The Lunch Lady

4.5
168 reviews
CAN$30 and under
Vietnamese
Since 1995, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Thanh, most famously known as the legendary lunch lady, has served rotating daily noodle soups to Saigon locals and world travellers. 

“It’s like discovering new neighbourhoods every few mouthfuls.”
- Anthony Bourdain on Mrs. Thanh’s soups, No Reservations

It has always been a dream of hers to share her food with the world. The moment she met Victoria it was an instant connection—two “lunch ladies” with the same passion. Now, Victoria’s Five Elements restaurant turns a new leaf, becoming the home of Lunch Lady in Vancouver. The humble and inspiring story of Lunch Lady takes its next steps in a city that champions culinary diversity in hopes of introducing the true flavours of Vietnam.

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitising
  • Surfaces sanitised between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitised menu provided
  • Sanitiser or wipes provided for customers
  • Contactless payment available
Physical distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Distancing maintained in common areas
  • Extra space between tables
Protective equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
  • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
  • Staff temperature check required
  • Contact tracing information collected
  • Proof of vaccination required to dine indoors
What 168 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
Food
4.5
Service
4.3
Ambience
4.1
Value
Noise · Moderate
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A
Aloha
Vancouver
2 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2021
Overall3Food3Service3Ambience3

The garlic noodles with egg were salty and over-fishy. The vegetable stir fry was bland. The steak. pork skewers and churros, as always, were great. Cocktails are overpriced, IMO.

JS
JeremyS
Vancouver
2 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2021
Overall4Food5Service4Ambience4

Great food as always and the staff are friendly. Only complaint was having to wait outside in the cold for 20 minutes past our reservation time. Not a great way to start your experience.

JL
JenniferL
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on November 20, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Great server-explained everything to us. Checked in regularly. Manager was super too. our table wasn’t ready so they comped some taro chips which was nice and unexpected. Love all the food. Will definitely be back.

H
Hazel
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on November 20, 2021
Overall2Food1Service3Ambience1

My reservation was at 5pm but the door did not open until 5:05pm. Food was overwhelming and one of the kitchen staff had his mask down for the entire time I was there. I had to wait over 35 minutes to receive my last dish after the first one. By the time I’ve got my last order, I literally lost my appetite.

JW
JakeW
1 review
Dined on November 19, 2021
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience3

Amazing food. Wonderful staff. Felt rushed with courses coming quickly after one another.

FS
FranckS
Vancouver
2 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2021
Overall4Food3Service4Ambience3

Great place with a decent menu, but the cocktails menus is obviously their forte.
We were seated near the back patio door which pretty much ruined the dinner date as we were both too cold to enjoy anything.

N
vipNghopgood
Vancouver
8 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience4

Food and drinks were unique and delicious and service was impeccable and attentive ! The restaurant itself is more casual than I expected and less of a “vibe” because of the whiter lighting- you definitely go there for the food and its worth it!

B
Barbar
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2021
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience4

food was pretty good but very small portions lol don’t go if you are super hungry

CF
CarolF
Vancouver
5 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience4

We ordered the beef carpaccio, crispy shrimp, steak luc lac and garlic noodles for our dinner. Everything was delicious, especially the steak luc lac which was buttery, tender and cooked perfectly. The crispy shrimps had perfectly crunchy shells and juicy flesh. I'm already planning to have dinner here again soon, I enjoyed the food so much!

V
Vero
1 review
Dined on October 31, 2021
Overall3Food2Service4Ambience4

I have been wanting to go to Lunch Lady for a while as it is in my neighborhood and I like Vietnamese food a lot. My feeling was that this place is very hyped. The food was average but pricey for what it was. There are better places in Vancouver in the same genre.

FJ
FoodieJo
Vancouver
10 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2021
Overall4Food4Service5Ambience4

Its a bit overpriced, pho and steak luc lac was good, my suggestion is to serve them at a hotter temperature. Steak and the watercress did not go well together, I’d suggest a different side, maybe eggs or a different salad on the side.

K
Kapok
1 review
Dined on October 22, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Service staff recommended an off menu Cocktail that was phenomenal. Food came quickly and was delicious front to back. I highly recommend the Steak Luc Loc.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Vancouver
33 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

The food was sensational and our server surprised us with a dessert for my birthday! Great place for date night!

The prawns were delicious! Way tastier than we imagined. The clams and mussels were huge! So scrumptious!! Fried rice was also exceptionally yummy! Thank you for a wonderful evening, Lunch Lady!! 🙏🏼💕✨

AG
AlejandroG
1 review
Dined on October 20, 2021
Overall1Food1Service1Ambience1

We were there waiting to have our table for 30 minutes, we decided to leave. People that arrived after us were seat first. Just annoying

S
Speakingonbehalfof
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on October 14, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience4

Mussels!!! With chinese doughnuts for dipping.
Hot pot, fried rice, spring rolls - 100% loved it.
Wine was reasonably priced. Beer perfectly curated.
Can't wait to go back.

