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Pho in Montreal: 2009

  • m

So let us finally start that thread on Pho. As some of you may be aware, I am a huge fan of Pho Lien on Cote des Neiges and Cote St. Catherine. I could eat their pho forever. For me, their broth is one of the most perfect foods I have ever had. I am a fan of their #4 pho, with rare beef and brisket. They meat is tasty, the broth excellent, and all I need is a spritz of lime and basil leaves, and I am good. Now, some might find the offering here a bit limited. For example, they only offer basil, none of the other Vietnamese herbs are present, although they do put sliced onions, green onions and coriander on top of the soup. But the broth, oh the broth...

SO: feel free to report on good pho you have had recently. This is perfect pho weather.

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  1. Chez Nga
    4022 St. Catherine St. West, near Atwater metro
    (514)678-9998

    I had their #9 pho. This was served with slices of well-cooked beef and tendon. The meat was very flavourful, and the broth was delicious, it has a nice depth of flavour. It is almost as yummy as the broth at Pho Lien! The pho is garnished with coriander, onions, green onions, and basil, and comes also with a lime slice. There is only one size, a very large bowl for $8. I wish they had a slightly smaller size, as I find this bowl is a bit big for me. But this pho was excellent, and I am happy to have found such a good quality pho in a different location. Very friendly staff, nice atmosphere, this is a good spot.

    1 Reply
    1. re: moh

      Went to Chez Nga yesterday with gf, after reading the above review. Had a spring roll appetizer (nothing special) and a bowl of pho each. I had the #11, "soupe tonkinoise avec boeuf saignant" and gf had the #12, pho with well-done beef. The broth was indeed very nice and was the highlight of the meal. The noodles were also nice - not overcooked. The "rare" beef was way, way overcooked. Also, we were very disappointed by the quantity of meat - my soup barely had 3-4 small pieces in it. Gf's soup was the same. I could've easily eaten 2-3 times more meat than that! Good thing we had some nice pastries at the Pekarna next door, otherwise I would've left hungry after a pho (which has yet to happen after eating at any of the pho places on CDN).

      The search for good pho near Guy/Atwater continues.

    2. I'm not an expert but I since I've tasted the Pho at Pho Bac no 1 in Verdun, I don't eat it anywhere else. It's on Wellington on the north side, between 2nd and 3rd aves. The broth is delicious and it's served with basil leaves, lime, hot pepper ans bean sprouts on the side.

      1. Pho Tay Ho
        6414 rue Saint-Denis
        Montréal, QC H2S 2R7
        (514) 273-5627

        This is the absolute best.
        Everything about it from the broth....oh that magnificent broth which you can smell the delicious aroma of marrow, to the garnishes, to the meat, tendon, tripe quality to the freshness of the basil, sprouts, limes, chilies, ouff! :)
        It is stellar.

        Happy eating, Oana

        7 Replies
        1. re: oana

          Pho Tay Ho is a lovely restaurant in general. Even if you get their lunch special, you get some of their wonderful pho broth.

          I'm happy to live a short walk from it and Nhu Y, in opposite directions! (though I don't think the latter is so much a pho place).

          1. re: lagatta

            I'll 3rd that for Pho Tay Ho.
            As for Pho Lien, they're one of my new faves since Pho Bang down the hill packed up.
            My current favourite is Hoa Hoang on Victoria. Their pho ga (chicken) is the cure for what ails ya, and their pho bo is one of the few that I find can stand on its own without hoisin or chili (though who can resist anyway?)

            One sad recent disappointment, though I may just be behind the curve, is that Crystal de Saigon in Chinatown is now called Crystal #1, and it's lousy. We went in recently, without even noticing the sign, because we hadn't been for a while, and it was always good. We asked the waiter for basil (ya know, a plate of basil, sprouts, fresh chili, lime...), and he waved emphatically, "no basil, no basil, no basil". The broth was like dishwater. We asked for hoisin, and he signed and rolled his eyes and brought a thimblefull. We went through the same thing to get some sri racha. Such a shame.

            Pho Bang NY a week later was delicious as ever.
            Pho 2000 on Ste. Catherine E has been consistently good since the 1980s and still is.

          2. re: oana

            Pho Tay Ho has been one of our go-to places for about a year, but we went there last nite and noticed a perceptible decline. I hope it was just an off night, but the broth tasted one-dimensional (for lack of a better word) and they skimped on the rare beef - there were only 2 pieces. They also served lemon with the soup instead of lime. Hubby's rice was overcooked and his pork chops were almost 50% fat. Lastly, the salad rolls were different - there were not as many herbs inside, and the rolls were packed much more loosely than usual (skimpy). It was surreal, like we mistakenly went to a different restaurant by accident!

            Sorry to share a bad experience about this place, hopefully it was just an isolated thing and not evidence of a steady decline. Next time you guys go, please report back - I hope they will turn things back around!

            1. re: oana

              In my opinion, Pho Tay Ho is about the Bun Cha more than the pho. The bun cha there is really phenomenal. The service is pretty lackluster though.

              1. re: mainsqueeze

                Yes, their speciality it their Bun Cha. I can't remember ever ordering pho at Pho Tay Ho. Also had some problems with their service.

              2. re: oana

                I'm far from an expert but on my 1st visit I did not find it that great... I had rare beef and a few pieces of flank... Not sure if this is normal but my beef had tons of fat on it. I don't eat fat, and I never had this in my limited experience eating such food. I prefer Pho Lien on Cote Des Neiges (much better broth), or even Hoa Hoang on Victoria. Never had "Fat" issues at either of these places.

                1. re: J1836

                  flank steak should have one of the lowest fat contents of any beef cut.

              3. Here is a link to reports on Pho Nguyen:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/585667

                The pho is really hitting the spot in this weather. I strongly encourage all Hounds to try a new pho place! It really helps you to figure out what you really love about pho. And you never know when you'll find a new gem. And I think a little discussion and debate of the different types of pho might be informative.

                Has anyone been to a place that offers more interesting herbs than just the usual basil and coriander? And has anyone tried any of the places out on Jarry near Kim Phat?

                1 Reply
                1. re: moh

                  moh I second your call for "get out there and try new places"!
                  :)

                2. Other than Pho Nguyen and Chez Nga, does anyone know of any decent pho places in the guy-concordia area?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: mainsqueeze

                    Did you try Ba-Le near Concordia (2148 Mackay) ? I have a night class at Concordia last year and some of my class mate told me that Pho at Ba-Le is very good. I went to pickup some sandwiches and took some time to have bowl of Pho there at the end of the semester. It is true that their Pho is very tasty. You can smell a lot of flavours in the broth. I think that it is one of best Pho in town.

                    1. re: braveman

                      I haven't tried it yet, though I do like their beef bahn mi. Will try the pho soon and report back. Thanks.