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Best Pho in T.O.

banjoman2375 Apr 7, 2010 12:43 PM

Hey guys,

I'm looking for the best Pho in Toronto. I've only had it a Pho Hung, but it was very good there. Where else?

Thanks

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Pho Hung
350 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON , CA

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  1. l
    LTL Apr 7, 2010 02:07 PM

    There are already a number of detailed discussions on this topic. The latest: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/374112.

    2 Replies
    1. re: LTL
      banjoman2375 Apr 7, 2010 07:26 PM

      It says that thread doesn't exist...

      1. re: banjoman2375
        h
        Hmm Apr 8, 2010 02:01 AM

        The period is included in the link and messes it up.. it works without the trailing period in the link

    2. z
      ziggystardust Apr 7, 2010 07:32 PM

      My vote goes to Pho Pasteur on Dundas just west of Spadina. From the outside, it looks like an unremarkable place but based on comments from other Chowhounds I tried it and it was every bit as good as others had said. Really rich broth and lots of good beef, great value to boot.

      -----
      Pho Pasteur
      525 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T1H4, CA

      5 Replies
      1. re: ziggystardust
        Jamie Eats Burgers Apr 8, 2010 08:27 AM

        Pho hung is the blandest pho I've ever had. but its so appealing because there is often packed with people, it some sort of "hot spot"

        Pho Pasteur is one of my favourites. The broth is amazing. and I love that its 24 hours.

        if you need a bit fancier, try Pho Ai My on Spadina and sullivan. I never thought it would be good based on decor. but it is quite good.

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        Pho Pasteur
        525 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T1H4, CA

        1. re: Jamie Eats Burgers
          l
          LTL Apr 8, 2010 11:27 AM

          To me, Pho Hung is to pho what Spring Rolls is to Thai food.

          I haven't tried Pho Pasteur yet but probably will soon because I keep hearing great things. I didn't like Pho Ai My at all when I tried it based on my sister's recommendation. I found the broth lukewarm and one note in flavour. Kim (6 St. Andrew St.) is usually my go to for a quick pho fix in Chinatown.

          I really like Pho Phuong though it's pricier than most typical pho joints. The broth is pretty close to authentic though and is always steaming hot.

          -----
          Pho Hung
          350 Spadina, Toronto, ON M5T2G4, CA

          Pho Phuong
          1603 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6K1T9, CA

          Pho Pasteur
          525 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T1H4, CA

          1. re: LTL
            c
            Calam1ty Apr 9, 2010 03:29 PM

            You're right, Pho Hung is overrated but always packed. Meat in the soup is usually overcooked. Pho Pasteur I got once - higher price and didn't have that much more appeal tfor me. Ai My has nice chicken pho but I really don't like the beef. Xe Lua is consistent (Spadina branch) and my favourite is Kim on St Andrew Street - I also love their cold fish rolls. I really miss Hello/Miss Saigon. Where did the chef go? I thought he was some Vietnamese master chef or something. I also still miss the places on Dundas near Beverley - one on the north, one on the sout, both half a floor up. Awful when favourite places close.

            -----
            Pho Hung
            350 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON , CA

            Pho Pasteur
            525 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T1H4, CA

            Xe Lua Restaurant
            625 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M1Y2, CA

            1. re: Calam1ty
              c
              CoffeeAddict416 Jul 28, 2010 01:58 PM

              I'll take Xe Lua over Pasteur anyday
              I went to pasteur once and it was so salty it was almost inedible
              The two competing shops on Ossington are great as well

              -----
              Xe Lua Restaurant
              625 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M1Y2, CA

          2. re: Jamie Eats Burgers
            f
            food4thot Apr 9, 2010 07:33 PM

            Pho Pasteur is a great place! Generous portions too!

            -----
            Pho Pasteur
            525 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T1H4, CA

        2. munchieHK Apr 8, 2010 11:31 AM

          I like Mimi, in Gerrard Chinatown.

          6 Replies
          1. re: munchieHK
            atomeyes Apr 8, 2010 01:32 PM

            i've never understood why people love MiMi. i even re-tried it 2 months ago. same weak broth and the meats in the pho weren't so hot.

            i've stated many times the locomotive-train place across the street is much, much better

            1. re: atomeyes
              Wiley May 11, 2010 05:39 PM

              Or the place a stone's throw from MiMi, on Boulton called Que Ling. Looks more like a house than a shop, but good pho!

              1. re: Wiley
                a
                Atahualpa Sep 6, 2010 10:25 PM

                Yes, Que Ling has great pho. Xue La (the train) is also good. Mimi is good for the grilled stuff – but not for pho IMO.

                1. re: Atahualpa
                  jlunar Sep 7, 2010 12:01 AM

                  Just had some Bun at Mimi's last week and thought that the grilled items were really good. I have photos that I've yet to post, but I really enjoyed my Bun more than at any other Pho place in recent memory. Will try Que Ling next time, as I'm in the area.

                  For Pho though, it's all about Pho Linh for me.

                  -----
                  Pho Linh Restaurant
                  1156 College St, Toronto, ON M6H1B6, CA

            2. re: munchieHK
              s
              SusanB Apr 9, 2010 03:32 PM

              I also like Mimi - we've never had a bad dish there.

              1. re: SusanB
                1sweetpea Apr 9, 2010 03:36 PM

                I like MiMi for some of their other dishes, like the soups that have noodles and shrimp dumplings. I've never had pho there. It just doesn't look that great. Pho 88 down the street does a decent pho, but they're very stingy with the herbs.

            3. Charles Yu Apr 9, 2010 08:31 PM

              I've tried almost every one mentioned on this board so far. However, IMO, none of them surpass the one from Pho66 on St Claire West ( 1765? ). Amazing broth, meat and noodles! Period!! Place kind of run down though!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Charles Yu
                l
                lamaranthe Apr 10, 2010 07:16 AM

                Checking their site, it says ''Closed''

              2. smudgebee Apr 10, 2010 12:13 PM

                I really like Pho Linh (college and dufferin) and Pho Rang Ran Dong (dufferin and st clair).

                My all time favorite is a treck to Streetsville: Pho Dau Bo. I have never had better! It actually has ruined me a little for other places (including above).

                -----
                Pho Linh Restaurant
                1156 College St, Toronto, ON M6H1B6, CA

                8 Replies
                1. re: smudgebee
                  1sweetpea May 11, 2010 10:51 AM

                  I tried Pho Dau Bo on Sunday and was really impressed. I loved that the menu contained a list of items that could be added as side dishes, such as tendon, beef balls or blood cubes. That's a really interesting way to customize a pho (or other soup) to your personal preferences. I was thrilled to find chiles already on tables. I usually have to beg for them at other pho joints. Other table condiments (besides hoisin and sriracha) were chile sauce and sliced chiles in vinegar -- yum! I thought the quality of the rare beef and chicken in my pho were quite good. The beef was no longer rare when it arrived, but next time I'll simply ask for it raw on a side plate and add it myself. The broth was non greasy at all and was quite tasty, though I was hoping for a stronger aroma of anise and cinnamon. I was happy to see sawtooth herb along with basil on the herb plate. The broth contained a few small sprigs of cilantro, which I've been missing in most bowls recently. The most impressive aspect of the pho was the noodles, which were toothsome until I was finished. Many places serve inferior noodles or simply cook them too long. I hate when the noodles nearly turn to mush in my bowl. I'd definitely return for another piping hot pho, but I'd also like to explore other menu items. Can anyone vouch for any particular dishes? I was at the Pho Dau Bo on Dundas in Mississauga.

                  1. re: 1sweetpea
                    Charles Yu May 12, 2010 06:49 PM

                    A special 'thank you' to smudgebee and 1sweetpea for putting ' Pho Dau Bo' onto my chow radar screen!!
                    Just went there for dinner. Had Pho with rare beef, brisket and well-done flank. Everything was excellent, from the quality and taste of the dense beefy broth to the meat and freshness of the herbs.and bean sprouts...etc Also, ordered side-orders of Viet., style spring rolls, steamed eggs and grilled shrimp on sugar cane. All pretty tasty. Only downside was the brisket being a bit too fatty.
                    All in all a very enjoyable 'pho experience'!!
                    Definitely my pho destination from now on!

                    1. re: Charles Yu
                      Full tummy May 12, 2010 07:06 PM

                      Is that the location on Bristol Road?

                      -----
                      Pho Dau Bo Restaurant
                      2437 Finch Ave W, Toronto, ON M9M2E7, CA

                      1. re: Full tummy
                        Charles Yu May 12, 2010 07:10 PM

                        No! We went to their main flag ship at 2437 Finch Avenue West.

                        1. re: Charles Yu
                          Full tummy May 12, 2010 07:19 PM

                          Oh, thanks. Just trying to link.

                          1. re: Charles Yu
                            d
                            diehardlasallejai Sep 13, 2010 07:06 AM

                            Deliberately drove 33KM to try this location out last Saturday evening. The place was busy with customers came and went continuously. We ordered two XL Pho's and one BBQ broken rice dish. Well, the broth and condiments were all good and I consumed it all---the whole bowl with nothing left behind, but the noodle was still not as good as the ones in Cleveland we had had the previous weekend. Do not get me wrong, Pho Dau Bo's noodle was as good as we wanted in Toronto, but we were just very itchy to see if we could repeat what we had in Ohio, but nope, unfortunately. The BBQ plate was mediocre at best, even though for $7.50 it was a good serving size plate. The XL Pho we had cost $8 and it did not even fill me up. I was quite disappointed at their XL size. However, having said that, for sure it was way better than the US$9 large size bowl we paid for in Cleveland down town, which was as small as our medium here. Well, done that and we will stick to the location on Markham road for now, and we are certainly prepared to give Pho Metro a try after reading some of the posts here in this thread. I will report back soon!

                            1. re: diehardlasallejai
                              jennjen18 Nov 30, 2010 04:42 AM

                              which one at Markham road...? another pho dau bo?

                      2. re: 1sweetpea
                        smudgebee Jul 28, 2010 12:16 PM

                        It is hard to venture from the Pho Tai but I can say the Seafood Special soup (I can not remember the exact name) was not bad.

