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Pho and banh mi in Little Saigon

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danielle7171 Jun 7, 2010 11:42 AM

I need recommendations on great Pho and Banh mi in Little Saigon OC...or send me link to a previous thread. Any price range is fine and we would like to go somewhere that's not a complete hole in the wall. Actually, the nicer the better.

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  1. n
    ns1 RE: danielle7171 Jun 7, 2010 12:31 PM

    Nice = not great

    little saigon fact of life

    ESPECIALLY wrt pho and banh mi

    1. christoofat RE: danielle7171 Jun 7, 2010 01:59 PM

      For pho, try these two:
      Quan Hy, 9727 Bolsa Ave., Westminster 714-775-7179
      or
      Vy Da , 9950 Bolsa Ave, #A & B, Westminster 714-531-2905

      For bahn mi, I like the Che Cali place at the corner of Brookhurst & Talbert,
      18122 Brookhurst. Fountain Valley. Not in Little Saigon, but is cleaner & the crowds are mostly non existant, & the sandwiches hit the spot.

      -----
      Quan Hy Restaurant
      9727 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683

      Vy Da Restaurant
      9950 Bolsa Ave Ste B, Westminster, CA 92683

      1 Reply
      1. re: christoofat
        b
        bsquared2 RE: christoofat Jun 7, 2010 10:02 PM

        Quan Hy doesn't serve Pho. If you want Pho, you can go to their sister restaurant Quan Hop on Brookhurst and McFadden. Quan Hy specializes in Central Vietnam-style food. A place to get Bun Bo Hue. If you want something like Bun Cha Ha Noi or Pho, Quan Hop is your place. Both places are nice inside and show that you don't have to be a hole in the wall to have good VN food. In fact, in Vietnam, people want a little more ambiance these days and you are seeing fancier places that serve spring rolls, banh mi, com tam, caphe sua da etc. A little more expensive, but sometimes it is nice to get a little air conditioning on a hot Saigon afternoon. Quan Hop has very good Pho. Pho Thanh Lich is also good.

        Banh Mi Che Cali is fine, but I think Ba Le on Bolsa is a better choice. They make their own charcuterie there. That makes a big difference. Of course they have only one (very rickety) table outside so I often eat in the car. That place in Tustin is pretty good. I was skeptical, but I had a really good sardine banh mi there. I can go there and to Kean Coffee or Cream Pan. That is my idea of a party.

        -----
        Kean Coffee
        2043 Westcliff Dr Ste 100, Newport Beach, CA 92660

        Pho Thanh Lich
        14500 Brookhurst St, Westminster, CA 92683

        Cream Pan
        602 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92780

        Quan Hop Restaurant
        15640 Brookhurst St, Westminster, CA 92683

        Ha Noi
        9028 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683

        Quan Hy Restaurant
        9727 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683

      2. Das Ubergeek RE: danielle7171 Jun 7, 2010 07:28 PM

        Well, there isn't much price range difference.

        If you need a brightly-lit, English-friendly banh mi shop and are willing to pay nearly twice as much for the sandwiches (seriously, they're like $4-$4.50), don't go to Little Saigon but Tustin, where you'll find Zon Baguettes just west of the 5 freeway on Newport Blvd.

        As far as pho, I honestly cannot think of an upscale pho shop in Little Saigon. There's no impetus to create one. The few that are slightly above the normal price range ($4.50-$5.50 for a standard bowl of pho) are, as ns1 said, not very good. You can get pho, for example, at Pho Nam Dinh just outside of Little Saigon, but it isn't very good and it's $7. You can get pho at Brodard Chateau, which is about as upscale as it gets, and it's $8, plus $1 if you want the rare steak to be served on the side (which you do, so you can keep it rare by plunging it à la minute into the hot broth), but Brodard Chateau is not a place anyone goes for pho; you go there for their rolls (nem nuong cuon) and for fish dishes (com ca) and shaken beef with rice (com bo luc lac).

