OneVietnam will be hosting our second Toast of the Town @ Le Colonial on Friday, March 18th. Come eat, drink, and mingle with us and the members of our community! RSVP here.
This month, I had the privilege of visiting Le Colonial and got to sit down with Executive Chef Joseph Villanueva. Hidden on Cosmo Place near San Francisco’s Union Square, Le Colonial is a definite destination spot that offers authentic Vietnamese cuisine with a touch of French influence. From the minute you walk up to this quaint building, the beautifully constructed door immediately captivates you. What’s behind it does not disappoint – even the staircase leading to the patio and restaurant makes you feel like you’re in a completely different time and place.
The restaurant is decorated in a fashion true to the era it represents. Designer Greg Jordan’s use of the patchwork tiled floors, shuttered windows, and antique furniture and decorations transports you to the French Vietnam of the 1920s. As you walk through the restaurant you can see pictures depicting the time lining the walls. The setting is intimate, romantic and relaxing – making Le Colonial an oasis from the hustle and bustle of the city.
What makes this beautiful and already amazing restaurant even better is the food. Executive Chef Joe Villanueva makes dishes like Ga Roti Xao Xa and Thi Kho Chien to perfection. A man who entered the food industry after being laid off from a corporate job, Chef Joe impressively worked his way from busser to executive chef in the first restaurant he ever worked at. Growing up around food and watching cooking shows while his peers were watching cartoons, he had no hesitation when saying that cooking was his calling. His deep understanding of Vietnamese cuisine comes from personal experience as well as influence. Making trips to high-volume Vietnamese areas, like Tully in San Jose, Chef Joe was able to get a real look into the Vietnamese food culture. He also told me that he learned a large amount from a member of his kitchen staff who he endearingly calls “Mama” (you can see her in the video below!). Chef Joe’s passion for cooking and Vietnamese cuisine is more than apparent when you talk to him and see him in action. Standing in the kitchen in the midst of everything, it smelled like home – and that’s the best compliment I can give to a Vietnamese restaurant.
Le Colonial is a place I truly believe that everyone should visit. It really is like a vacation close to home and, with an extraordinary menu and a spectacular setting, you can’t lose. Le Colonial opens from 5:30-10:00pm Sunday – Wednesday and 5:30-11:00pm Thursday – Saturday for dinner. The lounge opens daily at 5:00pm and brunch is served on the weekend from 11:30am-2:30pm. Additionally, the restaurant also offers rooms for private events.
Photos courtesy of Le Colonial