car required


I know I took a break from talking about pho, but I left the best for last.  I love Pho Saigon and it’s closely tied with Pho Xe Lua for the best pho so far.   Here’s the menu:

phosaigon-menu

  • Food: What makes this one of the best pho places? The broth was incredibly aromatic and flavorful.  The beef was super lean and razor thin.  They gave me lots of Asian cilantro, basil, etc.  The only complaint was that there wasn’t as much beef as most restaurants provide, but there were enough noodles that it was still filling.

Pho Saigon Pho Tai To Go  Pho Saigon Pho Tai

  • Service: They’re very polite.  You pay up front and I *think* it’s cash-only.  I can’t remember!
  • Atmosphere:Like most pho restaurants, there’s not much.  The interior is small with only 10-12 tables.  Over the main door, you’ll see a flat screen airing, what I assume to be, Vietnamese TV shows. 

Pho Saigon Pho Saigon

  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall:You won’t go wrong when you try this pho restaurant.  It’s just so darn delicious!

Details:

  • Hours: Monday-Sunday 8AM–8 PM
  • Address: 6795-1B Wilson Blvd; Falls Church, VA 22044
  • Ph: 703-677-0523

3 days with a car and at least 5 bowls of pho.  Obsessed I tell you!  Anyway, I continued to work my way through to the pho places throughout Eden Center in Falls Church.  Today’s pho bowl is from Viet Royale.

viet-royale-page-1  viet-royale-page-2

  • Food: Well, I think their broth is truly outstanding…and it might even be better than Pho Xe Lua.  But, you’ll see the beef is cooked…even though I asked and the waitress promised that the beef would be raw.  Despite the delicious broth, I thought their pho was OK.   The beef was a bit tough, onions were cut too thick, etc. 

Viet Royale - Falls Church VA  Viet Royale Pho Tai  Viet Royale Pho Tai

  • Service: I ordered to-go so it was fine.
  • Atmosphere:Interior has more character than a lot of pho places.  It’s one big room with probably 25-30 tables.  In the back, they have a small bar which is where you order your food-to-go.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price:  $
  • Overall:I’d skip the pho and order some of the other Vietnamese dishes they offer. 

Details:

  • Hours: 10 AM-11 PM Daily
  • Address: 6767 Wilson Blvd; Falls Church, VA 22044
  • Ph: (703) 533-8388

When I rent a car, I make the most of it.  I rented a car for three days and ate pho everyday at least once a day.  Yes, I’m obsessed with pho.  Since I am on a personal mission to find the best pho in the area, I am slowly trying each place at Eden Center in Falls Church, VA.  Today’s pho restaurant is Huong Viet (the menu is here).

Huong Viet

  • Food:  While I have since heard Huong Viet has amazing apps and entrees besides pho, I only ordered pho.  They only offer 3 pho bowls — Pho Dac Biet (which is what I ordered); Pho Bo Vien (beef balls); or Pho Ga (chicken).  I did ask if they would serve the beef raw and on the side as one commenter suggested, the server said they couldn’t do that.  Instead, as you can see from the photo, the beef was cooked.  While the broth was good, I didn’t think it was all that memorable. 

Huong Viet Pho Tai

  • Service: Our server was nice.
  • Atmosphere: The restaurant has around 15-20 tables and a back bar.  The tables have glass tops and wooden chairs.  You can see the photos of the restaurant here.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall:Like a lot of the restaurants in Eden Center, they only accept cash or checks (no credit cards!).  Now that I’ve been and know that they’re better known for food besides their pho, I’m looking forward to trying some of their other offerings!  

Details:

  • Hours:  Fri-Sat 10 am-11 pm; Sun-Thu 10 am-10 pm
  • Address: 6785 Wilson Blvd; Falls Church, VA 22044
  • Ph: (703) 538-7110

Not only was Et Voila a new restaurant for me, Palisades was a completely new neighborhood!  Yes, I’m afraid I’m a creature of habit and have a tendency to stick to “my” neighborhoods…meaning those that I can get to via Metro.  Anyway, P3 was so kind to take me after I cat sat for her.  Seriously, she’s entirely too generous! 

Et Voila Palisades

  • Food:I ordered the mussels in garlic and white wine and frites.  The mussels were beautiful — fat and juicy.  While the frites were good, they weren’t all that crispy (bummer).  The other problem was that I thought the broth was a little too salty.   But while the broth looked a little watery, it actually wasn’t.  P3 ordered their chicken simmered in its own broth with veloutée sauce with Julienne vegetables.  She said it wasn’t as good as the previous time she went, but I thought it was pretty good.  The chicken was moist and the broth was creamy and with the Julienne veggies, it reminded me of a cole slaw.   For dessert, I ordered the chocolate mousse which was rich with these little crunchy dark chocolate nibs.  It was knee-buckling good.  We also ordered their almond pastry on strawberry gelee with pistachio cream on top.  While it was delicious, their mousse is ridiculous.
  • Service: Our server was nice, albeit a little absent.
  • Atmosphere: It’s a somewhat long and definitely skinny restaurant.  They have pretty limited seating — probably only about 20-25 tables.
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$$
  • Overall: Unlike some restaurants, they don’t do a ridiculous mark-up on their wine.  We ordered their Domaine Guillon Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2004.  That was a fantastic bottle!  But I digress.  If I ever get to Palisades neighborhood again, I would definitely go back to Et Voila.  P3 and I chatted after our dinner and determined thatwhat we love about this place is that they rely on good ingredients and using a few spices to bring out those flavors. 

