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Dec 22, 2006 10:18 PM
Discussion

Pho Phuong - Vietnamese Fine Dining

This is a new restaurant that has opened on the south side of Dundas just east of Brock - a bit of a wasteland for dining. The menu has pretty standard Vietnamese fare at pretty standard prices. The 'fine dining' part refers to the decor - definitely a great deal more stylish than your average Vietnamese joint.

I have been three times and found both the pho and the beef with vermicelli to be above average. The deep fried spring rolls are light and tasty, with the thinest wrap I've ever encountered. Worth a try if you're in the neighbourhood or want to try a Vietnamese restaurant with a modern touch. Would be interested to hear if others have had good experiences there.

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  1. I've eaten there quite a few times. The vermicelli dishes are great, but the portions are smaller than what I'm used to at my regular Vietnamese haunts.
    The room is nice, more like an upscale place in Saigon.
    On my first trip Susur and his wife were at the next table and seemed to be enjoying their meal.

    1. So this is "Vietnamese fine dining," as in same kind of Viet fare from any typical Viet restaurant but in nicer decor than most?

      My question is: what are the prices like? I'd rather go to some joint with inexpensive prices and good food than some place that is spruced up but with jacked-up prices for smaller portions.

      Vietnamese dining here seems to be relegated to either the innumerable causal pho joints, or gimmicky places like Saigon Sister at Yonge/Bloor that is pricey but not really inventive (i.e., all style, no substance). There doesn't seem to be a place that applies an interpretive approach to classic Vietnamese dishes and ingredients.

      5 Replies
      1. re: ah123

        Lalot at 200 Bathurst just north of Queen applies an interpretive approach to classic Vietnamese dishes....and it's the only upscale Vietnamese restaurant I've found in TO.
        The claypot catfish was particularly memorable.

        1. re: spaetzle

          According to Toronto.com, dinner for two at Lalot runs about $100-150. It said the place serves up "traditional Vietnamese cuisine." What exactly is it making and how that would justify paying $150 for dinner for two at a Vietnamese restaurant? From the picture, it doesn't quite look like the Sofitel Metropole in Hanoi.

          1. re: ah123

            I think we paid around $100 for 3 people at Lalot. But we didn't have anything to drink. We ordered about 3 small plates to share, and a few large plates to share, as well as a mango soup for dessert. It's a contemporary place with minimalist decor, nice place settings, cloth napkins and fresh takes on traditional Vietnamese food. It certainly is not trying to be a hotel in a 5 star restaurant in Hanoi. I think of it as an Vietnamese alternative to any of the other contemporary upscale restaurants on West Queen West or King West, such as Banu, San, Irie, Blowfish, Czehoski etc. The pricing is comparable to any of those restaurants, as is the service, and quality of the food. I would think most people are paying between $100 and $150 for 2 at most of the nicer places in the neighbourhood.

            It is definitely a very different experience than you would get in a most Vietnamese restaurants in Toronto. I don't remember seeing any pho or bun on the menu.

            1. re: spaetzle

              Hmm... thanks for the report. I'll suggest it to my friend in Riverdale who had lived in Hanoi and bemoans the lack of authentic Hanoi cuisine, or anything different than the typical pho joint, here in Toronto. It would be interesting to try one where pho or bun is not the typical choice.

              1. re: ah123

                What about Hanoi 3 Seasons on Gerrard East?

      2. The prices are pretty much the same as the other half a dozen Vietnamese places I go to in the west end. It may be 50 cents more here or there for some things I guess. I think Koknia may have a point about the vermicelli portions, but a large pho is just as gigantic as anywhere else.

        1. Yeah, the pho is the same as everywhere and the prices are fine. I like their use of lots of mint and nicely grilled meat in the 'bun' (vermicelli dishes). There's just not quite enough of it.

          1. I've been there once as well, and will return. We found the portions and price points more or less similar to other pho places, and the decor a definite draw. I had the pork vermicelli with spring roll, my boyfriend had pho with rare beef, tripe and tendon. The vermicelli was good, although the pork was overcooked (nice spice though). Loved the spring roll as well. The pho was good, meat was properly cooked, although the noodles could have been chewier (this is a standard complaint at most pho places though:)). we also had the green mango salad - if you like vietnamese style ham, you'll enjoy it (there is quite a lot in it). the salad is properly tart, not a huge portion but a decent size starter. overall, a good dining experience.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Kasia

              The noodles aren't suppose to be chewy, I'm guessing you mean al dente. For the best pho they should actually be using fresh noodles, which are definitely not 'chewy'.

              How does this place compare to Golden Turtle?

              1. re: KAREN

                it's really a matter of taste, i diidn't mean to imply their noodles aren't 'correct.' don't think they're using fresh noodles though.