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Looking for Good Pho soup near Western U in london

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Luvtooeat Mar 5, 2012 05:19 PM

Can anybody help

Looking for Good Pho soup near Western U in london

We live at Oxford and Richmond

Thanks

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  1. r
    ResearchNerd RE: Luvtooeat Mar 6, 2012 08:16 AM

    Unfortunately there are no great options near the campus.

    My favourite for great and reasonable pho was always Thuan Kieu at the corner of Huron and Highbury (a bit of a drive).

    Closer to campus is Quynh Nhi on Wharncliffe Rd, where the pho is just OK.

    -----
    Quynh Nhi
    55 Wharncliffe Rd N, London, ON N6H2A4, CA

    1. jinxie RE: Luvtooeat Mar 6, 2012 08:28 AM

      thai/vietnamese in london is tricky (as is all ethnic food here)....

      You're going to pay too much (imo) for it- but I think the best pho is ben thanh- NOT the best overall thai/vietnamese- but yeah- the best pho.

      Agree with ResearchNerd that the Quynh Nhi and Than Kieu are tops in general.

      Side note- haven't been there in years- but Manna Grill (Wharnecliffe & Oxford) used to have awesome pork bone soup.

      10 Replies
      1. re: jinxie
        1sweetpea RE: jinxie Mar 6, 2012 09:02 AM

        Wow, that doesn't say much for the pho in London. I eat at Ben Thanh for one reason: it's close to the 401. I travel from Windsor to Toronto and back every few weeks and often wind up at Ben Thanh. I often eat pho there, because it is more consistent than most other dishes there. I always have to ask for a second herb plate and beg for chiles. They don't bring little sauce dishes for hoisin and sriracha, which makes dipping a challenge. The soup flavour is pretty good, but the meat quality is lower than the places I frequent in Windsor and Toronto. They refuse to serve my rare meat anything less than medium rare, and it's often well done by the time it arrives. I asked for it on the side once and the server returned from the kitchen to tell me no. That's a sign to me that their meat is not fresh enough. The broth is very salty, which makes me think msg is a factor. They definitely use dried noodles, which isn't a big deal, but they overcook easily. What I do like about the pho is that there are strong anise and cinnamon flavours in the broth, and they are generous with the onions, if nothing else. Despite the decidedly Vietnamese name, I believe that the management is Chinese, or Chinese-Thai.

        I recently tried the Vietnamese place on Commissioner's, near Wellington. It is more upscale, like Tamarine and gets a diverse, though non-Viet clientele. The pho was artfully presented and far more elegant than is necessary, I suppose at $11, I should want that kind of effort taken with placement of noodles, meat and garnishes. It was quite tasty, but a bit more refined all around than I wanted. I like my pho to be a steaming cauldron of heady goodness. I also like my pho to cost no more than $8, but apparently, that's unheard of in London.

        1. re: 1sweetpea
          jinxie RE: 1sweetpea Mar 6, 2012 09:12 AM

          "Wow, that doesn't say much for the pho in London."

          no, no it doesn't. :P

          "I like my pho to be a steaming cauldron of heady goodness. I also like my pho to cost no more than $8, but apparently, that's unheard of in London."

          it is.

          The place you're thinking of is Pho Haven. I love the people there- servers and owner are great. The food? ehh. not so much. I went when they first opened up about a year and half ago- and I'm shocked they're still in business- not because their food is bad, but because well...no one is ever there! (gotta love cheap rental space). Their salads are tasty- their pho tastes...weak.

          Don't bother with pho in London- you're better off going with pad thai @ quynh ni or almost anything off the menu at Than Kieu (their chicken curry is pretty outstanding- for vietnamese...anywhere).

          FYI- tamarine = quynh ni- you're just paying more for table cloths. and downtown location...just saying.

          1. re: jinxie
            prima RE: jinxie Mar 6, 2012 09:26 AM

            Pho costs less than $8 at the Vietnamese restos located on Huron St east of Highbury.

            Viet Nam restaurant on Dundas East, and Dem Hai Dang, Que Huong and Thuan Qieu on Huron are popular with the Vietnamese community in London. The my tho in London is better than any my tho I've found in the GTA.

