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yummiest pho

My friend and I were talking today about pho. Who could not like hot, yummy broth with thin, Vietnamese noodles, and hearty, slices of beef and beef bits? Oh, and dont forget about the fragrant green onions and cilantro... with bean sprouts, and my favourite--a squeeze of lime juice in the soup. MmmMMMmMmmMmmm... now, where do YOU get your favourite bowl of pho?

Friend and I agreed that the Rex Saigon Buffet (I cant remember the name now) at Brimley and Sheppard has the BEST pho ever. However, who would wanna pay $20 for the buffet, and only enjoy the pho? I didnt like the other food that they served, but their pho was sooooooooooo good..

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  1. I say Pho Hung on Spadina. Fantabulous.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jax

      I used to love Pho Hung for almost any noodle dish, and always craved their pho, but the last few times I'd been there I noticed the taste in my favourite dishes had gone down... a lot. Don't go there anymore, and still looking for really great pho downtown TO.
      Trying Mimi's next... I was also disappointed with Pho 88...

      1. re: jayseeca

        I think Pho Hung has changed owners. I believe they used to be run by Vietnamese owners, now seem to be Cantonese...

    2. My vote is for Mimi's on Gerrard east.

      1. definitely mimi's on gerrard. fatty beef pho is deadly good and very spicy. Can get really busy and a little slow at peak dinner hours, but worth the wait.

        1. My personal favourite is Pho 88 on Spadina, just south of Dundas. I've been unimpressed with Pho Hung in the past, and it sounds like I should try Mimi's at some point.

          2 Replies
          1. re: xtal

            You know what, I used to like Pho 88 on Spadina, but they've not only raised their prices, but have also skimped down on their portions.

            Pho Hung, they were NEVER good. Tried once, been there, done that, will never be that stupid again. :P

            1. re: jennjen18

              We used to love the Pho 88 when living up north (the one in the plaza facing Bamburg Circle in Scarborough) and had high hopes for the Pho 88 on Spadina but it was just dirty and depressing. We were the only ones there in that half-lit place and there was a drunk homeless man that had fallen asleep that required the cops to come in to kick him out. That pretty much ruins any experience.

              The noddles however were similar and good but I would really only return for takeout.

          2. rua vang (golden turtle) on ossington at argyle. just north of queen and south of dundas. best pho and generally best vietnamese food i've ever had. strangely enough, best pad thai i've ever had too. and don't miss their shrimp fried rice. tasty stuff.

            2 Replies
            1. re: n10sity

              this place is amazing. so authentic, like my mom makes at home. be sure to try other soup options on the menu as well. like the spicy beef soup with vermicelli. this is a true vietnamese dish. and the herb wrapped beef rolls are to die for! and any one who has been there will agree, this is the nicest family as well. once while i was there, another table asked for their food to go, but there was a miscommunication and it was thrown out instead. the waiter/owner offered to remake the whole dish for the person! now that is service!!!

              1. re: n10sity

                My fiancee and I went there last night for dinner and it was quite good. She had the Pad Thai (very tasty!) and I had the bún with pork. My only comment would be that there weren't as many meat variations for the bún as Pho Hung. On our next visit, I will try the Pho.

              2. Ditto on Rua Vang. I've only been there twice but both times it was better than Mimi's, Pho Hung or Pho 88. By far the best I've had of all time was Dat Than on St. Clair West which has since closed down and was replaced by a Pho St. Clair... a far cry from it's previous incarnation and had rancid oil in thier deep fryer when I was there last. Ewww.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Pantagruelia

                  Really? Rua Vang. I've never heard of this one. I was just wondering whether n10sity had tried the other resident pho joints.. but you (Pantagruelia) mentioned you did, so it seems like Rua Vang is better than the others. Mimi's I've never tried, but I've had mixed reviews. Some say the soup isnt good, but now Pimettedespelette says the soup is spicy. I like spicy. :P

                  Can anyone give me addresses for both Rua Vang and Mimi's? Do they have vegetarian options too, like a plain noodle kinda thing?

