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Really good Vietnamese food?

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  • cheryl Mar 29, 2006 10:53 AM
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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.

thanks,

cheryl

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

    1. 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

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

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

        1. 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

            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. 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

              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

                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. papaye verte on bernard and hutchison is a good choice

              1. 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

                  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

                    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

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

                      1. re: Peter Cherches

                        >>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

                          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

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

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

                        1. 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

                            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

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

                            2. 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

                                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

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

                                  1. re: MaeveH

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

                                    1. re: BLM

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

                              2. 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

                                  You're talking about the Hoai Huong restaurant?

                                  1. re: BLM

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

                                2. 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

                                    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

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

                                    2. 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

                                        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. 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

                                          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. 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

                                            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

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

                                              1. re: hungryann

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

                                          2. 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. 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
                                              yellowpages.ca

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: olivergail

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

                                                1. re: redroses

                                                  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. 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. 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

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