Food & Drink

Eat Street Vs. Little Mekong: The 6 Best Pho Spots in MSP

Published On 03/18/2015 Published On 03/18/2015
Keane Amdahl/Thrillist

If you want pho in the Twin Cities there are really only two places to go; in Minneapolis there’s Eat Street, and in St. Paul there’s Little Mekong. Both have an sweet broth-based options, so many in fact, it can be hard to pick the best ones... unless some sweet mens lifestyle site picked the best bowls from both sides of the river, and turned 'em into a list of MSP's six best pho spots. Oh, wait!

Keane Amdahl/Thrillist

Bangkok Thai Deli

University -- St. Paul
Possibly the most mellow and delicate in flavor of all our top picks, BD's mild broth boasts herbs, including cilantro, scallions, and of course the Thai basil, that give it a fresh kick. We’d also like to nominate Bangkok Thai Deli for a “Best use of an old Burger King” award.

Keane Amdahl/Thrillist

Trieu Chau

University -- St. Paul
Beautifully rare and tender slices of beef are set adrift in this beautiful bowl of blissful broth. Hints of star anise and clove peak through the curtains of the beef-steeped-stock while fresh herbs and optional jalapeños add depth, freshness, and spice.

Keane Amdahl/Thrillist

Ngon Bistro

University -- St. Paul
This one is a real eye-opener. The use of grass-fed beef (gorgeous slices of ribeye, fatty brisket, etc.) adds an additional depth of gaminess and richness, which fundamentally supports the balance of spices used in the broth.

Keane Amdahl/Thrillist

Pho 79

Nicollet
This specific bowl of pho will live forever on our list of ideal comfort foods. The broth is so rich you can almost taste the bones used in the stock, and they’re not shy about adding in the tripe and tendon, which makes for a solid mélange of textures.

Keane Amdahl/Thrillist

Quang Restaurant

Nicollet
It would be pretty fair to say that about 85-90% of the people in the Twin Cities would call this out as their favorite bowl of pho (except for maybe the people whose Grandmothers/Mothers actually make it for them), and we’re right there with them. This soup is perfect in the winter to help fight back the cold, or jack it up with some jalapeños and Sriracha in the summer to induce body-cooling sweats. Either way, this bowl is truly a bastion of culinary wonderment.

Keane Amdahl/Thrillist

Pho Tau Bay

Nicollet
This classic bowl of pho, found at the very end of Eat Street, rings in as a lot of peoples' favorite. The broth is both flavorful and aromatic, while the beef remains tender, moist, and fatty; just the way we like it.

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1. Bangkok Thai Deli 333 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103 (Downtown St Paul)

This Thai spot looks a little silly sitting inside the remnants of an old Burger King (they've still got the original brick flooring and bright blue exterior), but the spice and flavor levels of their food is anything but. Stir-fried rice and noodle bowls with curries, meats, and vegetables command the menu alongside pho-style soups at this South Frogtown restaurant, and they aren't kidding when they label an item with those three little chili peppers.

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2. Trieu Chau 500 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103 (Downtown St Paul)

Beautifully rare and tender slices of beef are set adrift in this beautiful bowl of blissful broth at this diner-style spot in St. Paul's South Frogtown. Hints of star anise and clove peak through the curtains of the beef-steeped-stock that controls most of the flavor options, while fresh herbs and optional jalapeños add depth, freshness, and spice, so those who come hungry really reap the most rewards here.

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3. Ngon Vietnamese Bistro 799 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55104 (Downtown St Paul)

Ngon Vietnamese Bistro is a University Ave spot that hosts a great happy hour. Great cocktail deals and small sharable plates make this a great place to chill with friends. As for the main attraction, the pho is made with grass-fed beef that adds an additional depth of gaminess and richness, which fundamentally supports the balance of spices used in the broth.

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4. Pho 79 2529 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404 (Whittier)

The number one place in the Twin Cities if you're craving pho, this Thai and Veitnamese Eat Street spot has a menu boasting tons of options for pho, specialty soups, and rice dishes with crispy shrimp or tofo and succulent pork or beef. In addition to serving some of the best noodles in Minneapolis, they've also serve can't-miss chicken wings, slathered in house-made sesame sauce and seeds for a refreshing fusion of American and Chinese fare.

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5. Quang Restaurant 2719 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408 (Whittier)

Since '89, this south Minneapolis restaurant's been slinging bahn mi sandwiches, soupy, sticky pho, and spicy platters full of chicken, beef, shrimp, veggies, and fried rice way under the radar. With its bare, practically unlabeled concrete exterior, it's not wonder Minnesotans have been driving past this massive hidden gem blindly for decades, leaving most of its seat open for the taking most times of the day.

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6. Pho Tau Bay 2837 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408 (Whittier)

Housed in a barn-like, white-shingled house on West 29th, Pho Tau Bay's packing some of the best pho this side of the Kinh Thay River. This trinket-bedecked, hidden -- like, really hidden -- gem of a Vietnamese joint is mostly known for its pho bowls with flavorful noodles, runny eggs, and smoky grilled pork, but it's also got full and delicate rice paper rolls, fried rice, and bahn mis for days.

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