                  1. re: jennjen18

                    Hey jennjen18,
                    I have indeed tried Pho 88 and Pho Hung and there is no comparison to Rua Vang (which is at 125 Ossington by the way). Especially with respect to vegetarian options (although Pho 88's selection of veggie options is broader, it is far less tasty). I have never tried Mimi's though.

                2. Pho Saigon at Warden and Eglinton. I can't tell for sure, but I can finish the entire bowl of broth and not be thirsty after so I suspect there is little to no MSG used. Their sate soup is killer and I've not yet found anything comparable.
                  Another out of the way place is located in the Chinese mall off Steeles just east of IBM. It's the first storefront once you get in the parking lot out back.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: neighborguy

                    OooOoOOOh.. satay soup is good. VERY GOOD. I've never tried it, but the concept is fantabulous. I would think that the noodles would pick up all the flavour from the satey, and thus not have to dip noodles in chilli or hoisin sauce, right?

                    Where else can I get satay soup with PHO???

                    1. re: jennjen18

                      You know what? After trying satay pho at the Pho place on Finch and Midland, I think I have to say NO to satay. I'd rather taste the heartiness and flavourfulness of the pho soup. Especially when their satay is just plain soup + a ladel of satay sauce on top. And I LOVE it when I could squeeze lime into the broth, thus making it even more tasty. Satay just covers up all the flavourfulness of the soup, and does nothing but grease/oil up the soup.

                      However, the pho place at midland and finch does have good noodles. Very chewy. I'll go back again, but no satay for me. Rare beef noodles is best.

                      1. re: jennjen18

                        I will go out of my way to check out Finch and Midland.

                        I agree with your intent to taste the unadulterated flavours of your food. I do the same, generally. However, I have this regular craving for sate soup at Pho Saigon and IMHO the sate seasonings only enhances/complements the flavours as opposed to overwhelming the bowl.

                        1. re: neighborguy

                          The Finch and Midland place, I have FINALLY looked at their name, is called Vietnam Noodle House. You can't miss it, its got a huge sign, and a vietnamese person with the distinctive straw hat.

                          I guess they just dont know how to make satay pho. I would have thought that it would enhance the soup too, but all it did was just oil it up. In fact, when my mom finished her regular bowl of pho, my satay pho was still steaming 'coz of all the oil on top, trapping the steam. Try it, and see what you think. I'm almost sure Pho Saigon makes it better.

                  2. Pho 88 Warden South of Steeles. Quickest and Tastiest bowl of Pho. Numerous versions and no split charge if you want to share.

                    1. It's out of the way in the north part of the city, but my favourite is Pho Dau Bo, 2437 Finch Av W.

                      1. Oh, has anyone tried the pho place in that little Chinese plaza on Finch and Midland? I've tried it once, their meat is REALLY good, noodles okay, and soup okay. But a friend had their curry pho. Wow, it looked really curry...!!

                        1. Rua Vang does serve very good pho.
                          I wish that they served the small plates of add your own herbs, etc.
                          The last time we were there, there was a Vietnamese couple sitting beside us, who ordered there meal just after we did, and they explained to us that it was the "Seven course Beef dinner".
                          It is not on the menu, but the few dishes we saw looked enticing, so although we are not big beef eaters, we are going to try it next time we go.
                          Their summer beef rolls are excellent, as is their fried squid and shrimp.

                          1. You mean Rua Vang doesnt have the small plates of herbs and bean sprouts!? Awww, one of the enjoyments I get from pho places is the plate of yummy herbs. :( Okay, is Rua Vang really that tastey that I can look past the missing herb plate?

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: jennjen18

                              i've always seen the small plates of herbs and bean sprouts - maybe that time was an exception... i'll be eating there tonight and will report back

                              1. re: n10sity

                                Oh do report back. And could you also glance whether they actually have pho or dishes for vegetarians? It doesnt have to be strictly veggie, just no meat in it. Boyfriend just doesnt like the texture of meat ..

