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Mar 12, 2009 01:14 PM

Searching for Pho

New to the dish, am hoping for a few restaurant recommendations. Location no matter - I'm in the loop and will travel pretty much anywhere, preferably by el but can drive also. Ambiance no big thang either.

Thank you.

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  1. You can take the el (CTA Red Line) north to Argyle, where you'll find one Vietnamese restaurant after another on the couple of blocks of Argyle Street next to the el station. Tank Noodle, on Broadway at Argyle, is probably the best known, but there are plenty of others in the vicinity.

    Closer to downtown, Le Colonial serves pho about a mile north of the Loop, right off Michigan Avenue.

    3 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Can't BELIEVE I blocked Argyle Street. Are there some places you'd rec over others? Not just looking for pho, but GOOD pho.


      1. re: sis2catbat

        My favorite is Pho 777, which is almost right across the street from the Argyle El stop, to the right as you exit the station. Tank's is pretty good too. You are right to ask. A lot of places sell dishwater with some fish sauce in it.

        There are a lot of Pho numbernumbernumber places on the strip, but Pho 777 has a good complex broth. Not much on atmosphere, though.

        1. re: Pete Oldtown

          Does anyone know what the deal is with the Vietnamese Pho numbernumbernumber places on Argyle? Is that some Vietnamese tradition?

          We tried 777 (or maybe it was 888 -- seriously not sure which) on a recommendation from this board. It was about a block or so east of Broadway on the north side of the street. We didn't care much for it and while it certainly didn't have much atmosphere, we also didn't experience the place as very clean.

          I happen to prefer Tank on the corner. And if someone doesn't feel like Pho, they have lots of other options.

    2. We either go to 777 or the place (forgot the name) 1/2 block south of Argyle on Broadway.
      Go into the parking lot, it's in the middle of the strip mall.

      1 Reply
      1. re: citywayne

        It's like Pho Hoa or something, right? I like that place a lot.

      2. Update:

        Thanks to everyone who replied. Friday night my sis, mom & I tried Cafe Hoang in Chinatown on Cermak (which I had remembered from "Check, Please!"). Appetizers were the Vietnamese pancake (a first for us), which was kind of awkward to eat but interesting. We also shared the fresh and yummy spring rolls and the most awesome crab rangoon I think I've ever had. Sis had Pad Thai and mom had the #26, which was shrimp, beef, egg roll, and salad. Service was pretty good, and I shared the dessert I brought (Mrs. Fields mini cookies) with the staff, who were quite appreciative. "Ooooh, cookies!"

        I pretty much replicated the same food on Sunday night - this time dining solo on Argyle Street at Pho 777 (ha - I did see Pho 888 but kept walking). Had the round and flank steak pho, and I enjoyed the fact they served it with jalepenos, something I didn't have at Cafe Hoang. Had the spring rolls there too, which were just as good as the first time I had them. This time, though, I took home an order of bo tai chanh (beef salad), and had a few bites when I got home. A bit pricey at $10.50, but it was REALLY good. I felt compelled to add some red onion and cilantro when I got home; I guess I'm just used the nak tok I get in Thai restaurants.

        Next I'll try Pho Xe Tan ("Tank") on Argyle.

        Little Vietnam is quite far from where I live (I'm in the loop), but I brought a few mags on the el and it was a fun experience. And since it was Sunday night, I got in and out - 2 1/2 hours round trip, including the dining part.

        Thanks again for everyone's recommendations!

        2 Replies
        1. re: sis2catbat

          I actually like Pho Viet too on Broadway. My die hard favorite is Tank, but that might just be years of habit. What I like about Pho Viet is the creative combinations and the really cute/clean storefront.

          1. re: sis2catbat

            I like Pho 777 if I only crave Pho, but I otherwise prefer Tank for their other choices. Since you're making a long trek from the Loop, you might as well stop off for dessert at the wonderful Patisserie P for pastries. It's just down the street on Argyle.

          2. The best Pho I've had is at Hoanh Long, in North Park. This place is an absolute trek from the city (north of Peterson at 6144 N Lincoln) but, in my opinion, it's the best Vietnamese food in the city. Don't miss the grilled beef papaya salad or the spicy squid dish (squid in Hoanh Long special sauce... or something like that). The squid dish is probably the best asian dish I've ever had. :-)

            6 Replies
            1. re: mcukier

              mcukier, THANK YOU. I was in Chicago for a couple weeks and craving Vietnamese, followed your lead to Hoanh Long and it was incredible. Had the beef salad and the squid the first time (with a tasty vietnamese coffee and milk), the pho and a chicken salad the second time (with a salty lemonade and soda), and made a special trip back for my last meal in town just to have the beef salad again (I'd nominate that as my best dish in 2+ weeks of solid eating throughout the city). Not to mention that the folks who run the place are super nice. This is exactly the kind of find that you hope for on Chowhound - thanks for the tip!

              1. re: josholken

                Which beef salad dish? The one you roll up in the rice pancakes that you make yourself ?

                1. re: lilmomma

                  I'm looking for recommendations for really good Pho in Chinatown for lunch Monday. The only one I've heard about so far is Kim Yen.

                  1. re: Chicago Wine Geek

                    I'm not quite sure, but i think Kim Yen is closed. That is probably your only option for Vietnamese in Chinatown. Unless you want to go to Joy Yee's.

                    1. re: Chicago Wine Geek

                      Pho Hoa was on Check Please and got good reviews all around.

                      1. re: rubinow

                        Pho Hoa is too far from my office. I'm trying to find an old article in the Chicago Tribune that they did on Chinatown and they raved about one place in Chinatown. Still searching.

              2. I change my original assertion that Pho Xe Tank is the best pho on Argyle street. It's got nothing on Pho 888, only two storefronts away, which has a less lively atmosphere, but much better pho. The broth itself is much cleaner in flavor, you can taste the notes of cinnamon and anise in a more pronounced way, but it's still an overall savoury broth. They seem to give a slightly better cut of meat too. Since I've only had the Pho, I can only vouch for that dish, but I am intrigued by the bun options too.