Details:

  • Reservations: They’re pretty much required if you want to get a seat, no matter if it’s a weekend or weekday.
  • Hours: Closed Mondays; Tues-Fri 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 5 to 10 pm; Sat & Sun 11 am-3 pm and 5-10 pm
  • Address: 5120 MacArthur Blvd NW; Washington, DC 20016
  • Ph: (202) 237-2300

Pho is absolutely my favorite.  It’s fast and easy to make.  In fact, it’s become my “fall back” meal when my fridge is low on food. 

Anyway, I love to get out to Seven Corners whenever possible and I was able to get out there recently to try another new pho place.  This time, it was Pho Time.

  • Food: The broth is greasy and the beef was completely cooked by the time it got to the table (boo).  But I did like that they offered Asian cilantro.  

Pho Time Tai Pho  Pho Time  Pho Time Restaurant Hours  Pho Time Restaurant

  • Service: Like most pho places, they food comes quick and they never check to see how everything is — instead, you have to be proactive to find someone. 
  • Atmosphere: There are about 15-20 tables and a flat screen TV.  The music is loud and American, but like most Pho places, they kindly greet you and allow you to sit anywhere. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: It was OK, but it wasn’t great.  Pho Xe Lua is still my favorite pho.  But if you’re going with a someone who’s not a pho fan, they do have a lot of other food options besides pho. 

Details:

  • Hours: Daily 9 AM-9 PM
  • Address: Eden Center; 6793-D Wilson Blvd; Falls Church, VA 22044
  • Ph: Not sure…sorry!

UPDATE 12/08 — Cho Saigon is my new favorite grocery store.  Plus, when I was just there, I found they actually sell super thinly sliced frozen beef in their freezer section!  It’s lean cuts for $3.99/lb.

I know it’s not a restaurant, but it’s a grocery store so close enough!  When I went to Pho Xe Lua, I also stopped into Cho Saigon Supermarket, located a couple of doors down.

I was like a kid in a candy store!  I bought a lot of food including lots of rice noodles (package is <$1.50), dried chilis (8 oz for $4), Pho stock (can’t wait until I make my own Pho!), palm sugar (16 oz for $1.80), fish sauce, soy sauce, etc. 

While I don’t know if they’re the cheapest, I know they had ingredients I can’t find at my local grocery store and usually cheaper.  Their cookie/dessert aisle was so fun — I almost took a photo!  I can’t wait to go back! 

  • Address: 6763 Wilson Blvd Unit A; Fall Church, VA 22044
  • Ph: 703-533-0863

Yes, I made out to Virginia!  I was putzing one day and was surprised when I found myself at Seven Corners.  But also so happy because I knew I was in store for outstanding pho!  I decided to go to Eden Center and I wandered into Pho Xe  Lua.

  • Food: They only serve pho but I ordered my standard — Tai pho and an iced tea.  The beef was raw and so paper thin it was awesome.  I slurped my way through the meal and I was contemplating getting a second bowl for the next day.  It was delicious and it’s my favorite bowl of pho so far!

Pho Xe Lua Large Tai Pho  Pho Xe Lua

UPDATE 10/2008: I went again but ordered it to go.  This time, they had ngo gai — Asian cilantro that’s prickly with a kick and awesome.   This is still my favorite pho place…

Pho Xe Lua To Go Pho  Pho Xe Lua To Go Pho

  • Service: There is an older guy who seated me, took my order, and ran the cash register.  There was an older woman walking around as well and a busboy.  They leave you alone to linger as long as you’d like, but this also means they’re not stopping by constantly to refill your soda or ice tea glass. 
  • Atmosphere: There’s 15-20 tables and the interior won’t impress anyone.  When I first sat down, it wasn’t busy but by the time I left, it was almost completely packed.  And in the corner, there was a table of men playing some sort of domino-type game. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: Bring your cash because it’s cash-only!  The large bowl of pho and ice tea was about $11, but it was seriously amazing.  I can’t wait to go back!

Details:

  • Hours: Daily 7:30am- 8:00pm
  • Address:Eden Center; 6755-A Wilson Blvd; Falls Church, VA 22044
  • Ph: 703-533-3130

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