                                1. re: jennjen18

                                  Sorry they weren't open last night. I'll try again another time and report back (I go about every week on my laundry nights :)). They have a good assortment of veggie options, including a noodle soup with tofu and veggies, phad thai with tofu and veggies, terrific veggie spring rolls, and a lot of shrimp dishes (if your bf likes shrimp). I should know cuz I'm a veggie too (although I do eat seafood and fish).

                                  1. re: n10sity

                                    Guess what! I was soooooo craving pho last night that I hopped off the bus a few stops before mine to catch a late night pho at the place on Finch and Midland. You know, Ive gone there like 5 times now, and I still havent got the name. I sooooo recommend going there if youre in the Scarborough area. Great pho. Just try the regular phos, and not the wacky curry/satay stuff and you'll be fine. They gave me extra limes without hesitation too (like a bowlful of chopped up ones), 'coz pho with lime juice is the best. :) Oh, and they have a great big tv there too, so if youre having a late meal all by yourself, its not THAT awkward...!

                                    Thats great that Rua Vang has veggie options. As long as they could scoop some soup onto plain noodles, he'll be fine, really, but now that you say there are other choices, I think he'll be thrilled. Which makes me happy too, 'coz half the enjoyment of eating is eating with people you like!

                                    Oh so youre a picky veggie too!? You're a veggie on the outside, but eat seafood.. while the boyfriend's a veggie, and eats pepperoni on pizza, hot dogs (but not sausages) and ground beef but ONLY in pasta. See what I have to deal with?

                                2. re: n10sity

                                  I was just at Rua Vang today and they did indeed provide the herbs and sprouts. (I suspect their absence before was due to the salmonella sprout scare -- I noticed several Vietnamese restaurants weren't serving sprouts back then). It was only my second time -- the 1st time was a disappointment since I found the pho broth to be pretty flat, especially after all the raves the place was given -- but this time is was much more flavourful. Also had the grilled chicken & springroll bun which was also quite fresh and tasty.

                                  1. re: tinybites

                                    Yay, you went to Rua Vang, tinybites!! Can you comment on whether they have vegetarian choices in their menu?

                                    1. re: jennjen18

                                      Well, based on the takeout menu I grabbed, they have some veggie options, mostly of the tofu with vegetable variety (on fried noodles, on rice, pad thai, and singapore style fried vermicelli).

                                    2. re: tinybites

                                      Based on all this Rua Vang delirium, I headed there a few nights ago. Everything was good, but nothing was great. I'm surprised! I expected amazing and didn't get it. The rare beef was decidedly NOT rare, and the flank that came with it was fatty and gristly. My bf ordered one with tripe and rare beef, again the beef wasn't rare and the tripe was almost nonexistant.

                                      The broth was good, and I did get the sprouts and herbs.

                                      Our veggie friend was with us and he seemed satisfied with the vegetarian options. I would like to try the veggie and tofu soup myself one day. The veggie spring rolls were quite good.

                                3. It is far from perfect, but the best Pho I have tasted in the GTA.
                                  I do mean no sides, but you could ask.
                                  The seasonings and rubs on their mains are subtle and refined, steps ahead of any other place I have visited
                                  I should mention, when you go, order only so much at a time, as they will bring everything at once apps. pho, mains.
                                  Please report back on your opinions, especially anyone who tries the "Seven Course Beef Tasting Menu".

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: erly

                                    Do you know what exactly is in the "Seven Course Beef Tasting Menu"? Like, how is the beef prepared, and what cuts?

                                  2. I'll tell you where to NOT get it.

                                    Went to the newly opened Axia in Streetsville yesterday. It's been open 5 days, and when we were seated and practically berated to order our drinks immediately were informed that they wouldn't be serving liquor for another two weeks. After being told they didn't have orange juice either, they brought us some canned iced tea.

