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Pho

  • Davwud Oct 24, 2006 01:10 AM

Okay TO hounds

I've heard so many people rave about Pho, I wanna give it a whirl.
What do I need to know?? What am I getting myself into?? Is it a meal?? I'm a pretty big eater. Is there a really great place mid town ish or west?? What do I order??

Give me the place, tell me what to order and I'm on it!!

DT

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  1. Pho (pronounced "fe" in Vietnamese) is awesome. What could be a better than thin rice noodles (not vermicelli) in a meat based broth. You can chose the type of meat you want (i.e. rare beef slices, beef balls, tripe, etc) to accompany your noodles and it's up to you how much of the bean sprouts, lime/lemon, vietnamese mint, chilli that you want to put in. Don't forget the hot sauce and the "hoisin" sauce too.

    Most places offer small, large and x-large, so you'll definitely have enough food, but if you're going for Viet, try the springrolls (fried or fresh) and the bahn guan which are similar to Chinese rice rolls. West, there's a great place at Dundas and Cawthra (I forget the name), or try Pho Hung in Chinatown.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jamsy

      Pho Hung is great...ask for extra herbs... I'm eurasian (chinese-french) but i've noticed that the chinese students and my chinese friends all leave out the herbs and use the bean sprouts..which personally i dislike...Lots of Maggie/Black/Sricha sauce with herbs/limes and chilis street style. Anh Dao is also good a little north of dundas on spadina. Our fave place in the city is MiMi's in east chinatown (on gerrard), we used to eat there all the time until my partner moved in to my house in midtown. It has great Bun (grilled pork and pasted shrimp on sugar cane....also good beef wrapped in mint)... There used to be a great place ossington/dundas (what people think of as lil portugal-has a lot of viet businesses nowadays). don't know if it's still there. also bathurst/dundas is a great northern style viet place that has Hue (royal cuisine) style courses. hope that helps anyone trying viet for the first time.

      1. re: zed1984

        Hi Zed,
        What is the name of the restaurant that has the Hue style cuisine at Bathurst/Dundas? There are plenty of places that do bun bo Hue, but I've never heard of a restaurant in TO that did other Central Vietnamese dishes (Hue is Central not Northern really).

    2. When I have a pho or vermicelli craving and don't want to head downtown, I go to Pho Mi Asia on Wilson Ave., just east of Keele.

      The broths (beef, chicken or seafood) are all flavourful and the pho is well garnished. Their grilled meats are great, too. The beef pho are great, but I usually opt for the chicken pho or the seafood with egg noodles and rice noodles.

      3 Replies
      1. re: FlavoursGal

        Flavours Gal, noticed your post and have say I almost always stick to a beef pho. Wonder about the broth flavour in chicken or seafood??? And I am always amazed at the noodle combination of rice and egg! Egg noodles have so much denser qualities than rice noodles, wonder about this item!!!! Pho Mi Asia is a great place to drop by, if not during school lunch hours!!!

        1. re: Jar

          Most places actually use the same base broth for beef, chicken and seafood. The only difference is the protein added at the end. Traditionally, they do taste different. I find that beef broth is heartier especially because when you put the beef in at the end, the broth is flavoured by the beef cooking in the brother. Chicken broth, conversely, is lighter and you can appreciate the more subtle flavours of a good broth because it's not overwhelmed by the beef.

          1. re: LTL

            I have to disagree with you LTL. In my experience, the beef-based pho broth is used only for pho that contains beef. The broth for Pho Ga (chicken) is usually quite different. The only time I've had chicken in a beefy pho broth is if the chicken is combined with beef. As for the seafood soups, they tend to come in a more standard broth which can be used for dumplings, pork, seafood or chicken-based soups. I believe that most places make that broth with a combination of chicken and pork.

      2. Alright, I love Pho. It is my comfort food. I eat pho when I'm down and it perks me up. I love it.

        1) Pho is most definately a meal. At almost anyplace that offers you options in sizes, 'Large' is too big (I'm a big guy, I really mean it).

        2) You will be offered options on what type of pho you want.

        The options usually consist of 'rare' thinly sliced beef (it is raw but cooks in the hot broth), tendons (chewy and add great flavour), tripe, beef balls (really firm and should be peppery -- can become addictive), grilled meat (sort of satay-style).

        You can usually get just about any combination of the above you want. I like either a. rare beef, tripe and tendon, b. rare beef and beef balls, or c. just beef balls.

        3) These choices will be added to rice noodles and topped with either hot-water/thin broth or a richer broth depending on where you go. There may be sliced red onion and cilanrto on top -- especially with beef balls.

        4) You will be given a 'salad' plate of greens. These will consist of bean sprouts, lime wedges (you may have to ask for more lime wedges -- they never give enough accept at a few better places), and herbs. The herbs should either depend on what you ordered or they will depend on the fact you're white. Expect Thai Basil (Hung Que) everytime. You might, on rare ocassions, also get some mint or some other herb.

        If you order beef balls and they don't take you as unapreciative wasp you might get ngo gai (sawtooth herb, mexican cilantro, culantro, etc...). I love ngo gai. I always end up asking for it.

        If you get anything else try it and then look up what it might be here: http://vietworldkitchen.com/essential... .

        Alright, that's the essentials.

        Now, for a first timer, I recommend Pho Hung on Spadina at St. Andrews (one block north of Dundas on the west side).

        It is NOT the absolute best Pho in Toronto. Notably, their broth is thin and often needs the addition of sriracha and the stiring of the beef to flavour it (or order the tendon and tripe to enrichen it).

        But, it is consistent -- the noodles well cooked, the beef fresh, the herbs fresh. It is also immaculately clean (usually even to a high degree in the washrooms!). Even the kitchen is spotlessly white. Plus, it is easy to get to (cheap parking in the garage on St. Andrews or TTC links), the servers are either helpful or can find someone who is (if it isn't supper and they're busy), and the atmosphere is lovely (glass-enclosed patio with views onto the street). The menu is approachable and well laid out.

        I recomend pho # 08 (rare and balls) for a first try. Also get either a mango shake or a strawberry shake -- they are very good. Their chicken wings are very, very good too. Ordering all three will stuff you even with the pho ordered at 'small' size.

        'Qualtity' is what the menu says instead of 'quantity' on the self-serve order slips. I just love that. Anyways . . .

        ----

        Now, once you've had you're first experience you'll want to try some other places and other dishes.

        Pho Saigon at Warden and Eglington is very good -- better than most and certainly the equal of Pho Hung. They serve a richer broth than Pho Hung. It might be more accesible to you (you live north right?).

        I like Que Ling on Bolton at Gerrard in east china-town for pho -- if I was closer to it when hungry, it would be my favourite spot.

        Mimi's across the street is good for grilled meats and Chan Chua (sour-fish soup). An acquired taste, kinda like sour Hawaian Pizza, with fish, as a soup -- eat it and find out what that meant ;-). I also like Rau Vang on Ossington south of Dundas for pho. However, it looks really, really sketchy and kinda unwelcoming.

        Other dishes include:

        The other staples are Bun (cold, cooked rice vermicelli with topping) and Com (congee-like rice poridge). They often have similar toppings.

        A personal fave is:

        Pho Bo Hue (Hue-style pho) is a fiery-spicy, beefy (cooked), rich concoction and deserves trying. Perhaps not at Pho Hung (mediocre version). I've only had the Bun bo Hue at Que Ling (i.e. on dry noodles, not as pho) -- but, it was great. Otherwise, I make this myself.

