where to Pho in Oakland
I've moved away but am frequently in Da Town for A's games, family, etc. I remember my first Pho when Pho 84 used to be across the street from the Alice Arts center. I had found a new favorite food! I used to frequent it for lunch when it moved to 17th St. Last time I went there, it was throroughly unremarkable.
Where are the best Pho joints in the Big O?
There's another one that I stop at some times before heading to the game. If you're heading south on 880, you can partially see it on the left hand side of the freeway next to a Burger King. You have to get off the exit before 23rd St. and head back over the freeway. Sorry, once again, have no name for you.
This afternoon I had a bowl of orange skin duck noodle soup (ho fun-wide noodle) at VIEN HOUNG located on Franklin St. between 7th and 8th Streets in Oakland Chinatown. It was $6.25 with good-size chunks of duck with lettuce and sprouts in the soup. Quite good. Other soups are in the $5.25 to $6 range. They also have rice dishes.
I also second the recommendation of Pho Hoa Lao on 10th Street near Webster though it's been a few years since I've been there. If you are open to something a little different, there are Korean restaurants that serve a spicy seafood noodle soup called jammpong (zampong?) such as Chef Yu on the west side of Telegraph between 39th and 40th Streets in Oakland. About $6.
I went to a ton of pho places about a year ago in a desperate attempt to find good pho in either Oakland or Berkeley, and I was very sadly unsuccessful. Compared to the places in San Jose, the East Bay really can't hold a candle; a lot of them don't use any star anise or actually cook the rounds before dropping it in the broth (I think because the chefs cut the beef too fast and can't get the slices thin enough). At all the places, I would skip the tripe, mostly rubbery goo. I liked Pho Hoa Lao the best. If you find a place you like, please, please, please post it.
I can only speak for the downtown area. Two of the best (Pho Tu Do and Pho Song Long) closed early this year.
For a beefy flavour, I would still pick Pho 84, although it is noisy and crowded at lunchtime. Huynh has a nice star anise-y broth, but their service and bowl size has gone downhill over the last few years. Phuong Nam is okay. Saigon Restaurant was barely mediocre. Rang Dong was average and unexciting. Pho Hoa Lao II (the downtown one) I found way too greasy. So: not a whole lot of options.