Whereas Vientiane is memorable when it comes to dining and Luang Prabang can certainly hold its own, Vang Vieng is known for the fairly mundane quality of its restaurants. You don't eat badly in Vang Vieng, it's just that you don't eat very well either. If you have been in Vientiane before enjoying the astonishing range and quality of food on offer, be prepared to lower your standards a little when in Vang Vieng. In the center of town most restaurants are attached to guesthouses and are of the cheap backpacker variety with menus that are all roughly similar. It is the usual mixture of Asian-light, pizza, and pancakes. The Xayoh right on the crossroads is a little more upmarket, but the food is nothing special, being rather dreary and insipid. It is a good place to escape the surreal tyranny of blasting TVs.
Generally when in the center of the town do not order anything on the menu that is termed "happy" unless you actually want to get high. They also put all kind of things in the milkshakes. Some of the restaurants here are really not a place to bring the children, although they might make their own way to them of their own accord when they leave high school. There are restaurants by the river attached to hotels serving some very good Lao and Thai food if you head south toward the hospital. The Thavonsouk Resort, the Elephant Crossing, and the Thavisouk Hotel all have excellent restaurants serving Lao and Thai food in peaceful riverside locations with great views. The Thavisouk fires up the karaoke machine in the evening if they are entertaining a Thai tour group, but if you can survive that, the tom yam is great Note that the restaurants listed here do not take credit cards.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.