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Best Pho in Edmonton?

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I am a Pho crazy person. I'm addicted to it. I have tried almost every single vietnamese restaurants in Edmonton (and all the vietnamese restaurants in chinatown toronto, which is limited I guess), and I wonder if I'm missing the "hidden gems"...I frequent Tau Bay(goind really downhill from how they used to be before they relocated to chinatown. I miss the days when it was on 107th ave) and King's noodle house. All the other places were not great.

Any suggestions on hidden gems for pho?? Please don't say Pho Hoa or Pagolac, or golden bird. By the way, Pagolac is fantastic for satay beef noodle soup, but not for regualr pho - personal tastes I guess.

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  1. I have to admit I'm also a bit of a "Pho crazy person", and always consider Tau Bay to be my fall back soup destination. After trying and trying many other places, nothing compares in my mind to the wonderful broth served at the Bay. Although in saying that, I was disappointed a few weeks back when the noodles were off. As well I did notice quite a few new staff members.

    I'm curious and look forward to hearing other opinions on this topic.

    1. I'm interested to know your recommendations for ordering Pho at your favorite places.

      Personally, I'm a satay beef noodle soup kind of girl - so I'm going to second the Pagolac for that. However, I think that a very close second for good satay beef noodle soup (sorry for the threadjack) is the Moon Garden Restaurant in the west end (175 st and 100 ave, in the same complex as New Asian Village).

      2 Replies
      1. re: kali_MM

        Either size, depending on my hunger level, of menu item number one at Tau Bay. I love having the "everything" option in my pho. Order an iced coffee and it is the perfect meal.

        1. re: raidar

          I have thoroughly enjoyed the pho at Nihn Kieu in Chinatown. I am a sate girl, but i actually like the sate here better than Pagolac, I did not enjoy the thick broth, I like a thin one.

      2. Man oh man - I don't live in Edmonchuk anymore and WISH I could remember the name of my fave Pho place. I

        t's across the street from Lucky 97, not across 97th Street, but across the Ave to the south. Basically, walk out of Lucky 97 parking lot, turn right and cross the street.

        It's a great spot - I had my forst Pho ever there. The hostess is so on the ball at lunch hour. When she sees you comming up the side walk she's already grabbing menus, chopsticks and a pot of tea. They do the brisket style Pho there with all the fixings and it's great, prices are cheap too.

        I can't recommmend much else from the menu as I mainly go for Pho, it's that good, but the spring and salad rolls are great and so is the Cafe Sua Da. Even on a full stomach, or with a wicked cold or hangover, I've never been able to finish a SMALL it's that big!

        2 Replies
        1. re: eastcoastgirl_westcoastlife

          Are you thinking Ho An? It's just south of Lucky 97 on that diagonal avenue. I like that they offer an x-large size but I don't like the fact that they don't have tripe or tendon. I don't normally like that stuff, but throw it into pho and I'm there.

          1. re: eastcoastgirl_westcoastlife

            I think you meant "Pho Huong Que".. anyhow i used to go there quite a bit then i kinda lost track of it..but it is a good PHO place..my favorite PHO place is THANH THANH Restaurant (across,diagonally from the BRICKwarehouse).. very well balanced PHO (broth, noodle, beef,etc). perhaps it is the fresh beef slices that lure me back there everytime. Most of all, very nice, clean, friendly restaurant.

          2. We seem to have similar tastes in pho. Tau Bay is my #1 followed by King noodle.

            Depends on your mood, if you want volume, Ho An has good portions, but are lacking in the variety of meats (no tripe, tendon). Tau Bay has the best broth hands down in Alberta but I find there isn't enough noodles and are kinda stingy on the meats. King Noodle is a decent place overall.

            My wishlist for good pho:
            1) Pho Tau Bay quality broth (tasty, aromatic, buttery flavor)
            2) Ho An portions (their x-large is perfect)
            3) Full variety of meats and good portions (what's with the 1 tendon per bowl?)
            4) Don't cheap out on basil and sprouts. I don't want half rotten basil.
            5) Accept credit cards for crying out loud!!!! So you have to pay 2 - 3%. I don't carry cash.

            Pho So 1 in Calgary meets 2-5, but their broth is just average. Broth is king!