MD
MaxineD
1 review
Dined on October 10, 2021
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience2

Great place to enjoy a meal with inventive Vietnamese dishes!

KA
KatAmp
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Definitely recommend dining in with a group! The appetizers were exquisite, especially the Pho Marrow. Not as messy as you might think, and I love the hands-on experience of serving my table beautiful bone marrow-topped biscuits. The garlic fried noodles are also a must have among their mains! That sous vide egg… delicious!

Also, the cocktails. My table tried almost all of them. W o w ! The lychee passion was beautiful and frothy and not too sweet. Can’t go wrong with the other fruity drinks either. My friends loved them. If you like more bitter flavours, get the café negroni. Exquisite infusion of Campari and Vietnamese coffee.

Excited to come back again and introduce this wonderful corner with other friends.

r
vipraloe
Vancouver
5 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2021
Overall2Food3Service1Ambience3

Heard a lots of good experiences from this restaurant so we give it a try.
Food is so so and most are salty.
The worst things is the server isn’t professional at all. The attitude is so rude towards customer.
I’m asking for recommendations for drink for my girl.
He told me he don’t know and said I do not know your girl. Really so oh my god.
At the end of the dinner, we want to pay and go.
There is a sign in the front door showing visa master and AMerican Express sign.
Which mean restaurant should took all above payment.
I used my American Express but not successful.
I asked my server, his attitude is so rude.
Of course cannot, we are not taking AE. Ok big sign in your door. How should your customer know ?
Sorry his tone and attitude is so bad.
Overall not a good experience.

SY
vipSYoung
Toronto
10 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience4

Get the garlic noodles and ribeye dish

L
vipLola54
Vancouver
23 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

The food and service really made celebrating a double birthday the best birthday dinner! We tried so many things on the menu including the bone marrow with shooters.... very delicious and messy :) The sous vide rib eye, butterflied prawns and fried rice were absolutely delicious!!! We had excellent service and all the servers were extremely knowledgeable about the food. Don't miss all the creative cocktails!

YY
vipYYCFoodie
Calgary
23 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Really neat place. Was glad we got in for dinner. Everything was pretty good especially the pho. Would like to go back for lunch to try their daily soups!

EJ
ErinJT
1 review
Dined on September 16, 2021
Overall4Food4Service5Ambience5

Food was very tasty and cocktails were excellent and creative. We loved the pork skewers and garlic noodles. Pho soup was good but not outstanding. A bit on the pricier side. Service was excellent.

A
Amie
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on September 15, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Come with a group of friends so you can order a bunch of things so you can all try everything, since all the dishes are absolutely delicious! Loved the ambience (R&B music for the win) and vibe of the place. Definitely coming back!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Vancouver
2 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Had a fabulous birthday dinner

B
B3333
Calgary
1 review
Dined on September 9, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

One of my new favourites!

E
Edwina
Vancouver
7 reviews
Dined on August 28, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Fantastic service and delicious food. Service speed was as fast as you would expect in a traditional Chinese restaurant, but with the hospitality and friendliness we’re accustomed to in Vancouver. The best of both worlds. Parents loved the food and said they can see why this place is so busy. Normally they just say things like “it’s ok” or “pretty good”, but it was obvious they really enjoyed the food because they gave actual compliments. We also appreciate how the waitress described the 3 layer dessert and advised us to eat a bit of everything in a bite. It really made a difference to how much we enjoyed it.

LR
LaceyR
Vancouver
3 reviews
Dined on August 22, 2021
Overall4Food4Service4Ambience4

Great food. Great service! Look forward to going back again.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Vancouver
24 reviews
Dined on August 21, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Amazing service from Jean.
Ben was amazing as usual.
Must try….

T
Tiffany
Toronto
3 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2021
Overall4Food4Service5Ambience5

This was my first time going to Lunch Lady and I was expecting more of the typical family restaurant but the bar and kitchen setup is really clean and modern! We tried their pho ga (daily soup - only 50 portions available each day), lime soda, and bo luc lac steak. The pho ga was the best item since it was made the authentic way you would find in vietnam. I. can't wait to try all their other daily soups. The steak was also very flavourful. Overall I would definitly recommend this spot if youre in town!