                                    I reeeeally craved noodle soup so I ordered the shrimp pho and it was a huge disaster. The broth was made with canned tomatoes, chunks of which were floating around the soup. The mushrooms were also canned. The shrimp were not cleaned properly (not deveined, not even rinsed I dare say) and tasted of dirt. No fresh veggies/herbs to be found other than a few measly beansprouts.

                                    1. Pho 99!! There are 3 locations in Mississauga; not sure where else they're located. Very good pho.

                                      1. Pho Hoang, corner of Sheridan and College, west of Dufferin. Quality, however does seem to vary a bit: sometimes it's to die for, others it's merely middling. Rotating cooks, perhaps?

                                        -g

                                        1. I tried Pho Hung just yesterday and it was pretty good.
                                          Broth was exceptionally tasty but the noodle were a little
                                          over cooked. Now I've only tried once in Pho Hung but I think
                                          Pho Hung is the best place for pho in DOWNTOWN area.
                                          There are several place up in north which makes equally good pho as pho Hung.
                                          First will be Pho Viet on Steeles and Warden. Thier broth is
                                          equally good as pho hung but the noodles are always cooked to
                                          perfection. And the meats are not too fatty but fatty enough
                                          that taste good.
                                          Second place which I don't know the name of the place, but it's located on 16th and leslie. Just about 200m up north on
                                          the intersection and inside a chinese plaza.
                                          There isn't much to choose from the menu as they only have couple of choice for pho but it's worth a visit if you happen
                                          to be driving by.

                                          1. Pho Hung on Spadina for pho? Definitely not. The broth is good bu the meat is often quite tough. I like Xe Lua south of Dundas on Spadina. I also like Hello Saigon, north of Baldwin. Something that is very nice at Xe Lua is the shrimp curry with bread which is basically a sate shrimp soup. They will serve it with noodles but the bread makes a nice change. I don't like their sate soups though. They are too thick and gloopy. Surprisingly, I like the beef noodle soup at Java on Queen West of Spadina.

                                            Oh wait, Crispy Spring Roll (ex Dai Nam) which is at Eglinton and um... Warden? (Someone help me!) Ann Mei has such an excellent menu. Too bad she moved from downtown.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Calam1ty

                                              Do you find that Xe Lua on Spadina is ... umm, very dirty? Their floor is forever slippery.

                                              1. re: jennjen18

                                                I'd have to agree about Xe Lua. I took my non-asian SO there a few months after we started dating, and after visiting the bathroom, he threw a fit and refused to eat, as apparently it not only hadn't been cleaned in ages, had what he insisted were poo stains on the walls, it also had no soap, paper towels or tp, so he was trapped in there for a while as he couldn't figure out how to get out without touching anything. (he was also wearing the cashmere sweater that I had just bought him, so no using the sleeve to open the door)
                                                Anyway, I've taken him to pho hung twice now, and he enjoyed it a lot, but I'm now wary of trying any other places in chinatown I haven't checked out thoroughly before hand.
                                                Does anyone have any suggestions for the best pho places around Spadina and Dundas?

                                                1. re: sway

                                                  I think that all places in Chinatown are just infamous for their dirtiness. I seriously just gave up Vietnamese pho in Chinatown, and started eating Cantonese noodles at King's. They are much cleaner than the pho places.

                                                  For pho cravings, I go uptown to Scarborough. Cleaner there!

                                            2. Pho Linh on College just west of Dufferin, on the north side of the street. Small little place, seems to be family run. The broth is usually quite lovely and more flavourful than the places on Spadina I have eaten at. Not always consistent though, sometimes the broth is a little bland, but the majority of the time it is very nice. They're pretty friendly there too and are always happy to see a regular (even though we don't go there very often anymore as we moved further away, they still remember us and greet us with a smile).

                                              Sherry

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: shesto

                                                We like this place too! Good pho, good avocado shakes (the smoothest I've had), good everything, really...

                                                Also - we had a mighty delicious meal at Anh Dao on Spadina this weekend. Everything - including the pho was delicious. Mounds of fresh mint, holy basil. A really good, fresh meal all around!

