Best of Toronto: Uptown pho
A bowl of pho from Pho Metro
Image: Suresh Doss
Nothing beats a hot bowl of soup when the temperature takes a dive. In time for the winter months, we've rounded up a list of uptown places you need to check out for Vietnamese pho and accompanying snacks.
1. Vietnam Noodle Star
This was my pho joint growing up. Introduced by friends from high school, I’ve spent countless nights at the large banquet tables, surrounded by avocado coloured walls and fake palm trees. Viet pop and soap opera blasted on the TVs while I along with dozens of others buried our faces into hot bowls of meat and noodle. Not much has changed, after a recent visit I’m happy to proclaim that Vietnam Star is one of the best pho houses in the GTA. The broth is layered with flavor, and the servings are perfectly proportioned to ensure that you have plenty of meat and noodle to liquid.
Other dishes to try: lemongrass chicken wings, vermicelli with pork chops, mango coconut dessert.
Vietnam Noodle Star, 4188 Finch Ave E., 416-609-9796
2. Pho Vietnam
A steady stream of regular lunch and dinner goers swear by the broth and noodles at this restaurant. The décor is modern and this is a pho place where you’ll see plenty of families slurping bowls and passing around plates of cold spring rolls and deep fried soft shell crab. The noodles are a standout for a pleasing amount of crunch and squeak with each bite, and broths have a rich amount of umami and denseness. When compared to other bowls, Pho Vietnam’s broth comes out as having slightly more complexity.
Other dishes to try: Avocado shake, deepfried soft shell crab, shrimp on sugarcane
Pho Vietnam, 1280 Kennedy Rd., 416-755-0909
Wonderpho brings a modern approach to the pho concept with a customizable menu and a slew of extra ingredients you can load into your soup bowls. First choose from one of six different regional-styles of pho broth, then the type of noodles (rice, glass, udon, soba) and the protein you prefer. The dining room is also one of the nicest you’ll find when it comes to pho restaurants.
Other dishes to try: grilled squid, Banh mi, frizzled tofu (ask for some hot sauce on the side).
Wonderpho, 865 York Mills Rd., 647-352-5777
Consistently good broth and noodles make this a very popular lunch spot during the week. A steady throng of office workers crowd the small dining room, and quickly order plates of fried spring rolls, and the house specialty bun bo hue – a blast of spicy, salty, sour and sweet broth with lemon grass, beef shank and veggies over thick noodles. The restaurant has been open for five years and has maintained its reputation for broth quality.
Other dishes to try: rice vermicelli, and buoc nai. The avocado shake is also pretty awesome.
Pho Metro, 2057 Lawrence Ave. E., 647-951-2567
5. Pho Dau Bo
If you want a good flavorful bowl of pho and tasty sides with no fuss, then this is the place. Pho Dau Bo does away with the complexity, the simplest pho variations are on the menu here and they’re good.
Other dishes to try: shrimp rolls, banh cuon
Pho Dau Bo, 665 Markham Rd., 416-438-2222