Discover the Charm of Thuy Ta House – An Interesting Historic Structure in Hanoi

Uncover fascinating facts about the oldest eatery constructed along the shoreline of Vietnam's instantly recognisable Hoan Kiem Lake.


Thuy Ta House is a unique property situated on the stunning shores of Hoan Kiem Lake. From the east, Thuy Ta boasts a remarkable resemblance to a sleek 50-meter ship, elegantly docked at the start of Le Thai To Street.

 Thuy Ta House is an ideal rendezvous for the coffee of Hanoians. Photo: Nha hang Thuy Ta

Thuy Ta shines brilliantly amidst the illuminated city, capturing the attention of onlookers. Serving as a prominent symbol since its inception on December 30, 1936, this architecturally refined building stands as a significant landmark in the capital city.

The Iconic Restaurant is located on Hoan Kiem Lake.

Established in 1958, Thuy Ta Restaurant is a renowned eatery located on the bank of Hoan Kiem Lake. The name “Thuy Ta” translates to “pavilion over the water”, reflecting the restaurant’s unique setting. With three lush gardens and two spacious indoor dining rooms, Thuy Ta can comfortably accommodate up to 450 diners. It has become a popular culinary destination for the sophisticated Trang An (Hanoian) people. Offering a diverse range of breakfast dishes such as beef noodle soup, chicken noodle soup, and Hoang Pho sticky rice, Thuy Ta also provides nutritionally balanced lunches specifically crafted for office workers.

Thuy Ta Restaurant is proud to offer an extensive banquet menu catering to a range of occasions. Whether you’re gathering with family, going on a romantic date, or hosting a meeting with friends or business partners, we have something to suit everyone’s tastes.

Our menu features a delightful selection of dishes, including not just traditional Vietnamese specialties, but also delectable options such as American beef grilled on volcanic rock, Hokkaido scallops, Atlantic cod, and a variety of imported wines.

Experience a memorable dining experience at Thuy Ta Restaurant, where our diverse menu and inviting atmosphere will leave you satisfied and wanting to return for more.

The Thuy Ta House in 1963. File Photo

Thuy Ta Restaurant is an excellent venue for showcasing the art of “culinary diplomacy” due to its exquisite traditional flavors and prime central location. The restaurant had the honor of hosting prestigious international delegations during the 2006 APEC Summit, where Vietnamese cuisine took center stage.

Discover the incredible offerings of the Thuy Ta building! As Vietnam’s esteemed ice cream institution with a rich legacy spanning nearly 70 years, Thuy Ta holds an iconic status in Hanoi’s culinary landscape. Visitors flock to the city for a taste of this legendary treat, often advising one another to indulge in Thuy Ta ice cream while exploring the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake.

In the hearts of many elder residents of Hanoi, fond memories of their childhoods still linger – memories of blissful family outings by the lake, where they savored the delectable Thuy Ta ice cream. As they grew older, they reminisce about the joy of taking the electric tram with friends to savor this treasured treat every summer.

During the 1980s, the State-owned store located in the iconic Thuy Ta building pioneered the introduction of exquisite ice cream glasses, setting them apart from standard popsicles. Initially offering 14 flavors, Thuy Ta has now expanded its repertoire to include approximately 50 ice cream products. These delectable treats are meticulously crafted using contemporary production methods while staying true to the traditional essence of Vietnamese fruits such as lemon, orange, strawberry, durian, coconut, among others.

 The magnificent view of the restaurant from the opposite side of Hoan Kiem Lake. Photo: Dao Hien 

Thuy Ta House was designed by:

During the 1930s, there was a need for renovation in the vicinity of Hoan Kiem Lake. Some of the houses in the area had aged and required replacement with a modern building that would blend in with the surrounding architectural landmarks, such as the Ngoc Son temple and the Thap But (Pen) tower. The proposed new building was intended to serve as a rental facility offering bars, cafes, and dance halls for the community.

The financing and development of the city’s design and construction was not carried out by the municipal government. Instead, a comprehensive package contract was awarded, requiring each bid to include a design proposal. The contract was granted to the successful bidder, who assumed the responsibility for financing the construction and was also granted the rights to operate the building for an extended duration.

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Successful Bid for Thuy Ta Building in Prime Capital Location

Despite the immense investment required, only three bidders expressed interest in acquiring the Thuy Ta building – the most coveted location in the capital. After a thorough evaluation process, the bid evaluation committee selected Nguyen Huy Ai’s dossier from 51 Hang Dao Street as the winning bid.

Nguyen Huy Ai, an esteemed individual, met all the necessary criteria and has been granted the exclusive right to operate the Thuy Ta building for a period of 14 years – from 1936 to 1950.

It’s a wonderful space for ice cream. Photo: Nha hang Thuy Ta

The renowned Thuy Ta House is said to have been designed by architect Vu Duc Dien.

Architect Vu Duc Dien (1906 – 1961) was a highly regarded figure in the field. He pursued his architectural education at the prestigious Indochina School of Fine Arts from 1929 to 1934. During his time at the school, he had the privilege of studying alongside Nguyen Xuan Tung, a notable figure who went on to co-design the iconic Quan Su Pagoda in Hanoi.

According to a newspaper article, the Thuy Ta building was allegedly designed by French architect Lagisquet. The article also includes a copy of the original drawing of the Thuy Ta facade, which is signed by notable individuals such as the Resident-Superior of Tonkin, Auguste Tholance, Mayor Henri Virgitti, and the draughtsman, Lagisquet, secretary of the committee.

François Lagisquet served as deputy mayor of Hanoi for a two-year term from April 24, 1934 to April 25, 1936. During this time, he contributed to the improvement of the original draft, despite regulations suggesting that it would be unlikely for him to work for Nguyen Huy Ai both as an official and as a secretary.

Thuy Ta House offers a great view overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake. Photo: Nha hang Thuy Ta

The conclusion drawn from the aforementioned evidence is that the esteemed Thuy Ta House was collaboratively constructed by renowned Vietnamese architects Vu Duc Dien and Nguyen Xuan Tung. Additionally, credit is attributed to French architect Francois Lagisquet for overseeing the design process and assuming administrative responsibilities for the Thuy Ta House project.

Located along Hanoi’s iconic Hoan Kiem Lake, Thuy Ta House spans an impressive area of over 800 square meters. With its elegant curved eaves and circular columns gracefully poised above the lake surface, the architectural design of Thuy Ta House epitomizes the timeless beauty of ancient Vietnam. A visit to this enchanting structure transports visitors into the realm of Hanoi fairy tales, leaving an indelible mark on their memories.