St. Paul >Food & Dining > Mai Village
394 W University Ave, St Paul, MN | Directions 5510344.955600 -93.116713
Neighborhoods: South Frogtown, Thomas - Dale
Salad of Noodles – I have ordered the Viet. salad many times. They brought me the wrong salad which was full of meat, then brought the right salad which had half as much meat but the price is still the same? This is a rip off. They didn't adjust the price or compensate me with more meat, just excuses. Won't go back.
Beautiful surroundings, good food – I wanted to treat an out-of-town cousin to a good meal. I chose Mai Village for it's 'wow factor' with the koi pond and internal pagoda. The food didn't fail me either. It was delicious and our waiter was attentive and helpful. We were all very pleased and my cousin said she'd love to come back again.
They are cheaters and liars!! – I have been there several times due to its closeness. The food is ok. Only until recently my friend reminded me that they already included the 20% tip in the final bill. When I tried to remind the owner that the customers were not reminded of this fact in any aspect, she said "No, they all know that! Some of them are just very generous and double tipped!". But as the fact, me and several friends were never aware of it. Once we realized it, we feel very upset and never went back.
Bad Services – My kids and I love to eat Dim Sum and Mai Village is the closest place to go eat Dim Sum. Everytime we go there it end up to be a regret why we keep going there not because of the food but the services. how could a such a beautiful place with great dim sum have the worst services ever!!! there must not be any management for the restaurant. it almost feels like the place was running by it self. Never fail! wait 30 minutes to get water, wait another 45 minutes to get food and the same person comes by over and over again. we will not go there again unless it manage by someone else.
let down – I had heard a lot about Mai village so I was excited to go there, I eat a lot of Vietnamese food. I was surprised by the decor when I walked in, I am used to eating at Vietnamese places where there are just rows of fold up tables and a few booths, this place was very ornate. The menu was very limited for Vietnamese options, there were plenty of American-Asian options on the menu, but those did not interest me. I wanted pork chops, they were out, I want an app, they were out. I ended up getting the pho. My food was small for the price I payed, and it was nothing special. All-in-all my food was not bad, it was very average. I felt the costs wer bit high compared to most Vietnamese restaurants, but it was not an expensive meal. I just felt like there are so many more options out there for Vietnamese food.
Injustices to my wallet – We went there for dim sum on a Sunday afternoon. We waited for a long time before we even got water and tea but I?m a very patient man so we kept waiting for the cart to come by and we kept flagging them down like hitchhikers on the side of the road. No one seems to pay attention to us. He was very elusive and the place wasn?t even busy. So at the end, I did not want to make a scene over being forced to tip an undeserving waiter with a lousy service. I usually tip every time we go to a restaurant doesn?t matter what because I?m very generous. My wife was actually the one who discovered the 20% automatic tipping on the bill, so I actually tipped twice. I think the waiter should state this up front, or there should be a sign on the table. I thought forced gratuity should only be enforced for groups of 8 people and up. I was there with my wife only just the two of us. I think this forced service charge is the only way that a waiter/waitress could get pay here at this restaurant. This system is not fair to the guests who are pretty much obligated to tip even the service is lousy.
Excellent Ambiance; OK food – The restaurant is very beautiful and truly feels like an escape from the hustle of University Ave. I will go back - but not when I want a comforting authentic Vietnamese meal. The food lacked soul; it was uninteresting and not as generous as expected, but not bad either.
Saigon is a better choice for a cheap, like-mom-makes-it, satisfying meal.
Review of the specific dishes:
Egg rolls (cha gio) - A little too much wrapper in proportion to filling for my liking. The pork seemed a bit bland - and the nuoc mam was a bit bland too.
Tofu Bun (cold noodle salad) - the noodles were a tad too soft and there wasn't enough fresh herbs. It was too bland for my taste, but not the worst I've had. (Not as bad as Que Viet in Eagan).
Com Tam with meatloaf (grilled pork chop over broken rice) - this was pretty tasty. I enjoyed this dish.
Excellent choice for Vietnamese food and museum – We visited Mai Village last night for the first time. Had also read some of the negative reviews on service so were a bit hesitant. Just the opposite was true for us. Excellent, fast and pleasant service--the appetizers came about 3 minutes after we ordered them and the entrees came about a minute after we finished the appetizers. We were very impressed. The restaurant decor is beautiful and the food was authentic and very good. The server gave us recommendations that were excellent.
When we were leaving, we tried to go to the second floor to see the museum that we had read about. When the elevator did not allow us to go there, we exited only to be offered by apparently the owner if we would like a personal tour. The museum was without compare--absolutely stunning pieces of art. He was very kind and generous to take the time to show the 4 of us his treasure (and they were truely treasures as we heard that the Mpls Art Institute also comes to view).
Restaurant and museum not to be missed!
Like No Place Else in Town – I must respond with complete surprise at the number of negative reviews here. I first visited Mai Village in about 2005. I am not a frequent restaurant visitor, so it takes something special to drag me out of my house. Without reservation, Mai Village is among my favorite restaurants in the Tiwn Cities. I visit Mai Village about 3 to 4 times per year and am always satisfied by the authentic food, pleased by the professional service, and blown away by the genuine Vietnamese ambience. If you have not been to the "museum" upstairs, you have missed a one-and-only cultural experience.
poor service and selection – Let me qualify this review by first stating that I went to this restaurant on a Sunday around 1pm for the dim sum. The service was really bad, I had to practically chase down the waiters for any kind of service from requesting tea (which is supposed to be the first thing that is automatically provided) to getting food from the dim sum carts. We constantly had to flag down the carts for some food. When presented to the selections, it was very sparse. We were offered the same selections 3 times before we gave up and ordered something from the menu. The carts only really offered a total of 10 choices. The people sitting at the table near us had been waiting 10 minutes for any kind of service before they went up to one of the waiters to notify them that they had not been attended to at all. The food was passable but a warning for people who order any seafood dishes: the shrimp is OK but the scallops are NOT FRESH AT ALL; they were horrible in texture and taste as well. All in all, it was a very disappointing experience.
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