New York is famed for its delicious bagels and Italian restaurants but boasts some of the finest Vietnamese noodle soups – known as Pho. This hearty meal features rice stick noodles soaked in delicately spiced broth, seasonal sprouts, and herbs for a tasty dish that never fails to delight.
At this Manhattan Valley hot spot, chef Nguyen offers up a robust broth packed with the diaphanous eye of round kerchiefs containing the colorfully vibrant look of round that are still brightly red-hued upon arrival. Additionally, chicken and seafood bowls can also be ordered.
1. Pho Bar
Pho Bar, an upbeat walk-up cafe near New York University, specializes in various varieties of Pho – one made with rare beef! Their broth is mild while their noodles remain firm and their meat slices tender; its decor echoes street markets in Vietnam.
Greenpoint Gem is owned by Houstonian entrepreneurs operating a Pho spot there. Their owners have perfected Vietnamese cuisine while staying true to local flavors and traditions. Although the menu at Greenpoint may not be as extensive, their pho is considered among the city’s best, featuring rustic broth with delicious meat add-ins such as oxtail, flank, and soft beef cartilage.
“Van Da” in Vietnamese means “warrior woman,” and its owners strive for balance with modern and classic Vietnamese dishes offered at this restaurant chain’s East Village and Park Slope locations. Chef Hannah Wong has organized her menu into broad regions of the country so you can sample pho from each at Van Da. Additionally, there are pork and shrimp tapioca dumplings to satisfy both pork and shrimp lovers – but be warned: the East Village location can become extremely crowded during busy hours! A warm and inviting space featuring natural wood floors with decorative palm frond accents and exposed brick walls. The food is delicious and affordable; one popular lunch choice includes the grilled pork bun topped with cucumbers, mint, and pickled carrots.
2. Pho Bar Greenwich Village
Pho Bar in Greenwich Village offers an eclectic menu of Vietnamese fare. Their signature “crazy rich broth” or something more adventurous like their spicy short rib or shrimp and portabella mushroom combo are among their many offerings. At the same time, they also provide side dishes and Vietnamese iced coffees to boot!
This restaurant’s serpentine dining room and welcoming red cyclo (bicycle rickshaw) make for an extra-delightful dining experience on a sunny day. Their signature dish of Pho is based upon styles seen in Houston-inspired versions, featuring soft meatballs in rustic broths made from bones boiled until almost dissolving and an emphasis on bouncy beef balls for extra bouncing power.
Hello, Saigon is considered one of the city’s premier Vietnamese restaurants, and its West Village outpost meets that criterion. Opening their doors daily at 7:30 a.m., Hello Saigon offers specialty pho dishes alongside crispy fried spring rolls, grilled pork chop buns, and soups and Vietnamese iced coffee on their menu – not forgetting delicious soups, too! They can be found at 180 Bleecker Street; check their website for more info.
3. Pho Bar East Village
Though Vietnamese food might not immediately come to mind when thinking of New York City, the Vietnamese culinary scene is thriving with summer rolls, banh mi, and big bowls of pho. Though Saigon-style Vietnamese fare has long been prevalent here, variations are cropping up as it becomes an ever more vibrant part of life in NYC.
Luu’s Sandwich Shop in Richmond Hill specializes in banh mi, but their pho is exceptional–particularly the luxurious soupy xe lua version (the most premium). Inspired by Mekong Delta cuisine in southeast Vietnam, this dish features delicate rice noodles in a mild broth with five spice powders and peppercorns; you can even get chicken, vegetarian, or seafood varieties for your choice!
At Penn Station in late 2019, another branch of this popular LES spot launched unexpectedly with Chef Trung Nguyen serving only Hanoi style pho – without basil or sprouts – instead offering homemade chile and fish sauce vinegar for you to customize as necessary. On top of standard brisket and tendon pho bowls, an extra $3 will get you an option with 14-hour brisket, tripe, and other cuts added into it!
This East Village family-run spot serves some of the finest bun bo hue. Their broth is delicious, and their pork knuckles are smaller to ensure a more effortless eating experience without becoming stuck in your throat.
4. Pho Bar Fordham Manor
Pho Bar in Fordham Manor may not be your go-to place for incredible pho. Still, this pink shoebox offers fantastic Saigon-style fare with dark and oily broth, sturdy noodles, and an assortment of beef choices from flank steak and bone marrow through bouncy beef balls – plus there are sprouts, basil, and jalapenos too! Chicken and vegetarian versions are also available!
This spacious restaurant began under another name decades ago as an early Vietnamese cafe on Baxter Street. Under that banner, it pioneered an approach to serving pho with different variations, such as beef or chicken bowls with the same broth; especially rich is their “xe lua” version, which adds beef rib to your bowl of soup!
Pho at Le Sobree is excellent, featuring delicate translucent noodles in an unfussy broth that doesn’t feel overdone. While not as savory as other places on this list, its oniony flavors still add plenty of melt-in-your-mouth meat for an ideal lunch option. Also worth trying are their banh mi sandwiches, which reflect the neighborhood’s French roots with crunchy baguettes filled with delicious deli meats and pate for delightful banh mi sandwiches that reflect French influence; service is friendly and efficient while they offer Troegs along with other craft beers as well.
5. Pho Bar Mott Street
Pho Bar in Fordham Manor on Mott Street offers excellent Vietnamese cuisine. Their pho is among the best in New York, boasting light but flavorful broth to complement its translucent rice noodles, well-cooked brisket, juicy beef balls, and excellent vegetarian, seafood, and lemongrass options.
Pho is not inexpensive here, but it still costs less than $15 for a big bowl. The atmosphere is relaxing – with wood-paneled seating areas featuring decorative palm frond-shaped ceiling accents, exposed brick, and friendly service that exceeds customer expectations.
Formerly located on Baxter Street, this spot has moved to a more welcoming corner of Brooklyn. While there are a few seats for dining-in, most customers opt to carry out. Their pho is above average, especially the rare and flavorful eye of round, which also comes in Saigon and Hanoi versions with optional oxtail or beef rib add-ins.
6. Pho Bar Queens
New York City may boast unrivaled bagels, classic red-sauce Italian restaurants, and an unparalleled ramen game, yet its steaming bowls of pho are sometimes harder to come by. From no-frills old-timers in Chinatown to second-generation Bushwick charmers slinging, these hangover-healing broth noodle bars exist throughout Gotham for enjoying your bowl.
The owners of this pink shoebox located beneath Mott Street in Chinatown hail from Houston and serve a version of beef pho that features the classic elements in the Vietnamese-American restaurant scene. However, their version differs by using only one kind of meat and flat, skinny rice noodles to create its signature broth base.
The kitchen serves up an impressively diverse Vietnamese and Chinese fare menu at this cavernous space that used to be a diner. Of particular note is their impressive array of pho dishes–particularly their specialty: Tai Ga Pho! This delectable bowl includes tender cuts of brisket, the fresh eye of round meats, tendon and basil, and sprouts for texture contrast against tender meat swaths. TIP: Be sure to ask for lime or hoisin soon after ordering to enhance flavor without delay! Don’t forget fresh basil/sprouts; they add textural contrast against tender meat!