        All that said, I end up at Pho Hung a lot. It is close to school (I'm at UT), it is cheap, and it is really very good.

        Sorry for such a very long post!

        5 Replies
        1. re: Atahualpa

          Amazing Atahualpa... just reading your post has me craving Pho! :)

          1. re: Atahualpa

            Atahualpa, that's a spectacular post - thanks!

            The only place I would add is Hanoi 3 Seasons, on Gerrard, a few doors east of Broadview (north side). Great pho, and amazing grouper (served with noodles (dry) or in soup (wet).

            1. re: Atahualpa

              I must be the only person who finds Pho Hung just not good at all. Not for pho anyway. The meat is overcooked and the broth isn't flavourful. My favourite places for pho aren't around any more. There was a place at Dundas and Beverley that closed. Then Dai Nam was my other favourite -- it has been renamed Krispy Roll and is now on Warden at Eglinton. I typically order from Xe Lua but only because it's close to me.

              I also want to say that I find the owner of Pho Hung very rude and have more than once seen him chase people out for staying too long, even when there is no line up. He once moved me to a different table in mid meal because he had a bunch of people show up. It's all about the dollar and of course it always is but these blatant displays make me reluctant to shell out too much for his bottomless pocket.

              Oh and I hear it's pronounced like the French FEU which makes sense since it's soup (cooked over fire) and Vietnam has so much French.

              NOW where is the best spicy Pho (the thin type with lemon grass, not the sate)? Krispy Roll gets my vote. Is it Ho Tue style or something like that?

              1. re: Calam1ty

                Pronunciation depends on which region you are talking about. It would be like FEU in North Vietnam. More like FA in South Vietnam. In both cases there is a tone which I cannot really describe in a post.

              2. re: Atahualpa

                Excellent reply to take the time to try and explain to perfection. A few things about Pho that I kind of like. I add the bean sprouts to cook in the hot broth and wait before adding greens that I break up and add after a few moments. The broth may be hot or quite hot and best eaten before cooling as the flavour and fragrances lessen. I use several fresh chilies, remove stem and seeds and break into several pieces when sprouts were added. I most certainly do not add chile or hoisin to the broth, retaining the fine flavour and structure of the broth. Usage of the small provided dipping dish for the meat is best in a combination of your choice, often half chile and half hoisin. With regards to the menu, one not worry about choosing from 10 to 30+ soups, as they are usually a meat combination. The rare beef and beef ball a good choice, the red rare beef will quickly cook once you added the bean sprouts and do a little stir with the chopsticks. A typical menu will have drinks, appetizers and about 100 items divided into 3 sections - soup/rice/noodles! Best to talk to your server the first times that you go and learn about the menu, the cuisine, etc. An Internet search of Vietnamese cuisine will be very informative.

              3. I prefer Xue Lua on spadina. It's 2 blocks south of Dundas on the west side. It has a train for it's logo. I prefer to Pho Hung because the rice noodles are wider and it serves larger portions. I used to always get the #101 which is usually the special and comes with everthing. Now I prefer #109 which has everthing except the rare beef. I like the chewier and fattier meats. The rice dishes there are mediocre but the combination plates are really good and you get to make your own fresh rice rolls.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Chef_Fu

                  I agree with Chef_Fu. Xue Lua's better, I think. Arent the prices better as well? And yes, the 101 is still my favourite, I actually like the rare beef.

                  However, if you catch them during their peak times (lunch from 11:30am-2pm), you might get only be able to get a warm bowl of pho, rather than a steaming hot one, because they usually deliver the bowls of pho's in batches... so, your bowl might make it to your table the last!

                  I've always liked Vietnamese Noodle House on Finch at Midland (thats in Scarborough). They have yummy thick noodles (very soft, little chewy), and their soup is very flavourful and rich, and comes piping hot all the time. Their meat is soooooo yummy, just the right amount of marbling. Enjoy!

                  1. re: jennjen18

                    I second Xue Lua's. The Broadview/Gerrard location's one of our favourite places to eat at in Toronto.
                    Their spring rolls are great. Their chicken and beef pho are excellent and the broth in INCREDIBLY fragrant. lots of different meat used to make the broth (the owner told me he uses oxtail as well). sometimes their pho smells like apples and coriander.
                    Their satay soup in incredibly spicy and tasty.
                    once in a while, i get the rice paper wraps with different meats. its also very good.
                    their Bun is pretty good as well - a nice change of pace.
                    I've had pho up and down Gerrard East and at a bunch of places on Spadina on Xue Lua's is still my favourite

                2. Holy smokes. That's a lot to digest.

                  Thanks
                  DT

                  1. atahualpa did a great job of describing pho - but I would highly recommend Golden Turtle - I could eat there every day. It is on Ossington about one block north of Queen. The rare beef pho is sublime.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Apple

                      I heard so much about Golden Turtle so I went, but I got the grilled chicken which was very hard in texture, didn't enjoy it at all.

                      1. re: Teep

                        I think a somewhat recent change in ownership may affected the quality of the food. We used to love going there, but the last time we went there we were unimpressed.

                        1. re: Teep

                          I finally made it to Golden Turtle (Rau Vang) tonight, and was not impressed at all. I don't get it, really, because people rave here and Kates rated it very highly. It has a varied menu. We tried pho, rolls (fresh and fried) and pad thai. Young Thailand's pad thai - even the Queen Mother's pad thai, was far better. The pho was only OK. Light on the noodles and the broth was at best average. My brother-in-law's new (vietnamese) girlfriend took us to a pho joint on Bank Street in Ottawa and it was far, far superior.

                          I've tried Pho Hung and it was only just OK as well.

                          1. re: francelonian

                            OK, just checked for the Ottawa joint's address and it wasn't Bank St it was Somerset - the place is called Pho Tu Do.

                            1. re: francelonian

                              I don't get it - I wouldn't judge a Vietnamese restaurant by it's pad thai since it's not a Vietnamese dish. In fact I wouldn't order Thai food at a Viet resto.

                        2. If you in the west end, try Hoaikuong at the Queensway east of Royal York (716 The Queensway, 416-503-8118).

                          1. After reading a couple reviews here, I tried it. The service was amazing, hot tea while I waited even though my order was for take out. However, when I got home, I noticed that the portion was far smaller than what I was used to. I think the taste was equal to other phos I've had.

                            My favourites are Peach Garden at College and Church ( right outside college station), and in Mississauga, Pho 99 at Dixie and Dundas. Really tasty and the broth becomes gelatinous when refrigerated.

                            I have heard not so good things about other Pho 99 locations, but I can say everytime I go to this location there are always Vietnamese people in the restaurant, which is surely a good sign.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: beany

                              Two quick things:

                              1) Is your first paragraph talking about Hoaikuong? You simply say "I tried it".

                              2) I wouldn't necessarily trust the fact that there were vietnamese people eating there. Lots and lots and lots of chinese student buy their lunch from the take-away trucks outside the buildings at UofT. While the food isn't awful, it isn't good either!! I think people of a given ethnicity are willing to accept familiar food that happens to be mediocre if it is cheap and convenient -- the way I might eat a cart-dog or get some Wendy's now and then.

                              1. re: Atahualpa

                                Hi, sorry you are right I wasn't clear. I did mean Hoaikuong.

                            2. I went to Pho Saigon yesterday for a try finally.
                              I gotta admit, at first I though, ya this is good. I don't really see what the fuss is about. I got the house special (Everything) and it was all good. I really didn't like the texture of the tendon.
                              The thing is, I found it very adictive. I didn't want to stop eating it. I ordered the large and got about half way through it.
                              I had the rest today for breakfast and I think it was even better.

