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Best Pho - Herndon / Ashburn / Sterling area

I commute from DC to Ashburn daily, and some of those hours in monster traffic, the Pho jones hits me.

Some of the places off 7 / Cascades are more asian food types, than Pho shops. There you end up with a bowl of mostly hot water.

Who offers the best quality bowl of Pho in that part of N Virginia?

Thanks in advance.


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  1. Pho Reston 75 (NOT Pho 75 chain). Whiele Rd exit, turn north, go past the McTacoHut that's across from the Exxon and Fire house. At the next light, North Shore, take a right, the first left and you'll be in Tall Oaks. PR75 is down to the lower left of the complex. They have a full menu, but the pho is the star.

    Pho 2000 in Worldgate at the Elden St exit in Herndon is also really good and they have a nice ranging menu also.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Dennis S

      I had a time figureing out the directions, but is this the place? 12020 North Shore Dr
      Reston, VA 20190
      (703) 481-5935

      Gong down 7 to 602, turn R, then L on to 828 Wiehle, then L on North shore?

      If so, heading there Friday

      1. re: RobertM

        That is the place. My directions were from the Toll Road.

      2. re: Dennis S

        Pho 2000 probably has the biggest ranging Vietnamese menu in the area & Pho wise has more than just the standard Pho combinations. Chicken in the hot pot is great there.

        1. re: Dennis S

          Pho Reston 75 does squid particularly well for a strip-mall joint. I like their seafood soup.

        2. Pho 99 in the Clocktower off Centrville Rd/Toll Rd does a good job with Pho

          1. Pho 75 in Kmart Center on Elden in Herndon. The only thing they serve there is Pho, so that beef broth is always fresh. Not fancy dining, but cheap, good & hits the spot.

            10 Replies
            1. re: SkinnyChef

              This is my favorite pho place. Noodles are not over cooked. Broth is good. I loved the smell of the pho at Saigon Pho Style, but the taste wasn't there for me. (I love other dishes at Saigon Pho Style - just not the pho! Their beef salad, chicken salad and clams are yummy)

              I go to Pho Bac in Chantilly - pretty good and nice people. Viet Crystal (in the same shopping center) is prettier - but when I order pho with tripe - won't let me have it!!

              1. re: MarietteB

                I'd be curious on your take of Pho Reston 75 in Tall Oaks. I think it excels over Pho 75.

                I agree on the Saigon Pho Style, and thought that Pho Royal was also sweet, but not as bad as SPS. I'll have to go back to SPS for some other dishes. Any recs would be welcome.

                Personally, I now need to try Pho Vietnam based on PollyG's review below.

                Tall Oak's Restaurant
                1541 Colony Rd, Pasadena, MD 21122

                1. re: Dennis S

                  I will also try Pho Vietnam. Pho Reston 75 was pretty good - but not as good (for me) as Pho 75. I do not like the Pho 99 at Clocktower. Very pricy and not so good.

                  1. re: MarietteB

                    Oh yeah - definitely agree on Pho 99. I put it out of my mind so much after one time I keep forgetting that it's there.

                    I'll try to hit Pho Vietnam next week some time.

                    1. re: Dennis S

                      So - by chance I ended up near Pho Vietnam and so I stopped in. To me, it isn't quite as rich as PR 75, but I liked it. I'm going to have to try regular Pho 75 very soon to compare again. I'd say Pho Vietnam - for pho, is either 2nd or 3rd best in my opinion - but I can tell we all have our own discerning tastes.

                      Btw - in that clock tower area there are a good handful of places I didn't know about. I knew about the one tacqueria almost directly under the clock but there looks to be 2-3 others (or pupeserias, etc), at least one pollo place (next to PV) and more. Any stand-outs worth knowing about up there? Between the clock tower and across Rt 7 I saw two places advertising saltena's - anything worth checking out?

                      1. re: Dennis S

                        Since I was on a roll I went to Pho 75 today in Herndon. It's been a while since I've gone - like years. It was good. I definitely think it's the second best in this area, but I think Pho Reston 75 takes the edge - for me.

                        The subjective difference is that I think PR75 has a bit more of a umami nature to the broth. Pho 75 was a tad sweet but not to some of the others listed here as being sweet.

                        It was a tad thinner broth than PR75, I feel, but not what I remember it being. As a backstory, about 5/6 years ago or more, pho in general seemed to hit a boom and Pho 75 in particular. There was a decently strong sentiment on this board that Pho 75 *could be* - at times - watered down. I certainly felt that was occurring.

                        I did go at probably the best time to avoid this, if it still happens, but I wanted to give them the fairest shake.

                        So - my personal subjective ranking is Pho Reston 75, Pho 75, Pho Vietnam, Pho Royal - in that order.

