Any good Vietnamese in or near Santa Monica? I've been to Pho 99 on Wilshire and was unimpressed.
Not a whole lot of great options, but you can find some. If you like Bun, avoid Le Saigon at all costs. Not good. China Beach is very good, but the atmosphere leaves a little to be desired as its tucked into a corner convenience store location (its at Venice & Pacific in Venice). Pho 99 is in a strip mall on Wilshire at is pretty decent.
If you find one, let us all know. As you note, pretty much all we have is unimpressive simple pho places. If Red Moon Cafe still exists, avoid it--ordinary and 99% Chinese.
The best I've encountered anywhere on the Westside is Michelia. It is very personal, a sweet little place, and moderately priced. But it's near Cedars-Sinai in West Hollywood, not Santa Monica.