                    2. Chester Eleganté Apr 13, 2010 11:47 PM

                      So far, I'd give Pho Tien Thanh first and Pho Pasteur second, though there are more to try. Pho Hung just oozed with mediocrity.

                      -----
                      Pho Pasteur
                      525 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T1H4, CA

                      Pho Tien Thanh
                      57 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Y9, CA

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Chester Eleganté
                        m
                        madhatt May 11, 2010 02:35 PM

                        Pho Tien Thanh is superb!

                        -----
                        Pho Tien Thanh
                        57 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Y9, CA

                        1. re: madhatt
                          h
                          hungry_pangolin Aug 13, 2010 08:53 PM

                          I'm no pho expert (does that make me a faux expert?) But a group of us went to Pho Tien Thanh for lunch back in March, and it was the best pho I've had in Toronto. Truly delicious. Interestingly, I tried a couple of non-pho items and they were OK, but nothing special. But, good lord, that pho... And the people there are so pleasant, as well.

                          1. re: hungry_pangolin
                            m
                            madhatt Aug 18, 2010 08:15 AM

                            Agreed, pho is their best dish. Vermicelli is also decent...

                            1. re: hungry_pangolin
                              p
                              Pincus Sep 9, 2010 12:56 PM

                              I'm not a pho expert either, but I love the pho there and always try to drop in there for a bowl if my travels take me that way.

                        2. g
                          Gumbril Apr 26, 2010 11:51 AM

                          I like MiMi. The food is good enough, plus the people are really friendly. I recently tried Pho Mi Asia (just off Dundas, west of Dixie), which is mentioned a bunch in one of the big threads. I got rare beef; the broth was lovely and I couldn't finish a medium. There was literally so much meat I made a stir-fry the next night from what I had left over. Their chicken wings, however, are served with a "Special House Sauce" that seemed identical to Kraft French dressing.

                          -----
                          Pho Mi Asia
                          1248 Dundas St E, Mississauga, ON L4Y2C1, CA

                          1. m
                            Meredi Jul 26, 2010 11:12 PM

                            Kim's Vietnamese Restaurant on Gerrard St. East has the best pho in the neighbourhood. Just walk past Mimi's heading a few buildings east. Kim's entrance is a little indented from the street and has a big red and yellow banner saying "Grand Opening" or something like that. (The banner has been up for over a year...lol). It's not a busy place, but it has really delicious pho and spring rolls...and the owners are really very nice. Lots of fresh herbs and condiments, broth that tastes like real broth - doesn't taste like cheap boullion cube and msg. Also - - the place is spotlessly clean, and the bathrooms are not only clean, but attractive too with nice soap. I like these kinds of details. $6 will get you a huge bowl of pho - - spring rolls are $3. They have awesome freshly squeezed orange juice and other fruit drinks. Nice place, nice people, great pho. They also have nice rice dishes as well. Simple menu but very good and very clean.

                            21 Replies
                            1. re: Meredi
                              1sweetpea Jul 28, 2010 03:23 PM

                              I tried their bun cha ca (grilled seasoned fish on bun vermicelli with lots of fresh herbs). It was excellent. My only complaint was that the nuoc cham (sweet/sour fish sauce side sauce) was a lot sweeter than others I've had. My dining companion had a pho ga, which he thought was a bit bland. I've heard the bun oc (snails) is good. The menu is more streamlined than most (only one or two pho options), but the choice of dishes is still diverse, with a few items I haven't seen elsewhere. The owner is very sweet and the service is friendly.

                              I've also recently tried the Pho Dau Bo at Finch and Weston. The pho is fantastic there, but they're tight with the herbs. I've had to ask for a second plate. There is a very tasty bun there, with stir-fried beef and lemongrass. However, avoid the veg options. They're very bland.

                              1. re: 1sweetpea
                                Charles Yu Jul 29, 2010 05:58 PM

                                As part of my continous quest to search out the best Pho in Toronto, I checked out the relatively new ' Pho Metro' at 2057 Lawrence Ave.,E this evening. One of the reason why I made the looooong drive was that their chef used to be the chef of ' Golden Turtle' downtown!!
                                The place was relatively small; modern and cozy. Service was friendly. I ordered a small Vietnamese pork and shrimp spring roll to start with and a medium bowl of Pho with rare beef, flank beef and beef balls.
                                The spring roll is definitely one of the better ones in town. Crunchy, crisp non greasy skin with a not too compact filling that has more shrimp than the norm. Very tasty!
                                Next came the pho. If my memory serves me right, this Metro version looked and tasted almost identical to the Golden Turtle version I had last year. That is to say, the broth was flavourful but a bit on the light side. Aroma of star anise and cinnamon was also not that pronounced. Herbs and sprouts was fresh but missing was the lime and saw tooth herbs. The meat especially the flank and beef balls were very flavourful. All in all, a good bowl of pho but I still prefer the more dense and aromatic version of Pho Dau Bo on Finch West.
                                Wonders where the ladies who used to own and run the now defunct Pho 66 on St. Claire West went? IMO. hands down the best pho I had in Toronto!! The super dense and delicious broth was nothing short of amazing!!

                                -----
                                Pho 66 Restaurant
                                3636 Steeles Ave E, Markham, ON L3R1K9, CA

                                1. re: Charles Yu
                                  a
                                  ace123 Jul 30, 2010 06:06 AM

                                  Pho Metro is a very clean and modern place. Opened only 2 months ago. They mentioned they heated the bowl before they put the noodle & broth. The pho came out piping out which I liked.
                                  Compared with Pho Dau Bo, Metro's broth was not as intense, missing saw herb (I got lime & chili). The meat (I had the 'special' pho) was good. Overall it's a good pho, I enjoyed it and will go back.
                                  Agreed on Pho 66 with the super intense and delicious broth. Thanks for the recommandation.

                                  1. re: ace123
                                    w
                                    warlock Aug 1, 2010 03:17 PM

                                    Went to Pho Metro late afternoon......cozy and very clean......service was decent,the server (she was running the place with her brother/bf????)was one helluva eye candy.....
                                    To the serious stuff.....I ordered a Medium Pho with Rare Beef and Tripe (its not on the menu) but I asked for it anyways and a side of grilled beef.....
                                    The Pho came piping hot and sure enough the beef was already well done ....thats a strike according to me,I have this axe to grind with places that pour too much broth,which cooks the meat in the process...so far only Pho Pasteur and Pho Hung have managed to keep the beef rare...I hate ordering the beef on the side....Now on to the broth,very nice and flavourful as mentioned by Charles but not very intense like Pho Pasteur....I got only lime and Basil....They were a bit skimpy on the beef and tripe..Noodles were Al Dente,that held itself throughout the meal unlike other places where noodles turn soggy pretty soon....
                                    A 6.5/10 for me.....
                                    Wont replace my bi weekly visits to Pho Pasteur but would visit again for sure ,if they can iron out the creases and the eye candy is definitely an incentive .........

                                    1. re: warlock
                                      1sweetpea Aug 1, 2010 09:53 PM

                                      You lost me on the relevance of "eye candy", if the pho rates only a 6.5. Good pho is good pho. It could be served by a two-headed hunchback troll. What matters most is that the pho was missing sawtooth herb, had skimpy amounts of overcooked rare beef and tripe, and while flavourful, was lacking in intensity. My apologies for jumping on your post, but if you want eye candy, hit a club. If you want good pho, find a way to get to Pho Dau Bo and Dundas, west of Dixie. You'll get a rich bowl of unctuous broth, tasty beef, sawtooth herb and all the other fixins. For me, Pho Dau Bo made me realize the difference between a bowl of Vietnamese beef noodle soup and ... PHO, as it could, and should, be.

                                      1. re: 1sweetpea
                                        w
                                        warlock Aug 2, 2010 03:50 AM

                                        First and foremost
                                        My apologies for offending anyone with that term.....
                                        1sweetpea,have you tried Pho Pasteur? If Yes, How does it compare to Pho Dau Bo?
                                        Pho Pasteur has all the fixings,tasty broth , friendly service,saw tooth herb etc The qualtiy of the beef used tb be the only sore point but now they have improved that too.....plus its pretty convenient for me to get there.....so the trek to Mississauga really needs to be justified.....

                                        1. re: warlock
                                          1sweetpea Aug 2, 2010 05:24 AM

                                          I haven't been to Pho Pasteur. Reviews have been mixed over the years. I would like to try it sometime, but I don't actually live in Toronto, so I only find myself eating pho in Toronto no more than once a month, which gives me limited time to branch out and try many new places. It was the positively glowing rec's for Pho Dau Bo that took me there. I have since tried the Pho Dau Bo at Finch and Weston, which is also quite good, but servers are a bit tight with the herb plate. No matter though. They'll always provide a second herb plate if you ask.

                                          -----
                                          Pho Pasteur
                                          525 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T1H4, CA

                                          1. re: warlock
                                            aser Aug 2, 2010 02:14 PM

                                            no need to apologize, eye candy is eye candy, dudes are dudes.

                                            I've been to both, my comparison....

                                            Pho Dau Bo - a clearer/cleaner bowl, far less oily. Their rare beef does get overcooked on arrival, you will need to order it on the side. The broth has a very pure taste, not overly intensive. Overall I would rate it higher, an 8.5/10.

                                            Pho Pasteur - their broth really packs a punch, and the sodium adverse will be scared off. They actually give you way too much meat, I would rather have more noodles. The big minus for Pasteur is the oily nature of their broth. Then again they're open 24hrs so how can I possibly talk smack about them. They also have a pretty dope bun bo hue. 8/10.

                                            My personal fav is Tien Thanh, trumps both, but closes at 10.

                                            -----
                                            Pho Pasteur
                                            525 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T1H4, CA

                                            1. re: aser
                                              Charles Yu Aug 2, 2010 02:34 PM

                                              Tien Thanh really THAT good?! Its a long long drive for me from Richmond Hill!!!
                                              I once drove all the way down to try out Golden Turtle and was totally disappointed! Cannot understand why Susur Lee likes to frequent it that much?! So mediocre!! Guess even top chef has questionable palette!!??!!

                                              1. re: Charles Yu
                                                j
                                                jnine Aug 2, 2010 02:44 PM

                                                I think Susur lived close to Golden Turtle, it was prob convenient for him. I agree, its not the best. I go to a local place for Pho that satisfies on a weeknight (Pho St. Clair). If I want better, and am in the 'sauga on the weekend, then its off to Pho Mi Asia, or Pho Dau Bo.

