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Really good Vietnamese food?

cheryl Mar 29, 2006 10:53 AM

Does anyone on this list have recommendations for a place to get really good Vietnamese food in Montreal? I've yet to find anything above the ordinary standard stuff. I recently had incredible takeout Vietnamese in New York (Saigon Grill), and I would love to find something of that calibre here.



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  1. d
    Daveyy RE: cheryl Mar 29, 2006 12:41 PM

    Ru de Nam across from the Corona theatre in Saint-Henri is not bad, at least a good notch above the usual fare.

    1. c
      Ced RE: cheryl Apr 3, 2006 06:37 PM

      I know a place called "Harmonie d'Asie", a Vietnamese restaurant that serves any sort of non-pho traditional dishes. It's family-owned/run, it seems, and they serve things like sour soup, tilapia-like fish fried with fish sauce, and a sort of tartare with slices of raw beef topped with lime juice and nuts. 65 Duluth E, close to St-Laurent Boulevard.

      For pho soup, then I recommend "Pho Lien" (not to confound with "Chez Lien"), on the corner of Cote-Ste-Catherine and Cote-des-Neiges, facing the Jewish Hospital. They have the usual pho, but also a few particular dishes you won't find elsewhere, like fried rice cake with eggs.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ced
        BLM RE: Ced Oct 14, 2006 09:46 AM

        Lyla restaurant which has been recommended below also has fried rice cake with eggs(including other fried cake combinations). I agree the pho soup at Pho Lien is great(probably the best I've tasted in Montreal).

      2. c
        carswell RE: cheryl Apr 3, 2006 06:47 PM

        In a class by itself:
        Au Cyclo
        5136 Parc
        514 272-1477

        Link: http://www.hour.ca/food/food.aspx?iID...

        1. p
          Pat RE: cheryl May 22, 2006 05:10 PM

          Au Cyclo on du Parc is excellent. Generally Asian food in Montreal is an abmonination. Having lived in Los Angeles where you can get anything from anywhere, I would say that Au Cyclo is great by any standard - not by the standards of Montreal Asian fare.

          That said, it is a place for a $20 meal. It is a very nice, charming place. But it is not your blowout place. It is simply an excellent mid-price Vietnamese place by any reasonable standard.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Pat
            Mr F RE: Pat Sep 27, 2006 06:36 PM

            I've never found Au Cyclo to be particularly inexpensive; I'd plan on spending closer to $30 per person. (Then again, I'm a big eater.)

            I agree that the food is usually superb. Too bad the service on my last visit was downright amateurish...

          2. b
            BLM RE: cheryl Sep 25, 2006 02:30 AM

            Did the original owner of Au Cyclo sold his restaurant last year? That was mentioned on the other food discussion site.

            2 Replies
            1. re: BLM
              UnConundrum RE: BLM Oct 9, 2006 01:38 AM

              I had heard it was sold.... And some of those other posters indicated that they loved the sushi there. Au Cyclo (at least under the original owner) was pure Vietnamese, no sushi, although he would prepare a raw fish appetizer if he got to know you. He had told me he was going to open a new restaurant, and do catering as well... but I never learned if he opened one.

              1. re: UnConundrum
                BLM RE: UnConundrum Oct 9, 2006 02:43 AM

                I remember last eating at Au Cyclo(that was around 2 years ago), & they had sushi there(at least there was the sushi display). To my knowledge it was still under the original owner then.

            2. c
              celfie RE: cheryl Sep 25, 2006 02:58 AM

              papaye verte on bernard and hutchison is a good choice

              1. p
                Plateaumaman RE: cheryl Sep 27, 2006 01:09 PM

                If you like a very good pho soup then I'd recommend Pho Bang New York on St-Laurent. It is superior to pho soups I've had in Chinatown in Toronto for its freshness and broth. They also have a location on Cote-des-neiges.

                Btw, I disagree that Asian food in Montreal is an "abomination". You just need to know where to go as in any big city.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Plateaumaman
                  SnackHappy RE: Plateaumaman Sep 27, 2006 02:52 PM

                  I don't think the Pho Bang in CDN has anything to do with the one on in Chinatown, but it's quite good although it doesn't look very clean. My new favoutirte Pho place is Pho Lien in CDN and I think Pho Bac 97 in Chinatown is better than Pho Bang New York. The beef stew at Pho Bac is delicious and like nothing I've had at any other Pho place.