            -----
            Dem Hai Dang
            1249 Huron St, London, ON N5Y4L6, CA

            Quynh Nhi
            55 Wharncliffe Rd N, London, ON N6H2A4, CA

            Que Huong Vietnamese Restaurant
            1295 Highbury Ave N, London, ON N5Y5L3, CA

            Thuan Kieu Restaurant
            1472 Huron St, London, ON N5V2E5, CA

            Viet Nam Restaurant
            1074 Dundas St, London, ON N5W3A6, CA

            1. re: prima
              1sweetpea RE: prima Mar 6, 2012 10:47 AM

              Prima, do those My Tho bowls come with a soup on the side option? I get one in Windsor (option of hu tieu, mi or my tho noodles) that comes with soup on the side, but also a seasoning sauce. Dump all, plus lemon, in the bowl and something amazing happens. The version in soup is also good, but not nearly as delicious as the "dry" version. I'd love to find something like this in London, though I suspect I'll have trouble getting my husband to stray too far from the 401 when we're just passing through on our way to Toronto or back to Windsor.

              Thanks for your honesty, Jinxie. My pho at Pho Haven was pleasant, just not a knockout, and very pricey at that. There were a few other tables taken while we were there, but it was Family Day and a lot of restaurants were closed, so I suppose they benefited from being open from 11 am, which is when we arrived. I wish them well. The food was fine, just pricey. I will say that the tea was wonderful and the decor very pleasant. I could have napped in the jasmine scented washrooms. They were spotless and very lovely. All of this, of course, is most unexpected given my experiences at many a standard pho joint throughout southern Ontario. Most are spartan at best, and occasionally a bit sketchy, especially the washrooms! Having eat pho in scruffy alleyways in Vietnam, on plastic streetside stools or in hole-in-the-wall soup kitchens, Pho Haven felt like 4-star dining. My husband ordered a vegetarian noodle stir fry which was tasty, but very salty and he said it seemed like a quickie Chinese mall-style stir fry with a house sauce splashed on at the appropriate moment. It sure smelled yummy, but after a taste, I could see his point. I will say that they did a wonderful job with the veggies. They were still bright and firm, but just cooked. The location isn't great, unless you live in that area, so I can see why they are frequently lacking for customers.

              1. re: 1sweetpea
                prima RE: 1sweetpea Mar 6, 2012 11:10 AM

                I haven't seen the dry version in London, but it wouldn't hurt to ask if they'd make it at one of the places on Huron. They are happy to do custom orders all the time- my friend asks them to add greens, other vegetables, sometimes glass noodles, to soups that don't ordinarily have them. They also have a Vietnamese-style hot & sour fish or shrimp soup at some of the restaurants, and I've seen them add noodles as a custom order, even if it isn't the traditional thing to do.

                Unfortunately, most of the better restaurant food in London is at least a 15 minute drive from the 401. The Viet Nam restaurant on Dundas would be a little closer to the 401 than the other Vietnamese options, probably with a 10-15 minute drive from the Highbury exit of the 401. Ambiance is on the scruffy side, compared to some of the others.

                Not sure if there are some better Vietnamese options closer to the 401 when you pass by Kitchener. I always seem to notice Vietnamese places when I drive through KW, but I haven't tried any of them.

                1. re: prima
                  1sweetpea RE: prima Mar 6, 2012 11:33 AM

                  I love places that will customize. My fave Windsor place will put baby bok choy in any bowl for $1 extra. They will switch noodles in most noodle bowls as well, though I'm not sure about the bun bo hue. One of these days I will get to one of the Huron St. places. I've been hearing about them for a decade.

                  Pho Dau Bo in Kitchener isn't bad. It's really all about timing for us. If we get on the road really early from Windsor we'd probably wait until we hit the GTA for our Viet fix. If we're passing by London and it's after 11 am, we'll probably stop there. I suspect if we've gotten as far as the K/W area, we'll just continue to Toronto. Besides, if we're going to Pho Dau Bo I'd rather go to the one at Finch and Weston, which makes a killer pho. The sliced, pickled Scotch bonnet chiles are unbelievably good in the pho, as is the sawtooth herb.

                  1. re: 1sweetpea
                    1sweetpea RE: 1sweetpea Oct 15, 2012 08:58 AM

                    I finally got a chance to try the my tho in London, at Dem Hai Dang. It was terrible. I ordered a large size for $9.50 and got what my Windsor places would term a medium. As I ordered my tho, I expected my tho noodles, which are clear, springy and thick like bucatini, but with square edges. I received plain old rice noodles, skinny banh pho size. Huh? My $9.50 got me exactly 2 shrimps, 2 shrimp balls, 1 imitation crab stick, chopped in 3 pieces, plus 1 piece of cha lua pork sausage, cut in half. The soup was full of MSG and very salty. I'm virtually positive it came from a powdered mix. The only other content was a type of choy, perhaps yu choy. Having since scanned all London posts, I think my mistake was not going to Thuanh Kieu. I had read a lot of mixed reviews on restaurantica and urbanspoon, so we opted to try out Dem Hai Dang. I'm going to assume that their strengths are their other dishes, perhaps Bun Bo Hue, the vermicelli dishes or their rice plates. The pho didn't look that exciting.

