Vietnamese for non beef eater
I'm craving some good Vietnamese food, but my acquaintance does not eat beef. Does this mean pho places are not a good idea?
I live on the west side and would prefer nothing further than downtown.
The default meat in most of Vietnamese cuisine is pork, not beef -- pho being an exception. Any pho shop should have pho ga, which is chicken pho -- no beef allowed.
In addition, pretty much every pho shop I've ever seen has bun (which is rice vermicelli with herbs, lettuce, pickled carrots/daikon, and whatever topping you choose, plus nuoc cham, the sweet fish sauce that's ubiquitous in Viet cuisine) -- you can get bun with grilled pork (bun thit [heo] nuong), grilled shrim (bun tom nuong), "Imperial rolls" (bun cha gio, pronounced "boon cha yaw") and even shrimp-stuffed tofu (bun dau hu don tom chien) -- or any combination.
Other things are mi (egg noodles), com tam ("broken" rice) with pork, or pork chop, or whatever, stir-fries, etc. etc.
The best Viet on the Westside is probably Le Saigon, but it's because there's not a lot of Viet on the Westside. I'd venture to Van Nuys, to the corner of Victory and Sepulveda, where Pho So 1 and Pho 999 face each other. Both have extensive non-pho menus. There's also Viet places in Chinatown, which is right next to downtown.
Koreatown has a lot of pho shops but it's Korean-style pho which isn't as good, in my (not so) humble opinion.
I encourage you to make a bee line to Michelia on 3rd near Robertson. It's a "fancy" Vietnamese restaurant (price range 8-20) but it's not as americanized as the location would suggest.
Seared Steak Salad
Sweet Chilli Chicken
--And it's not too far from Olympic & Beverly Glenn.