                  Au Cyclo is really good and totally worth a visit. Try the raw beef salad.

                  1. re: Plateaumaman
                    Gary Soup RE: Plateaumaman Oct 17, 2006 03:12 AM

                    What's striking to me about Montreal's Asian food choices is that with a Chinese population of around 50,000 you have probably as many restaurants serving "rooftop of the world" cuisines (I think 4 Tibetan and 2 or 3 Uighur) as the greater San Francisco Bay Area with its close to a half million Chinese. Must be your cold winters ;-)

                    1. re: Gary Soup
                      Peter Cherches RE: Gary Soup Nov 2, 2006 05:14 PM

                      Is there more than one Uighur place? The one in Chinatown is the one formerly of Sherbrooke West.

                      1. re: Peter Cherches
                        carswell RE: Peter Cherches Nov 2, 2006 05:21 PM

                        >>Is there more than one Uighur place?<<
                        Not since the superior Arzou Express (Côte-des-Neiges north of Van Horne) closed last summer.

                        >>The one in Chinatown is the one formerly of Sherbrooke West.<<
                        Really? First time I've heard that. Where does your info come from?

                        1. re: carswell
                          BLM RE: carswell Nov 2, 2006 05:48 PM

                          Peter Cherches is correct, that the one in Chinatown is the one formerly of Sherbrooke West(but that closed for a couple of years, before they re-opened in Chinatown). I've actually eaten at the Sherbrooke West location, years ago when it was open.

                    2. re: Plateaumaman
                      Peter Cherches RE: Plateaumaman Nov 2, 2006 05:13 PM

                      Pho Bang NY in Chinatown makes a killer bun bu hue on weekends only. Intensely spicy, with lots of lemongrass.

                    3. m
                      morebubbles RE: cheryl Sep 27, 2006 01:18 PM

                      I love Lyla on Jean Talon. Great pho soups (the best I've had in Montreal), lunch and dinner specials, etc. Nice med.-sized rest., comfortable booths, not expensive...
                      Restaurant Lyla, 431, rue Jean-Talon Ouest, Montréal, QC H3N 1P9 Tel. 514-272-8332

                      1. c
                        celfie RE: cheryl Sep 27, 2006 01:27 PM

                        plateaumaman - montreal is terrible for asian food. there are a few good places but they can be counted on 1 hand.

                        1. p
                          Plateaumaman RE: cheryl Sep 28, 2006 04:00 PM

                          Counted on one hand? I'm sure I'd need to get my toes involved in this counting. Perhaps we need to start a list. There are already three places mentioned here that I would like to try!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Plateaumaman
                            BLM RE: Plateaumaman Sep 29, 2006 09:04 AM

                            Maybe I got it wrong. I think the people who say that Montreal has terrible Asian food, are comparing Montreal with Toronto and/or Vancouver. Personally I think the Asian food in Montreal overall is fairly good. Compared to the other major cities in North America, Montreal probably fares pretty well.

                            1. re: Plateaumaman
                              morebubbles RE: Plateaumaman Sep 29, 2006 05:39 PM

                              Sure, start a list!
                              For Vietnamese I'd also recommend Restaurant Ong Ca Can, 79 St. Catherine E. (514) 844-7817

                            2. m
                              marblebag RE: cheryl Sep 28, 2006 11:42 PM

                              The best pho place in Montreal is at Dakkao, 360 Jean-Talon est, 514-272-6099. It's a small basement level restaurant and it's not terribly the nicest place but it is clean and it's authentic/good. I have not eaten anything else but Pho there however. Pho Bang NY in Chinatown is above average but not the best.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: marblebag
                                mbe RE: marblebag Oct 2, 2006 06:24 AM

                                Had been to Dakkao once and didn't find it spectacular. I love how Montrealers all have their own fave Pho places and you can't convince them otherwise. It's like smoked meat all over again. For me Pho Lien was revelatory, much better than the other Pho resots, really well flavoured broth. In chinatown I always went to Pho Bac for the beef stew or the Bun Bo Hue. Always found Pho Bang NY to be too clove heavy and raw clove flavour at that.
                                Ong Ca Can is good for the 7 course beef meal (Bo Bay Mon) but not as good as many places in TO.
                                Au Cyclo is expensive but well worth it. Much lighter and more soignee than almost anywhere else. Rue De Nam is definitely worth a visit as well.

