Vientiane Bistro Is Now Open in Kensington

The second location of the beloved West Philly spot is serving Lao and Thai cuisine under the El.

vientiane bistro chicken laab

Chicken laab at Vientiane Bistro | Photo by Alex Jones

Lao cuisine has come to Kensington. Vientiane Bistro, the first offshoot of long-running West Philly favorite Vientiane Cafe, is now open at 2537 Kensington Avenue.

The BYO bistro will serve the same menu as the 47th and Baltimore location. That means Thai favorites like tom yum soup, pad Thai, fried rice, and panaeng curry as well as Lao specialties like khao poon, grilled pork sausages called sai gawk, and deep-fried catfish.

vientiane bistro interior

Vientiane Bistro | Photo by Alex Jones

“Most Thai restaurants actually have Lao cooks, but Lao food is less common — it’s a smaller country. Everyone is familiar with Thailand,” said Sunny Phanthavong, daughter of founder and chef Daovy Phanthavong and the restaurant’s general manager. “Now, there are lots of Lao places opening in the city. We’re all coming out of our shell.”

Phanthavong said that the family had been pondering a second location for years and originally considered Mount Airy, where many of their West Philly fans had moved over the years. But she decided to push for a move to Kensington, where her partner grew up, when they found a space for rent at Sargent Street and Kensington Avenue — right next door to Cafe Pho Ga Thanh Thanh, known for its chicken pho, and across from Thang Long Noodle, renowned for its beef pho.

vientiane bistro mussels

Spicy lemongrass basil mussels | Photo by Alex Jones

vientiane bistro sausage

Sai gawk (house-made pork sausages) | Photo by Alex Jones

vientiane bistro beef

House-made seen haang (beef jerky) | Photo by Alex Jones

Vientiane Bistro is open from 10:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and is closed Sundays. Check out the menu here.