                                                1. re: Charles Yu
                                                  aser Aug 2, 2010 02:44 PM

                                                  I think it's like a lot of Chinese people go to certain dim sum spots because they know the floor manager and can get preferred treatment (faster seating, 10% off). It's all about face......

                                                  1. re: aser
                                                    Charles Yu Aug 2, 2010 04:31 PM

                                                    The reverse might be true Aser! A friend of my wife's brother-in-law knows Susur in person and ALWAYS get special treatments from him whilst eating at the old 'Susur'..
                                                    However, in the case of Golden Turtle, it dosen't matter how well one knows the chef, if the broth is mediocre and bland, then I believe no amount of friendship influence is going to change that?!!

                                                    -----
                                                    Susur
                                                    601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

                                                2. re: aser
                                                  w
                                                  warlock Aug 2, 2010 06:05 PM

                                                  Aser,Thanks for the comparison.....
                                                  Now that you mention it,I realise I'm so used to the quantity of meat that Pho Pasteur serves, it makes others seem skimpy.....even on a Medium I have meat floating after I'm done with the noodles (never had the appetite or courage to try a large bowl) .....who would have thought that one will complain about too much meat..LOL....will try Tien Thanh in the next couple of weeks....

                                                  1. re: aser
                                                    c
                                                    caitlink Aug 8, 2010 06:52 PM

                                                    Finally tried Pho Dau Bo today - ordered the XL pho. Broth was hot and intense. And service was very good as well.

                                                    However, too far a drive for us. Think we will stick to Pho 88 on Warden.

                                                    -----
                                                    Pho 88
                                                    5197 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2N5P7, CA

                                                    1. re: caitlink
                                                      Charles Yu Aug 8, 2010 07:04 PM

                                                      Wow! XL! You must have a HUGE appetite!!

                                                      1. re: Charles Yu
                                                        1sweetpea Aug 9, 2010 05:15 AM

                                                        The large is ample. I'm always meaning to try a medium and order one of the small appetizers, but that broth lures me every time and like a robot, I order a large, in order to have more broth to greedily slurp.

                                          2. re: Charles Yu
                                            Full tummy Aug 10, 2010 06:09 PM

                                            Hubby and I went to Pho Metro and enjoyed it very much. What a pleasure to have a conveniently located, clean place to get pho--nicely decorated, too. (We're east-enders.) Lime, sprouts, and basil accompanied the soup. Service was very friendly and eager to please. The place was hopping on a Tuesday night. Thanks for the recommendation!!

                                            1. re: Full tummy
                                              red dragon Sep 12, 2010 05:12 PM

                                              Went back to Pho Metro again last night; the food was as good as before. We both had the large pho each, and an order of spring rolls. I took a bite of the spring roll and had to do a double take with my taste buds because I got a chunk of shrimp! The spring rolls are tightly compacted (full of meat and shrimp), just the way I make them at home (as well as my mother-in-law).

                                              Broth was hot and flavourful, not at all greasy. Extra condiments were brought without hesitation.. still can't get over how juicy those limes are!

                                              Ben was there again (with I think, his brother?) working as hard as the first time we met him.

                                              What we really like about this place is that it is indeed very clean and modern, and the food is fresh and has quality ingredients. Ben told us they have fresh noodles available as well (ho fahn). We didn't order it, so I'm guessing there might be an additional charge (not sure).

                                              I also like how the service is so friendly and they're willing to accommodate. Not at all the typical abrasive service you get at some other establishments (no offense, but we do tend to get turned off by all that slapping of the chopsticks and cups/saucers on the table) at some other places. You would think we'd be used to that by now?

                                              In any event, this is definitely our "favourite pho/Vietnamese" restaurant. (Sorry fellow chows, but just our opinion only, we are so over Pho Dau Bau on Markham Road and glad we found out about Pho Metro, again just our opinion).

                                              We really need to try some of the other items on the menu (I’m sure they’ll be just as tasty).

                                              I recommend you give this place a try.

                                              1. re: red dragon
                                                Full tummy Oct 7, 2010 11:12 AM

                                                Good to know you enjoy the food there. I am no expert in pho, but I certainly did enjoy it, and I appreciated the atmosphere and service, which are quite a few notches above any other pho restaurant I've been to, so far.

                                            2. re: Charles Yu
                                              red dragon Aug 12, 2010 04:22 PM

                                              Thanks Charles, for the recommendation of Pho Metro!

                                              We're on vacation this week and rather than travel out of town, we decided to have a stay-cation and eat at a new restaurant every day!

                                              The place is very clean (including washrooms, which are part of my req ...LOL) and the decor is modern.

                                              Loved the cold tea (in this hot weather) and the service was friendly. We had the pho, cold vermicelli with pork and spring rolls. The broth was hot and flavourful. The servings were generous and we liked the spring rolls. As Charles mentioned, filling was great and not greasy.

                                              We asked for extra condiments for the pho and it was not forgotten! The limes were also very juicy. Nothing worse than having pho with dried out limes, or lemons in place of limes!!

                                              We normally like eating pho at a Vietnamese owned restaurant and were glad to have tried this place. After extremely disappointing service at our regular “go to” place, we were looking for months for a replacement!

                                              We chatted with Ben (owner's son) who was very friendly, and had some great conversation.

                                              Will definitely return!

                                              1. re: red dragon
                                                Charles Yu Aug 12, 2010 08:19 PM

                                                Glad to hear you had a nice time! When I was there, I actually noticed Ben was browsing ' Chowhound' on his lap top!!

                                        2. a
                                          archive Jul 28, 2010 03:01 PM

                                          Pho Mi Asia (Keele/Wilson) is one of favourites and Pho Dao Bo (Dundas/Dixie)is excellent.

                                          -----
                                          Pho Mi Asia
                                          1008 Wilson Ave, Toronto, ON M3K1G6, CA

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: archive
                                            smudgebee Jul 30, 2010 03:38 PM

                                            Has anyone tried the Pho at Hanoi Three Seasons? I love the Grouper and Lotus Root Salad, etc. so I have never tried the Pho. I am really curious about it, but when I want pho in that area I go to Xe Lua, which I think is pretty darn good.

                                          2. n
                                            neighborguy Aug 2, 2010 03:30 PM

                                            New fave is Hanoi 3 Seasons. Fantastically fragrant broth and good meat. Noodle last time was a bit al dente for my liking but I'll try it again.

                                            Pho Pasteur is my go-to place downtown. For their rich, if salty, broth with decent noodle/beef portion.

                                            Agree that Pho Dau Bo on Finch does a decent bowl. However, I mostly end up at Peach Garden in the same strip mall on Finch west for their bun platters. This regardless of the fact they seem to go thru cooks every other week -- have never had consistency there.

                                            Never 'got' what all the fuss is about with Rui Vang/Golden Turtle on Ossington. Pedestrian bowl.

                                            -----
                                            Hanoi 3 Seasons
                                            588 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M1Y3, CA

                                            Pho Pasteur
                                            525 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T1H4, CA

                                            1. c
                                              cuisine_junkie Aug 3, 2010 12:20 PM

                                              pho saigon at warden and eglinton is the best ive had. and its also very clean

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: cuisine_junkie
                                                w
                                                warlock Aug 3, 2010 01:35 PM

                                                I hope you have tried other places mentioned above....
                                                Pho Saigon is mediocre at best.....service is rushed....its crowded I guess because it does not have much competition nearby....

                                                1. re: warlock
                                                  c
                                                  cuisine_junkie Aug 3, 2010 02:20 PM

                                                  havnt tried too many but ill definitely swing by a few

                                                  1. re: warlock
                                                    Charles Yu Aug 3, 2010 03:46 PM

                                                    Wow! Pho Saigon being recommended?!! Have to agree with warlock, PS is really mediocre!!

                                                    1. re: Charles Yu
                                                      c
                                                      ctl98 Aug 8, 2010 09:14 PM

                                                      I agree. Plus they just raised their prices. I think Krispy roll, down the street, while not great, is better. Still have to find a good one near me.

                                                      1. re: ctl98
                                                        dlw88 Aug 13, 2010 03:36 AM

                                                        Pho MI Saigon is on Cawthra, in a strip mall just north of Dundas on the west side.

                                                        I know it is under new management, but, when I worked in the area a few years back, it easily beat out Pho Dao Bo on Dundas.

                                                        I am no longer in that area, but it's definitely worth a try.

                                                2. w
                                                  William Taft Aug 14, 2010 12:37 PM

                                                  I really don't get the hate for Pho Hung. It may not be the best, but it certainly isn't as bad as some people make it out to be

                                                  Example:

                                                  "To me, Pho Hung is to pho what Spring Rolls is to Thai food."

                                                  Really now.

                                                  It's nothing of the sort. Quit trying too hard.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: William Taft
                                                    eoj Sep 7, 2010 11:56 PM

                                                    I love Pho Hung. I usually go for a bun cha dish over pho, so I can't really rate their broth. But $5 for a delicious dinner is hard to beat. I think people on chowhound do sometimes have a penchant for bashing the popular places. You might have your pet favourite, but lots of us go to Pho Hung for a reason. It's yummy and well-priced.

                                                    -----
                                                    Pho Hung
                                                    350 Spadina, Toronto, ON M5T2G4, CA

                                                    1. re: eoj
                                                      a
                                                      Atahualpa Sep 8, 2010 03:10 PM

                                                      And clean, and bright, and efficient. Pho Hung isn't my favourite (for anything and by far), but it has its merits.

                                                      -----
                                                      Pho Hung
                                                      350 Spadina, Toronto, ON M5T2G4, CA

                                                  2. t
                                                    themorningbenders Aug 14, 2010 01:43 PM

                                                    We search out Pho all over the country when we're on tour, and we've returned to Pho Tien Thanh every time we are in Toronto. It won't disappoint. Better than Golden Turtle.

                                                    1. w
                                                      Wandering Foodie Aug 14, 2010 02:58 PM

                                                      For my tastes, Pho 88 at Alton Towers Circle has consistently good broth and fixins no matter what time of day unlike some restaurants which have a weaker broth during the lunch hours and stronger during dinner. Also this Pho 88 uses the long leaf herb (I don't know the English name) when they can get it rather than thai basil (which I don't remember having in Viet Nam).