            1. A quick read of the replies and I see no mention of Phobulous near the U of A on 109th street in a strip mall by Fiori's (I know I am not spelling that correctly, but have not the effort to figure it out!). New, modern, superb broth; overall our new favourite. My spouse is pho crazy and has tried every Pho factory in the city she can find and this is her favourite. It is as fun as the name suggests.

              4 Replies
              1. re: foodiesnorth

                Ate here and was extremely disappointed. The room itself was comfortable enough, but they completely forgot our appetizer order of salad rolls, took away both sauces when my hubby asked for a refill of the hot sauce (I was actually enjoying the sweet one!), and my broth just plain cried out for flavour. Basil leaves provided on the side were kinda wilty too.

                The only reason I'd give them another try is because the salad rolls brought to another table looked darn good.

                1. re: KayceeK

                  Where is "there"? I mean which restaurant?

                  1. re: felix the hound

                    Phobulous...sorry; I should have mentioned that. I just hit reply to Foodiesnorth's post.

                    1. re: KayceeK

                      Yes do give them another try. We have been often and my SO and daughter were there yesterday (or maybe it was Sunday) and loved it.

              2. Having a massive pho sate craving since my visit to Pho Dau Bo in Calgary a week ago, I just happened to be in Edmonton and thought I would branch out from my norm (tau bay - which has been down hill as of late in my opinion). I remember some people mentioning their satisfaction with the sate at Pagolac so I made a quick stop in at the southside location for a late lunch. First things first - the interior, if that doesn't take you back in time, nothing will. The restaurant side was half full at 1:45 which would normally seem unusual to me, as it is in a business park strip mall location, but I'll take this as a good thing.

                Knowing exactly what I want, I order a regular pho beef sate and wait. I'm delivered a pot of tea(room temperature) and notice the lack of squeeze bottle condiments. Interestingly enough the oil, hot sauce and hoisin are in a triangle shaped caddie. Almost like the maple syrup options you find at Humpty's and Perkins. My pho comes fairly quickly, and I notice a major difference between what I had at PDB and here. This was much much thicker. The bowl was quite small (compared with all other pho places I've visited) and it was jam packed with noodles, leaving almost no room for broth. I found the noodles over cooked, almost gummy and the soup itself lacked the kick I enjoyed at PDB. The bowl also had a few pieces of tomato and cucumber, I've never encountered this before (any insights). I should note the noodle to beef ratio was quite off, while one could easily fill two bowls with the amount of noodles, you would be hard pressed to find much meat. The side plate was filled with fresh sprouts, herbs and chili.

                Overall - I don't know if I would go back. I would consider hitting the downtown location incase I missed something by going south. Maybe I'm just jaded by my fantastic experiences in Calgary, but I'm back on the search for good sate in Edmonton.

                3 Replies
                1. re: raidar

                  Went to the downtown location a few days back and it was very similar to the south side location. The noodles were done perfectly however and the broth just as thick (something I'm still getting used too as I prefer a smoother base). I also tried a new place on 34th Ave, My Tho, and I must say it was pretty good. The broth was lacking any real depth (maybe not simmered long enough) but the spice was good and the meat/noodle ratio and quality was spot on.

                  I'm craving a pho attack for lunch today, so I'm hoping someone is up and on to recommend somewhere else to try for sate. I've noticed King Noodle mentioned, are they more for the basic pho or do they do a quality sate? Any other sate recommendations?

                  1. re: raidar

                    I too prefer the 'thinner' version of sate, if you are downtown, check out Nihn Kieu in chinatown. I think you will be really happy with the sate. I have to admit, I am curious about what others think about sate soup, I wonder if I what I like is not true sate soup.
                    10708 98 Street NW

                    1. re: cleopatra999

                      I ended up just heading down to King Noodle. I can definitely see how it would be great for a non-sate bowl. The broth was was good, lots of fresh herbs, red chili's and jalapeno, decent meat noodle ratio (not as good in the chicken pho), service was quick and friendly.

                      However, when I asked about if they had a beef sate specific bowl, the waitress mentioned that you just ask for spicey and they can make any of the pho bowls spicy. All the dishes were ordered "spicey" and they were dissapointing in that aspect. It looked like really dark (almost burnt in color) chili oil was tossed in and that was it. I'm definitely looking for something more in a sate dish...depth, flavor...basically something extra compared to a regular bowl. Either way, I would recommend it, like I said for non-sate, but my hunt continues for great sate.