                        1. re: Dennis S

                          The Lebanese place on the clocktower side is very good--even their lunch buffet is darned decent. We are far less impressed by the Afghani kabob place near Pho Vietnam. The Pollo place is good.

                          I haven't been to Pho 75 in Herndon (that's the one in the K-mart plaza, right?) in years. When we got noodles that were a gloppy mess at the bottom of the bowl, obviously pre-cooked and allowed to chill, we never went back.

                          Pho Reston is good for Pho, but I prefer the overall menu at Pho Vietnam.

                          1. re: PollyG

                            Thanks for the added info!

                            I had been way turned off by Pho 75 - the one near KMart as well. My issue was overly weak broth that tasted like it had been turned over. I was happily surprised by yesterday's meal, but again I gave them the best odds by going on the early side of a Monday lunch when the batch most likely is truly fresh and full potency.

                            It sounds that - like you - I've been underwhelmed by Pho Reston 75's menu outside of pho and summer rolls. Not had anything bad, but nothing to keep me coming back for dishes other than pho. I'll need to try out Pho Vietnam's other menu items. I did like the place.

                2. re: SkinnyChef

                  I've eaten Pho 75 in Herndon before. It's alright, not great. Of all the Pho places in the Herndon area, it's the best.

                  I think Pho Bac in the Chantilly area on Rt. 50 (Sully Plaza Shopping center, next to the Shopper Food Warehouse) is slightly better than Pho 75. But, it's outside of the Herndon area.

                  1. re: David_Wang

                    Give Pho Reston 75 a try - it's in the Tall Oaks center off Wiehle.

                    I agree about Pho Bac (in that I put it about at Pho 75 - passable but not the best). There's another place on the backside of that center (across from the 7-11) with a more complete menu, but also pho. They used to be very good, though I haven't been now in a while (almost went last week but hit Sichuan Village instead).

                3. There is one in Sunset Business Park,Saigon Pho Style, on Spring street (Spring Hill) and Herndon Parkway (you may see China King in the front), this restaurant stayed all the way in the back .Great,clean atmosphere.They are not just have Pho but much ...more and are very tasty . The price is right .I love this place. Here is their phone number if you cant find them 703-435-9573

                  1. Saigon Pho Style is an authentic Pho place because they have one of the greens that you put in the soup that given best flavor, the owner told me "that's how truly Pho should taste" , I agreed , They also have veggie Pho there too .

                    1. I posted this earlier, but had great pho at Pho Bistro--best meat out of the lot:

                      "After introducing my retired father to Pho several weeks ago, we decided to try a new place every week for a few weeks. Here is what we decided are our rankings, for Pho and spring rolls alone. I usually just go with the Chicken, but I've had the beef at a few:

                      1. Saigon Star (Broadlands Plaza/Ashburn): GREAT Broth, far from bland
                      2. Pho Royal (Off 7 in Sterling next to cheap cleaners): Ginger-y broth, a little on the salty side but flavorful and loads of noodles
                      3. Saigon Cafe (near Regal, on O'Faolain's side): Best Spring Rolls of the lot
                      4. Taste of Vietnam (near Regal Theaters, next to the Bank of America): Did not enjoy the meatball soup here, the broth was bland too and I ruined it with too much lime.

                      So my recs would be number one and two, possibly number three. And we managed to miss a couple that were randomly closed on the days we went."

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: tinatuna16

                        Finally tried Pho Royal today (and somehow realized I missed this post on this thread). It's odd that those businesses front doors are on the back side of the building. At any rate, I was worried I'd be a lone diner, but at 1pm, they had a fairly full house.

                        The broth was light and slightly sweetish - I think tinatuna described it well. Not as sweet as the broth in Herndon off of Spring - I think this is Saigon Pho Style - which was so sweet I left half the bowl behind.

                        Overall it was good. If I lived in the area I'd go there occasionally but I think I'd still drive to Pho Reston 75 at Tall Oaks - the broth is just well balanced and - for lack of a better term - robust.

                      2. I lived in Sterling for almost 10 years now and being a true Vietnamese pho lovers, I know where to go to get real pho. I totally recommend this place called "Pho Herndon" in the downtown herndon area. It is the place that you get authentic vietnamese Pho and other Vietnamese dishes.

                        Pho Herndon is located on Elden Street, in the Bestway supermarket plaza. Their fone number is 703 689 8900. Let's get real with Pho Herndon! :P

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: VAPhoLovers

                          I really like Pho Herndon. My son, the picky eater, loves their bbq rib appetizer and I've been there so often, they brought me pho when I didn't order pho. I also think their vietnamese sandwiches are a bargain and a half. $3.00 for a small sub sandwich with many varieties of meats. I will have them make a couple with the veggies on the side so I can heat the sandwich later and then add the veggies.