                              All in all, I really liked it.

                              BTW, the girl there said it was pronounced "Faw"

                              DT

                              1. I was in Pho Saigon yesterday too...I asked the server how you pronounced the number 21 (Pho Tai) and she said "I'm not Vietnamese, I'm Chinese". Ooops.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Suburban Gourmand

                                  Does it matter about the origin of the server, really! Having been in countless restaurants of an ethnic persuasion and seeing all kinds of various different ethnic servers, they are just working!!! Yesterday I was on Roncessvalles buying Kolbossa, Muslanka, etc. --- and I cannot remember enough Ukrainian/Polish words to even make a sentence. A few people ahead of me, several of the servers were talking in Polish to what was obviously a regular customer who answerered and spoke with ease. This wonderful lady, whoever she was, an Oriental, undetermined origin as to Chinese/Thai/ etc. spoke better than I ever did in my life! That is the way it is in our very multicultural Toronto. Today, I was buying some produce at a local Italian small grocery and the young lady was Argentinian. I have bought bagels from a Black server! On and On! Give these people a break as yes, she will likely learn to pronounce it if she cares, and that will determine a lot her future success! It is a low level pay learning job and she probably will grasp the spark you ignited that she improve her understanding! I'd have had a conversation with her to learn how she was working there and learn something --- !!!!!

                                  1. re: Suburban Gourmand

                                    That's my problem whenever I shop in Chinatown (Spadina). Labels are written in a language I don't know (no English translation most of the time) and whenever I ask, no one seems to know either !

                                  2. Xe Lua on Gerrard rocks and both the food, clientel and service are all better than the Spadina location.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: MinkusMan

                                      We have been going to the Gerrard XeLua for a couple of years. We tried most of the places along that strip after abandoning MiMi (who never had the best pho, but whose warm service more than compensated, then didn't any more). We found XeLua consistently the best of that bunch - at least at our usual dinner time.

                                      We don't eat much pho in hot weather, and returned to XeLua last week after an absence of several months. The place had been completely redecorated and cleaned up and the ventilation had improved. The service was good. We had the rare beef + brisket pho and the hot & sour seafood soup. Both contained an extremely generous quantity of the protein ingredients. But both broths were weak - even borderline insipid. We aren't panicking based on one visit, but that broth is what makes or breaks the dish.

                                      1. re: embee

                                        Mimi's speciality really is its BBQ meats (on bun, rice or rice paper roll-ups) not so much the pho. The canh chua and claypots are good too.

                                        1. re: embee

                                          I've been to Xe Lua a bunch of times cuz some of my friends like to gather there. I must say I'm very unimpressed. It is the most inauthentic of the Gerrard Chinatown. I've tried ordering in Vietnamese and they don't even speak the language.

                                      2. I actually frequent both locations. The quality of the broth varies, as it I find it does at most Pho joints, but at worst it is still pretty good. I find Pho Dau Bo surpasses most other places in terms of the quality of their meat, it is almost always top notch. I give a slight edge to the North York location, their beef balls appear to be home made and are unlike any others I've tried. In addition, I find they're a little more generous with scallions.

                                        For the record, I almost always order #325, Pho with rare beef, flank, and beef balls. IMHO, it is the best $5.75 you could possibly spend on food in the country. I should mention my GF usually orders the bun with grilled lemongrass beef, there seems to be no real discernible difference between the two locations. She lives very close to the Sauga location, while I'm not too far from the North York location......If only they had some sort of customer loyalty program, like the subway stamps.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: jonnybee

                                          There were two or three threads yesterday regarding Pho, one of which discussed Peach Garden on Carlton Street (and Yonge). I decided to wander over there after work, a little early for the dinner crowd perhaps as I was the only customer (and it was for take out). I ordered the Chicken rice noodle pho and pork spring rolls. I guess I expected too much given the positive reviews on the board, because there was nothing to the pho. A few tiny pieces of chicken, watery broth, a sprinking of bean sprouts and coriander...it was a very, very sad dish, indeed. The pork rolls were okay, a lot of filling but greasy (that may also have been a result of taking it away instead of eating it quickly).

                                          The service was great- I guess it had to be as I was the only customer- but I was pleased at how patient the waiter was who helped explain some of the other dishes. I was also served a hot cup of tea while I waited, which is always a nice touch.

                                          1. re: jonnybee

                                            I second jonnybee's suggestion of Pho Dau Bo (North York location)...it has the BEST pho in Toronto!...it has the most authentic flavor, and the closest match to the ones I had in Vietnam. Don't make the MISTAKE of squirting hoisin or chili sauce into your bowl of pho...your distorting and overwhelming the beefy goodness of the broth! Use the small dishes provided on your table, or squirt the sauces into an extra soup spoon. You're suppose to dip your meat into the sauce, not drink it with your soup!

                                            1. re: gtafoodie

                                              Thats spot on with the sauce on the broth,when someone's eating Pho I can make out who is a rookie when I see the sauce squirting on the broth ....its almost blasphemous

                                              1. re: warlock

                                                I'm not a rookie and somtimes I LIKE the hoisin in the broth, sometimes! Of course, I'm also often blasphemous :)

                                                1. re: bluedog

                                                  i was just kidding,i have a friend from Vietnam who told me that even there some people squrt the sauces in the broth...there are so many ways of eating pho withe the different permutation and combination but yes to really appreciate the flavour of the broth it should not be "contanimated" with anything else,IMHO

                                          2. I have been to a few Pho places myself and my goto places are the Xue Lua at Gerrard (my frieds just call it 'train') or the place just south of warden and steeles at that mall location with the McDonalds. Xue Lua has always been consistenly good for the 'fresh' noodles and full bodied soup. Their spring rolls is what I use to benchmark other places as well as the noodles.

                                            16 Replies
                                            1. re: geekwithspatula

                                              Its funny how some people always have good experiences at some places while others don't. I've been to Xe Lua on gerard three times, and the first time was great: good srping rolls, good pho...but the second time it might as well been a different restaurant!!!!! Horrible, greasy springrolls (worst I've had in Toronto), and mediocre pho with ingredients that didn't stand out or taste that fresh at all. The thrid time mirrored the first and haven't been back...

                                              While I think the quality has gone downhill a bit, I've never had a bad experience, food wise or service wise, at Mimi's! Hanoi Three Seasons was just not good the one time I went (search on this, there was a thread last year I think).

                                              Anyhow, I LOVE Pho and am glad Davwud had a good experience. Pho Saigon is pretty good. Some of the best Pho I've had in the GTA was actually in Mississauga at a place on Eglinton. Thai-Vietnamese place, way out near Erin Mills and Eglinton. They made a fantastic version of Thom Yum, that was more of a Seafood Pho than actual Tom Yum. Very spicy.

                                              1. re: bluedog

                                                I am lost. How can Tom Yum and Pho mixed together ? Pho Tom Yum ?!?

                                                1. re: skylineR33

                                                  Another vote for Pho Dau Bo..More meat than the other places, and great tasting all round!

