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Vietnamese in South Florida

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Ok - I've got a craving for pho. What's the best place around?

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  1. How far south in Florida are you? St. Petersburg's best pho is at Pho Quyen, on Park, a mile or so west of 34th Street N. They have other locations, I think, but I've only been to that one and it's amazing!

    1. what part of s Florida?

      1. Sorry...guess I should've been a bit more specific. I'm in Fort Lauderdale, so I'm looking for something down this way.

        1. Don't know about FTL but for Miami:

          Hy Vong (8th Street between 32nd and 37th Aves.)
          Miss Saigon (Coral Gables on Giralda and another location down south)

          There's also a hole-in-the-wall place on 163rd St. near I-95 which I don't recall the name of.

          1. Up in Broward, there are a few options available for Pho. Between Commercial Blvd. and Oakland Park Blvd. on 441 (State Rd. 7), there's a strip mall on the west side of the street with a Vietnamese market, restaurant, and various others. The restaurant is Saigon City and it serves up traditional fares including Pho. A block north of that strip plaza, next to a Jamaican music store, there is another Pho place called Pho Nam Do, which focuses more on Pho. Definitely a hole in the wall but the Pho there is good. I believe a bit north of this whole area is a Pho Hoa and a Saigon Deli but I haven't had time to search them out yet.

            If you're more south in Broward, you can consider going to Pho 79, located on the north side of Pines Blvd. (behind Outback Steakhouse), right before University Dr. They're menu is driven by Pho and it's not bad for a quick bite to eat. A little more West and South of there in Miami Lakes (right off of 826 on 67th Ave.), there's a little husband and wife owned restaurant called Green Papaya. I know the owners there and they are super friendly and warm. Pho isn't bad, but they fare better with their Bun Bo Hue (spicy beef noodles) and Porkchop and rice.

            In Miami, there are those options mentioned above. I don't think Little Saigon on 163rd is very good nor Miss Saigon Bistro. Hy Vong, however, I do like. The Chef there does do a modern twist on traditional Vietnamese dishes but she does a good job at it, so I can't complain (I'm Vietnamese so I'm allowed to be critical right? :o) ). The wait is forever long and the restaurant is very small but most of the dishes are quite good so it's worth the wait.

            There are a few others smattered across Palm Beach County and in Miami, but the ones I mentioned are probably the most accessible for you to try. Hope you enjoy the food!

            4 Replies
            1. re: santorinii

              santorinii, do you know if Saigon City is still open?

              1. re: Sobe

                Yep, they're still open. In the time since the santorinii ran down the list, Pho Nam Do has been renamed to Pho Binh and the menu is expanded. I haven't visited (other than to pick up a menu...) since it was renamed, and I don't know what else might have changed.

                Adding to the list in Tamarac is Phuong Nam, in the 6600 block of Commercial Blvd (actually, it faces 57th st, but you can reach it from Commercial...)

                Saigon Cuisine is further north at 1394 N. State Rd. 7 in Margate.

                Both of these seem to be popular with the expat crowd, and I'm told by a knowledgeable Vietnamese friend that Saigon Cuisine is among the best in town.

                1. re: Semprini

                  My Vietnamese friend went to Pho Binh (next to the Walgreen's on 441 one block north of Saigon City between Oakland Park and Commercial ) last week and said it was the real deal. He highly recommended it. I have not been yet but he is a very reliable source on this topic.

              2. re: santorinii

                I liked Green Papaya also. Plus the owners are very friendly.

              3. Little Saigon is the place on 163rd I was thinking of, I've eaten there once and it was not great. Was recently back to Hy Vong, and yes, I should have warned about the waiting times. They have improved slightly, and the food is just as good (though the Cari Ga was actually a little disappointing).

                1. Though everything else is good, I second the Cari Ga being subpar at Hy Vong. I make a mean Cari Ga at home and it definitely has the oomph to it the way it should be. :o)

                  1. Now you're just making me jealous! How do you rate the South Broward places compared with Hy Vong?

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Frodnesor

                      I'm Vietnamese, and I've been to Hy-Vong twice. Both times, I've been disappointed. It has to be one of the most overrated restaurants in Miami. I don't know any Vietnamese person who thinks highly of it. I didn't see another Asian person in the place either time I was there.

                      1. re: miami nguyen

                        Any better suggestions for Vietnamese in Miami? I've done Miss Saigon in the Gables (decent food but not terribly authentic), Little Saigon in North Miami (OK) ...

                        1. re: miami nguyen

                          Whatever it is, authentic or otherwise, it's still good. I've been to plenty of ethnic places that were full of people of whatever ethnicity it was and found the food just OK (Little Saigon in NMB being the best example. The place is gross).

