Pho 88 @ Spadina
I noticed the big wood construciton walls. Anyone know whats going on with PHO 88 and when will it open again? Also, I took a peek and it's been totally gutted, so will it become modern and pretty or are they just making more space for the money exchange?
they used to do my favorite pho, then a few years ago i was having soup and a guy (cook i'd suspect) emerged from the kitchen , parked himself a few tables over, and started full on picking his nose - needless to say i haven't been back since
YES. Since I've moved downtown Pho 88 has always had the best noodles (thinner) and broth. It's kind of dicey to actually eat-in at night though so I just recommend take-out. The last time we ate there at 9PM on a weekday it was empty except for a very disturbed gentlemen that seemed to be almost passed out and not wanting to leave. The cops had to be called and it was highly uncomfortable.
Okay, the nose picking thing is gross. Truly bloody gross.
That said . . . when I was there six months ago I thought the pho was some of the best I'd had. Broth was gorgeous.
But ugh. The saddest part is that I'd probably go back . . .
I was there with a couple of family members at the very end of December and the "new" owner is the son (didn't catch his name) of the highly efficient woman who ran both the resto and money exchange.
He's taken over ownership and told us that they were hoping to re-open in February after renovations. He was very friendly, working the room at lunch time and had the cook prepare us a small bowl of rice, noodles, veggies, and bits of chicken in chicken broth for my one and a half year old son, without us asking. Just a nice gesture.
Re: the nose picking incident....I'm gonna block that out.
Yeah, I will try to forget the hygiene habits because I truly believe if you go to a restaurant, that's what you have to factor in to ANYthing and just get on with it. However, Pho 88...the soup is/was the only good thing. The rest of their menu is just done without any care. So sad. Xe Lua is where I go instead if I am in a hurry - it's close. My favourite Vietnamese place around here closed last year and I can't find anything that nice. It was in an upstairs place near Queen's Bakery. Sob. Meanwhile, I go to Xe Lua, as I said, and Hello Saigon (although that has faltered a bit since last year) and I stopped going to Pho Hung (wasn't my favourite anyway) because I have seen too many people badly treated by the owner and then had a personal taste of it. I don't like rewarding bad behaviour.
I don't like the broth at all -- not nearly enough depth or aromatics. The noodles at Pho 88, however are excellent. They hand-make them at the restaurant.
I just passed by there an hour ago and noticed completely new interiors! It looked like a bigger, more spacious Asian Legend. The big sign said "88". I was in a hurry though so I just sorta glanced. I did notice it was full of people - family, friends, relatives of owners? - I don' t know when exactly it opened.
I hope this one is good! Toronto really needs to put itself as one of the culinary hotspots of the galaxy...
Just went tonight. The new decor is modern; pot lights, granite tables and plastic sofa seats. When I opened the menu I was kind of disappointed; 1 page of "bun" and rice, half a page of pho, then a full page of Chinese and a full page of "authentic Thai", specifying Pad Thai with ketchup and tamarind sauce, and things like curry pad thai and sate pad thai. I don't remember these from before and it seems like they are emulating Spring Rolls.
I looked for one of my favourites "mi tau" seafood noodles, and was dismayed that they describe it as "Japanese noodles". I ordered it anyway just to see how bad it could be. Would it come as udon? soba? or ramen? but lo and behold it was the authentic transparent (cellophane) noddles. It tasted fine, there are frozen raw shrimp that's cooked, which is way better than the frozen COOKED shrimp many places serve. However the "quail egg" specified in the menu is absent.
Now, the service. My friend decided on Shanghai noodles (his favourite). When the waitress came to take our order, she then told us that none of the Chinese dishes are available yet, as they are newly opened and don't have all the ingredients. OK, you should have told us when you gave us the menu. 15 minutes later, nothing appeared on our table so we were getting fidgety. Another waiter appeared and said there had been a mix-up and our orders went to another table. So finally our food came. After we finished, the first waitress came and gave us the bill - for another table. So we said no that's not our bill, thinking she would come back with the right one. No, she went off to la la land somewhere. We asked another waitress, then somebody else came and apologized coz they don't have our bill at all, and asked what we had! Finally they found the bill - it was assigned to a table at the other end of the restaurant. We got 20% off coz of the trouble.
So I would give them a few weeks to settle down before we would go again, the food was good. But somehow it doesn't seem as genuine as the previous incarnation, with the sticky floors and the questionable clientele.
I went there over the weekend. This is not a personal review; I'll leave you to judge them for yourself.
Here is what I can report:
No debit/credit card accepted - maybe their lines aren't working yet?
Menu ---> Viet, Thai and Chinese dishes.
Beware! The waitresses speak English.
I was just here this past weekend and I must admit that the decor is nice and the pho is good but everything else was pretty bad, especially the service. Here's what we ordered....
Vermicilli with shrimp and pork (this was okay)
Rice with porkchops and chicken (I ordered rice with porkchops and shrimps but they got my order WRONG. After I told them they made a mistake, they brought the dish back to the kitchen and had someone else bring it out again. HELLO!! the wrong dish is the wrong dish, it doesnt matter who brings it out! so anyway I didnt wana make a big deal so I ate it and it wasnt bad...)
Pho Sate with Meat Balls (this wasn't that good, it was more of a curry pho and they forgot the meatballs...well maybe they didnt, they put it in the other bowl of pho we ordered)
Regular Pho with beef (This was good but too bad we didnt want meatballs in this one but they put them in there anyway)
We also ordered the nem nuong (pork rolls??) appetizer...i thought they weren't gona come until...they magically appeared as we were done with our meal and asked for the bill. We also ordered milk coffee and got coffee without milk. Ahh just TERRIBLE service! Pho is good but everything else is just mediocre. I wouldn't come back here.