PN
PaulineN
1 review
Dined on August 6, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Fast efficient and great service / highly recommend- the vegan Pho was fantastic

L
Leslie
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on August 6, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Still thinking about the food the next day. Everything we tried was excellent and we are already talking about what we will try on our next visit

SS
SeanS
Vancouver
5 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2021
Overall3Food3Service4Ambience4

Based on the fact that the menu is Vietnamese “street food”
The prices are high and portions a little small for what you pay
Rice is also an additional cost if you want it.
Great flavours but we came away still hungry after ordering 5 dishes for two people

SL
StephanieL
1 review
Dined on July 29, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Yummy dishes, Vietnamese style with a modern twist.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on July 25, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Excellent food and service!

C
Carrie
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on July 23, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience5

Always delicious and a great place to meet up with friends.
The garlic noodles are my weakness. So good!

C
veronicaC
Vancouver
4 reviews
Dined on July 17, 2021
Overall4Food4Service3Ambience4

Fantastic food and drinks. Good ambience. Fun place to eat with friends.

RM
RejeanM
1 review
Dined on July 17, 2021
Overall3Food3Service4Ambience4

Lunch Lady is a great addition on the up and buzzing end of Commercial Drive, right between Venables street and the Britannia Park. The restaurant is set in one of the oldest building of the street, the atmosphere is a mixture of modern-cozy and fits perfectly in the eclectic Commercial Drive signature . The patio outside is set on the less busy side street with a picturesque wall painting as a background, truly gives value to the modo "Authentic Vietnamese street food". The food itself is a fusion of traditional vietnamese flavors presented with a West Coast flair. We tried the grilled-seared Cod (served on bed of fennels herbs, with rice noodle and crispers, shrimp paste sauce and chopped peanuts) , the deep Fried prawns served butterfly with their whole shells and mild spicy dip (real good), and the mixed green stirred chinese brocoli with tofu skins (good too). Overall, dishes are original and good, though everything was a bit salty to our taste (we returned the garlic chow mein noodles for that reason).

Atmosphere is really great, and the service was excellent, attentive and readily available.
Enjoy with friends, family or a date (at the bar recommended for that).

M
Michelle
Edmonton
8 reviews
Dined on July 15, 2021
Overall5Food4Service5Ambience4

The service was amazing! We had an amazing waiter and other members of staff were really attentive as well. You know the staff are providing attentive service when your water is always topped up! The service alone was stellar for me!
The food was really on point and delicious.
We are used to and more accustomed to a specific pho broth that we absolutely love in Alberta, so we were not accustomed to the pho. But the portion was huge!
My Pho Bo Sate (sate pho w/oxtail) was very rich and flavourful. We really enjoyed that.
All our other dishes were wonderful and definitely worth trying:
Cha Goi Chay (veg spring roll w/rice wrapper) - love the crunch of the rice paper wrapper. Delish!
Pho Chay (vegan pho w/sous vide egg - serious depth of flavour sans meat!
Tom Chien Gion (tiger prawns) - the shell was still attached, but deep fried and these were seriously tasty!
Bo Tai Chanh (beef carpaccio) - a dish with all the flavours of salty, sweet, and savoury with all the textures from the soft, tender beef to the crispy crunch of the fried shallots and fresh crisp onion.
Nghau Xao Dua (clams in coconut cream) - large, juicy clams in a beautifully balanced coconut cream sauce accompanied with a banh mi (Vietnamese style bread, similar to a baguette)
Steam Luc Lac (ribeye) - how can you ever go wrong with a ribeye? Seared perfectly and then torched, this dish was simply perfect! It was served with a side of watercress salad drizzled with a savoury & acidic vinaigrette that I personally love!

Highly recommend!

k
vipkk821
Vancouver
135 reviews
Dined on July 15, 2021
Overall2Food2Service1Ambience2

Honestly this place is so overrated. Where to begin….the food was mediocre. I’ve tried many delicious Vietnamese places and this was by far one of the most overrated spots. I’m sure the original one in Vietnam is delicious but this one was just…nothing special. The worst part of all was the service. The waitress kept coming up to us to rush us, even saying to us “just so you know, we have another reservation coming in at 8 so…” implying that we’ll need to get out in 30-mins. To say the least, we rushed eating while she kept coming in to check on our progress. I couldn’t enjoy the meal and left feeling very rushed. I have no plans on returning.

f
vipfoodnuts
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on July 11, 2021
Overall5Food5Service5Ambience4

Everything meets my expectations, will definitely be back !

FAQs

You can order delivery directly from The Lunch Lady using the Order Online button. The Lunch Lady also offers delivery in partnership with Uber Eats. The Lunch Lady also offers takeaway which you can order by calling the restaurant at (604) 559-5938.

The Lunch Lady is rated 4.5 stars by 168 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.