                                Montreal is definitely not so hot for asian food, but Toronto and Vancouver have a lack of good affordable french restos. You can't have it all :)

                                1. re: mbe
                                  MaeveH RE: mbe Oct 30, 2006 04:01 PM

                                  Has anyone had the seven-course beef meal recently? I thought they discontinued it...

                                  1. re: MaeveH
                                    BLM RE: MaeveH Oct 31, 2006 11:57 PM

                                    Maeve, I just checked with the restaurant. They still have it on their menu.

                                    1. re: BLM
                                      MaeveH RE: BLM Nov 1, 2006 09:09 PM

                                      Thanks! I had it years ago (5, 7?!) and left well stuffed and quite happy.

                              2. c
                                celfie RE: cheryl Oct 2, 2006 05:03 PM

                                my fav pho place is the one on victoria corner edouard-montpetit in the basement - with the bull on the sign. that's a serious mind blower.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: celfie
                                  BLM RE: celfie Oct 5, 2006 02:13 AM

                                  You're talking about the Hoai Huong restaurant?

                                  1. re: BLM
                                    celfie RE: BLM Oct 5, 2006 03:05 PM

                                    possibly - rings a bell
                                    in any case, everyone should seek this place out

                                2. p
                                  pique RE: cheryl Oct 6, 2006 07:04 PM

                                  I was coming to post about Huong on Victoria too. Love the grilled chicken pho with so many veggies. Yum. Imperial rolls are outstanding too.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: pique
                                    BLM RE: pique Oct 9, 2006 04:48 AM

                                    Thanks for mentioning that you love the grilled chicken pho from Hoai Huong. Been to Hoai Huong several times, & never ordered that there. I enjoy it when people not only recommend restaurant(s) to go, but also recommend specific dishes to order.

                                    1. re: pique
                                      redroses RE: pique Sep 14, 2007 02:20 PM

                                      one of my favorites is # 22 with pork, flat rice noodle and shrimp chips. tell me what you think?

                                    2. s
                                      serpah RE: cheryl Oct 11, 2006 01:40 PM

                                      I've been lurking around the chowhound boards for a long time now, and I'm finally motivated to post now. :)

                                      I found that Pho Bang New York has gone down a lot, and I always go to Pho Bac if I'm in the area. Lately, I've been trying Pho Cali, which is pretty good (across the street).

                                      I like Lyla, especially on the weekends because they do a great Bun Bo Hue, much better than the one at Pho Bac. Bun Bo Hue is a mildly spicy soup with pig knuckles, various slices of pork meat and vermicelli noodles (bun). You can request that they leave out the pig knuckles.

                                      Since I moved out East a little while ago, I have been going to Thao on Ontario just East of Frontenac (by a few blocks). They have an excellent snail soup that I love. It's called Bun Oc. Definitely worth a try - it's the best I've had.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: serpah
                                        morebubbles RE: serpah Oct 11, 2006 01:46 PM

                                        Thanks for the rec. about the pork soup at Lyla on weekends. I haven't tried that soup yet, but I'll try it now that you've mentioned it. Thanks. Usually I have #22(don't know the names)-which is the raw beef, cooked beef and beef tendons.

                                      2. c
                                        celfie RE: cheryl Oct 13, 2006 01:05 PM

                                        sorry the restaurant i was struggling to remember was pho bac, not Hoai Huong which i personally find bordering mediocre.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: celfie
                                          serpah RE: celfie Oct 13, 2006 02:38 PM

                                          Is that the pho bac on Cote des Neiges near van Horne? Across from the Petro-Can? That place is great. But I like Pho Lien up at Cote des Neiges and Cote Ste Catherine a bit better...

                                        2. c
                                          celfie RE: cheryl Oct 13, 2006 03:27 PM

                                          im talking beside Hoai Huong on victoria at edouard montpetit in the basement. it is a total dive and incredible.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: celfie
                                            serpah RE: celfie Oct 13, 2006 03:29 PM

                                            It's always the total dives that are the best. ;)

                                            I've been there a couple times, but a very long time ago. I will definitely check them out again soon.

