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The Best Pho in San Mateo?

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I've been trying to find a GREAT, not good, bowl of pho in San Mateo and haven't found it yet. I've been to La Petite and Anh Hong on El Camino, Pho Saigon in the Marina strip mall and on 3rd Ave, and of course Saigon City. The latter two are okay, but there's still something missing.

Anybody have any other suggestions for pho places in San Mateo that I'm missing? Thanks.

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  1. try the noodle place in the Marina Market, it's not bad and you can get some roasted pork or char siu to go with it.

    1. You have tried them all, unless there is a new one. I think you may have to go to SF or at least to Sunnyvale for the real deal

      10 Replies
      1. re: yimster

        I was afraid of that... There's a brand new Pho Saigon opening up in Foster City next to the 99 Ranch Market, but I've tried their other two branches in the Marina strip mall and on 3rd Ave. and haven't been impressed. I love Golden Flower in Chinatown and PPQ on Irving in S.F, but was hoping to avoid the drive. Oh well. Thanks anyway.

        1. re: VirgoBlue

          If you're talking San Francisco as your next stop, I can recommend a very good bowl of pho ga in San Bruno instead. Or at least it was 2 years ago.
          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/32524

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Thanks for the suggestion Melanie. I'd prefer to stick to the San Mateo area, though. As I'd mentioned, I would like to avoid the drive and the parking issues in the city.

            1. re: VirgoBlue

              San Bruno is half-way between SF and San Mateo. Saves you driving into the City, and it's not hard to park around San Mateo Ave. in San Bruno.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                hey melanie do you have an address for the place in San Bruno...and does it REALLY equal to turtle tower? if so i gotta give it a try. thanks

                1. re: EnderWiggin

                  Here you go,
                  Szechwan Restaurant
                  681 San Mateo Ave.
                  (across from Artichoke Joe’s)
                  San Bruno
                  650-583-7171
                  Open 7 days
                  10:30am to 9:30pm

                  Please let us know how it fares and if the fresh noodle option is still available. This place has been around for a long time. I used to go there when I worked in San Bruno. My return stop in 2002 uncovered that the Sichuan chef had retired and that the new crew in the kitchen were Cantonese and Vietnamese. It took me until 2005 to get back there and try the Vietnamese . . . and I think that's the strong suit despite the name. So, I hope the Vietnamese cooks are still on board and turning out red-at-the-bone steamed chicken and making wonderful pho ga. When i was there, everyone at lunch was having the chicken, and if they're not, that'll tell you something.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    ohhh its called Szechwan Restaurant and not a Szechwan restaurant...i'll let you know how it is when I go. thanks

                    1. re: EnderWiggin

                      This place in San Bruno is closed.

          2. re: VirgoBlue

            I like the new Pho one next to 99 ranch the best, its similar but it tastes a bit different to me, i asked and they said the owners are different and they are related.
            The ones at Marina and 3rd street are from the same person and the new one is from someone else.

            1. re: G0TxPH0

              That's good to hear because their sister restaurants at Marina and 3rd are just plain bad. Nice to know the one next to 99 finally opened.

        2. I don't know if this place is great but we think Pho Hoa Ky on Broadway in Millbrae is better than all the ones you mentioned. Give it a try and let us know what you think.

          5 Replies
          1. re: margret

            Is that the one a couple of doors down from Shanghai Dumpling Shop on Broadway? I've been wondering about that one. I'll give it a try one of these days and let you know how it goes! Thanks.

            1. re: VirgoBlue

              Yep Hoa Ky is next to the Pet store and Dean's groceries.

              I've been there once and liked it a lot, compared to the mediocre Pho Saigon next to Marina in SM/FC. Broth was decent, and noodles were cooked well.

              Hoa Ky also offers Cantonese/Chinese dishes, but everyone goes there for the pho. Owners/waitstaff speak Cantonese but they could be Vietnamese Chinese.

              1. re: K K

                Great info KK. Thanks!

            2. re: margret

              That's where I always used to go when I lived in Burlingame. I think it's better than the over-hyped Saigon City and much better than the other place in Millbrae, Le Petite Camille (?)

              1. re: srr

                I just went to Yep Hoa Ky recently and was sorely diappointed. The broth had no depth at all. Still have to try the place that recently opened next to 99 in FC.

            3. It's not San Mateo, but the parking is easy: Pho's Saigon, 2280 Westborough in South San Francisco is pretty good.

              1. though not san mateo, pho dong in downtown redwood city on broadway just east of el camino makes a fine bowl. meats seem fresh and leaner than most places, yet broth deep and rich, and restaurant interior is slick and clean looking. unfortunately not close to cheap for pho at $6.95 for a small. suggest sticking with beef over chicken, as i didn't find the pho ga nearly as tasty. http://www.phodong.com/

                2 Replies
                1. re: warmbaguettes

                  Yeah, sorry to be slightly off-topic, but Pho Dong on Broadway @ El Camino in RWC is I think the only pho joint around, aside from that place halfway up Woodside. As WB says, it's slick and clean, and I've left happy twice.

                  It's right next to the City Pub, and like half a block from the Sequoia Station Caltrain stop.

                  1. re: orezscu

                    Pho Dong is awesome. Pricier than most places but you get fancier sit down digs and a quality darker tone broth, and very nice cuts of meat.

                    The tripe is superb, almost rivaling the ginger steamed dim sum versions at the best in Millbrae. Brisket is tender and not rubbery like other places. The tendons are great too, cooked just right without that annoying raw flavor that some places do with undercooking.

                    I got the vegetarian egg pancake and it wasn't worth the $7. The ice milk coffee is around the $3.50 mark, and has a bit of a caramel aftertaste once the condensed milk is mixed in.

                    The pho itself hmmm needs a bit of work. For my bowl the noodles were clumped together like hair down a drain.

                    But yeah best pho easily in the mid Peninsula, definitely better than Hoa Ky, which I suppose is "best" in Millbrae but that's not saying much.

                2. Have you tried Lucky Charm? Great broth...clear, deep flavored, little or no MSG. Good papaya salad to boot!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: intomeat

                    Where is lucky charm?
                    We go to pho dong pretty regularly, but once we had a bad incident there. My 2-1/2 yo daughter accidently dropped the soup spoon and broke it. They added $4.95 to the bill for the spoon. I immediately went to the counter and complained about the charge...after all, the spoons don't cost that much. The cashier apologized and said she put the charge on the wrong table. But when my friend(not asian) went up to the cashier, she said that they charge for broken spoons. I was appauled at the outright lie she said to me vs. my friend about the spoon. Plus, we were regulars, so we were very upset that they would jepardize our future patronage for a spoon. Unfortunately, since there is no pho alternative in the area we've been back, but not very happily.

                    1. re: peppatty

                      There used to be a pho place in South San Francisco called Lucky Charm, but it closed. Has it reopened somewhere else?

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        It's on Gellert near Westborough. I was last there 10-12 months ago. Very nice and clean dining room.

                        1. re: intomeat

                          Yes, it's closed and another pho operator is located there.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            any good?

                  2. I walked by the pho place near marina market today. They had a different name, (was Saigon City?...sorry, lost brain cells and can't remember new name...something about beef soup...) does anyone know if they changed hands and have a new chef? Anyone try it lately?