                                                      A close second is Pho Viet Nam on Kennedy but I find their broth isn't as consistent. But Pho Viet Nam's other dishes are quite good.

                                                      -----
                                                      Pho 88
                                                      5197 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2N5P7, CA

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Wandering Foodie
                                                        Charles Yu Aug 18, 2010 08:55 PM

                                                        I drove all the way from Richmond Hill to Alton Towers to give Pho 88 a try. The experience was very very mixed!!

                                                        I ordered a Pho with rare beef, well done flank and tendons with a Vietnamese spring roll as appertizer.

                                                        The spring roll was nicely done. The authentic wrapper skin ( not Chinese alternative ) was crisp and almost greaseless. The minced shrimp, pork, mushroom and taro filling was tasty but a bit too coarse for my liking.

                                                        As for the pho. The broth indeed was very aromatic, fairly dense and flavourful. Unfortunately, the rest of the components were TOTAL FLOPS!! I was served a side condiments comprising of a solitary green chili, a small wedge of lime and bean sprouts only. Both sweet basil and the long saw tooth herb were no where to be seen. A first for me! As for the meat. Quantity was generous but my rare beef arrived almost 'FULLY COOKED'!!

                                                        Overall, the meal was OK to satisfy my hungry stomach but to drive all the way from Richmond Hill for that??!!! I should have went to Richlane Mall down the road instead!

                                                        -----
                                                        Pho 88 Restaurant
                                                        888 Dundas E, Mississauga, ON L4Y4G6, CA

                                                      2. w
                                                        warlock Aug 29, 2010 04:52 PM

                                                        Tried Mimi today on Broadview and Gerrard....Ordered the Large Rare Beef and Tripe..It wasnt bad but there was nothing special about it......The broth was lacking the star anise flavour...No saw herb......They served the thick rice noodles.....not soggy,so that was good....Meat was already cooked by the time it was served....very miserly on the meat......I could count like 5 slices.....Service was nice.....
                                                        If this was my first time trying Pho I might have really enjoyed it, but it was average for me.....Dont think I will make another visit......Que Ling is still the best in the area......

                                                        1. Charles Yu Sep 3, 2010 08:07 PM

                                                          Could easily be Toronto's best.....if only??!!!

                                                          Tried out a new pho place called ' Pho Hoang Kim' ( aka Golden way Vietnamese Restaurant ) at Charmers Court off Hwy#7 in Richmond Hill. This place occupied the previous pho place ' Locomotive'.

                                                          Ordered a pho with rare beef, well done brisket and tendons. IMO, the super tender and very flavourful 'melt in the mouth' brisket and tendons must be the BEST 'pho meat' I've tasted anywhere in the GTA!. Be it Pasteur, Metro, Golden Turtle, Da Bao....etc!. The rare beef was tender and still pink on arrival. Though the noodles were also perfectly executed with the correct texture, unfortunately, the broth was a bit unflavoured for my liking ( intensity of star anise lacking in the aroma and flavour ). Sweet basil, lime and chili accompliments were very fresh but the bean sprouts looked a bit past their prime. No 'saw leaf herbs' were given as well. With a great broth from, say, the now defunct Pho66 on St Claire west, this bowl of pho could easily be the best in town!....Sigh!....If only!!

                                                          We also ordered their Vietnamese spring rolls! Now! That is something! The stuffing was soooo good! Authentic Vietnamese wrapper skin was used!

                                                          Lastly, we also had the deep fried soft shell crab with satay sauce. The crab was crispy and light and non-greasy. But THAT SAUCE!! Yeeeuuuuck!!!! Looking like a ' swiss Chalet gravy' This so-called satay sauce was absolutely 'tasteless'!! What a spoiler!

                                                          Back to the pho, all in all, I would say this place has the best pho in Richmond Hill.

                                                          28 Replies
                                                          1. re: Charles Yu
                                                            Charles Yu Sep 5, 2010 07:31 AM

                                                            Just out of curiosity. For the REALLY AUTHENTIC version, that is, similar to the ones Anthony Bourdain had on his trip to Vietnam. What are the correct combinations of herbs and accompliments that should be included with the pho??!! Scallions, flat leaf parsley, cilentro, sweet basil, saw teeth......plus lime and chilis....and more??!
                                                            As a comparison, for the REAL won-ton noodle, yellowing chives and NOT green onions should be used to bring out and enhanced the flavour of the various ingredients.!

                                                            1. re: Charles Yu
                                                              1sweetpea Sep 5, 2010 09:31 AM

                                                              The phos I had all over Vietnam were fairly consistent from bowl to bowl in terms of additional herbs. In all cases there were baskets of sprouts and herbs that were communal and refilled regularly. Sawtooth herb, basil and bean sprouts were pretty much it. The soup itself usually contained either scallions or sliced onions. Citrus consisted of tiny limes that had an orangey perfume but a sour taste. They were lovely, but different from the Persian limes we get here. Most often, chiles were larger than the thai bird chiles that are standard here, and they were thinly sliced, which makes the pho more spicy. You have to really like heat to use them. They're powerful. I disliked the hoisin and sriracha brands used there. Maybe it's simply preference based on habit and exposure. I didn't find pho to be dramatically different from any of the decent bowls I've had here. However, the biggest surprise was the pho ga. We ate at a roadside pho house in central Vietnam that is known for its pho ga. There were chickens running around behind the restaurant. As they kill the chickens and use them immediately, they are comfortable just dropping the raw chicken into the piping hot broth and letting it cook in the bowl, which results in rare-medium rare chicken. We were a bit freaked out, but neither of us got sick and the soup was delicious. The locals that we were with insisted that Vietnamese regularly consume chicken that way and completely waved off our concerns about avian flu or parasites.

                                                              1. re: 1sweetpea
                                                                Charles Yu Sep 5, 2010 07:06 PM

                                                                Thank you for your reply and enlightening information, 1sweetpea!
                                                                After having one of the tastiest bowl of pho in, of all places, Calgary, I was getting use to the liking of having both chopped scallions as well as parsley and cilentro sprinkled over my bowl of meat/pho/broth. However, I noticed the use of cilentro is absent in most pho places here in the GTA! Pity!!

                                                                1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                  1sweetpea Sep 6, 2010 06:30 AM

                                                                  Sorry Charles. I may have left out the mention of cilantro, which was definitely on top of each bowl of pho. No parsley though. I never saw parsley as we know it in Vietnam. I did eat some herbs with other dishes that I've not seen here in Canada. I sampled every one. Some were incredible and some not. I've seen many of them at times in various Southeast Asian shops, but I never buy them because I don't know what they're used for. Certain dishes call for certain herbs. The best way to sample all of them was to order a roll-your-own platter then try each herb separately and in combination with others. Check these out to see the huge variety:

                                                                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/noodlepi...

                                                                  1. re: 1sweetpea
                                                                    Charles Yu Sep 6, 2010 03:00 PM

                                                                    Wow!! Many Thanks!!

                                                                2. re: 1sweetpea
                                                                  w
                                                                  warlock Sep 5, 2010 08:30 PM

                                                                  Thanks sweetpea for the detailed info.....

                                                                  Personally I never use hoisin and sriracha ....I prefer the chilli garlic paste......
                                                                  It makes me squirm in my seat when I see people squirting hoisin and sriracha straight on their broth......

                                                                3. re: Charles Yu
                                                                  w
                                                                  warlock Sep 5, 2010 07:50 PM

                                                                  Charles,Check this blog

                                                                  http://stickyrice.typepad.com/my_webl...

                                                                  This guy blogs mostly about Hanoi street food......while he does not discuss much about condiments ,the pictures are pretty sharp ......

                                                                  1. re: warlock
                                                                    Charles Yu Sep 5, 2010 08:05 PM

                                                                    Thanks warlock!!
                                                                    Yup!! I see them! Tons of chopped scallions, parsley and cilentro!! Thats how they should be!! BTW, looked very similar to the versions served up to me in Calgary! Interesting to find such authenticity in an oil town!!
                                                                    BTW, may be you should forward the afore-mentioned blog to ALL pho places in town!! Ha!

                                                                    1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                      domesticgodess Sep 5, 2010 08:27 PM

                                                                      Been a huge fan of pho mi asia on wilson and golden turtle for a few years now. But recently I couldnt finish a bowl (from pho mi asia) and stuck it in the fridge over nite. The next morning it was congealed and I started to wonder how much fat was really in this soup. Havent been back since.

                                                                      1. re: domesticgodess
                                                                        Charles Yu Sep 5, 2010 10:09 PM

                                                                        Cannot understand the hype behind Golden Turtle?!! Found their broth borderline bland!! Just because Susur Lee frequent it for his after work midnight snack doesn't mean its good!!
                                                                        Interesting observation also is that, Golden turtle when packed is always full of westerners whilst Pho Tien Tanh down the road when packed is full of Asians!!

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Susur
                                                                        601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

                                                                        1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                          w
                                                                          warlock Sep 6, 2010 06:36 AM

                                                                          After hearing so much about Tien Tanh,I decided to visit it on Sunday,since I was in the area....The place was packed at 3:30 and I could not find an empty seat........so I headed to my favourite Pho Pasteur.....
                                                                          As Charles mentioned Tien Tanh it was full of asians...while we can use that as a measuring gauge (e.g Que Ling ,where I have never seen a westerner in all my visits) places like Xue Lua and Pho Hung are always packed with asians too....

                                                                          1. re: warlock
                                                                            aser Sep 6, 2010 11:03 AM

                                                                            xue lua is filled due to its late night hrs, and packed w/ the post-clubbing crowd. Their pho is disgusting, tastes like dish water.

                                                                            pho hung I find to be a big mixture of people there, both asians and westerners.

                                                                            I was at que ling again on the weekend, dependable, no whiteys per usual, haha. They speak Cantonese btw if anybody cares, but they're Vietnamese Chinese. It's like Cheers in there, everybody knows each other, and are all from the neighbourhood.

                                                                            My reason for why the whiteys like Golden Turtle more than Tien Thanh?

                                                                            a) english name vs "hard to pronounce" viet name

                                                                            b) patio for Golden Turtle

                                                                            c) bigger menu at Golden Turtle with veg only options

                                                                            d) tien thanh is good for one thing only, pho.