                                            1. re: serpah
                                              hungryann RE: serpah Oct 14, 2006 10:32 PM

                                              There is also pho hoa on Cote des Neiges that is highly recommended. Any thoughts on that?

                                              1. re: hungryann
                                                serpah RE: hungryann Oct 16, 2006 05:11 PM

                                                That one is good, but not the best. Pho Lien has better soups.

                                          2. y
                                            Yummy Stuff RE: cheryl Oct 15, 2006 10:04 AM

                                            Pho Hoa has been around since the Jean Coutu nexxt to it was a Cumberland. It must be good since it's usually packed in there. I stopped by there a couple of week~ends ago to pick up some coconut milk/desserts (those jelly drinks) THen we crossed over to Kent Park and sat on a bench 'twas a lovely afternoon. If I were to order soups from there I'd most likely take it to go.(It kinda smells moist in there---could just be my nose being nit picky :) They have a terrase but it's getting a tad cold now.

                                            1. o
                                              olivergail RE: cheryl Oct 18, 2006 03:25 AM

                                              I'm a former Montrealer (always a Montrealer at heart and in stomach!) living in Toronto for 10 years now, and I still haven't found a Vietnamese restaurant ANYWHERE as good as Hoai Huong on Victoria Ave., corner St-Kevin.

                                              Incredibly flavourful soups, stir-fries, brochettes,...
                                              The list is endless and everything is fabulous. Returned there a few weeks ago, and it was even better than I remembered.

                                              Restaurant Hoai Huong
                                              5485 AVENUE VICTORIA
                                              MONTRÉAL, QC H3W 2P9
                                              (514) 738-6610

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: olivergail
                                                redroses RE: olivergail Sep 14, 2007 02:18 PM

                                                olivergail, have you tried pho hung on spadina corner ? augusta just at the entrance to the market. i really like it.

                                                1. re: redroses
                                                  lagatta RE: redroses Sep 14, 2007 03:39 PM

                                                  Thanks, I'll keep that in mind for visits to Toronto, usually to interpret not far from there. Yum.

                                                  Back here, I passed by Nhu Y (I have NO idea how to pronounce that) to pick up a business card and menu. They don't have as extensive a menu as Pho Tay Ho (also near me) but a fair selection of Vietnamese dishes beyond the brochettes. People eating were all Vietnamese, or at least East/Southeast Asian, except for a lady at the cash who had a real foodie or chowish air about her. We were chatting and she assured me about how good it was. (in the meantime two women sauntered in, one middle-aged; one young, mother and daughter or aunt and niece by their manner)

                                                  Nhu Y has been a byow for a month now, so that will encourage evening visits. It is a square, rather plain but impeccable room. Looks like nothing from outside, not only because the entrance is small but because it is on a most unprepossessing stretch of Jean-TalonL exact address 134 Jean-Talon W. 514.948.8884. About half way between the Jean-Talon Market and the Loblaws; three SAQ outlets nearby if you want to pick up a bottle of wine (Market, next to Loblaws and St-Laurent/Mozart).

                                                  Like many Vietnamese restos here, open every day (including Sunday) EXCEPT Tuesday...

                                                  Closest métros de Castelnau or du Parc, but not much of a walk from Jean-Talon. 92 or 93 bus on Jean-Talon. There should be some car parking on the side streets around there.

                                              2. t
                                                tk467 RE: cheryl Oct 30, 2006 04:26 PM

                                                I was just in Montreal last week and had dinner in Au Cyclo . It was wonderful ! Have lived in Asia for year and know authentic Vietnamese food and Au Cyclo is authentic

                                                1. l
                                                  lagatta RE: cheryl Sep 14, 2007 12:49 AM

                                                  Has anyone been to Nhu Y (or Nhu'Y)? It is a tiny Vietnamese resto on Jean-Talon O, near St-Urbain. (110, Jean-Talon O.) A friend swears by it; I haven't been there.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: lagatta
                                                    mainsqueeze RE: lagatta Sep 14, 2007 08:23 AM

                                                    I've been curious about it for months, lagatta, but haven't had the chance to go yet.

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