Food & Drink

The 10 best pho spots in NYC

Published On 11/16/2014 Published On 11/16/2014
Patty Lee
Patty Lee
An Choi
Nightingale 9
Patty Lee
Flickr/ Wwny
Flickr/roboppy
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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 require 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 food 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. Bunker 99 Scott Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237 (Bushwick)

Bunker Vietnamese became a destination dining spot when it opened in industrial Ridgewood in 2013, and the regular crowds eventually prompted chef/owner Jimmy Tu to expand into a larger space in Bushwick in early 2017. Tu, whose resume includes Eleven Madison Park, maintains an elevated take on Vietnamese street food with dishes like a clean and light chicken pho and lemongrass short rib banh mi. The colorful, converted warehouse space has an outdoor patio and a bar that’s three-times the size of the Ridgewood location. Live music and weekend DJs set a party tone that fits right into the neighborhood.

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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.