                                                                            1. re: aser
                                                                              p
                                                                              Pincus Sep 9, 2010 01:05 PM

                                                                              Except they served me a really bad (lukewarm, poorly flavoured) veggie dish along with lukewarm, poorly flavoured service, so I won't be returning to Golden Turtle under my own volition. Better for me to go to Spadina and hit up King Noodle (or wherever) if I want some good no-pho Asian cuisine.

                                                                              1. re: aser
                                                                                Charles Yu Oct 16, 2010 05:19 PM

                                                                                No! No! No! Aser my chowfriend!! You must try Tien Thanh's ' Crispy pig skin wrapped spring rolls'!! ( see photos of my posting further down ). Amazing!! . IMO, a worthier dish to drive all the way from Richmond Hill for, than their pho!!

                                                                                1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                                  aser Oct 17, 2010 08:00 PM

                                                                                  ok, I'll order it next time, tien thanh is a weekly haunt for me.

                                                                                  I've had dau bo at the dundas w location, and while good, I still prefer the clarity of Tien Thanh's broth. Will have to investigate their Finch W location.

                                                                                  In the West North York area, my fav is Pho Con Bo.

                                                                          2. re: domesticgodess
                                                                            1sweetpea Sep 6, 2010 06:23 AM

                                                                            If the broth had become solid, it's likely more a result of a long, slow-simmered broth made with tons of bones, not the fat. Fat would be white blobs that you could skim off the surface with a spoon or spatula. Those bones contain gelatin, which solidifies at refrigerator temps. I'd be impressed to find my pho had become completely solid in the fridge overnight, but I don't think I'll ever be able to try that experiment. I virtually never leave anything in my bowl at the restaurant. I love the broth so much I slurp up every drop, even though most people leave much of theirs behind.

                                                                            1. re: 1sweetpea
                                                                              koknia Sep 7, 2010 07:19 PM

                                                                              Golden Turtle is incredibly lame. No clue why it is so popular. Location maybe?

                                                                              In Vietnam you often get the long version of coriander served on the side.
                                                                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eryngium...

                                                                              I was recently staying with a friend in Danang who has been in Vietnam since the 90s and he can't eat pho any more. He couldn't any vendors who didn't dump a whole bag of MSG into the stock. I suspect the same holds true in Toronto.

                                                                              1. re: koknia
                                                                                a
                                                                                Atahualpa Sep 7, 2010 09:22 PM

                                                                                There are lots of place in T.O. that will give you ngò gai. Sometimes you have to ask for it though. Even Pho Hung has ngò gai and brings it if you order the beef balls.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Pho Hung
                                                                                350 Spadina, Toronto, ON M5T2G4, CA

                                                                                1. re: Atahualpa
                                                                                  aser Sep 7, 2010 10:52 PM

                                                                                  que ling, pho con bo, pho my duyen, tien thanh, pho linh, pho pasteur all serve ngo gai/culantro/sawtooth herb.

                                                                                  1. re: aser
                                                                                    a
                                                                                    Atahualpa Sep 7, 2010 11:23 PM

                                                                                    Indeed!

                                                                                    1. re: Atahualpa
                                                                                      1sweetpea Sep 8, 2010 11:38 AM

                                                                                      Add to that Pho Dau Bo. The herb plate is a bit stingy there (IMO), but there's always a bit of basil and ngo gai, plus lime and sprouts and they'll quickly bring a second plate if you request it. I now routinely ask for more herbs, limes, sprouts or chiles if I wish. My regular place in Windsor knows me well and serves heaping portions of all, so I've gotten a bit spoiled. They know my dining companion and I love the fresh herbs and crunchy sprouts and are generous.

                                                                          3. re: Charles Yu
                                                                            s
                                                                            szw Sep 9, 2010 08:51 PM

                                                                            Where in Calgary do you like Pho? Ex-calgarian here, I miss the great pho we had back in Calgary. There is a large Vietnamese population there and the pho is much better than Toronto's pho.

                                                                            I have not once had a Pho Sate in Toronto like we could get in Calgary! In fact the Pho Sate here is completely different from what I was expecting...this was the first time in my life I'd ever ordered something and refused to eat more after the first bite! (This was at xe lua on my first visit here).

                                                                            1. re: szw
                                                                              Charles Yu Sep 10, 2010 05:57 AM

                                                                              It was inside the plaza in Chinatown across from the government building. Quite awhile back though. Not sure whether it's still there?!

                                                                              1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                                s
                                                                                szw Sep 10, 2010 07:41 AM

                                                                                I haven't been to Calgary in a few years but I'm certain its still there, its been there forever! Its called Pho Hoai, a good place indeed.

                                                                      2. re: Charles Yu
                                                                        Wiley Sep 9, 2010 11:41 AM

                                                                        I just coincidentally had the same things as charles at Pho Hoang Kim but with the onion and pepper sauce on the crab. I think the soft shell crab is my new fave food. The pho, while the tendon was amazing, along with all else, had a few too many noodles per bowl, a small critcism I guess.

                                                                        1. re: Wiley
                                                                          Charles Yu Sep 9, 2010 05:43 PM

                                                                          Yup Willey! They sure loaded up on their noodles!! Glad to see you concur on the tendons!
                                                                          How was your sauce for the crab? May be safest bet would be the curry?!

                                                                          1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                            Wiley Sep 9, 2010 08:36 PM

                                                                            I'm tryin the curry next time.The onion and pepper was sauteed onions and green and red peppers,not really a sauce, with some seasoning and soy sauce added--nice, but something you can do at home.

                                                                            1. re: Wiley
                                                                              d
                                                                              diehardlasallejai Sep 10, 2010 11:57 AM

                                                                              Pho Dau Bo is definitely one of the best in Toronto, and we go to their Markham Road and Lawrence Ave East location a lot nowadays since it is not far from where live at the bottom of Scarborough. We have not yet found a Vietnamese resto that serves (Pho) rice noodles with texture like Japanese Ramen---soft but yet chewy. We tried one of them In Montreal claimed by many Chowhound members to be one of their best, but we also came out disappointed. Surprisingly, we just came back from Cleveland for the Labour Day long weekend, and we have found the best Pho we have ever had in North America thanks to Chowhound members from the US Mid West forum. We tried two that are highly recommended by the forum members there, and we both felt their Pho was just superb. It cost a lot more down there, but it was worth it. I just do not want to believe Toronto, with such a large population of Vietnamese from Vietnam, can lose to a small city like Cleveland, Ohio, for the Pho contest, but looks like it is a fact. I have eaten Pho in Toronto since 1982, as far back as I can remember as a boy, but not even one time I was as impressed as I was having it at #1 Pho and Superior Pho in Cleveland down town on Superior Street.

                                                                              Moderators, please do not delete or move this post just because I mention Cleveland's Pho.

                                                                      3. Charles Yu Sep 12, 2010 06:15 PM

                                                                        Tried Pho88 at the Steeles/Warden location for the first time yesterday evening. The place was packed with lines forming outside the restaurant!!
                                                                        Not bad! Great broth! BUT, was it due to the meat, bones and correct application of spices and herbs or was it due to the excessive use of MSG?

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                          p
                                                                          Pigurd Sep 12, 2010 08:44 PM

                                                                          maybe both MSG and spices... the noodles at pho88 used to be nice and chewy, but the last couple of times it has been overcooked and broth seems more MSGy than i rmb... i notice the msg feeling a bit less with the pho satay for some reason

                                                                          i also tried Pho Hoang Kim recently, the broth feels like it is missing something, eating it doesnt seem like eating a bowl of pho (no fish sauce or spices maybe???) .. .the noodles are nice and chewy, though bigger than i like, but at least they are homemade... the brisket and tendon have an old meat smell, but have nice texture... think i will just make my own pho this weekend, so easy to make a better bowl than most places here in toronto

                                                                          1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                            w
                                                                            warlock Sep 13, 2010 06:03 AM

                                                                            I have found Pho 88 to be overrated.....I know it has its own fan following.....Tried it twice and have been underwhelmed on both occasions......
                                                                            First time I went the broth was lukewarm,noodles were soggy and meat was average and very tight on the condiments.......
                                                                            But then I thought this place is always packed to its gill there must be something I'm missing out on,so i decided to give it a second try a few months later....This time the broth was hot and flavour was decent but noodles were still of the soggy kind,meat was average.....
                                                                            Still dont understand why this place has lineups and I see almost everyone ordering Pho.....
                                                                            I live and work near the area,so it could have been my go to Pho place but unfortunately I still have to go Downtown to get my Pho fix.....

                                                                            1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                              Charles Yu Jul 13, 2013 06:31 PM

                                                                              Pho88 - Avoid! Avoid! Avoid!
                                                                              In the past, Pho88 opposite Bamburgh Circle at Steeles/Warden was regularly mentioned as one of the more acceptable Pho places in the Markham/Scarborough area.
                                                                              Since I was in the vicinity running some errands, I decided to pay it a re-visit. As in the past, the place was packed, servers were grouchy resulting in lousy service.
                                                                              I had a bowl of Pho noodles with rare beef and brisket and an order of Vietnamese Spring Roll.
                                                                              What the hack happened?? That bowl of Pho was simply BAD! BAD! BAD!! My 'rare' beef were all fully cooked when arrived at my table. A huge grey ball of meat all stuck together! I thought the beef are supposed to be individual pink slices, when ordered rare??!!
                                                                              Broth was equally unacceptable! Diluted and bland! I could have done a better job by boiling some Campbell Beef Broth with a couple of Star Anise!!
                                                                              The Spring Roll was fortunately quite delicious. ( may be the owner should change the store name to Spring Roll 88 instead of Pho 88??!! Ha! ).
                                                                              If I had known, I would have gone to Sam Woo for some Cantonese roasted meat and rice instead!!

                                                                            2. v
                                                                              VooX Oct 7, 2010 09:12 AM

                                                                              Thanks for the Pho Metro tip, I'll try it out.

                                                                              I have lengthy reviews elsewhere, here is a summary:
                                                                              Best Pho in Toronto - Pho Tien Thanh
                                                                              The pho curls my toes. Susur is a regular, "The Boss" is his nickname there.

