Best Vietnamese Restaurant - 2001
Ana Mandara - CLOSED
There aren't many Vietnamese restaurants as elegant as Ana Mandara. Le Colonial, its closest competitor, has the edge when it comes to ambient luxury, but it doesn't have Ana Mandara's dazzling sense of French Imperial retro-whimsy: the curved staircases, the burbling fountains, the cushioned wicker, the voluptuous icons, the acres of polished marble amid a jungle of palm fronds. The food's better, too -- crisp, lively, pleasantly pan-cultural, and among the best in the city. Examples: the house cocktail of lemongrass-infused vodka with mint and orange peel; striped-bass seviche with chili-shallot-cucumber oil; a Dungeness crab cake baked in green bamboo; lobster ravioli touched with cilantro and ginger; mango sorbet with grapefruit, orange, and tea-infused dates. The attentive and attractively brocaded waitstaff doesn't hurt either.