Pho has been building into a full on national obsession, but we already know that some of the best brothy bowls are found right here in the Twin Cities. Because Minneapolis and St. Paul are home to an abundant Vietnamese immigrants, the cities have an abundance of pho varieties. Each labored over broth, with its perfume of star anise and other warm spices makes for a distinct flavor unique to the chef. Whether looking for a modern variation or traditional served with tasty offal bits, there is a simmering bowl to fit every craving.Read More
The Ultimate Pho Finds of the Twin Cities
Where to find deep, steaming bowls of rich, clear broth and all the mix ins
1. Lotus Restaurant
Slightly unconventional, Lotus' “stew pho” is a combination of potatoes, carrots, choice of meat, rice noodles and broth.. Lotus also has traditional choices like beef or meatball pho.
2. Pho Tau Bay
This nondescript restaurant is just steps away from the back end of Kmart on Eat Street. Pho Tau Bay banks on its low prices and amsubdued diner atmosphere. The restaurant’s most popular pho has a strong beefy broth with traditional ingredients like tripe and fishballs. If offal doesn't appeal, Pho Tau Bay also can whip out 20 different varieties of pho.
3. Quang Restaurant
Always bustling with people, Quang’s is a great restaurant for people watching. Open since 1989, the stone age of Twin Cities Vietnamese cuisine, Quang’s has survived in no small part because of their big bowls of hot pho. The generous portions of meat, vegetables, and noodles come with just the right amount of hot seasoned broth. First timers to this legendary establishment should stick to the classics like pho tai or beef pho.
4. My Huong Kitchen
This quaint restaurant on Eat Street has an extensive menu of Vietnamese favorites, including the quintessential soup. This bowl of pho is the kind a mother, grandma, or auntie used to make at home. It has a simple but rich broth, fresh noodles, and lots of love. The exuberantly friendly customer service makes this stop all the more welcoming.
The sleek and stylish Bep Eatery can be found in two skyway locations now. The build-your-own bowl you choose what proteins, vegetables and herbs go into your pho and the counter-service crew tops it off with broth and noodles.
6. Phở 79
The rich, sweet broth of Pho 79’s signature dish doesn’t skimp on the greens or the meat. Order the Special Pho 79 that comes with rare lean beef, well done flank, fat brisket, soft tendon, tripe, and meatballs.
7. Ngon Vietnamese Bistro
This upscale fusion bistro in St. Paul strives to use local and sustainable products whenever possible. While drawing inspiration from around the world Ngon also excels when serving classic Vietnamese fare, including pho. You might as well splurge on Ngon’s $11 ribeye variation, which has broth derived from grassfed oxtails. Ngon means delicious in Vietnamese, and the name is apt.
Don’t let the pop culture iconography of iPho by Saigon fool you. The broth is a classic mixture of spices like cloves and star anise, boiled for hours to reach its savory perfection. With fifteen different options, including seafood and vegetarian options, as well as three different sizes--regular, x-large, and jumbo--iPho by Saigon will never freeze and crash on you like the technology that bears its name.
9. Trieu Chau
Saint Paul, MN 55103
Located on a small hill along University Avenue in St. Paul, Trieu Chau is a mecca for lovers of Vietnamese food, including pho. The restaurant's broth is clear and slightly sweet with hints of star anise and the service always friendly.
10. Pho Ca Dao
The broth at Pho Ca Dao is as clear enough to see to the bottom of the bowl and instead of cilantro on the side, Pho Ca Dao offers culantro, an aromatically stronger cousin of cilantro. Plan accordingly, Pho Ca Dao only serves pho and eggrolls and is cash only.