                                                                              Honourable Mentions (in order):
                                                                              Pho Dau Bo - tried the Dundas/Dixie location
                                                                              Pho My Duyen - great decor

                                                                              Regional Favourites (in order):
                                                                              Downtown - Pho Tien Thanh, Pho Pasteur
                                                                              Bloor West - Pho My Duyen
                                                                              Gerrard/Broadview - Pho House (special mention for Pho w/BBQ chicken), Que Ling, Hanoi 3 Seasons
                                                                              Mississauga (also Downsview) - Pho Dau Bo, Pho Mi Asia
                                                                              Scarborough - Pho Vietnam

                                                                              Once good, now mediocre - Pho Hung, Pho 88, Rua Vang (Golden Turtle)

                                                                              What I order:
                                                                              Phõ Tái (Rieng) Vè Dòn = rare beef (on the side), brisket w/fatty tendon
                                                                              Nuóc Béo Hành Tràn (Rieng) = green scallions in fatty broth (on the side)
                                                                              and Ngò Gai (sawtooth herb/culantro) is a must!

                                                                              -----
                                                                              Pho Tien Thanh
                                                                              57 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Y9, CA

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: VooX
                                                                                c
                                                                                Climber9Girl Oct 7, 2010 12:52 PM

                                                                                VooX, I am totally excited that you picked Tien Thanh as the best pho place. I totally agree. I'm Vietnamese and it kills me when people go to the new Pho 88 or Golden Turtle and say it's good. I personally find the broth awful and it's the most inauthentic pho ever, so whitewashed. When did pho ever have brocolli in it?

                                                                                1. re: VooX
                                                                                  Herb Oct 15, 2010 10:17 AM

                                                                                  FWIW Susur also goes to Golden Turtle. He lives a block away. He's also said to get takeout from Pizza Pizza.

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Susur
                                                                                  601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

                                                                                2. Charles Yu Oct 15, 2010 07:06 AM

                                                                                  Continuing my quest to replace and recapture the magic of my favourite, but now defunct, Pho place - Pho 66 on St. Claire West. I finally got around to trying Pho Tien Thanh on Ossington yesterday. The verdict - No big deal! Nothing to shout about, just another pretty decent pho establishment.
                                                                                  I had their Special beef combo. The noodles came out with piping hot broth. Meat was OK with the rare meat still rare. Noodles were not overcooked. Broth was a bit on the light side though. Ample of herbs condiment including the saw tooth herb. However, bean sprouts were passed their prime. Afterwards, I was told apparently one could ask for the more flavourful 'fatty' broth?! So far, Pho Dau Bao on Finch West is still my favourite!
                                                                                  Couple more things I would like to mention. I've tried the broth from Pasteur, 88, Dau Bao, Hung, Xe Lua...etc. However, IMO, the Tien Thanh's version has the 'most MSG'! Why? because I felt so,so thirsty after comsuming the broth! My indicator for excessive MSG usage.
                                                                                  Lastly, the ' Crispy pig's skin wrapped spring roll ' we ordered as appertizers were phenomenal!! Totally awesome and different! Ultra crispy pig skin wrapper, flavourful and delicate filling, this must be the best spring rolls in the GTA I've tasted!!

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Pho Tien Thanh
                                                                                  57 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Y9, CA

                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                                    Charles Yu Oct 15, 2010 06:47 PM

                                                                                    Pictures from Pho Tien Thanh:
                                                                                    - Amazingly yummy and crispy ' pig's skin spring rolls'
                                                                                    - Beef jerky papaya salad
                                                                                    - Generous amount of herb condiments
                                                                                    - The 'Beef combo pho'

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Pho Tien Thanh
                                                                                    57 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Y9, CA

                                                                                     
                                                                                     
                                                                                     
                                                                                     
                                                                                    1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                                      Royaljelly Oct 24, 2010 03:18 PM

                                                                                      My first time to Pho Tien Thanh and those crispy pig's skin rolls were fantastic! Also liked their BBQ chicken vermicelli rice paper roll (the DIY version). Finished it off with one of the best Durian shakes I've had in a long long time... actual chewy chunks of durian inside and not too sweet or stinky, yum!

                                                                                      1. re: Royaljelly
                                                                                        Charles Yu Oct 24, 2010 03:46 PM

                                                                                        Glad you liked those pig skin rolls! Yup! Soooo addictive!
                                                                                        Durian shakes?! Wow! what guts! Didn't realize you have some Malaysian blood in you? Ha!! I'm chicken, usually go for the milder Papaya shake instead!

                                                                                        1. re: Royaljelly
                                                                                          p
                                                                                          Pincus Oct 29, 2010 02:42 PM

                                                                                          I had my first ever Durian shake there, it was an interesting taste odyssey. Not bad until the aftertaste hit. Weird how it could be sweet and then...different immediately afterward. One of these days I will be brave and try a piece of the actual fruit.

                                                                                          1. re: Pincus
                                                                                            Charles Yu Oct 29, 2010 03:40 PM

                                                                                            Good luck!

                                                                                            1. re: Pincus
                                                                                              koknia Oct 29, 2010 07:33 PM

                                                                                              smells like hell tastes like heaven

                                                                                              1. re: koknia
                                                                                                Charles Yu Oct 29, 2010 09:37 PM

                                                                                                Same with 'Stinky Tofu'!!

                                                                                                1. re: koknia
                                                                                                  t
                                                                                                  thefoodpursuit Oct 30, 2010 10:47 AM

                                                                                                  Smells like heaven, tastes like heaven. What can I say? It's a love it or hate it type thing.

                                                                                        2. t
                                                                                          thefoodpursuit Oct 17, 2010 11:49 AM

                                                                                          If I were to choose ONE restaurant for pho and JUST pho in the GTA, it would be Pho Dau Bo.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: thefoodpursuit
                                                                                            Charles Yu Oct 17, 2010 03:02 PM

                                                                                            Agree! The Finch West location?!!

                                                                                            1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                                              t
                                                                                              thefoodpursuit Oct 17, 2010 08:24 PM

                                                                                              Both Finch And Dundas locations (in Mississauga) are good in my books. And actually now that I mention it I would also vote for Pho Mi 99 in Mississauga....I used to go there all the time but now they are miles away from home! My top 2 choices hands down.

                                                                                          2. Wiley Oct 19, 2010 04:05 PM

                                                                                            I don't think Kim Po has gotten much love on this board previously,but maybe they've pulled up their socks, I had a very good bowl of pho today at the Times Square loc. Ordered the house Special, and found the beef, flank, tripe, etc. all through the dish, not just on top leaving only noodles for the last half.Also enjoyed the pot of chopped garlic along with the other usual condiments!

                                                                                            1. r
                                                                                              red_one777 Nov 18, 2010 12:00 AM

                                                                                              I completely agree with those who recommend The Train, located on Spadina, just south of Dundas. Their spring rolls can't be beat, their pho broth is always so flavorful. I'm satisfied every time I go. Everything is reasonably priced, so you get great value. If your looking for a refreshing drink, try the cold milk tea with condensed milk!

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: red_one777
                                                                                                k
                                                                                                k4kashi Dec 2, 2010 05:32 PM

                                                                                                they also have a location in East Chinatown - Gerard and Broadview. I go there after church with my parents every time I'm back home visiting. Delicious Pho - lots of meat and brisket (depending on what you order).

                                                                                              2. jennjen18 Nov 18, 2010 04:41 PM

                                                                                                There's a new Pho Mi 99 at Brittania and Mavis in Mississauga that I quite enjoy .. mmm.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: jennjen18
                                                                                                  v
                                                                                                  VooX Nov 29, 2010 10:12 PM

                                                                                                  Although I find Pho Mi 99 and Pho Hung in Mississauga to have very bland broths, they are both very clean restaurants. 99 seems to be very popular among local non-Asians.

                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                  Pho Hung
                                                                                                  350 Spadina, Toronto, ON M5T2G4, CA

                                                                                                2. v
                                                                                                  VooX Nov 29, 2010 10:07 PM

                                                                                                  Charles, I'm disappointed to hear that Pho Tien Thanh didn't deliver. I've even had only-average bowls there. Overall the consistency is very good and broth excellent, and I accept the occasional dud. It's one reason I won't write a review typically without at least a couple of visits.

                                                                                                  I did visit Pho Metro today. One of the proprietors started chatting with me when he saw my order. Unfortunately, no Ngo Gai (culantro) as only a single request per month occurs, finacially it doesn't make sense.

                                                                                                  His chef did indeed come from Rua Vang. The broth was light and fragrant, similar to Pho House on Gerrard. After I commented about it, the proprietor said they went with the light broth to attract the local population of Chinese and Filipinos. He admits to using a small ampunt of MSG, but contends every Pho needs at least a bit.

                                                                                                  The Cha Gio was nice and meaty with chunks of pork and shrimp.

                                                                                                  A good bowl, way better than the mediocre Pho at Warden/Eglinton. Pho Vietnam on Kennedy is very strong competition. While they have Ngo Gai they don't have any Vè Dòn, a big letdown for me.

                                                                                                  Pho Tien Thanh is still my favorite followed by Pho Dau Bo (Dundas & Finch; not out of town locations) and Pho My Dyuyen on Bloor W.

                                                                                                  Pho House on Gerrard is my favourite light, fragrant style pho, and Pho Metro has potential in this style.

                                                                                                  1. m
                                                                                                    mayaishi Dec 2, 2010 07:26 PM

                                                                                                    Anyone tried Pho Orchid, 124 Chestnut St.? I saw a lineup at lunch today. Poked my head in and it smelled good (Vietnamese basil and good soup stock). Lineup was too long so I'll have to try it out another day.Large pho 8.25/ med. 7.25.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: mayaishi
                                                                                                      t
                                                                                                      taste1 Jan 15, 2011 09:50 PM

                                                                                                      I heard it isn't very good and it is way overpriced, however the decor is nice and I was tempted to try it out. Instead, try Kim Asia Cuisine (6 St. Andrews off of Spadina behind Pho Hung). The soup is awesome, the noodles are tasty and they give you a good portion of meat. I've tried Pho Pasteur, Xue La (Train), Pho 88, Kim Bo (Dund & Bath), Asian Bowl (Yonge), and many more, but this is still the best place. The vermicelli is great too!

