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Nov 17, 2006 05:35 PM

Pho 79 in St. Paul. Should I give it another try?

After hearing many wonderful things about Pho 79, I was looking forward to trying it. Totally didn't live up to what I'd heard. In particular, the noodles in my pho were over done. They were mealy, mushy and stuck together in a big lump. Did I just go there in an off day? Or did I order the wrong thing? (I had the Pho Tai). I'm trying to decide if I should give it a second chance or stick to the places I've had more success, such as Pho Ca Dau.

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  1. I hope they were just having a bad pho day - I've usually had good food at Pho 79 (this is the one on Energy Park Drive, right?).

    I haven't been there for several months, but it's my third favorite Vietnamese Pho place within walking distance. That is, it's nice but not on par with the best places in town. It's good if you're in the area, but probably not worth the drive across town.

    I have noticed the "big noodle clump" in the soup, but it loosens up by the time I add all my condiments and stuff. I haven't experienced mushy noodles, though. Me, I'd give them the benefit of the doubt, and but don't expect them to beat a place like Pho Ca Dau or Pho Tau Bay.


    3 Replies
    1. re: AnneInMpls

      Anne, where are Pho Ca Dau and Pho Tau Bay? What makes these two places superior to the others? I'm not a pho expert, though I do enjoy it, so I'm curious about what stands out for you at these two places.



      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Pho Ca Dau is on University Ave. in St. Paul - I think it's across the street from Mai Village or Little Szechuan. I blush to confess that I've never been there, but I've heard great things about their Pho from friends (and the OP).

        Pho Tau Bay is in Minneapolis, at the end of Eat Street (Nicollet and 29th, just past where the traffic turns). I barely remember my last visit (in the spring?), but the pho had a certain je ne sais quoi that made it stand above others. Lots of pho options, good broth, nice noodles, great add-ins (love that Asian basil!), and a bright, friendly atmosphere that is the opposite of fancy. Just my kind of place.

        I usually have noodle soup - but not pho - at Bona restaurant, because it's my favorite Vietnamese restaurant I can walk to. (Actually, it's tied with Jasmine Orchid, but I love the Bona's Egg Noodle Soup with BBQ Pork and Wontons.) Bona's pho isn't quite as good as the joints on University Ave and Eat Street(different spices? a slight cloudiness? pre-cooked rice noodles? I dunno...).

        Sorry, I'm not very helpful today. My tastebud memories are foggy. I gotta eat more pho.


        1. re: AnneInMpls

          With winter upon us, you'll have plenty more opportunities to get current on all your pho tasting. :) Thanks for the info. It's good to know where Pho Ca Dau is--across from Little Szechuan & Mai Village--that way, if we get skunked on our way to L.S. (kitchen still closed for remodeling?) or M.V. dim sum, we have an alternative chow'ish destination!


    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. I used to go there often because it was close to where I live but i never go there again because their noodle is always overcooked and mushy. With so many vietnamese restaurants, I still haven't found the perfect place yet.

        Quang has a serios problem with sanitation and their service is like the worst.

        Pho Ca Dau was pretty good but i don't know why i never go back there. The one in Rosedale mall had better tasting pho than pho 79 but I think they put too much MSG in their broth because I ended up drinking like 3 cups of water after I came home.

        I am still searching for a good place to get pho.
        I think by far Pho Ca dau seemed to have the best pho in town.

        1. Is the St. Paul Pho 79 related to the Minneapolis Pho 79 on Nicolett Ave (on Eat St)? I like the Minneapolis Pho 79.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bluesman13

            They're probably owned by the same people, but the Saint Paul restaurant is run by several Tibetans. (There's also a Tibetan cultural center nearby, interestingly enough.)