        That said, here are some pho recommendations, and they're varied by time of day because some places have better morning pho (when the broth is young) and some have better evening pho (when the broth has been concentrating and "marrying" all day.

        For morning pho, go to Pho 86 on Brookhurst and Hazard. For evening pho, go to Pho Thanh Lich on the same corner, or Pho 79 catercorner.

        Quan Vy Da and Quan Hy are not pho shops, do not specialise in pho, and I don't know if the former even serves pho. (A "quan" is a Vietnamese inn, a place that serves family-style dinners.)

        -----
        Pho Thanh Lich
        14500 Brookhurst St, Westminster, CA 92683

        Quan Hy Restaurant
        9727 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683

        Zon Baguettes
        14081 Newport Ave, Tustin, CA

        Pho Nam Dinh Restaurant
        13032 Harbor Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92843

        Pho 86 Restaurant
        14576 Brookhurst St, Westminster, CA 92683

        Brodard Chateau
        9100 Trask Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92844

        Vy Da Restaurant
        9950 Bolsa Ave Ste B, Westminster, CA 92683

        7 Replies
        1. re: Das Ubergeek
          janetms383 RE: Das Ubergeek Jun 8, 2010 08:21 AM

          Das, will you define / explain the "morning pho" "evening pho"? Thanks, I appreciate it.

          1. re: janetms383
            Das Ubergeek RE: janetms383 Jun 8, 2010 11:27 AM

            Sure. In the morning, when the broth hasn't been cooking as long, the pho tends to be a little lighter in flavour. It's "thinner", it's lighter in colour and the notes of the broth are a little bit more harmonious.

            In the evening, the broth has been sitting and percolating all day. The flavours have concentrated a little bit, the spices are a little more evident and it has a little more depth and silkiness to it.

            Both are beautiful things, and not every place has the difference (because they may start pho broth at different times of day in order to have a consistent product). Pho 86 is really the place I discovered this, because they open very early in the morning and the morning-time pho is very different to that of 6 p.m.

            -----
            Pho 86 Restaurant
            10528 McFadden Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92843

            1. re: Das Ubergeek
              janetms383 RE: Das Ubergeek Jun 8, 2010 01:56 PM

              ahhh thank you! The Banh Mi Che Cali in Fountain Valley has Pho and when I asked the girl at the counter what morning pho was, she said, chicken, you eat chicken..... so I thought you ate different pho depending on the time of day LOL @ myself.

          2. re: Das Ubergeek
            kingkong5 RE: Das Ubergeek Jun 8, 2010 02:12 PM

            Fantastic suggestions Ubergeek. I also agree that upscale and Pho do not go well together in Little Saigon. Having said that, Brodard Chateau should really fit the bill for the OP, especially if nicer is better in terms of atmosphere and ambience. You'll pay a little bit extra, but it's nice, cozy and clean inside. It won't be the best pho in Little Saigon, but it should be edible, and the OP can round out the meal with the other dishes.

            If searching for good quality pho, then Pho Thanh Lich, 86 and 79 are great.

            For banh mi, it's rarely a sit-down place (unless you count Lee's sandwiches as "sit-down"), so banh mi che cali and cho cu are worthy choices, and I also like Tan Hoang Huong because you can get your sandwich with the fried eggs added.

            -----
            Pho Thanh Lich
            14500 Brookhurst St, Westminster, CA 92683

            Tan Hoang Huong
            3132 E Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92869

            Brodard Chateau
            9100 Trask Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92844

            1. re: kingkong5
              n
              ns1 RE: kingkong5 Jun 8, 2010 05:43 PM

              <3 THH, heavily underrated in the OC sandwich arena (aka better than Lee's in every way imaginable)

              1. re: kingkong5
                b
                bsquared2 RE: kingkong5 Jun 8, 2010 08:22 PM

                "Should be edible"? Jeez, what's the point of eating something that just qualifies as edible?

                Quan Hop is a nice place inside and I they have my favorite Pho in Little Saigon. I refuse to eat crummy Pho. I don't think I've ever seen anybody eating Pho at Brodard. Go there, but get the spring rolls. Bun Thit Nuong is pretty good there.

