage and in the evening they have Lao music and dancing and one can enjoy the shows while having dinner. We opted for the set menu but when it was explained to us it was heavy with meats and we asked if we could substitute to have some fish and they very happily agreed to and came up with a local grilled fish which was very nice. I had read that Lao food can be rather spicy and at Kualao they know how to cook for non-natives like us and the dishes had a kick but did not blow your nostrils off. I am sure that if you like spicier food they probably can knock it up a notch, since there were many locals having dinner the evening that we were there. I would say that only about 25% were tourist or expats, the rest looked locals from Lao. A couple of dishes that we liked besides the fish were the duck and green chili, and the crispy pork. The entire meal was really delicious and very tasty. We had the local beers to go with the meal and it was quite nice. Also the place is very clean and it feels good when you walk in.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank IDC637
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kualao, Owner at Kualao Restaurant, responded to this review, 21 August 2014
Dear IDC637,

Delighted to hear that you had a great time. We will relay your message to the wait staff who did a great job to accommodate your preferences.

And yes, you have confirmed a fact that is contrary to what some people say about Kualao being a tourist trap; we are actually frequented by more locals and expats than tourists are our prices are quite affordable.

Thank you again for taking the time to leave comments. If you would like to speak with us privately and directly, please do not hesitate to email us at reservation@kualaorestaurant.com. We look forward to your next visit to Kualao.

Thanks,
Kualao Management
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Columbus, Ohio, USA
Level 6 Contributor
684 reviews
284 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 246 helpful votes
“A tourist restaurant but ok”
Reviewed 2 March 2014

It was a good chance to try a large variety of Lao food. We had several choices of veggie dishes, good spring rolls, and one of our party had a deep fried fish dish which he enjoyed. Fruit finished the set menu. We do not know the cost because it was part of our tour package.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank teachers55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kualao, Owner at Kualao Restaurant, responded to this review, 21 August 2014
Dear teachers55,

Thank you for taking the time to leave comments. If you would like to speak with us privately and directly, please do not hesitate to email us at reservation@kualaorestaurant.com. We look forward to your next visit to Kualao.

Thanks,
Kualao Management
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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