LA's got something like 80 bazillion great, classic Vietnamese restaurants (and that's just in Westminster!), all dedicated to authentic bowls of pho and crispy banh mi sandwiches. Lots of those places are super good, but then there are a small handful of restaurants who next-level the genre. Introducing: that small handful...
Best Chef: East Borough (click here for address and deets)
This just-opened, super-colorful 'nese-ery is home to the team behind crazy-acclaimed Superba Snack Bar, including Chef Jason Neroni, who's busting out French-meets-Viet bites, like crepe stuffed w/ dungeness crab and shiitake mushrooms, and "phocatini" -- pasta w/ oxtail, hoisin, and Sriracha.
Best Banh Mi: Red Medicine (click here for address and deets)
This date night/Mom-and-Dad-are-in-town staple's known for its desserts (they are amazing) and their Brussels sprouts (dude, amazing), but they should also get props for their banh mi -- a classic-but-perfect execution stuffed w/ pork belly, pickled carrots, and country pate, also now being served at their semi-permanent pop-up at Formosa Cafe in WeHo.
Best Pho: Phorage (click here for address and deets)
This ultra-modern Viet shop in the former Chego! spot (RIP. SADNESS.) is still serving up Asian awesomeness (YAY. HAPPINESS.), like noodle bowls filled with ante'd-up ingredients (free-range chicken, American Wagyu beef...).
Best Noodles: Viet Noodle Bar (click here for address and deets)
Thicker-than-usual, homemade rice noodles are the dish to get at this tiny Atwater outpost (which, thanks to piles of books, kinda feels like a library). There're a variety of toppings, but you gotta do the tumeric-and-dill fish -- it's lightly fried, and heavily fantastic.
Best Rice: Blossom (click here for address and deets)
Sure, you can usually get rice with, say, crispy chicken or some chopped-up pork. But how about Cornish game hen or filet mignon? That's par for the course here.
Best... Tacos?: Xoia (click here for address and deets)
Right in the heart of Echo Park, this unassuming eatery's got great pho and banh mi, as well as Vietnamese tacos, which include beef that's literally infused with pho and crispy pork chicharrónes, and stuffed into corn tortillas for easy-eating. Bonus: they're open 'til midnight and 'til 2am on weekends, meaning you can leave the Echo after the headliner and still get your fix.
Best Food At A Place With A Punny Name: 9021Pho (click here for address and deets)
You could be forgiven if you wouldn't step foot in 9021Pho solely on principal, but you'd be missing out on some top-level dishes, like a delicately fried white fish with spicy aioli, and mei-nam noodles with curry chicken, shrimp, carrots, and onion.
Best Apps: Gingergrass (click here for address and deets)
Yeah, the mains at this Eastside mainstay are fairly delicious, too, but it's really all about the apps: crab rolls that are perfectly crispy, chili-peanut wings that are, um, perfectly crispy, and shrimp balls stuffed with yams that are... yeah, you get it: their fryers are great.
1. East Borough9810 W Washington Blvd, Culver City
2. Blossom Vietnamese426 S Main St, Los Angeles
3. Gingergrass2396 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles
4. Phorage3300 Overland Ave , Los Angeles
5. Viet Noodle Bar3133 1/2 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles
6. Red Medicine8400 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills
7. 9021Pho490 N Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills
8. Xoia1801 W Sunset, Los Angeles
This Vietnamese pho house is bringing the heat with delicious banh mis and grilled pork.
Blossom's doing Vietnamese the right way -- with tangy sweet and spicy punches to great pho, juicy lemongrass steaks, and house-made libations.
This Silver Lake Vietnamese joint is serving up seriously delicious pho, as well as noodles and the like.
Their pho is slurpifiably delicious, as are the spring rolls, noodles, and trendy atmosphere.
This noodle bar has got some of the best pho in the city -- seriously, trust us.
Finally opening today in the old Hokusai spot after literally months of teasing, RM's a cavernous, mainly Viet-influenced Asian-staurant featuring reclaimed, barn wood and exposed concrete walls, an eight seat stained-wood bar and cushy window banquettes, run by two Michael Mina vets and the Umami guy -- a man everyone wants to meat.
From the former chef of Michela comes this nook-like, modern casual soupery dedicated almost entirely to brothy Vietnamese deliciousness, with variations including Pho Ca (sliced tuna, onion, bean sprout, basil, and chili w/ chicken stock).
Xoia's a cozy, Vietnamesery from a guy who trained as a visual artist, only to realize he was much better as a chef when he cooked for his fellow artists on a retreat, and they dug the food much more than his work; perversely, he's decorated the restaurant with his abstract art, because who needs gallery space, when you've got galley space?