vietnamese


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

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!

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

My quest for the best pho (easily accessible by metro) continues.  So I thought I’d try Pho 75 (after hearing so much about the place!).

  • Food: When I ordered the tai bowl of pho to go, I asked if I could get the beef raw.  I was told that they never serve raw beef (boo!).  Once I got home, I opened the bag of sides they gave me which included jalapenos, bean sprouts, basil leaves, and a lime wedge.  Then they also had a small take out container of rice noodles with green onions and cilantro.  There was also a small container with a mixture of hoisin and sriracha sauce.  Since it took me a little bit to walk home, I opened the container of broth and put in the microwave for a few minutes.  I was disappointed I couldn’t smell any star anise like I could with Nam-Viet/Pho 79

Pho 75 Soup  Pho 75  Pho 75

UPDATE 8/2008– I went again and sat down to eat the bowl of pho tai.  They are incredibly speedy!  I liked it, but it’s not my favorite bowl…plus, is it just me or does it look greasier than the others?  For right now, it’s Pho Xe Lua.  I’d buy a car just to go there…

Pho 75 Tai Bowl

  • Service: I ordered to go (and was charged an extra $0.50 for it).  When you order to go, just go straight to the back counter to order and pay.  Also, they only accept cash so make sure you’re prepared!
  • Atmosphere: When you walk inside, there’s rows of tables and chairs so you’ll be eating family style.  The atmosphere will not impress anyone, but it’s simple.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Overall:I have to be honest — I didn’t like Pho 75 nearly as much as I did like Pho 79.  It was the broth’s lack of star anise flavor and the fact the beef was cooked.  I have heard the Pho 75 in Rosslyn is better so I’ll have to try that one out sometime.  BTW, when you take the metro, it’s about halfway between the Clarendon and Rosslyn metro stop.  I walked out the Clarendon metro and then walked downhill to catch the Rosslyn metro. 

Details:

  • Hours: Daily 9 am-8 pm
  • Address: 1721 Wilson Blvd; Arlington, VA 22209
  • Ph: (703) 525-7355

It was a little chilly a few weeks ago and so I decided to grab some Pho soup.  To me, Pho is like a bowl of chicken noodle soup, only better.  It feels like a little bit of home (even though when I grew up, Pho wasn’t ever made nor consumed).  Anyway, I’m trying to find the best Pho in DC (among my many other goals) and decided to try Nam-Viet/Pho 79.

 

  • Food: No surprise here, but I ordered Pho soup.  While some places let you pick what cut of beef you want in your soup, there was no option.  Also, thanks to a tip from a commentator, I now always ask for the beef to be raw.  That’s when my server told me that large bowls of Pho always come with raw beef (yay!).  As soon as I got home and had a chance to dig in, I briefly heated the broth for about 2 minutes just in case (though I don’t think I had to since it was still pretty hot).  Anyway, as soon as I opened the lid, there was an intense aroma of star anise.  The styrofoam container held the raw beef; underneath that was the rice noodles; then on the left was bean sprouts; lime slice; and on the right side was cilantro and onions (white and green).  I was bummed there were no jalapeno slices, but I’m sure if I would have asked for them, they would have put some in.  Thankfully, I had some in the fridge!  They did include a little side mixture of hoisin and sricachi sauce.  The Pho was good because of the broth. 

 Nam-Viet/Pho 79  Nam-Viet/Pho 79 

So I went back again and this time, ordered the vegetable garden roll with tofu.  While it was a bit bland (yet chalked full of healthy veggies), the sauce made the rolls yummy.  And yes, I ordered the large bowl of pho again which was good!

Nam-Viet/Pho 79 Vegetable Garden Roll  Nam-Viet/Pho 79 Vegetable Garden Roll  Nam-Viet/Pho 79 Large Pho Bowl  Nam-Viet/Pho 79 Large Pho Bowl

  • Service: I ordered to go and that means when you walk in, you go straight to the back of the restaurant to the bar.  There a server will take your order. 
  • Atmosphere: While it has more atmosphere than some places, it’s not going to impress anyone. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: If you’ve never been and car-less like me, add this to your list of places to go for Pho.  It’s good and it’s incredibly convenient to the Cleveland Park metro stop. 

Details:

  • Hours: Daily 10 AM-10 PM
  • Address: 3419 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.; Washington D.C. 20008
  • Ph: 202-237-1015

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