Pho Central Vietnamese Cuisine
Address: 1118 Davie St, Vancouver
This teeny-tiny place has some amazing pho. Sure, I strolled in and thought — really? This is the great place I heard about? It looks like it sucks. But it doesn’t — as long as you get take out.
I wouldn’t really call Pho Central a restaurant exactly, it only seats a max of 15….it’s more like a takeout joint with a waiting room. Sure, the kids working there are sweet – they’d be perfect in a posh hotel — they come and go silently with shy eyes and a quick nod. But maybe they’re just trying to get you out as fast as possible by avoiding any semblance of chit chat. However, it’s tough to discourage me when I am in the mood to EAT.
So once we were seated we ordered from their small menu –there are about 30 choices. Most everything is some take on lemongrass or grilled meat (beef, chicken, or pork). Baguettes ($4), rice dishes with grilled or fried meat ($7), vermicelli bowls ($8), and noodle soups ($7). We opted for a baguette, soup, and vermicelli bowl. But it was a loooooong wait – 3 tables that arrived after us got their food first. I was not impressed…grrrrr. But once the food came, all was forgiven.
The grilled pork on the vermicelli dish was superb, the spring rolls were crisp with the unexpected taro adding an extra bit of goodness. The super crunchy baguette was filled with pork, ham, and meatball — as well as carrots, cilantro, and peppers. It was fresh and decent — but who cares?! All I could think about was: why, oh why didn’t I order the pho? I mean, I did…but why did I order that other stuff when I could have had 3 orders of the amazingly tasty pho instead? Why is it that I almost always get the vermicelli noodle bowl instead of the pho? Because I’m an IDIOT! That’s why.
Oh my, the pho is so good! Not Richmond good or anything — but it sure beats the socks off of the mediocre pho I’ve had on Denman. Central pho’s brisket is cut a little more thick than usual, the basil is more fragrant, the broth is clear and flavorful, and the portions are actually a decent size. Mmmmmm. It was a perfect choice for the cool winter day.
The prices at Central Pho are very reasonable — and pretty much what you’d expect from a tiny Vietnamese place like this. Go at a down time and order the pho — or if you’re lucky enough to live nearby, get the takeout.
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