Manda de Laos offers elevated Lao home cooking, enjoyed al fresco in the midst of a lovely UNESCO-protected water lily pond. Dishes served are innovative reinterpretations of family recipes handed down from one generation to another.
Sometimes dubbed as Laos’ best restaurant, Manda de Laos attracts
curious travelers and gourmands alike.
Location – 6
Manda de Laos is a 20-minute walk away or a 10-minute tuktuk or car ride from the center of town. If you are not coming from Maison Dalabua, entrance is along a dimly lit alley almost in front of Satri House’s back entrance. Although the crime rate in town is very low, do be careful on your way here, if you’ll come by foot – potholes are difficult to spot in the dark!
Ambience – 8
Come here just in time for sunset. The tranquility and the scene will amaze you – golden rays reflect on the water lily pond; tropical foliage calmly sway with the breeze. As the night gets deeper, conversations tend to get livelier. If you prefer some peace and quiet, head to Manda de Laos before dinner. But, we must admit, the candle lighting is romantic.
Although Manda de Laos claims to be a fine dining restaurant, it seems to be a casual dining establishment for The Passport Out’s standards, as far as food, service, interior design, and ambience are concerned.
Food and Menu – 8
We are all for keeping the element of surprise for our readers. I am pretty sure you’d rather try the food yourself, than live vicariously through our tell-all. But, to give you an idea, I had Set A – the most diverse of the tasting menu sets.
Flavor – 8
Most, if not all, menu items are lightly seasoned. You almost wonder if it really is Lao cuisine you are sampling. Yes, it does cater to taste buds with a delicate palate, but it makes you question the authenticity of the cuisine.
Presentation – 9
Plating was not overtly fancy, but food still looked appetizing.
Price – 7
Manda de Laos offers great value for money based on international standards. For Luang Prabang, though, their food might be a bit overpriced.
Menu Curation – 8
Menu sets need better curation for more variety in flavors and textures, if Manda de Laos is to give a better picture of what Lao cuisine can offer. With the redundancy of flavors and textures in the dishes served, the meal seemed to drag on.
Service – 8
Reservations – 6
Before heading there, do double check if your reservation is confirmed, especially if you have made special arrangements with their contact person. A lot tends to get lost in translation.
The Passport Out Tip: Ask your hotel’s concierge to reserve a table for you, instead of reserving online.
Meal Service – 10
I have food allergies and sensitivities, so menu items needed to be adjusted for my needs. The kitchen staff were more than accommodating of my somehow demanding dietary requirements.
Despite the minimal tweaks, Manda de Laos assured me that flavor was not compromised. A short backgrounder: Lao cuisine is flexible. Ingredients in meat and seafood dishes are easily substituted with soy-based ingredients for vegetarian options. On the other hand, meats and seafood are easily incorporated into traditionally vegetarian dishes.
Verdict – 7.5
Manda de Laos gives an excellent introduction to Lao cuisine. Their food is a good fallback for travelers who are not that adventurous with their dining options. Visitors from East Asian and Western countries would appreciate the delicate flavors in their dishes.
We wouldn’t say that Manda de Laos sets the standard in dining in Luang Prabang, but we would say that it is definitely worth the try.