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ISO good Pho in Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito

c
chewonthis Sep 6, 2006 05:58 AM

Looking for a good Pho restaurant outside of the Ranch 99 complex - don't exactly enjoy the hap-hazard parking lot and crowd.

  1. Chuckles the Clone Sep 8, 2006 07:58 AM

    When I'm in downtown Berkeley, I prefer Saigon Express to Pho Hoa. On the corner
    of Shattuck and Addison. But nine times out of ten, when a big bowl of soup jones
    hits me downtown, I end up at Ryowa slurping ramen.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chuckles the Clone
      c
      chocolatetartguy Sep 18, 2006 11:17 PM

      I've found Saigon Express to be consistently good over the years. Pho Hoa is OK. To put it in perspective, I work one block from Pho Hoa, but when I'm in the mood for pho always walk the 4 blocks to Saigon Express.

    2. s
      santoku45 Sep 7, 2006 04:50 AM

      I'll put in a good word for the pho place in question, Saigon II in the Ranch 99 complex. I've been eating lunch there for years and have always thought their pho was just fine (tasty, plentiful, cheap and fast.) True, the service is barely minimal, but for lunch I don't really care. Those of us at the table are busy talking. Many tables are for 4, so if there's 2 of you, you can spread things out. Never had a problem with the parking, personally. It's free; you just have to be patient to find a spot. We always pick up fresh produce at Ranch 99 afterward as a bonus.

      1. p
        peterme Sep 7, 2006 12:03 AM

        Perhaps I'm a philistine, but my g/f and I rely on Pho Hoa on Shattuck in Berkeley for quality pho. And they offer all the great offal - tripe, tendon, etc.
        Yeah, it's a chain, but it's a good 'un!
        http://www.phohoa.com/

        2 Replies
        1. re: peterme
          heidipie Sep 7, 2006 04:20 AM

          We go to the Shattuck Pho Hoa for convenient pho before a movie on our date nights. But I haven't eaten enough wonderful pho to be able to properly evaluate the product. What I feel, though, when I'm there, is that the family that runs the place really cares about their customers. do any real pho-hounds have anything to say about these guys?

          1. re: peterme
            hewn Sep 18, 2006 07:14 PM

            There are a FEW pho hoa outlets that are decent. The Berkeley one is decent enough, and the one in Boston Chinatown is by far the best in the chain, and I've been to many. The one in Sacramento was absolutely the worst I've ever had, and I sent back a bowl that had the server's cigarette ash in it. Yuck!

            I've probably eaten at almost every pho spot in the bay area and I think PH is perfectly fine. Not amazing, not bad, but decent enough.

            if anyone has some really amazing recommendations for pho anywhere, email it to me and I'll post it up on Pho King: http://www.hewnandhammered.com/pho

          2. Sophia C. Sep 6, 2006 08:59 PM

            Pho Hoa Thai on San Pablo near McBryde in Richmond has some decent pho (southern Vietnamese style with darker broth)

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sophia C.
              k
              kc72 Sep 6, 2006 09:16 PM

              thanks for the name! i like it better since the ownership change back in march/april.

            2. k
              kc72 Sep 6, 2006 04:49 PM

              np... let us know if you find any, if you haven't tried the vietnamese sandwwiches at Ba Le in El Cerrito -- should give them a try if you're in the area.

              1. k
                kc72 Sep 6, 2006 06:17 AM

                there isn't much good pho in berkeley, albany or el cerrito. your best bets are either oakland or further north in richmond/san pablo.

                in richmond, on san pablo ave. just north of barrett ave., there's huong tra(sp?). a little north of there near san pablo ave and mcbryde ave., there's another vietnamese restaurant but i forget the name of it. and in san pablo at the international marketplace, there's pho 89.

                2 Replies
                1. re: kc72
                  c
                  chewonthis Sep 6, 2006 04:37 PM

                  we were regulars at Vi's in Oakland till he decided to close the restaurant and move back to vietnam part time. Just thought there might be a good one closer to home.
                  Thanks....

                  1. re: kc72
                    u
                    ucbsph Sep 6, 2006 11:25 PM

                    I second the Huong Tra on San Pablo. Good pho. and their claypot is good too.

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