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Jan 22, 2006 05:25 PM

Pho in Providence?

  • k

I just moved to Providence last week from NYC, where the hounds helped me quite a number of times!!! I am on a search for pho in Providence. Any recs? I am looking for your basic run of the mill, small, cheap, great food type of a place.

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  1. HONS (House of Noodle Soups) on Reservoir Ave in Cranston. It is about five minutes from Providence once you get on Route 10. Portions are generous, price is great and food is as good as what I used to get in Allston/Brighton section of Boston.

    3 Replies
    1. re: James

      I second HONS. I haven't been to the place in the Shaws strip plaza yet, but if someone goes, let us know how it is.

      - Garris
      Providence, RI

      1. re: Garris

        It is not exactly Pho, but Apsara on Hope street has a nice mix of Asians foods, including some noodle soups that are similar to pho, they just don't serve them with the basil or bean sprouts. I too have seen the Vietnamese place in "the hole" as my elderly neighbor calls the strip mall in Pawtucket but have yet to try it.

      2. re: James

        As an alternative to HONS, I just sampled "Minh Hai Restaurant" in Cranston again tonight, and had the pho tai (rare beef slices) and a lemonade for just under $10. Very good. I like this place better than HONS (not sure how it stacks up to Pho Paradise though), not really because of the food, which is pretty similar:

        1. Much cleaner. HONS always has spilled scraps of food everywhere on the carpet and a sort of veneer of grime everywhere that bugs me. Maybe I'm just picky about these things. Mihn Hai isn't fancy, but it's clean and comfortable.

        2. No wide-screen TV. Again, a personal preference.

        3. Good fresh-squeezed lemonade. Pho/Vietnamese places I'm used to (in Calif.) always have a great array of drinks. No so out here, apparently. But the lemonade at Minh Hai is memorable.

        I've also had the "bun" (vermicelli bowl) here and it's good. There's a good variety of veggie options (mainly stir-fries w/ tofu and coconut-based curries).

        My one complaint would be the MSG that's in all the sauces and soups at Asian restaurants, and which I'm really sensitive to, but if you're not, you'll never notice.

        Minh Hai Restaurant
        1096 Park Ave.
        Cranston, RI
        (401) 383-8071

        PS - just east of here along Park (just east of Pontiac), there's a great pan-Asian mini-market that has a little Chinese produce section and some homemade-looking pork bao that I'm waiting to try.

      3. also a providence new-comer from brooklyn. haven't been yet, but am always intrigued by a sign on north main (almost to pawtucket) for a restaurant in the shaw's shopping center. strip mall + sketchy sign often yields goodness as far as pho goes...

        2 Replies
        1. re: greer

          Hi.. I also followed the brooklyn to providence trajectory (or rather, pawtucket: the brooklyn of providence). the pho at Shaw's plaza off of North Main Providence/Pawtucket is pretty good. It's plentiful, tasty, fresh-ish, and the earnestness of the staff is good. I wouldn't call it *exceptional*, but as a comfort food, it fits the bill.

          1. re:

            I just tried pho horns (north main street) the other night. It is definitely more authentic vietnamese as opposed to its previous apsara spin off management. We found the food to be good and the service friendly. Nothing spectacular, but definitely worth the $15 on a cold night.

        2. I haven't been, but I have heard great things about Pho Paradise on Broad Street.

          3 Replies
          1. re: LMWW

            Pho Paradise has very good pho, considerably better (in my experience) than the Pho Hons in Cranston (which I also like). My only caveat is that I have had terrible luck trying to make substitutions, so it's best to assume that any variation requests will be ignored.

            As a funny aside, I got takeout pho from them once, and while I enjoyed the fact that I got to assemble it myself, the little packet of raw beef (for the rare, soup-cook slices) did kind of weird me out. No harm done though!

            1. re: celeriac

              Any suggestions on what's a great bet when ordering at Pho Paradise? Any "must-haves"?

              1. re: fullbelly

                All I've had is Pho, and it's very good. Impressively, the vegetarian Pho is pretty damn good too. But if what you're after is real, rich Pho, it's obviously no substitute.

          2. I live in NYC and went to visit my mom in Providence last week. Pho Horn in Shaws Plaza is a good deal and authentic. Also, they are very polite and accommodating to requests (extra fish sauce, extra herbs, etc). I went twice in 2 days. I hope they do well--the location is kind of quiet. I always get sick at restaurants and have never gotten sick here--it seems quite clean.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Owl

              I tried Pho Paradise with my father last time I was home from Philadelphia. Nice enough people, nice broth, but I found the meat to be tough and grissly. I have no trouble with "authentic" meats. I'll order tacos with cheeks and brains, but the most authentic pho I've had here in Philly is filled with beautiful pieces of raw flank, tender tripe, brisket and more. (Similar, as I recall at Pho Pasteur in Brighton.) They also forgot to bring the plate of basil, sprouts, lime, and chili peppers. Were apologetic and accomodating when I asked, but the plate was still missing something, perhaps the lime. Curious to hear other's views of the meats in the Pho here.

              When I finally made it out to try Lemi's, sure enough it was the week they closed. Lemi was out front, and recommended the VIetnames place across the street. Afraid I don't remember the name. We thought it was quite decent, the place reasonably pleasant and clean by local pho standards.

              As for Apsara, we've been going for years, but I've always had trouble with their soups. Way too sweet for me, and the same pre-made sugar-loaded broth is used in all their soups, so you can't order it without.

              As for other dishes, my family have always been fans of banh xeo, the rice flour pancake filled with shrimp and sprouts and chicken. Probably best at the old Apsara, but we've enjoyed it at all of these places.

              Still haven't tried HON, Minh Hai, and especially Pho Horn. I'm anxious to explore further next time I'm home!

            2. I know that the thread is titled "Pho in Providence" but I was wondering if folks could point me in the direction of a pho place a bit further afield.

              My husband is coming down with a cold and when we lived in Austin the one sure-fire way to feel better was a nice, hot bowl of pho. We live in South County now and can't justify driving all the way to Providence for a bowl of take-out pho. Anybody know of a good place closer to us? I think I remember a place called Saigon Cafe in Middletown, but know nothing about it.