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BEST VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT Minneapolis 2010 - Saigon Restaurant and Bakery - CLOSED

Saigon Restaurant and Bakery

Saigon Restaurant and Bakery

704 University Ave.

St. Paul, MN 55103


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Now that it has settled into its newer, cleaner, bigger digs on University Avenue, the workmanlike Saigon Restaurant and Bakery has gotten back to its business of cranking out the Twin Cities' best bánh mì sandwiches. These crunchy treats combine various artifacts of French cuisine (baguette, pâté, mayonnaise) with Vietnam's favorite ingredients (grilled pork, cilantro, hot peppers) for a pan-global, post-colonial explosion of flavor—and crumbs. At just $3.50 per, Saigon's are not only the best around but also some of the best priced. In fact, the restaurant's entire menu, while perhaps not as thoughtful as those of perennial winners Quang and Ngon, is ridiculously affordable. The only item that will run you more than $10 is a 10-pound bowl of brothy pho. That one's $15, but if you can finish it, it's free, as is the "I Am the Pho-King!" T-shirt you'll get to commemorate the feat.

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Saigon sings to the taste buds of inexperienced Minnesotans: foreign food slathered in sugar. If you're looking for authentic Vietnamese that won't give you diabetic shock then head to Quang in Minneapolis or Que Nha in St. Paul.

As for banh mi, Truang Nam and Ha Tien in St. Paul are much better than the dry, stale sandwiches available at Saigon. Obviously City Page's food critics and voters have yet to muster up the courage to actually venture into any of the restaurants along Eat Street and University Ave that real diners go to when they plan to dine on authentic food.

A word to bread lovers, having at one point worked for Breadsmith on Grand Ave and partaken of baked goods at various cafes along that street, I can hands down say that the baguettes and croissants at any Vietnamese bakery far outshines the chewy bread and lackluster bakery items of any high priced Grand Ave establishment.