                      I will definitely try out Nihn Kieu and let you know.

                2. I'm gonna go against the tide a bit and put King Noodle ahead of Tau Bay. I've only been to the latter once, but the broth at The King is beefier and more savoury. I like the meats there more too, but I did find that Tau Bay was more generous with the Tendon. Tau Bay also had more fragrant basil, and I will return there whenever I need Pho on a Tuesday. Any other day of the week though you gotta respect The King and his phenomenal moustache.

                  I haven't eaten everywhere else in the city, but nowhere else I have been comes close to these two. The broth is always lacking at other places. I liked the satay soup at La Pagode in the west end well enough, but I haven't been there for years because I wasn't amazed by their pho.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: itwillmakeaturd

                    King Noodle has some of the beefier and more savoury pho in Edmonton, worth the dingy surroundings, questionable higiene, and a bathroom door that opens right onto the dining area. My favourite there is the Bon Bo Hue.
                    Ninh Kieu is but a shadow of its former glory, but if you are looking for chicken broth based soups, their chicken with bean thread is highly recomended for its subtlety and freshness. Portions are smaller and in general the cooking is "lighter".

                    1. re: felix the hound

                      This keeps coming up, so I gotta ask, why does everyone question the hygeine of Noodle King? Is it just the misplaced bathrooms? It seems no worse than dozens of other inexpensive restaurants in town.

                      1. re: itwillmakeaturd

                        So I finally tried King Noodle; the soup wasn't as beefy as I expected and at first I was disappointed but as I ate I began to appreciate the flavour. The soup seems a lot less salty than most pho, which was a nice change. Lots of meat in the pho too.

                        Not sure about the hygiene issue; yes the doors are a little close but that's due to the narrow shape of the room I think. My friend who used the bathroom said it was probably cleaner than most of the ones found in Chinatown.

                    2. re: itwillmakeaturd

                      Kind noodle has there broth down just know how to balance a broth rather than overpower it with something they think that should be in it. So far I've had pho in ottawa, montreal, brussels, paris, barcelona, and edmonton and nothing comes close to king noodle It's ruined my experiences!!

                    3. I don't know if you've found another Pho place yet, but on 97th street in Chinatown there's a place called Le Family which is amazing. Also, if you are anywhere by Kingsway, there is a place called Pho Hoan Pasteur right by the Save-On-Foods. So delicious and the hot sauces there are the best

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: chillax420

                        I was thinking about Pho today and am reminded that I tried Pho Hoan Pasteur since I posted here. It is pretty good. Their broth has a faint sweetness which some people might like, but I find it a bit bland otherwise. Their meatballs are great though, and I like the large tendon chunks. I recommend Tau Bay devotees check it out, as I find their broths similar.

                        1. re: itwillmakeaturd

                          Since pho tau bay did their annual annoy-the-hell-out-of-buster-by-shutting-down-for-2-months thing, I looked for a good place for scab pho. Based on the recommendations here, I tried Pho Hoan Pasteur and was pleasantly surprised.

                          Broth not as good as tau bay, but the option to get XL for $2 more is nice, and I like #14 which contains beef flank, tendon, "fatty", and "crunchy".

                          1. re: buster3535

                            I found this website to be pretty funny:

                            http://istaubayopen.com/

                            If the website is to be believed, Tau Bay should be open again this weekend. During the closure, I've been getting my pho-fix at King Noodle, Phobulous, and a place on 112th Ave and 156 Street (don't know the name). I like these places particularly because they don't have too sweet a broth (most of the sweet flavour seems to come from aniseed, which I'm not crazy about).

                            Regards,
                            Chris

                            1. re: cwant

                              Funny yet sad that we need that website.

                              "According to a tipster, Tau Bay is in the middle of renovations and plan to open April 1, 2010."

                              :) Wishful thinking. I'd be happy if they got rid of that fish tank with the plastic fish. They need to update that "best pho in the city" plaque by adding "... when they're open."

