Food Fight: Dalat Restaurant

Image courtesy of Donna Iadipaolo

Dalat Restaurant has been in the area for over 30 years, first starting in Ypsilanti, and more recently moving to Ann Arbor. You can find Dalat at Woodland Plaza, right off of Main Street and Ann Arbor-Saline Road. 

In Ypsilanti, Dalat began on the corner of Ballard Street and West Cross Street. It then relocated to the historic downtown Ypsilanti area on the corner of Huron Street and Michigan Avenue in 2000. It again moved to its current location in Ann Arbor in October 2018. Many people in Ann Arbor were elated when they moved from Ypsilanti to Ann Arbor.

Image courtesy of Donna Iadipaolo

Dalat in Ann Arbor

A nice family operates it and takes tremendous pride in their food quality as well as their friendly service. Their menu includes fresh rolls, rice dishes, noodle bowls, stir-fries, soups, salads, vegetarian entrees, desserts, and other specialties. 

While they do not have a kid’s menu, their prices are quite reasonable and I have witnessed many children sharing their dishes, which are plentiful and oftentimes extremely healthy.

The best-known Vietnamese dish is probably the noodle soup dish, Pho, which Dalat offers in numerous varieties. The chicken pho dish tastes like homemade chicken soup, and the broth is delicate, complex, and not overly salted. Their beef pho has nice thin slices of meat as well as another delicate not overly salted broth. There are also spicy and vegetarian pho dishes available. The very thin rice noodles nicely accompany the serene broth in pho, which are always enjoyable. 

One of the most wonderful things about the pho is that they bring you a beautiful plate of savory accompaniments that you can place in your soup as you desire. There are mint, cilantro, jalapeño peppers, lime, and lots of bean sprouts that make fine individualized additions.

It is believed by some that Pho has French colonists’ influences from when the country maintained a presence in the 1880s. Others believe there are Chinese influences in the dish as well. Still, others maintain it is distinctly Vietnamese in nature.

Image courtesy of Donna Iadipaolo

Some of the Best Dishes at Dalat

One of my favorites is the “Phở hoặc Mì gà”, also known as “Number 10”. It is a chicken-based broth with poached chicken, bean sprouts, onions, and cilantro. The broth might be my favorite part of the soup because it is delicate, savory, and fragrant all at the same time. The Number 11, formally named “Phở tái nạm”, is also very popular. This is a Traditional Vietnamese beef-based soup with rice noodles and medium/well-done beef brisket topped with onions and cilantro. Their “Hủ tiếu hoặc mì chay,” or Number 41, is Dalat’s vegetarian rice noodle soup with deep-fried tofu and mixed vegetables.

In addition, their different spring rolls, egg rolls, and rice paper rolls are fun and flavorful. The Gỏi cuốn is a fresh shrimp roll with chicken, shrimp, lettuce, bean sprouts, cilantro (or mint leaves), and rice vermicelli wrapped in steam paper. These rolls are served cold with a peanut sauce for dipping. Their “Chả giò” are deep-fried spring rolls filled with chicken, thin transparent noodles, black mushrooms, shredded cabbage, and carrots. This roll is served with a Vietnamese sweet and sour dipping sauce.

Their chicken wings have a nice lemongrass flavor, as does their chicken lemongrass stir fry. People also rave about their vegetarian menu.

The ambiance of the restaurant is calming, with one particular focus being a painting of farmers in the countryside harvesting crops. The art piece is full of fluorescent colors and includes nice details of the Vietnamese countrymen, hut, mountains, and beautiful sky. It evokes a simpler time in nature, which is a beautiful landscape to contemplate while enjoying a gourmet Vietnamese meal.

2216 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. 734-487-7600.

The Short Course

Kid-friendly: The menu has many fun items for kids such as soups, stir-fry, and salad. And bubble tea!
Kids’ menu: No specific kids’ menu, but prices and meals are great to share with children.
Anything healthy for kids: Many items are healthy, especially chicken soup and salads.
Food allergy concerns: Can accommodate, ask the server.
Noise Level: Moderate inside.
Bathroom Amenities: Clean and manageable.
Highchairs: Available.
To Avoid the Wait: They can seat you right away.