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best pho San Jose area

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We live in the San Mateo area and the pho around here just isn't very good. After a bike ride around Lake Merritt we ate at Pho Ao Sen and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, it's almost a 50 minute drive from our house. San Jose is only about 30 minutes. Where can I get comparable pho in the SJ area?

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  1. Is Ben Tre in Millbrae good enough for you? That's my default these days. Pho Ao Sen in Oakland is a gold standard in the Bay Area, and I hope you get to try their non-pho dishes too. But newcomer Sidestreet Pho in Alameda is pretty darn good too, with a deep almost medicinal broth for their pho.

    1. 50 minutes to Oakland sounds long. Is that during commute times?

      I live in Oakland and work occasionally in San Jose (downtown). I've stopped in San Mateo on the way down for lunch and on the way home for dinner. It seems pretty equidistant. Roughly 30-35 minutes to either from SM during non peak traffic hours.

      Anyway, SJ should have better pho than Oakland, but I haven't tried enough down there to give a good recommendation.

      fwiw, Pho Kim Long in Milpitas is my favorite South Bay pho so far.

      1. My rotation right now is made up of:

        Pho Ga: Pho Ha Noi with housemade noodles (silky rather than al dente, which somehow works) and maybe extra chicken (standard bowl light on meat).

        Pho Bo: Pho Y#1

        Oxtail Pho: Pho Cong Ly

        All in East SJ.

        I liked Pho Long Kim's pho bo but think Y#1 is better.

        2 Replies
        1. re: bouncepass

          I'd wondered if anyone else frequents Pho Cong Ly. Here's my report from last year,
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/860371

          And has it really been 10 years since I was last at Pho Y #1? I liked it very much but it's quite a different style than Ao Sen.
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/23288

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            I first learned of Pho Cong Ly when a Vietnamese acquaintance mentioned it to me, then after I saw your report I had to go try it. So your report and it being in my rotation are not independent events!

        2. Thanks everyone, now I have a list to start with.