You can't drive 10 feet before bumping into an Asian restaurant. Luckily for those pining for pho and vermicelli, many of these restaurants offer traditional Vietnamese specialties on their menus, right under the usual spring rolls and noodle dishes.
Venture out for Vietnamese
Feeling pho? These restaurants offer traditional South Asian favorites
By Amy SchoenfeldSpecial to Metromix
August 15, 2011
The former location of Sake Bomb, where guests ate sushi and knocked little glasses of sake into their beer, has been taken over by a Vietnamese restaurant called Saigon Cafe. Guests can eat sushi and knock back pho, shaken beef, Vietnamese crepes and other specialties of Vietnam.
Pho Lang Thang, a Vietnamese restaurant in Findlay Market, is now open. Lang Thang is an expression in Vietnamese that means "taking it easy." David Le and brothers Duy and Bao Nguyen are the three 20-something guys behind the small café. On the menu: the noodle soup pho in chicken, beef and vegan versions; the delicious sandwiches called banh mi; bun, the rice-vermicelli dish; cold salad rolls and Vietnamese coffee.
Cilantro Vietnamese Bistro is a quick and inexpensive lunch and dinner option in Clifton Heights. Parking is tricky, but if you’re in the area stop by for their pho, noodle bowls, stir-fry and vegetarian Vietnamese dishes. This is a tiny place set up like a diner, so snag a stool by the open kitchen in order to dig into some vermicelli noodles.
Song Long serves both Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine. Start off with the Banh Xeo, a Vietnamese crepe with shrimp, chicken, mushrooms and bean sprouts, or maybe go for some fried spring rolls. As for entrees, there are lots of noodles dishes, soups, plus vegetarian dishes with tofu. Some Vietnamese specialties include Scallops with Lemon Sauce, and the Ga Nuong Xa Ot, lemongrass marinated chicken over vegetables.
Along with a variety of Asian cuisine, Chopsticks serves Vietnamese beef dishes, pho, pork chops and a summer roll with peanut sauce.
Haven’t checked out Suzie Wong’s yet? They’ve got a big menu with plenty of appetizers to share, noodle dishes, soups and vegetarian options. Pho is on there, along with a Vietnamese Roll (pork and shrimp with mint, lime, red chili peppers and a sweet and tangy sauce), plus spicy and fresh Vietnamese Double Shrimp Crackers to share.
Orient is a popular place for downtown workers wanting to satisfy their Vietnamese (and Chinese) cravings. Items include pho, crispy or soft egg noodles, stir fry and seafood.
Saigon has a few Vietnamese items, including pho, wonton and lemongrass chicken.
Wild Ginger is known for sushi and Thai, but they do serve the traditional Vietnamese pho.