                          1. re: SunTzuTech

                            I'm glad they're still around. I posted a while ago. The history of that location has long been pho/VN places. Two installs ago - Nyugen Deli - was the best except for service (not bad, but not attentive). The one in between was just awful all the way around.

                            PH, as I remember, had decent pho - and I should've included it in my recent tour. I'll get to it early next week. The bahn mi is welcome to this area, to be sure. The one time I had it it was good but not stellar. I'll try that again, too.

                        2. www.phosaigonquan.com

                          There is a new and cozy Vietnamese Pho restaurant in Springfield called PHO SAIGON QUAN. Surprised that one of my Philipino friend told me about this new restaurant. A Non-Vietnamese was telling me how good their pho is...????!!! The restaurant has been opened for about 4 or 5 months. Our family went their last weekend to check it out. Yummieee!!! Incredibly tasty broth and everything was so fresh. They have very large menu with many other Vietnamese dishes as well.I can tell you that this place is very DIFFERENT from other general Vietnamese Pho restaurant. Service was very friendly too. Check out their website at www.phosaigonquan.com. See you there :)....

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: PhoLover1

                            Non-Vietnamese are incapable or recognizing good soup?

                              1. re: Dennis S

                                Great feedback on such an old posting, but all welcome.
                                Now, reading the 2004 URL post by Dennis S, can anyone offer insites on where to go in the area for Northern / Southern Pho types? Meaning, as in any Pho quest, the good stuff.

                                1. re: RobertM

                                  The only Northern style I know about is Nam Viet, but I think for other reason (focus on the rest of the vast menu) I'd pass on the pho there.

                                  1. re: Dennis S

                                    With snow and cabin fever ramping up, Im sure some hungry souls will post good Pho news.

                          2. I live in Cascades, so have tried a bunch of places in the area. My latest find is in Chantilly. It is bright and clean and always packed. Pho 98 on route 50. They also have sate sauce!!!! Be sure to ask for it, they don't give it to you automatically.

                            If I'm trying to stay close to home, I get it from Pho Bistro in Ashburn.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: casilady

                              There's one across from the Sterling clock tower - have you (or anyone else here) been there?

                              1. re: Dennis S

                                I went a long time ago (more than 8 years ago). I remember thinking it was ok. My friend recently went there and said it was good, though. He showed me reviews on yelp.com, 3.5 stars. It's called Pho Vietnam, I think?

                                When my 3-year old son craves pho, we just get it from Saigon Cafe by Regal. I usually get the grilled pork or beef and rice dish. I like Pho Royal's broth, but I didn't like their noodles. They were a little thicker. Taste of Vietnam's pho is bland... and the place has gone downhill in terms of cleanliness.

                                I've gone to Pho 98 every week since December. I'm freaking out a bit because I don't think I'll make it there this week. Darn snow!!!

                                1. re: casilady

                                  I think Pho Royal is the place I'm thinking of. I don't think I've seen Pho Vietnam - the name feels totally new to me.

                                  If you're trekking as far as you are for pho, you should try Pho Reston 75 in the Tall Oaks center of Reston - this is not Pho 75. I'll try to trek to Pho 98.

                                  1. re: Dennis S

                                    I work out in Chantilly, so Pho 98 is less than 10 minutes away. But I WILL venture to Pho Reston 75. Maybe this weekend with the family, after we get over this snow business. I'll report back!

                                2. re: Dennis S

                                  I think it is Pho Vietnam in the Sterling clock tower plaza--we just call it "local pho." We've been going there for 8+ years. The pho is good, but the broth doesn't measure up to Pho Hot's standard. Their version of shaky beef does rock, however.

                                  Pho Vietnam is a family-run business and their family has always taken good care of our family, starting with sippy cups filled half with ice and half with straight broth for the chow pup when she was much, much smaller. They always remember her standard order of a Pho #1, no scallions.

                                  Pho Hot Restaurant
                                  7442 Little River Tpke, Annandale, VA 22003

                              2. There's no reason to leave Ashburn for great pho. Pho Bistro off Waxpool/Farmwell is by far the best place. Great cuts of meat. My favorite broth of the bunch. And I *think* they say they are not using MSG, but who knows. They have nice non-pho selections if you go with a non-pho friend (although why you are friends with such a person is beyond me). My buddy had a nice lookign seafood pancake.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: goldenbk

                                  Pho Bistro in Ashburn definitely has great Pho. The flank steak and brisket are very lean and tasty. The broth is not sweet, unlike some I have seen commented on here. They give you bean sprouts, cilantro, and jalopenos to add to the broth. Their pork chops are also very good, though I found the chicken less tasty.

                                  1. re: tad0900

                                    I just had a big bowl of Pho there this past weekend. I haven't sampled a lot of Pho in the area but the Pho Bistro is a winner in my book.

                                    Pho Bistro
                                    239 Muddy Branch Rd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878