Red Lantern

545 Crown St., Surry Hills

(61 2) 9698-4355

See Website

This is the kind of spot that locals desperately try to keep secret (I know, I used to live around the corner), but this modern Vietnamese restaurant -- founded by brother-and-sister team Luke and Pauline Nguyen in a converted fire-engine red terrace house in 2002 -- has reached cult status. Favorites include Cha Goi (crisp parcels filled with pork, chicken, glass noodles and carrots) and Ca Chien Don (whole shallow fried snapper), and it can be hell getting a reservation for one of the cozy tables. Persevere, though; it’s worth the wait for dishes like roll-your-own rice flour crepes filled with prawns, pork, mung beans and bean sprouts. (Or consider take-out; it’s an option.) The Lantern's little sister, Red Lantern on Riley, is located in nearby Darlinghurst. Expect an even greater emphasis on family-style shared dishes in an elegant Indochine-inspired setting.

Written by Emma Sloley

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