Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

Khai Vietnamese Nouveau

655 Townsend St. Send to Phone
Upscale Vietnamese prix-fixe multi-course tasting menus offered via two seatings each night.

Dinner Tues.-Sat.
  • Dress code: Casual
  • Reservations suggested

* Click here for rating key

Khai Vietnamese Nouveau, San Francisco, CA

Khai Vietnamese Nouveau Restaurant Review

About the restaurant: With his eponymous restaurant Khai Vietnamese Nouveau, chef Khai Duong brings upscale tasting menu dining to a growing population of premium Asian restaurants on Townsend Street in San Francisco's Design District. A single row of seven tables lines the thin L-shaped room created by a large curtain and bank of windows, evoking the feel of eating in a hallway. Seatings are explicitly limited to 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. each night, and service begins when the last diners, or the appointed hour, arrives, and everyone is served simultaneously.

Likes: Heritage inspired international flavors, creative presentation, obvious attention to detail.
Dislikes: Covering the kitchen in curtain and the narrow format makes one feel they are eating in a hallway.

Food & Drinks: Courses (10 for $95) are often inspired by Duong's Vietnamese heritage, or leverage interesting spices and products from the region and its borders. Some ingredients are shipped over by his family. A starter seaweed salad, we are told, is from his hometown. Presentations are artful; mushroom pâté is perched on a cluster of coral. Flavors and textures are well integrated while still distinct; fried quail with Saigon spice on a mound of zucca mashed potatoes and butterfish prepared with turmeric, a dish Duong credits to a Hanoi chef he respects, show nicely. Dessert of durian roll with coconut milk is modestly sweet with pleasant tropical notes. A short list of wines, appropriately curated for the food, is available if desired.
GAYOT has uncovered the best restaurants in (and around) San Francisco for you to enjoy right now
Top 25 Restaurants in San Francisco to Eat at Right Now

San Francisco is buzzing with everything from craft cocktail bars to eateries inspired by destinations around the globe. Discover the hottest restaurants in San Francisco.


GAYOT's Annual Restaurant Awards honor America's best chefs, as well as promising newcomers and a top restaurateur.