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Oct 28, 2011 03:38 PM

Terrific Pho, Bahn Mi, and Spring Rolls at Amy's Pho on 301 (SARASOTA)

I just visited Amy's for the second time this week for lunch. Both times it was excellent, rivaling the best bahn mi and pho in Manhattan's Chinatown, where I lived for 7 years before returning to my hometown, here, Sarasota. I'm totally stunned and so excited to have found this place.

They bake their own delicious, perfect bread that they toast generously so it is nice and crispy. The pate is delicious and both the chicken and pork versions are very tasty with good picked carrots. I think I could have eaten about 4 of them.

The pho broth is awesome and addictive and noodles plentiful. The condiments (bean sprouts, lime, greens) are all crisp and very fresh. Never a bit of brown or trace of old. The spring rolls were warm and flavorful, with both shrimp and pork rolled together with the rice noodles.

The prices are right and the lowest they can possibly go to stay in business, which they are ostensibly struggling to do. So, please eat at Amy's and help a great family joint with a true passion for perfect Vietnamese food stay in business. Sarasota, with all its bland steakhouses and cheesy seafood restaurants, needs a place like this! Hooray for Amy's!

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  1. It has been awhile. Thanks for the reminder. We'll get back there soon. And you're right, the pate banh mi was killer!

    2 Replies
    1. re: OH2FL

      This is really a great place; their prices make it an extraordinary value too!!!

      1. re: OH2FL

        Bwwwaaahhhhhhh all this talk about the bahn mi and I HAD to have one for lunch and they were out of bread!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bwwaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

        Pho was excellent though! ;-)

      2. I totally agree - great pho and possibly the best fresh rolls in the bay area. The owners are great and interested in their diners' thoughts; the last couple times there everyone received a 'treat' from the kitchen. Only reason I go to the other place on 301 is because of the pho ga - they use honey roast chicken (ga quay) in it; hopefully Amy will add this to the menu soon. BTW, if you travel north to St Pete there are several excellent Vietnamese restaurants on Park Blvd.

        5 Replies
        1. re: cflynn

          cflyn......Are you talking about "Jade Bistro" as one of your picks? We have had some very good dishes at this spot.

          1. re: ospreycove

            Depending on what dishes you're looking to eat, there are much better (and less pricey) Vietnamese places on Park Blvd.

            1. re: kempshark

              I will keep my out for other places when I am in the area.

            2. re: ospreycove

              Jade is excellent - autumn roll, oyster stew,'s also the nicest environment inside, the place we take guests or first-timers. Thang Long has great quail and Peking duck during the week. Several other choices nearby as well.

              1. re: cflynn

                Thang Long has excellent roasted duck soup and pretty good Banh Cuon. Taste of Saigon has the best Pho and iced coffee in the area IMO. They also have very good chicken wings. Ben Thanh has very good Banh Xeo (although I haven't tried that dish at Thang Long yet), beef fondue and pretty good Korean style short ribs with kimchi. Pho Quyen has the best spring rolls and some good Nem Nuong.

                Personally I don't go to Jade Garden, because although the food was decent (IMO) I found the prices extremely high compared to any Vietnamese restaurants I have eaten at in this area and other areas. Maybe that's due to the "environment"? Personally I would rather have high quality food at great prices rather than decent quality food at high prices so I can have linen table cloths, well dressed waiters and nicer interior decorating.

                Again, these are just my opinions......I've been eating Vietnamese food in that area for the past 12+ years and have narrowed it down to about four restaurants (Vietnamese) in that immediate area that I pick between based on what dish I want to eat that day. It's getting bad though.....they don't even bring us menues anymore.....just inquire "The usual?"

                Jade Garden Restaurant
                2420 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33609

                Taste of Saigon
                6527 Park Blvd, Pinellas Park, FL 33781

                Pho Quyen Restaurant
                4749 66th St N, Kenneth City, FL 33709

                Ben Thanh Restaurant
                4200 62nd Ave Ste C, Pinellas Park, FL 33781

          2. Is this place still open? Any better places to get a Bahn mi? Never had one, want to try it. Closer to LBK is better.

            8 Replies
            1. re: kengk

              It's called J.R. Pho now and yes they still have good banh mi; I posted the menu a few months ago.
              Might want to check out Pho Cali as well though I've not had their banh mi. If you're up for a drive, Thuy Cafe in St. Pete has one of the best

              1. re: cflynn

                After further research it seems that Pho Cali doesn't serve bahn mi any more. J.R. Pho has their menu posted for anybody interested.

                cflynn, can you tell me if JR's sandwiches come standard with mayo, and if so, will they leave it off?

                1. re: kengk

                  Kengk - I think JR will make you banh mi exactly the way you like it; my pref of course is pâté and no mayo. Please report back of your findings!

                  1. re: cflynn

                    The little old man who took our order didn't know what mayo was. I can't say if it was a good banh mi or not since it was the first I've ever had. I have eaten a bunch of sandwiches though and this was a damn good sandwich. Ordered another one after I finished the first one.

                    They weren't doing much business, y'all need to get over there.

                    1. re: kengk

                      And on that note I will try it. I pass it all the time and I frequent the Asian store a few doors down. I also have never had a bahn mi but didn't want my first one to be crap so that I'd never want to try it again and miss out on something wonderful. Thanks and I'll let you know.

                      1. re: suzigirl

                        We had the # 15 with pâté and pork. Mayo is my kryptonite but I had already made up my mind that I would have to force myself to eat it matter what because the man was so nice and polite. The excellent bread had a smear of butter in place of the much feared mayonaise.

                        Also, this place is nicer on the inside than I was expecting given the somewhat grungy strip mall it's in.

                        The one negative I must report is that the unsweetened tea was horrible.

                        1. re: kengk

                          I went to J.R.'s today. I also got the #15. The bread Is spectacular. It doesn't stop there. Crisp marinated vegetables and herbs. Tasty meat. Everything marries well. I took it to go and it was still beautifully crisp when i opened it up. That's a tough thing to do with warm sandwiches. I agree with you that even if that is a bad bahn mi its still a great sandwich. One of the best I've ever had. They were totally dead though. The owner was super nice coming over while I was waiting and explaining what things were and chatting politely. Very positive experience.
                          God bless your heart, how did you make it through two? I didn't make it all the way through one. It is probably just right for most people I'd say. I will go again for sure.

                          1. re: suzigirl

                            Have been getting the #15 for lunch every week for a couple of months now and love them. Last night we wanted to try the roast duck soup. It looks exactly like the dish I had when visiting Saigon earlier this year, which was exceptional. A bowl of duck broth with noodles and greens and crisp roasted duck on the side. We got there at 6.45 but they had already closed. I went there for #15 for lunch today and Mr JR (is that his name?) told me to call in advance in future. I am longing to try the duck soup.