                                                1. re: Delish

                                                  I dont know..I like everything at Ahn Dao BUT the pho. It tastes like they use a canned stock (way too salty) ,but their cold noodle dishes are second to none. Pho Pasteur on Dundas west of Spadina is good, and I think they are open 24 hours. We used to go to Pho Xe Lua alot and I always loved their pho.

                                                  1. re: somechick

                                                    We really liked the pho! Everyone I was there with (myself included) have travelled throughout Vietnam. We found the pho to be pretty authentic! It had a good murkiness to it and a good depth of flavour. I didn't notice too much salt...

                                                    1. re: Delish

                                                      383 Spadina - Just north Cecil (about a block south of College)on the east side of Spadina. Hope you like it!

                                                      (sorry - this was supposed to be in response to the post below)

                                                  2. re: Delish

                                                    Where's Anh Dao? Its on Spadina, you say, but where is the nearest intersection?

                                                  3. re: shesto

                                                    Yhaa!I totally agree with you on this one shesto!Pho Linh is the resturant my parents own!Yhaa I know it is small and stuff but the food there is great isnt it?itsz been up there since many years!and the food there is Great!!I've eaten there since when I was little to now!

                                                  4. Don't think I've tried Anh Dao, thanks for the rec!! Will try it some time.

                                                    1. Rua Vang is down the street from where my roommate and I live and we love it. I think my roommate gets take out there at least a couple times a week!

                                                      There's a place called Kim Hung (not Pho Hung) on Spadina which all my friends and I are fond of. Their pho is great as is their veggie plates (my roommate being a vegetarian) and is proclaimed by all to be the best place for Vietnamese Iced Coffee. Sadly it's closing at the end of the month so we're trying to get in as many visits as we can in the next week.

                                                      1. Has anyone tried Pho Saigon, in Newmarket? I live in Aurora and see it as I go north on Yonge Street, past Muloch.

                                                        Pho Saigon
                                                        16925 Yonge Street, Newmarket, ON L3Y 5Y1, Canada
                                                        1.7 km SW - (905) 830-3488

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Lipant

                                                          Just went this past weekend after craving pho (via this thread!). It's not as good as your TO restaurants, but good to satisfy. I recommend stopping in on your next drive by.

                                                          1. re: Lipant

                                                            I've been there several times and think it's great! And that's from a person who eats at the famous Mimi's on Gerrard.

                                                          2. Krispy Spring Roll mentioned above... I believe is actually just Krispy Roll. It IS on Warden just south of Eglinton on the east side. Nice atmosphere, great for kids. We ate there Friday. Husband always has the Pho and enjoys it. I had the vermicelli with shrimp an shrimp on sugar cane and it was lovely. Often get the green vegetable curry which is super hot.
                                                            We also often go with Vietnamese-Canadian friends to Pho Mi 99 in the west end, which I believe is on Hurontario. Friendly staff, not cozy but the food is consistent and usually good.

                                                            1. I'm a yankee who may visit the frozen north soon...My fave Viet Namize restaurant was on Dundas just east of Spadina (in that row of stores you have to climb up to the porch level to enter), next to a very well stocked Chinese souvenir chotchke shop. (I haven't been in Toronto in four years...and I need a fix of the city!)

                                                              Is the VN restaurant still there, and is it still as good as I remember?

                                                              1. Please go to the Thai restauraunt on Finch West, 2 lights west of Weston Road, south east corner, Royal Thai Orchid, so superb as the aroma upon arrival slaps you in the face with love!!! LOVE!!!!! Beef, Seafood, LOVE!!! Unfortunately, I go less often (alone), but since they became so busy ( THANK HEAVENS ), I get there less, except before and and after busy hours!

                                                                1. ANYONE KNOW where to get the closest pho to Yonge and Lawrence?

                                                                  I know of pho88 at bamburgh circle, krispy roll @ warden and eglinton, HORRIBLE "Enginehead" Yonge and steeles. Some places on Keele.

                                                                  Spring rolls DOES NOT count!