One of the most perfect meals I've ever had was at Green Tangerine in Hanoi. In fact, the food, ambiance, and service were so extraordinary, I returned for dinner on my last night in town.
My favorite way to experience food at an exceptional restaurant is to sample several starters in lieu of a main dish. Of course, I always save room for dessert.
Starter 1: Tri-color, Tri-flavor Soup
onions cooked in red wine, young rice in coconut milk, and spicy dry beef in pho broth
Starter 2: Beef Carpaccio
beef marinated in balsamic vinegar mixed with red wine and red fruits, topped with fried Camembert and herbs
Starter 3: Fig Tempura
Fig tempura stuffed with goat cheese, bacon, nuts, and grapes presented on Vietnamese spices bread
meringue with passion fruit cream, topped with dark chocolate shavings
I cannot say enough good things about this restaurant. Both of my experiences there were highlights of my Hanoi visit. Moreover, it is virtually the only place in the Old Quarter where one can escape the city's chaos and actually relax.