                          1. re: miami nguyen

                            Pho Thang on 9529 SW 160th St (Colonial Drive) right off S Dixie Hwy heading South. The food is great and prices reasonable. Great Pho and vietnamese dishes. My favorite is Lotus Salad and Fried whole fish with lemon grass.

                            1. re: miami nguyen

                              THANK GOD somebody finally said it! I cannot stand that place! I went once and thought that anyone who called that place good cannot possibly know what Vietnamese food is supposed to taste like. The service was horrible and so was my dish. Never went back and I never will.

                            2. re: Frodnesor

                              Hy Vong is some of the worst vietnamese food I've ever had. I've tried it several times -- and the last time with a vietnamese friend -- he agreed it was atrocious.

                              I suppose if you've never had good vietnamese food, you might like it -- but if you have -- be prepared to smack yourself for the long wait for bad food.

                            3. I try :oD The South Broward joints are more typical Vietnamese restaurants aimed to serve the Vietnamese population while Hy Vong is more well known and visited by other South Floridians. Food at these places are straight forward traditional fare, unadorned, quick to serve while Hy Vong's Chef aims at putting personal touches to her food, hence making everything herself with little help involved...hence the long waits. At Pho 79, I have checked my watch...3 minutes after I place my order, my bowl of Pho comes out. It's faster than Wendy's! So if you're in the mood for a quick bowl of noodles or rice, these places do a pretty decent job at serving up some good grub. If you want a more intimate restaurant dining experience, then Hy Vong will be the better choice. I'll also add that Green Papaya in Miami Lakes has a small, homey feel to it. Pleasant environment more aimed to please everyone not just the Vietnamese, and the food comes out definitely faster than Hy Vong's.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: santorinii

                                We visited Pho 79 based on the recommends. from this board and thought it was great. There was a young Viet. server who helped us with the menu, we were the only gringos in there! I would recommend it for the food, the atmosphere is not much though.

                                Pennstater

                              2. Wow - thanks SO much for all the advice! I'll definitely have to get moving on trying these places out. : )

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: jello1135

                                  Try Saigon Cuisine in Margate. It's amazing. Their menu is huge too.

                                  1. re: Jenaclaree

                                    Here's another vote for Saigon Cuisine. The pho is very good. It's all I ever order but my wife has tried several other noodle dishes and the Vietnamese sandwiches and is always happy with her choice.

                                    1. re: RickL

                                      Anyone else rec this Saigon Cuisine joint? Santorinii, have you been there?

                                      1. re: johnmlinn

                                        Saigon Cuisine started out as a small take-out Vietnamese sandwich shop called Saigon Deli (Santorinii mentioned it above.) They enlarged into a full sit down restaurant a couple of years ago and added an extensive Vietnamese menu.

                                        1. re: johnmlinn

                                          After going to Saigon Cuisine for weekend lunch (and Pho) for the last three months, my wife and I finally got a chance to try them for dinner and had a really good (if too large) meal.

                                          We started off trying to decide between soft-shell crabs over watercress and a similar dish with beef. The crabs were three good-sized, plump and moist fried soft-shells on a bed of watercress, cilantro, and onions. The beef was thin slices marinated raw in lemon juice and spices again over a mixture of watercress and onions. Due to a mix-up we apparently ordered both which worked out just fine. We ate about 1/2 of each, thoroughly enjoyed both, and had lunch the next day.

                                          We also ordered a seafood rice cooked in a clay pot. This was really exceptional. The squid, scallops, and shrimp were all cooked just right while the rice was well seasoned and had a nice crust on the bottom.

                                          This place is rapidly becoming a favorite.

                                          -----
                                          Saigon Cuisine
                                          1392 N State Road 7, Margate, FL 33063

                                  2. I'm curious but can anyone compare what's mentioned with Little Saigon City in Coral Gables on Ponce de Leon? Also, I heard there's a good Vietnamese restaurant in South Dade. The Miami Herald did an article on it.

                                    I'm sure I'll bypass Little Saigon by 163rd for L.E. Tapioca even though I haven't tried L.E. Tapioca (they probably only serve tapioca and Viet subs anyways, so it's probably belongs in a different category).

                                    Also, has anyone tried Pho Thang by SW 160th St in Perrine (South Miami-Dade)? About a 35 minutes drive from downtown. It was mentioned in a thread about Vietnamese in Miami-Dade.

                                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/452043

                                    Also Pho Thang was mentioned in a blog, briefly, with a pic of pho. Perhaps someone can criticize the picture? :-

                                    )

                                    http://the2ndhalf.typepad.com/andys_d...

                                    11 Replies
                                    1. re: mialebven

                                      I don't know anything about the restaurant but that's a way-too-small bowl of pho.

                                      1. re: RickL

                                        The bowl at Pho Thang looks filling enough for me. I don't want an ocean in my bowl! Even so, if it's small, maybe they have a small and a large version. But either way, it looks good in the picture, and the blogger likes it.

