One of my favorite Buffalo restaurants is turning two years old. Well, actually two years in a new space. Saigon Café has been a staple in Buffalo since 2002. I had a chance to catch up with Manh Le (owner) on Wednesday and ask him a few questions about his Buffalo journey. I asked Le what it means to turn two. He stated, “It really means a lot, we had many challenges with the renovation of the building and have spent a ton of energy updating our menu over the last two years, it’s nice to see everything coming together”.
I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit Vietnam and Thailand. Saigon Café feels like the real deal. I really dig the authentic Vietnamese art that adorns the walls – these are not reproductions. Le informed me how much one of the paintings cost him (in American dollars) that he purchased while in Vietnam, my jaw dropped.
Anytime I was in the mood for an awesome red curry, I used to visit his old restaurant north on Elmwood, near Forest. I remember the menu being limited, but very authentic, consistent and mighty tasty. Fast forward two quick years and Saigon Café offers something for everyone. They take pride in serving fresh vegan, gluten free, seafood, steak as well as bento boxes, Phở and a majority of Vietnamese/Thai classics. Honestly, sometimes it’s tough to make a decision, the menu is that extensive.
I asked Manh Le what is next on the horizon, if he is planning any updates to the restaurant or has any projects in the works. He was a bit hesitant at first, but said his dream is to have a high-end Vietnamese/Thai restaurant in the city Buffalo (dinners from $15-$30). He is currently trying to recruit a very well-known and respected Vietnamese chef. If he can sell Buffalo to the chef, and successfully complete the immigration paperwork, there may be an exciting project in Buffalo’s future.
If you haven’t been to Saigon Café, pop by this Sunday (Sunday, November 20) for a complimentary buffet, a traditional Lion Dance as well as live music, giveaways etc. Say hi and congratulate Le, a local guy who attended Grover Cleveland High School, Buffalo State and is very active in Buffalo’s Vietnamese community (President).
If you can’t make it to the anniversary party and do not live too close to Elmwood, no worries, you can always place an order at www.skipthedishes.com/saigon-cafe.
Sun-Thur 11am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11am-11pm
Saturday and Sunday brunch 11AM-3PM