                                                  1. re: skylineR33

                                                    Well, I'm not an expert, and I think Pho is by definition a beef dish, but what they do is start with what is basically the Pho without the beef (i.e. noodles, herbs, lime, onions, just as describeed above, in a huge bowl of broth, its been awhile, but come to think of it, its likely a chicken broth, not beef), spice it up considerably (chilis, chili oil etc., the broth is red), add something that makes it a bit sourr (tamarind maybe??) and then add seafood like shrimp dumplings. It's not quite so delicate and sour as Tom Yum I've had anywhere else, and yet way way spicier than Pho. Looks like a big bowl of spicy Pho, if I had to briefly describe it. I'm sure there's a Vietnamese name for it other than Pho, but in English they called it Tom Yum. Had it once a few times/month while I was working in mississauga. Never seen it anywhere else.

                                                    1. re: bluedog

                                                      I think probably you are talking about Canh Chua - a sour fish soup made with snake head fish (the original one) in Vietnam. It has a clearer taste than Tom Yum which is from Thai and has a strong fish taste. Usually it is a soup by itself, but I guess some serves it with noodle ...

                                                      1. re: skylineR33

                                                        I'm pretty sure its not, actually. Definitely not a strong fish taste. Indeed, I am positive its a chicken based broth that's been jazzed up. I've had a sour fish broth at Mimi's, and it tasted nothing like the "Tom Yum" I'm describing.

                                                        1. re: bluedog

                                                          Umm... wonder what kind of vietnamese soup that is 'sour' other than sour fish soup .. Anyway, it is hard to find good sour fish broth in TO that is even close to Vietnam. A better one I had is the one at Pho Vietnam in Scarborough.

                                                          1. re: skylineR33

                                                            I think their just adding some tamarind, some fish sauce, and chili oil/chili sauce to the chicken broth. The tamarind and chili sauce would get you the sour for sure!

                                                            1. re: skylineR33

                                                              where's pho vietnam in scarborough?

                                                              1. re: jennjen18

                                                                Pho Vietnam :
                                                                1280 Kennedy Road, south of Ellesmere. The restaurant is very colourful with a big sign on your right if you go south.

                                                        2. re: bluedog

                                                          This could have been one of two things: canh chua or bun bo hue. Canh chua made with chicken stock and afterwards they add fish, shrimp or chicken. Doesn't have to have a strong fish flavour - just depends what is added to it. The big giveaway for canh chua is the tamarind sour tang (literally means sour soup), the sweetness from pineapple (or just sugar) and the heat from the chiles. Optional optional things are: slices of taro stem (spongy), celery, sprouts, etc. Bun bo hue has the characteristic red broth and can be very spicy. It's a mix of pork and beef broth and usually has pieces of vietnamese sausage (cha lua), pork blood cubes, pork knuckle, and is served with a pile of herbs.

                                                          1. re: Riverdaleto

                                                            So it looks like we may both be right...I I swear, however, that's simply called Tom Yum on the menu...aplogies for not explaining it very well. If anyone else has been, maybe they can weigh in.

                                                        3. re: skylineR33

                                                          They are two different dishes, IMO.Why not google each of them?

                                                      2. re: geekwithspatula

                                                        ugh, the 88 at bamburgh circle (south of warden) sucks. quality of meat is very low, and the soup? just plain ol' salty. yuck.

                                                        1. re: jennjen18

                                                          Thank you...finally someone who agrees with me about Pho 88 on Bamburgh...

                                                          1. re: warlock

                                                            Been a regular at Pho Pasteur for the last 2 years ....decided to give Pho 88 Bamburgh Circle another shot today,since I was in the area...has the Rare Beef and Tripe......
                                                            Disappointment again....so used to the flavourful broth at Pho Pasteur,that Pho 88 seemed liked hot water and salt......and a single twig of basil with like 4 leaves on it ,and the size of the lime was more suited for a Corona,got no brownie points from me.....the crowd there still amazes me.....even Pho Hung is so much better.....

                                                      3. For consistant, yummy pho, I recommend Krispy Rolls, just south of Eglinton on Warden, on the East side. I go there about once a week and they've always had fantastic food in general.

                                                        1. I think I read a refference to the Pho place at King W and Dufferin, called Pho 21 or something like that, we tried it for take-out last night, place was clean, we both got large rare beef Pho and an order of fried spring rolls, the broth was good but could have been better, the usual accompaniments were abundant and fresh, and we were both stuffed and happy for about $19...not bad for a local joint...

                                                          1. I have tried PHO at a few places and I rank them by 3 things 1. Broth 2. Noodles/Vermicelli 3. Quality of meat and garnish. To be honest ,i have not had PHO at any place that has been perfect with all 3.But I will go with 3 of the places,that gets close to at least 2 of them.

                                                            Pho Viet
                                                            Telephone: 905-307-2688
                                                            Address:, 7010 Warden Ave

                                                            Good broth,noodles used to be great but not anymore (I like them al dente).Best broth of the lot

                                                            Pho Hung Restaurant.
                                                            350 Spadina, Toronto
                                                            ON, M5T2G4

                                                            Broth is nice,Good quality beef ,noodles/vermicelli are OK not great.But like someone posted earlier,they are not the best but they are consistent .Never faced any problem with the service.Also I love their Jackfruit shake.

                                                            VIP Vietnamese Restaurant
                                                            3229 Hwy 7 First Markham Place

                                                            Just tried this recently,and the rare Beef is the BEST ,really big slices and their noodles are the best.But their broth is a bit weak.

                                                            Would like to try Golden Turtle,heard that Susur eats there

                                                            Well thats my 2 cents

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: warlock

                                                              Anh Dao - 383 Spadina Ave. (at College)

                                                              The restaurant is quite small and unassuming. Don't let that fool you - their food is great.

                                                              In addition to the tasty pho, their rice plates (com's) are excellent - best pork chops I've had at a Viet place. Their platters (do-it-yourself wraps) are also pretty awesome as well. And wash all that down with a nice fruit shake! Needless to say, I love this place.

                                                              Please try it and let me know what you all think!

                                                              1. re: warlock

                                                                pho hung totally lost it for me and golden turtle was the biggest disappointment after hearing so many raves.

                                                                pho phuong is darn tasty. there are a few places up in RH i used to go to that would do a damn fine broth but the best of the downtown-ish lot i could find so far is pho phuong.

                                                                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                  Golden Turtle used to be really, really good. I understand it was sold sometime in the last year or so (maybe more). We went once under the new ownership and were truly let down. Nothing was as good as it used to be, and we have not been compelled to try again.

                                                                  Now we stick to Anh Dao or Pho Linh, for the most part. We have recently discovered a new place for a good bowl of pho (everything else we had was great, too) - Pho My Duyen @ 1208 Bloor St. W. It's also more "upscale" feeling than most other places, but prices are extremely competitive.

                                                                  1. re: Delish

                                                                    We went back to Pho My Duyen on Saturday to see if the first great eating experience was a fluke. I'm happy to report that it was in fact amazing the second time around.

                                                                    We changed it up a bit and instead of pho, we got spicy hue beef noodle soup. Yum. The broth was complex and perfectly spicy. The noodles looked like spaghetti but were both chewy and silky at the same time. The beef in the soup may have been a tad too fatty, but tasty for sure.

                                                                    We also got BBQ beef and BBQ chicken with broken rice. Incredilble. There is something about broken rice that makes me crave it. Both the beef and the chicken were well charred, slightly sweet and tender. Big pieces, too!

                                                                    We also ordered deep fried chicken wiings with butter. Soooooo big, plump and juicy with a lightly crisp exterior. Next time I want to try the fried quail with butter.

                                                                    Good quality. Good atmosphere. Good meal.

                                                                    1. re: Delish

                                                                      Is Pho Linh you refer to located a little west of Dufferin on Dundas?

