When craving an American-style "gourmet" hamburger on a toasted bun, smothered in cheese, fixings, and a side of fries there is only one place to go in Saigon: Black Cat. Located at 13 Phan Van Dat in District 1. Sometime last month we got the first urge and we were pleasantly surprised.
Following a common trend here in Vietnam, the menu is exhaustively extensive and ranges from breakfast classics and sandwiches to classic dinner roasts and Mexican food. Breaking from local tradition, the staff is friendly and the atmosphere is inviting and relaxed.
Gavin and I were in the mood for burgers on our first visit. If you are feeling superbly gluttonous, the "Big Cheese" is a daunting, 1.5 kilo burger that will instantly harden your arteries and land a picture of your ambitious deed on the wall. As usual, we shied from competition and Gavin opted for the "Garfield", which luckily had nothing to do with assassinated presidents or corpulent cats, and everything to do with bacon, cheddar cheese, fresh ruby-red tomatoes, and a hunk of ground beef.
I went for the veggie burger with a side of mixed greens. I was delighted by the patty, which was obviously made fresh on-site as it was crammed full of vegetable chunks.
Our return visit came soon enough. A creature of habit, Gavin went with what he knew, ordered a Garfield, and procaimed half way through his meal that it was even tastier than last time.
I went out on a unstable limb and ordered the Mission-style veggie burrito. It was quite filling and fleetingly cured my endless hankering for Mexican food. I also loved the tarro chips on the side.
According to a boastful sign out front, CNN has deemed the Black Cat one of the top ten restaurant experiences in the world. Hyperbole aside, you can find good burgers at the Black Cat.