A time-tested French restaurant that continues to shine. By Chris Mueller. Photos by Fred Wissink.

There is no shortage of French restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City, but few have been around for as long as Ty Coz. That’s why I’m always surprised when expats say they have never eaten here. Now in its ninth year, this restaurant remains one of the best in town. Run by two French brothers, Richard in the kitchen and Philippe in the dining room, the restaurant hasn’t changed its formula since opening. Because it clearly works.

Each day the offerings, chosen based on what is fresh in the market that morning, are hand-written on a large blackboard. The main dishes change daily and Philippe says since opening, they have created more than 600.

On our most recent visit, that included an imported grilled sea bass (shipped in every Friday). This dish was the most expensive on the menu (VND 850,000) and was served whole with an assortment of stewed vegetable julienne. Here, only the mains are priced, but each comes with an appetiser and dessert. Appetisers include the popular oysters, which have four pieces, each one prepared in a different way — raw or cooked with cheese, for instance.

We also tried the les pétoncles (scallops with pasta for VND 340,000), which was one of the cheaper mains on this day’s menu. The pasta was served in a mound in the centre of the plate and was surrounded by nine fresh scallops, prepared in several different ways.

As if scallops and oysters weren’t rich enough, we ended the meal with a mousse-like homemade brownie and homemade coffee ice cream, served with a shot of espresso.

Located down an alley off of Pasteur Street in District 1, the restaurant primarily uses its third-floor dining room and fourth-floor patio, which gives a stunning view of the spires  of the Notre Dame cathedral. But starting this month, they will open the ground floor to serve lunch specials for around VND 195,000, which are designed as quick meals for working professionals. Also this month they will begin serving cheese fondue and raclette on the first floor.

Probably the most alluring aspect of this restaurant is how unpretentious it is. Despite a complex menu, Philippe works hard to explain it in great detail so that even the uninitiated will feel right at home — something I can’t say about most French restaurants around town.

178/4 Pasteur, D1
08 38 22 24 57
11am-1.30pm and 6-9.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday
11am-2pm and 6-9pm, Sunday
Closed Monday
Tycozsaigon.com