                -----
                Brodard Restaurant
                9892 Westminster Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92844

                Quan Hop Restaurant
                15640 Brookhurst St, Westminster, CA 92683

                1. re: bsquared2
                  kingkong5 RE: bsquared2 Jun 9, 2010 11:01 AM

                  Well, yeah, since the request from the OP had an emphasis on atmosphere and not hole-in-the wall decor, a recommendation for the OP would have to have a disclaimer that "while the decor here is great, the food will not rock your socks but it will be edible" LOL.

                  I agree their bun thit nuong is pretty good, and they arrange it very well too. It's visually appealing, I think as an attempt to justify the slightly higher prices.

            2. t
              TNT Adventures RE: danielle7171 Jun 7, 2010 09:55 PM

              Agree with Das Ubergeek on not going to Vy Da or Quan Hy for Pho. They specialize in central Vietnamese food. Great places if you are looking for Hue (central Vietnamese) food though.

              If you are looking for restaurant that serves Pho with nice decor and ambiance, I would say Quan Hop. I believe they are the same owners of Quan Hy. The address is 15640 Brookhurst St Westminster, CA 92683. They serve filet mignon Pho as well as a few other places in Little Saigon area.

              Banh Mi are best at the quick take out/bakery places. Banh Mi Che Cali is good and cheap. Cho Cu is good. Top Baguette is another one that I like for the lemongrass beef.

              -----
              Quan Hop Restaurant
              15640 Brookhurst St, Westminster, CA 92683

              Quan Hy Restaurant
              9727 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683

              Vy Da Restaurant
              9950 Bolsa Ave Ste B, Westminster, CA 92683

              1. Professor Salt RE: danielle7171 Jun 7, 2010 11:21 PM

                I'll add another vote for Quan Hop for pho in a nicer setting. It was probably the first, non hole in the wall Little Saigon pho shop where the kids driving M3's would take their dates for a nice, but cheap, date. They still have to make payments on that Beemer after all.

                More recently, there's a new, gussied-up kid on the block. Thang Long, or more precisely, two restaurants by that name in the same strip mall, separated by a few storefronts. One is Pho Thang Long, the other is Thang Long Restaurant, which confusingly both serve pho and the menus differ only slightly. If the inside of the restaurant is orange, you're sitting in the pho restaurant. Green, and you're in the not pho restaurant. Both make a "clean" pho broth - just beefy enough with a glistening hint of fat and only the slightest hint of spices. The white girl in my life gets the pho tai - noodles with thinly sliced raw beef tenderloin, which cooks in the heat of the soup. Myself - I like a more robust pho in an old man pho joint, but you know, sometimes, I like to take my own girl on a nice, but cheap, date too.

                -----
                Quan Hop Restaurant
                15640 Brookhurst St, Westminster, CA 92683

                Pho Thang Long Restaurant
                9550 Bolsa Ave Ste 115, Westminster, CA 92683

                Thang Long Restaurant
                9550 Bolsa Ave Ste 115A, Westminster, CA 92683

                3 Replies
                1. re: Professor Salt
                  n
                  ns1 RE: Professor Salt Jun 8, 2010 09:00 AM

                  Last time I went to PTL it was terrible, much worse than Pho 79

                  1. re: ns1
                    Professor Salt RE: ns1 Jun 8, 2010 09:04 AM

                    I wouldn't call Pho Thang Long terrible, but agreed, it's definitely not as flavorful as Pho 79. Pho 79 is my baseline, go-to place for pho in Little Saigon.

                    However, the OP made clear she does not want a not-renovated-since-the`80's, run down, old man pho joint like Pho 79. For that, there's only a handful of places that fit the bill, and Thang Long is one of them.

                    1. re: Professor Salt
                      k
                      kevin RE: Professor Salt Jun 9, 2010 12:40 PM

                      im down with run down as long as it's pretty fuckin good.

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