A sizable acquisition of University City’s Italian eatery Abbraccio, has given Benny Lai’s Vietnam Café an enormous amount of extra space to grow. In addition to more restaurant seating, this new expansion will give the once tiny 22 seat cafe an opportunity to establish a banquet facility suitable for private parties, business meetings and other group gatherings from 20 to 250.
At the new Vietnam Café, an off shot of Chinatown’s popular Vietnam Restaurant, designer Jesse Gardner has planned a casual and fun décor of exposed brick and pressed bamboo sticks. Lai is adding his signature menu, authentic Vietnamese cuisine culled from old family recipes. Diners can enjoy crispy spring rolls, pho soups, broken rice platters and traditional Vietnamese meat, seafood and poultry dishes. The menu will also feature customer favorites like the beef noodle soup. The beef is lightly cooked then mixed with noodles that swim in a delectable broth with a hint of spice. After arriving at the table, the beef, engulfed by the noodles, continues to cook.
Lai and Gardner began collaborating in the late 1990s on the renovation of the Lai family’s original Chinatown hotspot, and in 2008 they worked together on the development of University City’s Vietnam Café,
816 S. 47th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19143