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PHO#1 North Woburn

Just had to write up another rec for Pho #1 in North Woburn. This place has become a favorite lunch spot for me and a place we have cater quite a few company lunches too. (They also offer free delivery) Over the past year or more I have had the opportunity to try many of the dishes offered at Pho #1. Overall I have to give high marks to just about everything I have tried. They do a very good Pho of course and offer all the most typical variations. I really enjoy their version of Can Chua, a Vietnamese style sweet and sour soup that includes chunks of fresh tomato, pineapple, and mushrooms along with onions and various herbs. You can order it with chicken, shrimp or salmon too and recently they have started to offer it with rice noodles. I am also a big fan of their Thai style Beef Salad and their Larb Salad which can be ordered with either chicken or pork. Their mango curry is excellent and it too can be ordered with your choice of shrimp, fish or chicken. One of the appetisers I like is called Thit Lui. It is a Vietnamese version of satay but the chicken or beef has been marnited in a something that must have a lot of lemon grass and others herbs. They come two sticks to an order and they are delicious. They taste like they have been grilled over charcoal.

Pho #1IMHO is a real Chowhound type of place. Family owned and operated, nice people and wonderful authentic Thai and Vietnamese food at very reasonable prices. I would encourage anyone to give them a try.

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  1. I couldn't agree more, I frequent Pho#1 for lunch as well. For one reason or another I find myself favoring the Vietnamese side of the menu over the Thai (but I love Thai).

    I think Pho #1 is one of the few things that has kept me from donning a clown suit and a sniper rifle through this interminable last (6 maybe 7) months of unbearable weather . A nice piping hot bowl of Pho keeps me in my happy place and sated the rest of the day as I hum Bing Crosby's "I'm In Heaven" (Think "Green Mile" for those to whom I have just seriously dated myself). It does tend to be very busy at noon so I try for 12:30- 1:00 and have never waited for a seat.

    Next time I am feeling brave I think I will ask for some of those hot peppers they have marinating in the big glass jar on the counter where the register is.

    1. I'll double second that recommendation. Their Larb is great - though a slightly acquired taste due to the fish sauce, but that makes it all the more althentic. Also their drunken noodles - the wide, flat chinese rice noodles - is also a very tasty rendition of this dish. So far everything I have had there has been excellent and I agree that the folks there are very nice and gracious.

      1. Perfect! I'm in the Rochester Airport right now waiting for my flight to Boston. I'd love to check this place out over the weekend...can someone provide the address and/or phone number? Is it close to a T stop? Thanks!

        1 Reply
        1. re: chickster

          Pho#1 is located at 908 Main Street in Woburn MA. 781-932-4780. You can view their website at www.pho1woburn.com/ . I think there is a T bus that goes right by the place (Main Street) but I don't know what the route number is. Hope this helps.

        2. Great review, I love vietnamese (and thai) and go to many of my favorites in the Lowell area but often travel down through Woburn - where abouts is this?

          2 Replies
          1. re: lexpatti

            Pho Number 1 Woburn
            Pho # 1
            Tel. : 781-932-4780
            908 Main Street Woburn, MA 01801
            10am. to 10pm

            This is location is not really T convenient, but there are several fine vietnamese places for Pho in chinatown, running late or I would elaborate I suggest a search on the Boston Board.

            1. re: lexpatti

              It's on the other side of 128 from Woburn Center. Follow Main St. and when you see the Thai diner on your right (Lana Thai?), Pho #1 will be sort of across the street.

            2. Maybe I've been spoiled by my favorites in Lowell (Southeast Asian and Pho88) but we stopped last night to try Pho#1 and were disappointed. We started with two apps that set us on a bad note: crazy roll - crispy fresh summer roll with shredded lettuce, mint, rice vermicelli, seaweed and shrimp tempura, wrapped into a softened rice paper and fried until golden brown server with peanut sauce (much too thick). I tasted the seaweed mostly. Then we got thai clamari - lightly battered and fred with sweet and sour sauce (I liked the sauce and used it for my crazy roll but the batter was more like those nice big onion rings at the fair and the calamari was almost as big?). The one dish I loved was Drunken Noodles - stir fried flat rice noodle with chicken , red pepper, onion, carrot, bean sprout, bamboo shootand snow pea in a thai spicy basil sauce. Everthing was very fresh, nice crisp vegies, awesome flavors. Our last dish was disappointing - Mango fish which was catfish topped with onions, red pepper, carrot snopea, tomatoe and fresh mango chunk adn thae curry sauce (just kind of soggy and sweet).