                                        1. re: mialebven

                                          Pho Thang is delicious and consistent. They have the oversize if you ask. I love their lemongrass dishes and curries as well.

                                        2. re: RickL

                                          Thanks for the mention. That's my blog you cited. And you are totally right, that's just one little bowl of Pho that I served myself after getting it. I didn't take the picture of the serving bowl, just the served bowl. Does that make sense?

                                          1. re: andymiami

                                            Woot, a celebrity on board! ;-)

                                            And yes, that makes sense, and totally explains the small pho!

                                            1. re: mialebven

                                              Celebrity????
                                              No way... just a guy who likes to cook.
                                              What a find this place is!

                                        3. re: mialebven

                                          Little Saigon City in Coral Gables is not good. I went once and refuse to go back.

                                          1. re: karmalaw

                                            Little Saigon City is horrible. I've made pho at home using a base paste that tasted better. And again, as for Hy Vong, I know there's tons of stuff there that I've never seen at another Vietnamese restaurant, but for some reason I find it so freaking good! The spring rolls are one of my favorite foods on the planet! Maybe we should call it something different? Faux-Viet?

                                            1. re: lax2mia

                                              Cuban-cong :-)

                                              But, I still think it's a "I want my three hours and money back so I can go get a good meal" kind of place.

                                          2. re: mialebven

                                            I have eaten the Pho at this place and you can get a small bowl or regular. This was probably a small. The broth is great by itself. They have a good menu not huge but something for everyone. Try the whole fish with lemon grass. I hear the short ribs are great when they have them.

                                            1. re: lynus

                                              Thanks for the tip on Pho Thang! Can't wait to try it out!

                                          3. The absolute best place for Vietnamese is Indochinois on gandy blvd. in south tampa. The best Pho and com chien (fried rice) and spring rolls and egg rolls. Thier coffee is a must have too. Their number is 813 831 3432. It's in my cell as I order at least once a week.

                                            1. Hi,
                                              there are two in east Boca. The first one La Tre has been here for many years and consistantly get's rave reviews. I really enjoy it. The secons Cay Da just opened this year. It had a very good review. It is much more casual and from what I understand their atmosphere is lacking. I have not tried it yet.
                                              I hope this helps.

                                              La Tre Neighborhood: Mizner/Downtown 249 E. Palmetto Park Road
                                              Boca Raton, FL 33432 561-392-4568 Update/correct this listing | Upload your photo
                                              (5 ratings) Write a review Email Print View Send to phone Share Digg Del.icio.us Facebook Furl Google Reddit Spurl Yahoo Add To Favorites
                                              Do you like Vietnamese food? If you do, or if you haven't ever savored treats like pho (soup), hot and spicy chicken salad or spring rolls, then you should man up and pull the trigger. La Tre touts great food at great prices. The atmosphere is casual and mellow, so go ahead and bring a date and show how worldly your palate is.
                                              See more: South Florida restaurants, Palm Beach County restaurants, South Palm restaurants, Boca Raton restaurants, Mizner/Downtown restaurants, Vietnamese restaurants, Asian restaurants, Noodle restaurants, Seafood restaurants

                                              Cay Da
                                              Amazing food - not great for a party though.
                                              By Carolyn K. | Insider Guru | Rank: 113
                                              If you are looking for an amazing marriage of French and Vietnamese cuisine - Cay Da is the place for you. Located on Federal Highway in Boca Raton - they offer the most amazingly delicious foods. We held a surprise birthday party for a family member there a few months back. While the food was to-die-for, the atmosphere left much to be desired. The restaurant is cramped and there was no way to accommodate the guests comfortably without everyone feeling separated yet cramped. Next time I think we will hold the party elsewhere and have Cay Da cater it for us.

                                              PROS: absolutely incredible food - attentive service
                                              CONS: small restaurant - cramped and not very attractive

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Jtiernan

                                                Cay Da is not new. It has been open for several years and the owners are related to the ones at La Tre. Their style of food is similar but Cay Da is a little less expensive. Both are good and while the decor at Cay Da is a little plain, it's very pleasant. Here's a link to the Sun-Sentinel review from 2006: http://www.southflorida.com/dining/sf...

                                              2. Indochine in downtown Miami makes a great Pho. Also, check out Origin Asian Bistro in South Miami. They have a variety of Asian dishes ranging from sushi to Chinese, Cambodian, Vietnamese and Thai dishes. The Cambodian Scallop Amok is phenomenal.

                                                1. If you love pho AND live jazz music, head to Saigon Cuisine in Margate on Saturday nights (from 6-10 pm). There is an excellent 4 piece jazz group who performs while you savor all the wonderful vietnamese delicacies that Saigon Cuisine offers. The pho and bahn mi are the best, but don't overlook the soft shell crab, shaken beef and shrimp and lotus root salad.