                      2. Nihn Kieu gets my vote.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: S_B_Russell

                          Ninh Kieu is under new management, and the improvement was noticeable when we were there last , I would like to hear your opinions.

                          1. re: felix the hound

                            when did it change? we were there about 3 weeks ago. did not notice any changes, but then we did not see any problems before.

                          2. re: S_B_Russell

                            nihn kieu used to get my vote until i saw the waitress clear a table and take the tea pot and dump the left over tea back into their tea urn.

                          3. We like Trang Tien on Jasper and about 95 st.

                            1. In Edmonton:
                              Pho:
                              1. King's noodles - best broth....and it is pretty clean compared to when it was in that dingy green house

                              Bun Bo Hue
                              1. CoDo Hue on the northside - large portion, fresh ingredients
                              2. Pho Anh Vietnamese in Whitemud Crossing Complex is pretty decent, if you like lemongrass flavours

                              In Calgary:
                              Try Pho Xuan - it's a dive but it's one of the best in Calgary

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: hungryneko

                                Was at King's Noodles today. Broth was lacking. It was good but not it's usual greatness. Hope this was just a bad day. It's my favourite in Edmonton, but haven't found anything here yet to watch my favourite places in Toronto.

                              2. King Noodle House!
                                Better than the famously acclaimed Tau Bay IMO.

                                -----
                                Noodle King Vietnamese Restaurant
                                2323 32 Ave NE #119, Calgary, AB T2E 6Z3, CA

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: rebasaurus

                                  rebasaurus - you inadvertently linked a Calgary restaurant. I created the correct link and added it to the chow database. Check your post and you should see a remove beside your link to Noodle King Vietnamese Restaurant in Calgary Please remove it. - Regards

                                  -----
                                  King Noodle House Pho Hoang
                                  10613 97 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5H 2L5, CA

                                  1. re: rebasaurus

                                    Last time ( the only time) I was at king noodle house I walked out. Questionable hygiene doesn't begin to describe it. It smelled like it had never been cleaned in its history, and dirt and food that had been spilled on the walls and floor never cleaned up. Just ground in. The tables were dirty. Drips of sauce and who knows what on the walls around the tables. Maybe their soup is fabulous but I can't get past the rotten smell.

                                  2. IMO, Tau Bay has gone quite downhill, broth has become kind of bland for me. I used to be downtown all the time but moved. Before I moved I would frequent Pho Huong Que. Although, I haven't been there in awhile, their pho was something I grew up on when it wasn't time for my mom to make it (I am vietnamese : D). But lately Pho Song Huong on 97th Street and 129th Ave is my Go-To now that I'm a northsider. Their broth is nice and flavorful. Unctuous and rich.

                                    Although I know this is off-topic but if you like a little spice to your vietnamese noodle soups, I suggest Bun Bo Hue. Delicious at Co Do Hue on 127th street and 137th avenue

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: jeffreybnguyen

                                      A new Vietnamese Noodle house quiet good.

                                      Hung Phat Vietnamese Noodle House
                                      3849 99 St NW

                                      1. re: bubblepuffer

                                        ohh... i'm a northsider, so being that far south is rare for me. But I will definitely check it out : ) Thanks :)

                                    2. King Noodle House Pho Hoang

                                      1. I must also say that I am fond of Trang Tien. It is off the radar for most people and the service can be...perfunctory at best, but the food is usually excellent, unpretentious and quite authentic. I am particularly fond of their Bun Bo Hue, a great spicy winter alternative to regular beef noodles, but their plain old Pho is also highly creditable. Go for the food, ignore the service and marvel at the array of plastic vegetables. The clams are also very good.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: munchieHK

                                          Bon Bo Hue is my favourite Vietnamese soup and I tried it at Trang Tien last Wednesday. here is post

                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/814562

                                        2. I don't know of much better than king noodle, I find Tau bay lacking with it's broth. At the moment I'm living in brussels and even the most highly recommended pho places here don't compare. 1 - the noodles they use are wide like fettuccini and they don't grab with chopsticks plus the sambal they have over here is more like a cheap version of ours something similar to ketchup and the broth doesn't have enough bone or tripe flavour. I find king noodle doesn't put there warm spices ahead of a proper beefy broth. Other places in edmonton and even brussels have too much cinnamon and star anise.