                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                      Pho Hung
                                                                                                      350 Spadina, Toronto, ON M5T2G4, CA

                                                                                                      St. Andrews Fish and Chips
                                                                                                      1589 Ellesmere Rd, Toronto, ON M1P2Y3, CA

                                                                                                      Pho Pasteur
                                                                                                      525 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T1H4, CA

                                                                                                      Kim Asia Cuisine
                                                                                                      6 Saint Andrew St, Toronto, ON M5T1K6, CA

                                                                                                      Kim Bo Restaurant
                                                                                                      358 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M5T2S6, CA

                                                                                                      Pho 88
                                                                                                      5197 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2N5P7, CA

                                                                                                    2. e
                                                                                                      ENvision Dec 3, 2010 06:46 PM

                                                                                                      You should check out Pho Linh (1156 College Street near Dufferin)!

                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                      Pho Linh Restaurant
                                                                                                      1156 College St, Toronto, ON M6H1B6, CA

                                                                                                      1. hal2010 Jan 15, 2011 08:36 PM

                                                                                                        I tried Pho Tien Thanh today. Best pho I've had yet in Toronto.
                                                                                                        I also ordered a Vietnamese coffee and was disappointed that it was served already stirred without the filter on top!! I love to sip a bit of the coffee straight then mix it.

                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                        Pho Tien Thanh
                                                                                                        57 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Y9, CA

                                                                                                        1. jennjen18 Mar 13, 2011 09:11 PM

                                                                                                          Just wanted to direct your attention to Anh Dao (http://www.torontolife.com/daily/dail...) in Chinatown.

                                                                                                          Was in there with Roommate and read the above review (thanks sifu renka!) and wanted to try it. The experience starts by walking in .. a waft of wonderful homeyness greets you! We both agreed that it smelled wonderful, and when the hot, steamy bowls of noodle came... it was even more delightful. I actually was adventurous and ordered the bun bo hue (never in my lifetime ordered it) and Roommate got the first pho on the menu (I think it was the house pho.. ). Not artificial, and all goodness. From the herbs to the noodles to the meat, it was fantastic. Herbs were extra fresh -- just picking them off the stem was tantalizing.. The noodles (mine) were bouncy al dente! Just thinking about them makes me pretend to chew them. :P Meat was of superb quality, no stringy/chewiness/fattiness here.

                                                                                                          Oh - the pho/soup noodles all come in one size, which isnt typical of a Vietnamese pho place. It's totally enough for a meal.

                                                                                                          We also notice that lots of people do the DIY rice paper meals.. it comes with a lot of food.

                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                          Anh Dao Restaurant
                                                                                                          383 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2G6, CA

                                                                                                          1. g
                                                                                                            greenduck Mar 18, 2011 08:36 PM

                                                                                                            I got take out from Wonderpho (Don Mills & York Mills) the other day and it was pretty good. I had the pho with rare beef and tenderloin - fragrant broth, nice amount of noodles and meat. The take out also came with separately packaged bean sprouts, holy basil, wedge of lime, hoisin and sriracha.

                                                                                                            This was my first time trying it and I'll be back again. Good option for this part of town.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: greenduck
                                                                                                              hal2010 Mar 18, 2011 09:59 PM

                                                                                                              Rare beef and tenderloin or tendon? Tendon is the usual ingredient for Pho. Looks like yellowish translucent tubes, kind of chewey. I'm interested because I drive that way quite often and like a good Pho.

                                                                                                              1. re: hal2010
                                                                                                                cdnexpat Aug 15, 2011 12:47 PM

                                                                                                                Last time I tried (shortly after it opened), the pho was pretty awful -- lukewarm and one-dimensional. Their menu states tendon, not tenderloin.

                                                                                                            2. t
                                                                                                              Tony8952 Mar 22, 2011 10:56 AM

                                                                                                              My experiences have been consistently good at the Pho Dau Bo at 1525 Bristol Rd West (at Creditview near Streetsville Village in Mississauga). Delicious, generous and well-priced Pho (soup, noodles, rare beef, well-done beef, beef balls, tripe), Bun Bo Hue (spicy soup noodles), My Tho seafood & pork, vermicelli with grilled shrimp & meats, fresh spring rolls, etc. Their Pad Thai was also a pleasant surprise. Other Pho restaurants seem bland in comparison. The outlet owner brought over one of the best chefs in the Pho Dau Bo chain, apparently.

                                                                                                              Before the Bristol Rd restaurant opened, my previous favourite was the Pho Dau Bo at Dundas and Dixie in Mississauga. I’ve also been to the Pho Dau Bo (Finch), Pho Tien Thanh (Ossington), Pho Rua Vang Golden Turtle (Ossington), Pho Mi Cho 66 (St Clair West), Pho Phuong (Dundas West), etc. Give the comments here, I’d like to try Pho Metro, Pho Hoang Kim, Pho Linh (College), and Hanoi 3 Seasons in future. The owner of one of the Golden Turtle restaurants (who is a relative of the owner of the main Ossington restaurant) told me that the people behind the Pho Dau Bo and some other Pho restaurants used to work at Golden Turtle.

                                                                                                              The best pho I’ve had was at Phnom Penh Restaurant (Cambodian restaurant in Vancouver city's chinatown). But I’ve only been once, as I usually eat Japanese and seafood while in Vancouver.

                                                                                                              More yummy than any Vietnamese Pho is "Odeon Beef Noodles" (see link), available in Singapore. The beef noodles comes either with soup or dry with gravy. Whoever is able to bring the *authentic product* to Canada based on the original recipe will probably eat into the Pho market.

                                                                                                              http://tinyurl.com/4zq8tg7

                                                                                                              http://tinyurl.com/4ee9l2c

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: Tony8952
                                                                                                                j
                                                                                                                Jay98 May 28, 2011 09:13 AM

                                                                                                                Has anyone been to Back Yen at 738 gerrard east. for Pho?. We would like to give it a try, but could use a little feedback from those who have tried it.

                                                                                                              2. d
                                                                                                                DVT78 May 5, 2011 09:40 PM

                                                                                                                I have tried quite a few Vietnamese restaurants around Toronto and I'm half Vietnamese and I would say that the two best Pho places would be Pho Dau Bo on Finch Ave West and Pho Tien Thanh, my relatives who grew up in Vietnam and go back to visit at least once every two years always argue over which place serves a better bowl of Pho.

                                                                                                                A good bowl of Pho should be judged on the meat served, whether the noodles are cooked properly (not undercooked or overcooked) and obviously the quality of the broth and the accompanying herb plate.

                                                                                                                I read a few posts and just because a place is busy doesn't mean, that the food is good. Case in point, Vietnam Noodle Star at Finch and Midland is an embarassment but the lineups are out the door and Pho Xua Le at Dundas and Spadina serves a terrible bowl of Pho, and the meat is very suspect a lot of the times but it's quite busy because of the drunken clubbers late at night and it's in the heart of Chinatown.

                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                Pho Tien Thanh
                                                                                                                57 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Y9, CA

                                                                                                                1. l
                                                                                                                  lestigres Jun 16, 2011 06:04 PM

                                                                                                                  My vote is for Pho Tien Thanh. I was introduced to it by my brother, who was introduced to it himself by a Vietnamese friend, so I trust that it is rather authentic. Even if it's not the pho is great regardless. The broth is always flavourful, and the meat is nice and rare. I've tried Golden Turtle and a couple of places on Spadina, but it's not as good.

                                                                                                                  However, I will make an honorable mention for Sprout at Yonge and St. Clair, which I used to frequent when I went to high school not too far away from there. If you work/live in that area, it's a pretty decent weekday lunch place. The only thing is that it is only open during the working week, ie on weekdays from mid-morning until 5 or 6.

                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                  Pho Tien Thanh
                                                                                                                  57 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Y9, CA

                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: lestigres
                                                                                                                    c
                                                                                                                    ChowTO Jul 6, 2011 10:27 AM

                                                                                                                    Pho Pasteur has my vote,the beef Pho is extra special...i pass by many Pho restaurants on my way from High Park,always end up at Pho Pasteur...one day i'm going to marry the waitress with the incredible smile!...

                                                                                                                    1. re: ChowTO
                                                                                                                      w
                                                                                                                      warlock Jul 7, 2011 06:52 AM

                                                                                                                      I whole heartedly agree.....I go to other pho places,hoping they might become my go to place ....... .but in the end I always end up at pho Pasteur

                                                                                                                      1. re: warlock
                                                                                                                        T Long Jul 7, 2011 08:44 AM

                                                                                                                        Pho Pasteur is my go to place downtown, uptown it's Star King Viet in Markham. Different for sure, but I find both satisfy....

                                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                                        Pho Pasteur
                                                                                                                        525 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T1H4, CA

                                                                                                                        Star King
                                                                                                                        7050 Warden Ave., Markham, ON L3R 5Y3, CA

                                                                                                                  2. Charles Yu Jul 6, 2011 03:27 PM

                                                                                                                    Have to add my latest find- 'VIP Vietnamese Restaurant' in First Markham Place to this list. Broth is even more dense and flavourful than those highly touted ones down town!

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                                                                      w
                                                                                                                      warlock Jul 7, 2011 07:00 AM

                                                                                                                      Been there about 4-5 times.....

                                                                                                                      My views

                                                                                                                      Broth is not weak but no significant flavours either

                                                                                                                      Noodles are always al Dente....Love that part....

                                                                                                                      Meat....I always order rare but is cooked by the team it gets to the table....great quality meat though....

                                                                                                                      Mind it, havent been there in over a year now....

                                                                                                                      As Charles says, if you live up North and the trek Downtown or westend is too much,this is a decent place ....and besides the pho,the other items listed on the menu are pretty good too.....

                                                                                                                      Rating 7.5/10

                                                                                                                    2. l
                                                                                                                      LTL Sep 8, 2011 01:32 PM

                                                                                                                      Anyone know what happened to Kim Asia Cuisine? I passed by a few weeks ago and it is now a Korean restaurant. Kim's was my favourite place to get pho downtown.

