BEST NEIGHBORHOOD CAFÉ (ST. PAUL) - 2003
Saigon Restaurant and Bakery
The amount of love we have for Saigon is pretty much incalculable. Whether it's those crisp and spicy bánh mì sandwiches (French baguettes filled with a combination of Vietnamese and French ingredients, like sweet pickled carrots and spicy liver pâté) to those fragrant brimming bowls of pho or other noodles, we have yet to find a dish at Vietnamese sweetheart Saigon that doesn't dazzle--or a food snob who isn't blown out of the water by the stupendous offerings. In fact, there are times we think that Saigon ranks within the top restaurants in the state, and at a tenth of the price. Yet it's as a neighborhood café that Saigon particularly entrances us. Most neighborhood cafés are great places for neighbors to meet and eat. Saigon is the rare neighborhood café that provides that while also showcasing the Frogtown neighborhood--with the diverse influences of its many Southeast Asian immigrants--to the entire state. Saigon is the neighborhood cafÈ that's the pride of Frogtown, and we're so proud of it.