Food & Drink

The 10 best pho spots in NYC

Published On 11/16/2014 Published On 11/16/2014

Since you're an overachiever and want your noodle soup game to move beyond just ramen, you're gonna want to read this thoroughly: NYC's 10 best places to get the slurp-worthy noodle soup that is pho, from Manhattan, to Ridgewood, to the always-reliable Sunset Park.
 

Nha Trang One

Chinatown
This Baxter St stalwart is a favorite with the jury duty crowd and aficionados alike, but the steamy bowls of pho, which range from traditional beef to one infused with satay sauce, are worth a trip even after you’re done trying your best to avoid your civic duty.

Patty Lee

Saiguette

Morningside Heights
Don’t let the Tupperware and plastic baggies fool you -- the pho at this pint-sized takeout joint is serious and its DIY assembly adds to the charm. Once combined, the noodles, sliced raw steak, onions, basil, and pickled jalapeños form a soul-soothing mix of flavor and crunch; add a dash of hoisin-Sriracha sauce to take it to the next level.
 

Com Tam Ninh Kieu

Kingsbridge Heights
The inner reaches of the Bronx may seem like an unlikely settling ground for Vietnamese immigrants, but that’s exactly where a small community has popped up, building businesses like this four-year-old resto with -- count ‘em -- 16 comforting varieties of pho to slurp up.

Patty Lee

Pho Hoai

Bay Ridge and Sheepshead Bay
With two outposts in South Brooklyn, this OG pho joint has warmed stomachs for nearly 15 years with a dozen-plus varieties of its namesake dish. Simmered for at least six hours, the broth becomes a flavorful base for bowls full of thin rice noodles and add-ons like still-raw eye of round, beef balls, or a whole pork chop.

An Choi

An Choi

Lower East Side
You know the pho is hardcore when the chef keeps the broth cooking over the course of TWENTY-FOUR hours. Matt Le-Khac also packs the... meat!... in his house special beef noodle soup -- it’s full of oxtail, fresh flank, tendon, and fatty brisket -- and it's one of the few in NYC that's crowned with Vietnamese culantro (or sawtooth herb), a more aromatic cousin of cilantro.

Nightingale 9

Nightingale 9

Carroll Gardens
This Vietnamese canteen, helmed by chef Rob Newton, slings two of the finest bowls in town. Both the beef and chicken arrive with minimal garnishes (pickled garlic, lime, and chilies for the first, scallions and cilantro for the second), so the fragrant broths -- Newton adds old stock to deepen the flavors of new ones -- can truly stand out.

Patty Lee

Sao Mai

East Village
Unlike its Chinatown counterparts (with menus that run pages long), this popular 1st Ave shop has trimmed its pho list down to seven superior options. Four feature its subtly spiced beef broth -- including a house special loaded with fatty brisket, rib eye, and spongy meatballs -- while the other three (seafood, chicken, and vegetable) pull their probably-less-substantial weight as non-beef alternatives.

Flickr/ Wwny

Thanh Da

Sunset Park
Located on the edge of Brooklyn’s Chinatown, this hole-in-the-wall proves to be a reliable stop for piping hot pho. Not only is the staff super friendly, but the top-notch noodle soups are absolutely brimming with meat, onions, and fragrant basil leaves.
 

Bun-ker

Ridgewood
If you spot a hungry crowd hanging around this industrial stretch of Queens, then you’re in the right place. The wait in line is actually worth it because you’re rewarded with elevated Vietnamese street eats turned out by Eleven Madison Park alum Jimmy Tu. The impressive chicken pho is light and clean, amped up with plenty of herbs and spices.

Flickr/roboppy

Pho Bang

Chinatown
There’s a reason why this Mott St dive is perpetually packed: it’s cheap, the broth is packed (ha!) with meaty, herbaceous flavor, and, for an extra buck or two, you can (/definitely are going to) request a super-sized bowl.

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Patty Lee is a reporter and editor who has written for the New York Daily NewsTime Out New YorkCooking Channel, Zagat, West Side Spirit, and Family Travel Forum. At all other times: an eater of desserts, aspiring world traveler, and lover of all things Brooklyn.