                                                                      1. re: Davedigger

                                                                        It is west of Dufferin, but it is on College rather than Dundas.

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Pho Linh Restaurant
                                                                        1156 College St, Toronto, ON M6H1B6, CA

                                                                        1. re: Delish

                                                                          That's the one I was thinking. LOVE their Pho.

                                                                          1. re: Delish

                                                                            Pho Linh is truly one of the best. Esp. for bun bo hue and banh cuon.

                                                                  2. I have heard and tried the rest, but I am happy to tell you known of the responses have provided the best place for pho in my humble opinion; that is Sprout- Sprout is located on St. Clair just west of yonge on the south side. The food is truly amazing. Brian, the owner is a nice guy, been at it for 4 years.

                                                                    Here is what I get there:

                                                                    Pho- either with brisket or rare beef
                                                                    or Brian has a soup called Oh My Goodness- which is very spicy and i get that with shrimp.
                                                                    Alternates to soup- he has fragrant beef stew and vermacelli noodles with chciken, pork or beef.

                                                                    If you want great stuff try Sprout--by the way cash only!

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: gobuds

                                                                      Hate to rain on your parade, gobuds, but I found Sprout to be overrated, over priced and dumbed down. Went there once and I was completely unimpressed.

                                                                      1. re: gobuds

                                                                        Have to agree with bluedog. I found Sprout was underwhelming and inferior to any pho I've had. The customer service and the attitude of the owner was very poor. I won't return.

                                                                      2. pho 88 on spadina and dundas is by far the best Pho in the GTA.you go and check it out.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: longtermgevity

                                                                          Is this the old "Pho 88" with the sticky floors (R.I.P.) or its replacement, the snazzy looking "88 Restaurant" which has Chinese, Thai as well as Vietnamese dishes?

                                                                        2. second the vote on Pho Viet, which is located near the TNT on Warden and Steeles.

                                                                          After trying pho everywhere from downtown to Scarborough, I have to say lots of places cheat by adding MSG to the broth, you can really tell by how thirsty you get after thinking you just had some great pho, but Pho Viet 's broth is flavorful and light, and no aftereffects of additives!

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Royaljelly

                                                                            It's light, at Pho Viet, but I find there's not enough oomph. It's good when you've had too much grease or heavy flavour elsewhere, I suppose.. but I have pho only once in a while, .. and Vietnam Noodle House can give me the oomph in the soup. And oh-so-slippery noodles too! *sluuuuuuuuuurp*!

                                                                            1. re: Royaljelly

                                                                              Finally someone who agrees with me on Pho Viet...and if i must add,the cleanest of all Pho places that I have been to ...at one point I used to eat there like 3-4 times a week (It's close to work)...
                                                                              With regards to the best Pho around,there will never be a general consensus ever....everyone has their own outlook as to what they like or how they like their Pho....

                                                                              1. re: warlock

                                                                                Amen brother.

                                                                            2. Pho Phuong (Dundas and Brock) is clean, reasonably priced and tasty. I'm a fan of several places mentioned above but Phuong is my current go-to pho joint.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: flipp

                                                                                Just tried Pho Phuong last week after seeing it recommended on here...it's now my favourite place for Vietnamese food in Toronto.

                                                                                1. re: phoenikia

                                                                                  try the #24/25 or the last thing on the app menu...

                                                                                  if you like crunchy shrimps, coconut milk and mung bean.. dear lord is this the best thing ever.

                                                                              2. BTW,for people who have had it at both Pho 88 and Pho hung on spadina,whcih one is better?I have never had at Pho 88,so was thinking of maybe giving it a try...

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: warlock

                                                                                  go to xe lua or otherwise known as train pho on spadina instead.

                                                                                  pho 88 on spadina has transformed into a shadow of it's former self and now offers every asian cuisine possible except for sushi, i think. had a few dishes there when they first reopened and they couldn't get a single thing right.

                                                                                  1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                    Oh yes Xue Lua...been hearing nice things about it...will try that...Thx

                                                                                  2. re: warlock

                                                                                    i second xue lua in that spadina strip. yumm..

                                                                                    1. re: jennjen18

                                                                                      My favourite is the pho (rare beef and beef balls) at Pho Vietnam. I used to like Pho Hung on Bloor, but it seems to me that they went downhill, both in the table settings and the food.

                                                                                      1. re: ekammin

                                                                                        We were at the futureshop across the street and I convinced my friends to try it. The quality was average that day and the prices were a bit more than other places. I haven't tried the place at First Markham Place but I would still choose Xue Lua at broadview.

                                                                                  3. Now that it looks like Xue Lua is not around on the Spadina strip ...damn just before I could try it....

                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: warlock

                                                                                      Yeah, I went down with a few friends last weekend only to find it has disappeared from Spadina. Anyone know what happened to it?

                                                                                      1. re: radiopolitic

                                                                                        I know this sounds stupid, but what "green" is one supposed to get with Pho? I've gotten basil leaves, and some form of rough minty like leaf. And how is one supposed to eat these leaves? Put them in to cook, just sprinkle on top? And is one supposed to eat the branches as well? I'm a Pho novice!

                                                                                        1. re: Guzzler

                                                                                          basil, mint, cilantro or saw could come with your pho. i pull the leaves off (the branches/stems will be too coarse to eat) and scatter over the soup. they kinda get mixed in as i eat so some get wilted but the herbal freshness is what i'm after. i like to tear the bird's eye chilies and put them in too. i don't think i could handle a whole chili in one bite.

                                                                                          1. re: Guzzler

                                                                                            Pull the basil leaves off the stem and roughly tear them along with the mexican cilantro (long spikey leaves, not available at all places) and put them in your soup. Bean sprouts are always provided and go into the soup as well. They usually come raw, but you can request them to be blanched in hot water as well. I get them blanched because I find the raw bean sprouts cool down my soup...I like my soup steaming!:P The "greens" are garnish, like green onions, but also adds a lot of flavor to the soup.

                                                                                            1. re: gtafoodie

                                                                                              Yes the onions certainly add flavour to the broth.

                                                                                              Also remember that the star anise, ginger, cinnimon sticks also add spice and flavouring to the broth.

                                                                                            2. re: Guzzler

                                                                                              For beef and chicken pho it's mainly just Asian basil, saw tooth herb (ngo gai in Vietnamese - sometimes also called Vietnamese cilantro), bean sprouts, chiles, lime. Often already has green onions in it. Ngo gai is the one people are describing as Mexican cilantro below (though it's not). I've never had mint in my pho. There are other herbs for other soups.

                                                                                              1. re: Riverdaleto

                                                                                                most likely cilantro and/or Vietnamese basil could be added.

                                                                                        2. We tried the Gerrard branch of 88. The broth was delicious. It was served blazing hot, which was good. However, this turned the rare beef well done instantly, which was not so good.

                                                                                          The crispy shrimp rolls were boring and the mango shake was terrible.

                                                                                          1. Was in the mood for Pho today,went to Pho Hung on Spadina but it was choc a bloc(forgot it was friday night),so walked down to Peach Garden on Spadina.Ordered an XL Pho with Rare beef/tripe and tendon and a jackfruit shake.

                                                                                            First taste of broth,steaming hot but flavour was a bit weak,could not taste the spices.The noodles were the best thing about it.But the amount of beef/tripe was almost non existent.There was so little beef that it all drowned in the steaming broth and was already well done by the time I got to it.At Pho hung I get so much more for a Large.I am not kidding ,it was not even strips of beef.