                    Prima, you've recommended Dem Hai Dang, along with the other places in that area. Have you actually dined there, or did you assume that the bar has been set higher for Vietnamese food on that side of London, based on the quality of a few dishes at the other three options?

                    1. re: 1sweetpea
                      prima RE: 1sweetpea Oct 15, 2012 09:30 AM

                      I haven't dined at Dem Hai Dang in at least 8 years. I don't remember what the food was like. I've found the other restaurants more friendly, so I never returned to Dem Hai Dang. I don't think I recommended the food or My Tho at Dem Hai Hang. What I was trying to convey, is that the Huron St restos have more of a Vietnamese clientele than Quynh Nhi or the other restos located further west, and I would think the menu at restos in that part of London should be a little more "authentic" than some of the trendier, newer Vietnamese places in west London.

                      I have dined at Viet Nam restaurant on Dundas East, and Que Huong and Thuan Qieu, where I've ordered My Tho and other dishes many times. I do think those 3 restos have better prices than the some of the other restos in London, and they will customize dishes. I haven't ordered any Vietnamese food in Windsor, so I can't compare them to Windsor options or prices. The prices in London probably reflect the costs of running a restaurant in London. I don't get the feeling the Vietnamese resto owners in London are making a killing. It's quite possible that it's cheaper to run a restaurant in Windsor.

                      I've also been to Quynh Nhi on Wharncliffe many times, which attracts a lot of university students. Quynh Nhi will customize dishes, as well.

                      I'm not Vietnamese, and my knowledge of Vietnamese food is limited. I usually order bun or my tho in London. I don't tend to order pho, so I can't tell you which places serve better pho. I was introduced to Vietnamese food in London, and it's quite likely I have different expectations and lower standards than you have.

                      Sorry to hear you had a disappointment.

                      1. re: prima
                        1sweetpea RE: prima Oct 15, 2012 10:45 AM

                        After reading your posts in a few threads, I had it in my head that my tho was the thing to order in London, particularly at those restaurants in the northeast end. I think I just chose the wrong place of the 4 mentioned out that way. The server was super nice, so I can't fault that. The place was not very clean, but that has little bearing on the tastiness of the food. We took a chance and came up snake eyes. I wish we had chosen Thuan Kieu.

                        I'm coming to realize that I may have a real gem in Pho Nguyen Hoang, in Windsor. My husband and I like it for the many good food options (pho, bun bo hue, hu tieu/my tho, bun vermicelli, bo kho, etc., and the incredibly hospitable staff, most of which are members and extended members of the family. They even do a very tasty pad thai. In fact, their pad thai is leagues better than any Thai place in Windsor.

                        I am not Vietnamese, though I've travelled and eaten in Vietnam. I have had some very good pho and other dishes in Toronto, at Pho Dau Bo, Tien Thanh, Pho Linh (I think that's the name, on College) and Hanoi 3 Seasons (I order Cha Ca La Vong). Peach Garden on Gerrard makes a pretty good Bun Rieu. The pho at Pho Dau Bo in Kitchener is good too.

                        Were my expectations too high for my meal at Dem Hai Dang? Probably. Was the food poor? Yes. Clearly, my 4-sided coin toss landed on the wrong choice. I hope I have a chance to try one of the other options soon.

                        1. re: 1sweetpea
                          prima RE: 1sweetpea Oct 15, 2012 07:15 PM

                          Sorry if I gave the impression My Tho was the thing to order in London. It's a dish I tend to order, but the vast majority of clientele in London would probably be ordering bun or pho. My Tho is offered on the menus of the London places I frequent, and often not on the menus of the places I've tried in TO. The version I tried in TO on Gerrard E a while back wasn't a good one. Tried to stop at the place at Keele and Wilson another time, and it was closed for renos. So I still haven't found a good My Tho in TO.

                          Out of the TO restaurants, my favourite was the Pho Phuong on Dundas W, but it's been a long time since my last visit.

                          Sorry to have included Dem Hai Dang in my list of the Vietnamese places on Huron and Dundas. I do know some people who frequent it, but I should have mentioned it wasn't one of my go-tos.

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