                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                      Kim Asia Cuisine
                                                                                                                      6 Saint Andrew St, Toronto, ON M5T1K6, CA

                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: LTL
                                                                                                                        m
                                                                                                                        MargieEv Apr 16, 2012 01:36 PM

                                                                                                                        I have to go over to Bill's Lobster on Thursday and want to have some pho while in the area. I loved Hanoi 3 Seasons but since it was ?sold/new cooks the pho really deteriorated, IMO. See Kim's recommended. and also Quin ?. Still? Who else in that block has great pho at the moment?

                                                                                                                        Thanks

                                                                                                                        1. re: MargieEv
                                                                                                                          s
                                                                                                                          szw Apr 16, 2012 02:48 PM

                                                                                                                          In that chinatown, on the OPPOSITE side of Kim's/hanoi there is a really dingy looking restaurant that looks like it was converted from a broken down house. I don't know the name. I haven't had pho there, but the Bun Bo Hue is very good! They ask me if you want it spicy or not. I eat a lot of spice and always ask for spicy, and this one is actually very spicy compared to most places, so be careful!

                                                                                                                          Not sure about pho in that area, i find most kind of bleh including the old hanoi 3 seasons. Tien Thanh on ossington still #1 for me.

                                                                                                                          1. re: szw
                                                                                                                            w
                                                                                                                            warlock Apr 16, 2012 04:45 PM

                                                                                                                            szw,I think the dingy place you are referring to is Que Ling.....That place is always packed with locals which is always a good sign...The Pho there is definitely one of the better ones....though I havent been there in over a year,so not sure if quality has remained the same

                                                                                                                            1. re: warlock
                                                                                                                              aser Apr 17, 2012 11:40 PM

                                                                                                                              The pho there is a bit greasy, very homestyle. I still like it a lot though, but yes their bun bo hue and banh cuon are stronger.

                                                                                                                              they close at 7pm so beware.

                                                                                                                      2. f
                                                                                                                        foodie2074 May 2, 2013 07:13 PM

                                                                                                                        Pho Orchid and Pho Pasteur are my go to places.Try Bo Luc Lac its a beef disg so amazing!!Also try Bo Xao Rau Cai!!!

                                                                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: foodie2074
                                                                                                                          d
                                                                                                                          disgusti May 2, 2013 09:56 PM

                                                                                                                          i went to pho pasteur not too long ago when i got off a long train ride too late to hit xe lua, and i was pretty bummed out. really bland bowl, really weak garnishes and even less attentive service than xe lua (insane). tien thanh or whatever, red sign, is probably my favourite bowl but xe lua has the edge on being open later, pho pasteur has only the 24 hour thing going for it

                                                                                                                          1. re: disgusti
                                                                                                                            w
                                                                                                                            warlock May 3, 2013 10:17 AM

                                                                                                                            I'm still a huge fan of Pho Pasteur....never got a bad bowl of pho there and never stingy with the garnishes ,they seem to be the only place that still serves the saw herb....

                                                                                                                            Though I always go in the afternoon ...though that should not affect the flavour of the broth ...no matter what time you go....and service has never been an issue....

                                                                                                                            1. re: warlock
                                                                                                                              1sweetpea May 3, 2013 10:20 AM

                                                                                                                              Tien Thanh and Pho Dau Bo definitely serve sawtooth herb. They are my two favourites.

                                                                                                                              1. re: 1sweetpea
                                                                                                                                j
                                                                                                                                juno May 3, 2013 12:28 PM

                                                                                                                                Unlike the obsessive Charles Yu, who will travel anywhere in town for a good pho (I swear, the man clearly NEVER eats at home), I'm reluctant to drive more than 20 minutes for a bowl of the stuff. And lately I've been satisfying my pho hunger at Pho Hoa Binh, on Wilson Ave. just east of Keele St. It's almost across the street from the always-busy Pho Mi Asia, another pretty good pho joint. But more to the point, it's just 11 minutes (I timed it) from my lodgings, making it my go-to spot these days in uptown Toronto. Whether it's the best, I knoweth not, but it's good enough for me. Less frenetic than the popular, boisterous Pho Mi Asia, more conducive to quiet reflection on the properties of a decent pho. Solid spring rolls to start (not greasy), then on to a fragrant, flavourful broth with tasty noodles and better-than-average rare beef. You may have to insist they cough up more garnishes - sawtooth and cilantro were MIA at first when I went - but after I jumped up and down, and pouted a little, they've come through with the extras every time since without my asking. The boss always seems to be on hand, making sure everybody's happy. Most accommodating. TV always on in the corner. Easy parking. Downtown, unlike others on this thread, I've never had much luck with Pho Pasteur.

                                                                                                                                1. re: juno
                                                                                                                                  Charles Yu May 3, 2013 02:27 PM

                                                                                                                                  Hello Juno!! Long time no chat!!

                                                                                                                                  Noticed you did not join our Giant Lobster Chowmeet?!

                                                                                                                                  ref:eating out! In fact, you are wrong, my friend!! Had a bowl of noodle at home for lunch and tonight, I'm pan frying some wild ocean Perch for dinner!! Only eat out when its worth eating out!!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: juno
                                                                                                                                    aser May 3, 2013 03:06 PM

                                                                                                                                    try pho con bo next time, it's in your hood. Much better than mi asia, although I've not been to hoa binh.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: aser
                                                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                                                      juno May 4, 2013 07:08 AM

                                                                                                                                      Pho Con Bo? Noted. Thanks for the suggestion. Being a pho whore, I'm easily led astray from my current favourites. If it is indeed much better than Pho Mi Asia, it will be very good indeed. I'll get to it next time I have a hankering for pho. Also in the neighbourhood is, I've noticed, another pho joint, called Pho Hung Long, on Wilson just west of Keele St. (not to be confused with Pho Hung downtown). My (pho) cup runneth over.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: juno
                                                                                                                                        Notorious P.I.G. May 4, 2013 11:37 AM

                                                                                                                                        +1 for pho con bo.

                                                                                                                                        My regular spot is Pho Com Vietnam. Good value, and nice people. They use more cloves in the broth there which is a nice change from the other spots in the area.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: juno
                                                                                                                                          s
                                                                                                                                          smfan May 4, 2013 02:06 PM

                                                                                                                                          I find Pho Con Bo use more MSG but they give you lots of meat. My new favourite is Pho Bo To on Lawrence W and Black Creek. Their broth has more flavour than Pho Mi Asia but I don't get thirsty. Costs a little more though.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: juno
                                                                                                                                        v
                                                                                                                                        Vinnie Vidimangi May 4, 2013 10:36 AM

                                                                                                                                        Juno, What is to stock made of and how about MSG?

                                                                                                                                        Should I stick to chicken soup?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                                                                                                                                          j
                                                                                                                                          juno May 4, 2013 02:34 PM

                                                                                                                                          It's always a pleasure to be of service, if possible, to this board's favourite crank.

                                                                                                                                          The broth I had was, I'm confident, beef-based. As are most of the pho on the menu, I suspect. But I note that there are several chicken pho on offer as well, which are surely made with chicken-based broth. And though there's no vegetarian pho on the menu, the owner assured me he would put one together if asked. About MSG, I don't know. MSG doesn't affect me at all. Though a couple of friends, who tipped me off to Hoa Binh in the first place - and who are mildly MSG-sensitive - said they noticed no ill effects. My guess would be Hoa Binh uses a little MSG. Don't they all?

                                                                                                                              2. kwass May 2, 2013 07:34 PM

                                                                                                                                Is there any place that makes pho without MSG? I ask because i know that MSG is pretty standard in pho.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: kwass
                                                                                                                                  mnajji May 3, 2013 02:54 PM

                                                                                                                                  C'est une bonne question.

                                                                                                                                2. v
                                                                                                                                  VooX May 5, 2013 06:39 PM

                                                                                                                                  Hi everyone, glad to see this discussion alive and well.

                                                                                                                                  Regarding MSG, I have an MSG allergy and am very sensitive to it. I can eat only a small amount of MSG before I break out in hives. All pho broth contains MSG, but how much depends on where you go (see below for why). The places I'll list not only make great soup but don't cause my MSG allergy to be an issue.

                                                                                                                                  Downtown: Pho Tien Thanh (Queen/Ossington) is still the best soup in the GTA, IMHO. On Bloor, Pho My Duyen near Landsdowne is the best.

                                                                                                                                  East of DVP: Near Riverdale Pho House (Gerrard/Broadview) is amazing and Pho Metro (Lawrence/Warden) is the best of Scarborough, the latter I learned of thanks to a good recommendation here.

                                                                                                                                  North of 401 and also Mississauga: Pho Dau Bo (a bit more MSG but usually a very good bowl) and Pho Mi Asia (like Pho Dau Bo but not as consistent)

                                                                                                                                  Enjoy your bowls.

                                                                                                                                  Why is there MSG in pho broth?
                                                                                                                                  MSG is a glutamate replacement. Glutamate gives the umame flavour which blesses all great soups. Naturally glutamate is found in bones, which is why all great soups use lots of beef and chicken bones to make the stock. Most pho places only use beef bones, the really good ones use both and you can tell by looking at the fat droplets.

                                                                                                                                  Large fat droplets in the pho broth are from beef bones, smaller fat droplets are from chicken bones.

                                                                                                                                  Even soups brimming with bones in the stock need a touch of MSG to top up their umame. Soups lacking bones in the stock need a lot more MSG to get the same umame impact.

                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: VooX
                                                                                                                                    kwass May 5, 2013 06:52 PM

                                                                                                                                    Thank you so much for the info. I tend to stay away from pho because of the MSG, so it's nice I know that there are some places around that use it sparingly :)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: VooX
                                                                                                                                      Notorious P.I.G. May 8, 2013 01:31 PM

                                                                                                                                      Just a quick note, Pho My Duyen is now called Pho Jade Vietnamese Restaurant which is like Lai Wah Heen changing their name to "Chicken Balls."

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                                                                                                                                        aser May 8, 2013 08:56 PM

                                                                                                                                        I haven't been since the name change, but ownership did change a year previous to this. I assume they just finally got around to changing the name?

                                                                                                                                        The one time I went under the new ownership, it was a downgrade. Doubt I"ll be back again.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: aser
                                                                                                                                          Notorious P.I.G. May 8, 2013 09:22 PM

                                                                                                                                          Yeah since the ownership change, no more little fried onions in the broth.

                                                                                                                                          Wack.

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