                                                                                            The menu has a lot of other items that are well described but dont think I will have Pho here again.

                                                                                            The Jackfruit shake was a bit too sweet.The hot broth and the noodles was what kept me going I guess

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: warlock

                                                                                              I understand why you were disappointed warlock, Peach Garden actually specializes in rice dishes, Com Tam, not Pho. The Vietnamese name for Peach Garden is actually, Com Tam Dao Vien...their specialty is directly in their name!:P Try their 5 item rice dish, Com Tam Nam Mau, P28...I think...it's tasty and huge...will definitely fill you up!

                                                                                            2. No one has mentioned Vic Hong (two locations - Steeles near Silver Star in Toronto, and Major Mac and Bayview in Richmond Hill). They don't call it "pho"; they use the generic "noodle in soup". However, their "Centre Vietnamese style" (#54, I believe), combines a beautiful broth, scented, spicy, and unctuous, with slices of rare beef, thick noodles (you can ask for thin), and a few vegetables. We've been going for over ten years, and it's the one dish we always order, along with their fantastic spring rolls.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: KevinB

                                                                                                Any Pho near CN tower? The closest one would be ........?

                                                                                                1. re: Guzzler

                                                                                                  Chinatown...take ur pick....

                                                                                              2. i've been eating the pho at Pho Asia 21 (bad name, i know) at King-Dufferin, and actually to find it to be some of the best you can get downtown... delicious broth, lots of yummy meat and a healthy amount of "extras" (green onion, herbs, mung bean etc). i think the best stuff on themenu is def the pho though, other dishes are nothing special.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: jayseeca

                                                                                                  WOW! This is the same Vietnamese restaurant where you can order Curry goat!!!

                                                                                                  I think it either comes served with French bread for dipping....... or over steamed white rice.

                                                                                                  And yeah its in Parkdale (King/Dufferin, across from the Mcdonalds)

                                                                                                2. I have never had Pho on the Gerrard strip,will be trying it this week ,so what should my first try be -
                                                                                                  Xe Lua or Hanoi 3 Seasons?

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: warlock

                                                                                                    if you're going to choose between two, repick your contenders.

                                                                                                    xe lua will be southern and hanoi 3 will be northern. i found them to be very two different peas in the gerrard pod.

                                                                                                    i think the dish that hanoi 3 does well and helps show it's difference would be the dill fish. the pho has been quite disappointing to the southern versions i've had.

                                                                                                    1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                                      Thanks pinstripeprincess......On further research I out about Hanoi 3 being northern Vietnam cuisine....well I go to the Xe Lua on Spadina,is it any different from the Gerrard one?...I read some other threads and Que ling seems to be highly recommended...

                                                                                                  2. I've tried Pho Hung, Pho 88 and Pho Saigon. Pho Hung, I agree with others here, has a weak broth. I didn't get chased out, luckily, but overall it was okay. We ordered some other dishes that didn't really "bowl" us over (sorry for that!). Pho Saigon has some really good grilled dishes and their Vietnamese spring rolls are quite delicious. As for their Pho, it was much more flavourful than Pho Hung, and good portions. However it seemed to lack a spice or two. Pho 88 (Broadview and Gerrard) has good Pho. I find the flavour of their Pho more rounded, more richer than Saigon's (and no I haven't experienced "sticky floors" at that location). I've also enjoyed their grilled menu (beef, chicken, pork) and of course their spring rolls. Recently though, my wife and I were quite happy to discover that a popular Pho chain from out west came to Toronto... the east end of Scarborough to be exact. In the Soon Lee/Shopper's Drug Mart plaza at Markham Rd. and Lawrence E. you'll find Pho Dau Bo. Their Pho (in our opinion) tops the others. With this freezing weather there's nothing like Pho to warm you all over. Pho Dau Bo seems quite popular out west in Hamilton, Kitchener (2 locations), Cambridge, and Brampton. The service is lightning fast, the Pho, grilled and fried dishes are just great and to top it all off, the dinner is accompanied with a dvd concert on their very large flat screen! On our many returns there we watched dvd concerts of Sade, the Eagles, a very tired looking Michael Jackson (could've done without =P), the Bee Gees, and Yanni (again could've done without). Give them a try...

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: scarberian

                                                                                                      Pho Dau Bo in Scarborough is a good suggestion but it's still not as good as the one in North York, 2437 Finch Avenue West. If you get a chance Scarberian, give them a try and then you'll understand what I mean.

                                                                                                      1. re: gtafoodie

                                                                                                        What would be the nearest intersection? About a year ago we stopped at a Vietnamese restaurant at Keele and Finch, northeast corner, in a strip mall/office complex, Also a Japanese restaurant there. Have no idea what it was called. Rarely are in that area or we would have gone back. Not large, about 15 tables?
                                                                                                        We (3) all ordered pho and thought it was excellent. And because we were eating with a child the appetizer sized portions gave him some selections to make a combo. We've eaten pho in many places in Richmond Hill, Scarboro, C-towns e and down and really enjoyed this place. Very flavourful broth, meat rare as ordered and lots of it, plate of sprouts, basil etc. fresh (some patrons ordered extra and extra onions!), Rest of their menu looked interesting and varied. Inexpensive as usual for pho, but I remember thinking that it was particularly good value. Probably a good choice for lunch if you worked in that area.

                                                                                                        Has anyone been and what is it called?

                                                                                                        1. re: dory

                                                                                                          The closest intersection of the Pho Dau Bo in North York would be Finch Ave. W and Weston Rd. It's in a strip mall, sort of hidden behind a gas station. Here's a link to the map and some reviews:
                                                                                                          http://www.restaurantica.com/restaura...

                                                                                                          I'm not too sure about the restaurant you're referring to. There are a lot of Vietnamese restaurants in that area because of the large Vietnamese population that live in that vicinity. Sorry, but can't help you there.

                                                                                                    2. Tried Que Ling today on Gerrard/Boulton......The place as described earlier,almost like a shack....you most probably will have to share a table if you go alone or in a pair.....Now the Pho,broth is different in a nice way,but I found it a bit more on the saltier side,but great flavour nonetheless...rice vermicelli was al dente,just the way I like it......I had the Rare beef,but again like Xue Lua (Spadina branch) by the time it got to me it was cooked....I find that its only at Pho Hung where when I order Rare beef I actually get rare......I liked the chilli oil,they have as a condiment at Que Ling...another thing I noticed was the clientele was all asian (mainly vietnamese) which is something to take note of.......Overall an 8 out of 10 (It would have scored a 10 if only the broth was a less saltier and the beef was rare as I had ordered).....

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: warlock

                                                                                                        Do go back and try their bun bo hue and banh cuon, their best dishes.

                                                                                                        The same applies to Pho Linh, those two being their best also. Anh Dao also rates highly, best on the Spadina strip by far.

                                                                                                        These 3 are my fav vietnamese places in the city, and i've gone to my fair share (88, Pho Hung, Xe Lua, Golden Turtle, Mimi, Vic Hong). Very interested in trying Pho Dau Bo & Pho My Duyen.

                                                                                                        1. re: warlock

                                                                                                          I like the broth at Que Ling, but you need 2 bowls to fill up. The portions are more like what you get in Vietnam.
                                                                                                          I prefer Pho 88 on Gerrard. It is usually packed with locals and the XL is a real meal deal.

                                                                                                          1. re: koknia

                                                                                                            I am in the Gerrard/Broadview on Sunday again.....will try Pho 88 or Xe Lua,not decided as yet....BTW is it related to the Spadina Xue Lua????