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1. Nha Trang One 87 Baxter St, New York, NY 10013 (Chinatown)

Head to Chinatown for authentic Vietnamese food at Nha Trang One, which gets its name from a beachside village in Vietnam. The menu has over 100 enticing and well-priced dishes, including all the classics such as Vietnamese spring rolls, steamy bowls of pho, rice noodle soups, barbecue beef, and so much more.

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2. Saiguette 935 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10025 (Upper West Side)

This corner hole-in-the-wall on the UWS doles out soul-warming pho and banh mi sandwiches that are as big as subs and need toothpicks to secure their fillings, which range from roast pork shoulder to crispy spiced shrimp. Along with a side of steamed moon dumplings (available in eight varieties including taro peanut, garlic chives, and shrimp), you'll want to order either the juicy chicken thigh banh mi or a bun bowl topped with lemongrass pork shoulder. Saiguette’s seating amounts to a handful of vinyl stools along the windows, so if the weather’s nice, your best bet is take your order a couple of blocks over to Central Park.

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3. Com Tam Ninh Kieu 2641 Jerome Ave, Bronx, NY 10468 (Bronx)

This hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese spot in Fordham Manor makes its dishes with broken rice grains and splintered noodles, which are known for two things: absorbing a heck of a lot of flavor and being dirt cheap. The menu is pho-based, and the pork chop (suon nuong) is so succulent that it willingly falls off the bone.

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4. Pho Hoai Bay Ridge 8616 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209

There are two spots iin South Brooklyn, but this Bay Ridge spot has a dozen varieties of its namesake dish. The broth becomes a flavorful base for bowls full of thin rice noodles and add-ons like still-raw eye of round, beef balls or a whole pork chop.

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5. An Choi 85 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

From a family of Vietnamese rookie restaurateurs, this Tetris-shaped cove sports a glass-walled kitchen in back and an up-front prep station where they're serving apps (beef salad in lime fish sauce; shrimp and pork rolls) and perfectly prepared sandwiches, as well as some of the best pho in the city.

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6. Nightingale 9 329 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

This Carroll Gardens Vietnamese canteen, helmed by Chef Robert Newton, slings two of the finest pho bowls in town. Both the beef and chicken arrive with minimal garnishes (pickled garlic, lime & chilies for the first, scallions & cilantro for the second), so the fragrant broths — Newton adds old stock to deepen the flavors of new ones — can truly stand out.

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7. Sao Mai 203 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

Sao Mai is a pint-sized Vietnamese noodle spot in the East Village that's slinging up superior bowls of pho and bun. The unassuming shop features subtle-yet-spicy takes on characteristic Viet dishes -- including a special house beef broth loaded with fatty brisket, rib-eye, and meatballs -- plus offers BYOB when you dine in. Large portions and an under-$10 lunch special make Sao Mai a reliable and tasty choice.

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8. Thanh Da 6008 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220 (Sunset Park)

Located on the edge of Brooklyn’s Chinatown, this hole-in-the-wall proves to be a reliable stop for piping hot pho. Not only is the staff super friendly, but the top-notch noodle soups are absolutely brimming with meat, onions, and fragrant basil leaves.

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9. Bun-ker 46-63 Metropolitan Ave, Ridgewood, NY 11385 (Queens)

If you spot a hungry crowd hanging around this industrial stretch of Queens, then you’re in the right place. The wait in line is actually worth it because you’re rewarded with elevated Vietnamese street eats turned out by Eleven Madison Park alum Jimmy Tu. The impressive chicken pho is light and clean, amped up with plenty of herbs and spices.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. Pho Bang 157 Mott St, New York, NY 10013 (Nolita)

There’s a reason why this Vietnamese dive on Mott Street is perpetually packed: the pho is cheap, the broth is loaded with meaty, herbaceous flavor, and, for an extra buck or two, you can (and should) request a super-sized bowl. The move is to order the hard-to-come-by Vietnamese street food Bun Cha Ha Noi, a DIY dish in which you'll manually combine a heaping pile of bun (rice noodles), a plate of crisp lettuce and fresh mint, and a bowl of grilled pork shoulder and cha (minced pork patties) in an aromatic broth of vinegar, sugar, and nuoc mam (fermented fish sauce). Need some tips on how to construct this comforting, salty-sweet bowl? The waiter will be happy to give you instructions.

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