              I will add one note, I was anxious to try the vietnamese food and as you can see we ordered mostly thai so maybe we should give it another try and keep to vietnamese since thats how I compare it when I compare it my favorites in Lowell. Call me the Crazy Roll. :-)

              1. I enjoyed a quick, inexpensive lunch, very clean and fresh ingredients. I work in Chinatown and the prices and quality are comparable to other pho restaurants. The menu is extensive. An excellent, overstuffed fresh roll. I also enjoyed the ground chicken in spicy thai basil brown sauce served with a fried egg on top. Parking is difficult midday.

                Pho 1 Woburn
                908 Main St, Woburn, MA 01801

                1. I love their Tom Yum noodle soup, bun and yellow curry with tofu, mango, lychee and other fruits (can't remember the name of the dish.) The service is quick, efficient and friendly and the price is very reasonable. I would eat here more often except that I can't parallel park. As with Food4Thought, I prefer the Vietnamese offerings.

                  Across the street is another great place called Lanna Thai. The downside is that the place is always understaffed whenever I go there, so service can be slow.

                  1. Haven't been any updates in a long time but they are still in business with different owners since the original post. Food is still good and I stopped by today for lunch and just had the grilled pork with vermicelli and it was nice, Very busy at lunchtime and parking can be hard to find.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Ferrari328

                      ferr, thx so much for this reminder. I've never been but am nearby so must try. And the photo is really helpful for showing good amount of protein. Thx again!

                    2. We had in mind lunch at Pho 1 today but a chance encounter w/ a Thai woman sent us to Three Countries Bistro instead. Owned by Thai husband and wife chefs and new to Woburn Ctr, this is another one of those cover-your-bases Sushi/ Thai/Korean places ; there are only a handful of Korean dishes and a bit more Thai; most of the menu is Japanese. The tempura was cleanly fried but the coating not the ethereal thing you find at good Japanese restnts. Our Chicken with Cashews and Seafood w/ Red Curry Sauce were very tasty but not as good as their versions at Sweet Basil in Arlington Center. The one really excellent dish was the Country Pad Thai which was not like a dry Pad Thai dish, but cooked with a very flavorful thin spicy red sauce (no coconut milk) instead. Pad Thai is usually disappointing but this one was really terrific and I will happily return for it. Three Country Bistro is located 2 doors north of Brickyard .

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        Thanks oc,

                        I live a few blocks from the center and wondered about this place. I'll give it a try soon.

                        1. re: mcel215

                          mc, given that you are right there, have you tried the Pho 1 and the other place across the street- that were the basis for this thread?

                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                            I love Pho1, they even deliver to my work now, lol!

                            And which place across the street? Lana Thai? Yes, another very good place to eat. If I am up there though, I usually go to Pho1 now. :)

                        2. re: opinionatedchef

                          I have been a few times to Three Country Bistro. On the last visit, I was disappointed that every single maki roll I ordered was doused with either brown eel sauce, orange spicy mayo or a combo of both. Perhaps it was bad ordering on my part, but I didn't enjoy the extra heaviness this added.

                          The owner is really friendly and you can tell he is happy to have you as a customer, I just wish it tasted better.

                          1. re: Frank Enbean

                            well, now that you know he does that, you can make sure to ask for all your maki w/o sauce when you visit again. but i do understand, and that practice is , for me, a sure sign that the sushi chef doesn't know what they're doing (and/or thinks that americans like their sushi that way. ugh.) the globe just featured an Arlington restnt that changed its initial 'cover your bases' format to go all Korean (owners are Korean.) Maybe this fellow will follow that lead and soon go all Thai.

                          2. re: opinionatedchef

                            I had the Country Pad Thai today and I don't think that's what you had. This was just a spicy normal Pad Thai and not very good either. The shrimp was cooked perfectly, both of them, but the chicken was bone dry. Looking at the menu I suspect that you had the Crispy Pad Thai.

                          3. I have never found a "cover all the bases" type restaurant that was anyone good. You might find one dish that they do well but usually I have found that when they try to do 3 or 4 different Asian cuisines they end up not doing any of them very well. For that reason if I am in the mood for Japanese I go to a Japanese restaurant preferably with a Japanese owner. Same for Chinese, Thai, Korean or any of the others.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: RoyRon

                              hi there ron, i completely understand your thinking but also consider that the owners/chefs of this place are thai and if they served only thai, they would be preparing you the same food i think. just like those korean chef/owners of that now-only-korean place in arlington(that i mentioned above). as you know (we both are Sushi Island/Japanese chef/owner fans) i completely get what you are saying and i never ever go to these cover-your-bases places; i only went here because of the Thai woman's referral. Nuf said.

                              Have you any updates to your original post which started this thread? because that's the place we wuold like to try, and would really appreciate dish recs! thx ron.