                                                                                                            1. re: warlock

                                                                                                              Do not bother with Xe Lua on Gerrard. It's really substandard fare and I'm not even convinced the owners really understand Viet food that well. They certainly don't understand Vietnamese. I haven't been to the Spadina Xe Lua though so I can't speak for it.

                                                                                                              For the best pho in Chinatown East it's definitely Que Ling.

                                                                                                        2. i went to the alton towers (scarborough, steeles and mccowan) pho 88 for the longest time in my life at one point (we used to live there), but when we discovered vietnam noodles house (midland and finch) we stopped going there. but boyfriend and i went there just this past weekend, and it was interesting ...................

                                                                                                          they re-did the menu. i dont think it looks like a typical pho 88 menu anymore. it has thai and singapore stuff on it... ! pad thai, curries, amongst other things. what's good is that they had a veggie menu too ...... which included perogies! PEROGIES? in a vietnamese restaurant? yes... indeed.

                                                                                                          and the veggie menu was important to us 'coz boyfriend is a quasi-vegetarian. so .. we ordered the perogies! and it came out quite nice! it was in a combo for $6.99, and it included a milkshake and a dessert (tapioca). i know this isn't pho related, but just wait .............

                                                                                                          and so i ordered the pho, the one with everything in it... it was okay. it's no vietnam noodle house (im sorry, i just love that place), but its quite nice! typical soup, beef and beef parts, and they used dried noodles instead of fresh thick ones. not bad at all! but they put all the herbs (basil and other herbs) in the soup for u, so u have to fish it out.. 7/10 for the pho. we're going back for the versatile menu.

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: jennjen18

                                                                                                            Have to put our vote in for Vietnam Noodle House, too, and not just because we live close by! There are closer places, but VNH is our go-to one. Sometimes DW and I have a "lapse" and decide to try another restaurant just for fun but always end up regretting it and thinking about VNH instead...

                                                                                                            1. re: homebaker

                                                                                                              yaaaaaaaay for homebaker! some other person here that agrees with me on vietnam noodle house! :) bless you.

                                                                                                              1. re: jennjen18

                                                                                                                lol! ...Somewhere up the ancestral line we must have some common "pho" genes!... :)

                                                                                                          2. Just went to a new one again - in Mississauga this time. It's at the corner of The Chase and Eglinton. I forget what it's called, but it's beside a Taiwanese food/convenience store.

                                                                                                            Run by Cantonese, ... but that's okay too. 'Coz my fave pho place is run by people from Hong Kong anyway ...

                                                                                                            Soup was VERY flavourful (both my buddy and I agreed to that). I had the everything pho, and my buddy got the rare beef. The beef came semi rare (unlike at Vietnam Noodle House, at Midland and Finch, they REALLY give you rare beef, straight from the butcher, it seems!), with beef balls, tendon and tripe. I would have wanted more tripe. The noodles were the dried thin ones.

                                                                                                            8.5/10. I didnt like their sauces. Their hot sauce was different, as was the sweet one. In fact, the sweet one was very gooey. The sriracha .. I'm not even sure if it's sriracha. It's not spicy much, but tangy.

                                                                                                            Oh, and it's a little bit higher-end as well. Think Lemongrass at Midland and Steeles. They have a liquor license.

                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: jennjen18

                                                                                                              Yeah, I never knew that the Cantonese did pho. I'm in Hong Kong right now, staying on a little street with about 8 noodle shops, and the busiest, by far, is a pho joint. Lined up outside all day.

                                                                                                              I tried it and it wouldn't survive in Toronto!

                                                                                                              1. re: koknia

                                                                                                                me from hk too,.. i think toronto does a mean pho, compared to hk. :) but anyways.

                                                                                                                1. re: koknia

                                                                                                                  Staying at Tai Hang eh? Agree on what you said, the broth/size/value are no match.

                                                                                                                2. re: jennjen18

                                                                                                                  99.9% sure you're talking about Viet-Thai but you are throwing me off by calling it higher-end.. ha.

                                                                                                                  Really enjoy the pho there as well.

                                                                                                                3. funny ... no one in this thread has mentioned pho pasteur .... (maybe they did and i missed it) ... but its awesome! ... its 24 hours so the pot of broth is just constantly cooking ... it is some of the tastiest broth ive ever had at a pho joint and ive been to a lotof them

                                                                                                                  just around the corner from 88 on spadina on the south side of dundas

                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: slants

                                                                                                                    Is that related to the Pho Pasteur chain in Boston? (which was actually pretty good) - I think there were 4 or 5 of them...

                                                                                                                    1. re: DDD

                                                                                                                      It's a pretty generic colonial era name throughout Indochina, so I doubt they're related. (I used to live near Rue Pasteur in Phnom Penh.)

                                                                                                                      1. re: koknia

                                                                                                                        cool you are from Cambodia? how would you say the food differs from Thai and Vietnamese food?

                                                                                                                        And what about the similarities between Thai, Vietnamese and Cambodian foods?

                                                                                                                        Just curious as to know your opinions.. thanks.

                                                                                                                        i.e I'm talking about the home cook foods... non SE Asians would be surprised that Thai/Vietnamese/Cambodian foods can be so similar... just prepared or cooked differently depending on what it is.

                                                                                                                    2. re: slants

                                                                                                                      Tried Pho Pasteur (Dundas/Spadina)today based on some recommendation from another thread and I am really surprised that it has not been mentioned more often....The broth was extremely flavourful...noodles were just right,not too soft...Normally my Pho places are Pho Hung and Xue Lua,but Pho Pastuer was not a disappointment....

                                                                                                                      1. re: warlock

                                                                                                                        Yes Pho Pasteur is easily the best pho in Toronto.

                                                                                                                        1. re: djchrono

                                                                                                                          Pho Pasteur's pho was very flavourful, but a bit too salty for my taste, though less so than other places. I liked the texture of the beef. Many other places, like Anh Dao and Golden Turtle, have a cardboard-like texture. I think I prefer Saigon Palace over Pho Pasteur. The broth is a bit less flavourful there, but also a lot less salty. Pho Pasteur's not a bad option though.

                                                                                                                          1. re: missmu

                                                                                                                            Pho Pasteur is my new go-to place. The saltiness of the broth seems to vary - the first time I went, I thought it was quite salty, the second time, significantly less so - but it IS very flavorful regardless. The beef is very nice and tender, and they're not stingy with the goodies. Most places, I have to ration my tendon, but at Pasteur they give me enough that I'm constantly finding more pieces all the way through the bowl, when I think for sure I've gotten them all already. Oh, and for those who care about these sorts of things, the plate of garnishes includes basil AND ngo gai.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                                              I agree with the saltiness part but the flavour of the broth is so amazing that it kind of complements each other...sounds stupid,but you got to have it to believe it.....I have stopped going to Pho Hung.....I am surprised that Pho Pasteur is always near empty,but dont let that blind your judgement about the Pho....

                                                                                                                      2. re: slants

                                                                                                                        Pho Pasteur is my favorite, too. Yum yum!!

                                                                                                                      3. there's one at keele/sheppard, right beside a vietmese supermarket, they have very good broth--tasty, clear and hot~~!

                                                                                                                        Ahn Dao is one of my fav pho places....go there at least once a week!

                                                                                                                        1. Last weekend, my vietnamese friend and I were out venturing for more pho places that we've never tried in Mississauga. There really are a lot of Vietnamese places in the 'ga. He says there's a big population in the 'ga. Hence, lots of good pho.

