photo credit: Erin Ng

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$$$$Perfect For:BirthdaysDate NightEating At The Bar
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When every element of something comes together seamlessly, the result can transcend greatness. Lily, an upscale Vietnamese restaurant in the Richmond, knows this, and nails every aspect essential to a fantastic meal: great food and service, and impeccable attention to detail. And that’s why we’d come here for nearly any occasion.

Eating at Lily is a thrilling journey from start to finish. Bold, creative dishes on the one-page menu take front and center, like the jackfruit “pizza” made on a crispy rice cracker, or the whole fried red snapper that’s curled around a bed of kimchi and pineapple chow fun. The dishes are gorgeous without being overly showy—watermelon radishes are cut into flower shapes and used as garnishes alongside edible petals, and a neat mound of broken rice that’s submerged in a little bowl of broth stays miraculously intact.

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photo credit: Erin Ng

But the food here isn’t just stunning to look at. Everything that lands on your table explodes with flavors and textures. Case in point: The colorful shaking beef salad. Tender filet mignon is dressed up with crispy toasted garlic and shallots and tart radishes that cut through the buttery avocado. The drinks are also pumped up with twists—like a strawberry sinh to with Pop Rock-like candy mixed in, or the creamy iced Vietnamese coffee topped with salted duck egg shavings.

The service and space are also keys to Lily’s greatness. Enjoying dinner from a posh red leather booth under the carved wooden panels isn't so far off from sitting in a roped-off VIP lounge. The dining room is intimate but doesn’t feel cramped. And service is personable without feeling overbearing—your water glasses never hit empty, and the chef may be the one to bring your food out or mix your salad together tableside.

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photo credit: Erin Ng

Before your table has been cleared, don’t be surprised if you start plotting an excuse to make another reservation, whether it’s for date night, a family dinner, or a meal to commemorate the fact that your clomping upstairs neighbors just moved out. It’s just what happens when you experience a meal that checks all the boxes, from the service and presentation to really damn good food. 

Food Rundown

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photo credit: Erin Ng

Shaking Filet of Beef Salad

This is one of our favorite dishes on the menu—it’s packed with tons of fresh veggies, from avocados and cucumbers to crisp radishes and baby tomatoes. The filet mignon chunks are perfectly tender, and arrive steaming hot in their own bowl for you to mix into the salad, along with the soft poached egg.
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photo credit: Erin Ng

BBQ Sakura Farms Heritage Pork

This noodle dish comes with banh hoi noodles (vermicelli woven into a rectangular, mat-like shape), and a bowl of charcoal-grilled meatballs, pork belly, and pork shoulder in a broth we wish would appear at our bedside every time we’re sick. Wrap it all in lettuce with fresh herbs and crunchy pickles, and make yourself the perfect bite.
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photo credit: Erin Ng

BBQ Berkshire Pork Chop Broken Rice

Caramelized on the outside, this pork chop practically melts in your mouth when you bite into it. Sorry, but it will ruin all other pork chops for you. You also get a bowl of egg, pork sausage, and shrimp topped with an egg yolk the color of a poppy field, plus a mound of broken rice in a light, flavorful broth. This is simplicity and comfort at its finest.
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photo credit: Erin Ng

Fried Whole Fish

The fish of the day varies—on our recent visit, it was a red snapper. It’s fried whole and arrives perched on a bed of kimchi, saucy pineapple chow fun, and bok choy. This dish is lighter than some of the other more meat-heavy entrées on the menu, and one that should definitely be on your table.
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photo credit: Erin Ng

Vietnamese Coffee

If we could start off every day with this drink, there’s no telling what kinds of caffeine-induced superpowers we’d unlock. We love the layer of thick salted duck egg foam, which adds a nice creaminess when mixed in.

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