Sydney, NSW

Occupying an elevated outcrop on Coogee’s Arden Street, Banana Palm has been serving authentic Vietnamese cuisine for over a decade. The siblings behind the venue are the wonderfully hospitable Pham trio, all of whom have permanent smiles painted onto their faces. Whilst chef Hai rattles pans in the kitchen, Lily and Tai work the floor, ensuring the dining experience is comfortable and considered. Share a selection of Vietnamese appetisers and follow with a post-dinner stroll along Coogee beach.
Opening Times

260 Arden Street
Tel: +61 2 9665 1212
Asian, Vietnamese
Price Range:
$$$$ ~ $$$$
$$$$ = Mains under $20
$$$$ = Mains $20 - $30
$$$$ = Mains $30 - $40
$$$$ = Mains over $40
Licensed & BYO (wine only)
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Taking its name from the banana palm leaf, which is habitually used in Vietnamese cooking, Banana Palm restaurant is a reliable locale for good food at an affordable price. Its atmospheric sweetness, emblematic of the blossoming sugar bananas that grow within the emerald palm, is a testament to the warm hospitality of the sibling trio (Hai, Lilly and Tai) who operate the venue.

This sentimental banana palm symbol has been used as a decorative accent throughout the restaurant and can be found printed on the bodice of the bar. The rest of the space is equally smart with polished wooden floors, mahogany furnishings and chocolate wooden-framed wicker chairs. Serene photographs featuring snapshots of Vietnam taken by a close family friend hug the ash blonde walls. From long moon shaped boats cruising down the Mekong to an old French colonial style hotel in Saigon, the imagery lends a dignified feel to the space.

Lily fondly recalls that in its early days, the restaurant offered a mix of Thai, Malaysian and Vietnamese fusion cuisine in a carpeted space with soft textile wallpaper (it was the 70s after all). The Pham trio bought the restaurant from their parents and turned it into a Vietnamese-only diner to better reflect their culinary heritage: Their great grandparents hail from North Vietnam, but they grew up in the South where chef Tuan Hai Pham (‘Hai’ for short) notes that “the food is more complex in flavour.” The dishes are predominately influenced by the southern palette, but in the future Hai hopes to transform the menu to reflect the country’s regional culinary landscapes.

We take chef Hai’s advice and order a selection of entrées to share. A fragrant, delicately spiced papaya salad arrives draped in rare beef slices and speckled with coriander and crispy shallots. The combination of meaty petals and crisp papaya, with a furtive chilli kick is a well balanced, texturally pleasing combination.

To follow, fresh Vietnamese prawn and scallop rolls come tightly wrapped in a rice paper casing. The whole peeled prawn peeps through the rice paper, tail fixed behind. They are simple and tasteful. To accompany, seared scallops arrive doused in salted black bean vinaigrette. Perfectly cooked with a hat of julienned seaweed and a lick of chilli, the lightly seared scallops pair pleasingly with the tangy dressing.

As the setting sun dapples through the French colonial bay windows, a calming ambience settles in. It is clear that the trio have honed a relaxed and dependable dining experience.
Sami-Jo Adelman
This restaurant has not scheduled any events.
Please contact the restaurant for further information.
80 pax
Function for 50-100
Suitable for Families with children
Suitable for Functions
Suitable for Groups of 10
This restaurant does not have any awards.
260 Arden Street
Coogee NSW 2034
A minute's stroll from Coogee Beach and just a ten minute drive from the Sydney CBD. Parking on Arden Street.
There are no recommendations for this restaurant.
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Jakub - 2/06/2012
I had my birthday dinner yesterday in the Banana Palm. Had to wait 50 minutes for the entrees to come, then additional 15 minutes for the main. Dishes didn't come together - so I got mine and my girlfriend had to wait for hers another 5 minutes. Didnt get garlic green beans that we ordered - but were charged for it. So not really the best birthday dinner I could wish for. The food itself was good. We would leave the restaurant after 30 minutes of waiting but it was Friday evening so I didnt want to wander around looking for different options.
Michelle - 1/02/2012
The food is excellent- well presented and flavours are fresh and delicious. Service is always spot on and feels very personal. Especially love the duck breast salad and any of the desserts.
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