                                                                                                                          Anyways. At Erin Mills and south of Dundas, there's Big Bowl there. Soooooo tasty. Noodles so bouncy/al dente. Good quality meat. Yummy. I can't remember for how much, but it's average pricing. The soup is very very very very tasty. Not oily at all. Worth a try! :)

                                                                                                                          1. So, after all the hubbub I've read here about Pho Dau Bo, I decided to give it a try! However, at the Mississauga location! But of course, I only saw the name here, and didnt realize that it's the North York location that people are raving about. So while I was there enjoying my everything pho.... I thought to myself, "What's wrong with the Hounds?? It ain't as great as they had said..." Well, to my surprise, t'is the North York one that I should have went to.

                                                                                                                            So, .... Mississauga location for Pho Dau Bo - not so great. Very average. I dont know when I'll be hitting the Finch and Weston Road area, but when I do, I'll give it a try. But someone else said that there's a Scarborough location too... so maybe I'll try that one. :) Yes, I'm weird... I'm at extreme ends of the city most of the time. I live in Scarborough and commute to Mississauga for work. So, all the stuff in between I always miss!!!

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: jennjen18

                                                                                                                              Finally went to Pho Dau Bo at the North York location, on Finch, west of Weston. Very nice! It's got the symbolic ox's head which I quite recognize now .. Yes, the soup was VERY flavourful. Not only were they generous with their herbs, I found that there were lots of meat in there as well! I got 2 beef balls in my assorted beef pho (the one with everything in it). The noodles, I would have wanted them to be al dente, but they were still very nice to slurp up.

                                                                                                                              My partner (vegetarian), had the veggie bun with no tofu, extra veggies. He loved it. Came out nice and warm with cold veggies, and a veggie sauce that he's never tried. It was a bonus for him 'coz he was getting tired of the generic bun sauce. In any case, he liked it, ... so we're gonna go there again. :) Oh, and nice mango shake too. Very thick!

                                                                                                                              1. re: jennjen18

                                                                                                                                Pho Dau Bo must vary greatly by location. I went to the one in Kitchener, Ontario this week and it wasn't even as good as the Pho 88 at Bamburgh Circle in Scarborough. I'll have to give the Pho Dau Bo in North York a try.

                                                                                                                            2. I've been reading CHOW for the longest time, and finally decided to sign up to give my two cents ;).

                                                                                                                              Anyhow, I really like Goldent Turtle - I know, I know - many people say it's not as good as it was before, but it's still really good pho for the price. I think their portions are slightly smaller than what other places give you, but they alway shave fresh sprigs of basil and the soup is filled with cinnomon and basil aromas that complement the beefy flav very well. Their fried spring roles are the best I've ever had. With regards to their pho, what really sticks out for me is the noodles are cooked il dente, so they have a bit of a bite to them in terms of texture, which I really enjoy.

                                                                                                                              I've also recently tried Pho Dau Bo (Hamilton location), and their soup is actually the closest to the vietnam versions of pho in that the soup is heavy in a stewed beef flavour.

                                                                                                                              If you wanna stick to the beaten path, I think a good place to start is Pho Hung, like many have suggested, since it isn't extreme in any particular category. Anyhow, hope you enjoy your pho!

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                                                                                                                              1. re: LYuan

                                                                                                                                Pho Hung.....Great in the city.
                                                                                                                                Pho Dau Bo in mississauga amazing!

                                                                                                                              2. Hey, im a new user but have been a frequent reader. Anyways, I have always been a fan of a place at midland and finch. I think it is called Noodle Star? I could be wrong. I have been going there for about 15 years and have tried other places but strongly feel that the beef there is among the best. Also, I have recently started going to the PHO 88 at Bambrough circle. I strongly recommend the coconut based soup with rare beef. I do not remember exactly which number it is but, I love the soup. I always specifically ask for a side of rare beef though. The spring rolls are great. I love dumping them into the soup so they are kinda soggy. Great thread. Should standardize the critiquing using common identifiable criteria maybe? ie. for beef: comparing the beef at pho hung (4/10) to that of the far superior at the pho at midland and finch(8/10)...sorry dont know the exact name. Just a suggestion.

                                                                                                                                1. STEELES/WARDEN (Bamburgh Circle): PHO88
                                                                                                                                  DOWNTOWN: PHO HUNG. (not even close to pho88 from uptown in my opinion)

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: ayl

                                                                                                                                    what is the address of Pho Hung? is that the one with the yellow sign on spadina?

                                                                                                                                    what are their prices like?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: ayl

                                                                                                                                      I have had Pho Hung many times and find it pretty standard. Is that really the best pho offering downtown??

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LTL

                                                                                                                                        Pho Pasteur seems to have developed a small and loyal following among some of us. :) It's become my regular place, but I went back to Pho Hung (on Spadina - haven't been to the Bloor location) not that long ago, and it just confirmed in my mind that I really do like Pasteur better. In my opinion, it's a step up all around. I think it's also a step up in price (a small is, i think, $5.99 instead of $4.99 or whatever), but you get more in your bowl.

                                                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                                                        Pho Hung
                                                                                                                                        350 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON , CA

                                                                                                                                        Pho Hung
                                                                                                                                        350 Spadina, Toronto, ON M5T2G4, CA

                                                                                                                                        Pho Pasteur
                                                                                                                                        525 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T1H4, CA

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                                                          Once we tried Pho 88 based on recommendation here, we stopped going anywhere else. Pho 88 is great. Only wished it wasn't always so busy.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: caitlink

                                                                                                                                            i know pho 88 gets a lot of praise on the board, but i personally find it terrible ech. not a lot of flavour other than salt. it's also crowded, dirty, and you come out reeking of pho. not a fan of xe lua either

                                                                                                                                            i like pho viet up the road at warden/steeles (t&t plaza) A LOT more. it's also run authentically by vietnamese ppl which makes a hugeee difference (as any viet person will tell you). the broth is light and tasty, more of the fat is skimmed off and the meat and noodles are also good. the fried spring rolls there are good as well, as are some of their other noodle soups (like my fave, #41 mmm). we go there at least once a week and the owners are very nice. it's also one of the cleanest vietnamese restaurants you will ever find :)

                                                                                                                                            pho hung downtown is also quite good

                                                                                                                                    2. haven't had pho @ a restaurant in a long time. being vietnamese myself, it is a lot better home cooked.

                                                                                                                                      however, "Pho Bo To" @ 1635 lawrence ave west -416 245 0388 is one of the best that I've come across.

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                                                                                                                                      1. re: scarletsoleil

                                                                                                                                        Thats a good Joint..

                                                                                                                                        Recently i have had the best pho of my life at the Golden Turtle On Ossington.
                                                                                                                                        I have had a Pho Hard on for years and this is Mecca.

                                                                                                                                        Pho Dau Bo is secong Pho Hung #3

                                                                                                                                        1. re: apetimberlake

                                                                                                                                          i tried golden turtle today for the first time and found it to be decent enough the broth was not as beef heavy as other places (lighter in colour) though I couldn't detect the subtle flavours of anise, ginger etc that seems to be posted in their reviews plastered on their walls. Also they were a little stingy on the noodles I found and the beef was not as paper thin as I prefer. Next up Pho Tien Tanh down the street.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: deabot

                                                                                                                                            I went to Pho Con Bo at Jane and Wilson behind the BK recently. It was cheap and decent. Pho Mi Asia on Keele and Wilson is also good too.