                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                Hi Opinionated
                                I haven't been to Pho #1 in quite some time because it is not as close to where I am working now. It used to be one of my favorite lunch spots. Recently I havebeen going to Szechuan Gourmet in Billerica which I think is excellent. I also like Tepthida Khmer in Lowell too. Szechuan Gourment is one of the most authentic Chinese places in the Boston area ande although there are many differing opinions on this board about Tepthida Khmer it is still my favorite for Cambodian food. For Thai my wife and I have been going to Siam Lotus in Norwood on Rte 1. It is Thai owned and operated and overall I find the food reasonably authentic and delicious.

                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                  My DP and I were there on Saturday around 1:30PM and had the larb (Ground chicken with cilantro, spices, red onion, fish sauce, etc. on a bed of lettuce with cucumbers and tomatoes)which was awesome. Fresh, spicy, tangy and delicious. Yum Nua had similar flavoring but was made with nicely grilled sliced beef and also delish!

                                  We also pigged out and had the Tom Yum noodle soup with Shrimp which was very nice, though could have been spicier.

                                  We also got the Basil duck which had very fresh, crispy veggies - peppers, broccoli, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, baby corn, bamboo sprouts, etc., and very meaty duck. My only complaint about their duck is that they put a coating on it and fry it first before putting the sauce and veggies on top. The extra fried coating while very crispy is very unnecessary and just adds calories to the dish.

                                  In general though, everything was really tasty as always and very fresh. Service was also very attentive and nice.

                                  1. re: lurker77

                                    well 77, looks like you're almost the only one to go here recently! thx so much for posting the details.Now we'll go there soon .

                              2. Pho #1 is one of our regular neighborhood places. Not sure it would be a destination if we didn't live nearby, but we're quite fond of them and go often. Favorite dishes include Goi Vit (the duck version of Vietnamese cabbage salad, great on a hot day), Salted Squid (available as an appetizer or entree, well-fried but sadly lacking in tentacles), North Woburn Pad Thai (a nice tamarindy version of the old standby), and Cat Fish with Black Bean Sauce.

                                We often get the Banh Xeo, though I think the one at Pho 88 in Lowell is better. We've also enjoyed the Pad See You, springing the extra $1 for Chinese broccoli. The place is inexpensive enough that I don't mind.

                                Some tables sport a jar of roasted chili paste which I've taken to seeking out. I'm not much of a pepper-head but this stuff adds flavor as well as heat. We also like the limeades, Thai iced tea, and the shakes/smoothies.

                                Despite the name of the place, I can't speak to the quality of the pho, since that's not my thing. Friends have said it's decent.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: T.B.

                                  I love this place too. Their Pho is great, as is the Jungle Curry, Pork Kra Pow, Chicken Cashew Nut, and Basil Fried Rice. I really love thier Crab Wonton and meat dumplings.

                                  I like the Pad Thai across the street at Lanna Thai though.


                                2. After a rather mediocre Duck Choo Chee at the Lemon Tree in Burlington I decided to try the same dish at my (very) local Vietnamese restaurant Pho #1.
                                  If your order from the Woburn Combo Menu ($8.95 at Lunch and $11.95-$12.95 at Dinner) you will get a Fried Spring Roll and a Steamed Dumpling with dipping sauces as part of the deal.
                                  A small bowl of Seaweed soup is also included (chicken, grass noodle, cilantro, scallion and Japanese seaweed in chicken broth). Read the description of the soup on the menu and see how many spelling and grammar mistakes you can find ;-).

                                  Duck Choo Chee was ordered spicy and it was spicy hot but not overly so. No indication of the heat on the combo menu but was marked as two peppers on the normal menu and I would say that this was about 1+. The menu said crispy duck and it really was but some bits were overly crispy but most were good and the crispy skin was excellent. Be careful, found parts of rib cage left in some pieces. The amount of duck was HUGE compared to the Lemon Tree at least three to four times the amount. The veggies were also very good and not overcooked, green beans were crispy and had the little curly ends removed, zucchini was still crisp and the pea pods were nice as well. Overall I must say that dish blows the socks of the same dish at the Lemon Tree and I just wish that service would do the same but the Lemon Tree wins hands down in that department. Service with a smile is sadly missing here, had to ask for water refills and also for the check.


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Ferrari328

                                    Pho1 is a favorite of mine too ferrari.

                                    Their Spicy Basil Rice with Shrimp is my go-to dish there, but you can get it with beef or chicken too. I also have had Pork Kra Pow, Drunken Noodles and many more. The Pho is exceptional, their prices are fair. The crab rangoon is one of the best around.

                                    I order take out mostly nowadays, so slow service doesn't effect me.