Taste: Dining Out: Where We’re Eating: Le Viet

Le Viet  Bella Vista
There’s no shortage of Vietnamese restaurants near the Italian Market, but few offer backdrops this elegant. Dramatic sprays of pink flowers in tall glass vases, tile-and-textured-stone walls and muted lighting take this newcomer to the next level. While the menu is more compact than those at some of its neighbors, the bold flavors still satisfy. A lively green papaya salad tossed with dried beef (pictured) offered just the right amount of fiery zing, while cubes of “shaken” beef stir-fried over watercress were remarkably tender; the chicken and fresh ginger cooked in a clay pot was also a winner. Insider tip: Try one of the refreshing tropical drinks, like the salty lime soda. 1019 South 11th Street, 215-463-157, levietrestaurant.com.