Locations: 3855 17 Ave SW
1829 Ranchlands Blvd NW
*Photos are from Ranchlands location*
This place is one of my family’s favourite Vietnamese restaurants to go to. This is one of the only Vietnamese places I know that is packed regardless of what time of day it is. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that both locations are very small and therefore fills up quickly. When we go, we usually go for dinner even though Vietnamese food is usually like a lunch thing for my family. I’m actually surprised that the staff don’t know us and our orders by now since we go so much, but to be fair, they must see hundreds of people a day and remembering the orders of one family isn’t realistic.
Each time we go, we order the same thing, or at least rotate through a few menu items in particular. My sister, for example, will always go for the Bun Bo Hue (or Bún Bò Huể) Bun Bo Hue doesn’t feature pho, the noodles in the bun bo hue are rounder and smoother than udon (and not as fat and starchy), they’re actually pretty similar to silver needle noodles. The soup base is a beautiful red hinting at the heat behind the dish. However, this kind of spiciness is different from a lot of the other kinds of spiciness you’d expect from phos. For me, I have one go to pho dish and one go to bún dish. If I’m having pho, my mom and I both go for the Huong Viet’s special sate beef noodle soup. It’s one of the best sate soups I’ve had and all others fall flat in comparison to it. The bún dish I normally go for is the combo three (B6-which is grilled shrimp paste, BBQ pork & spring rolls) because it’s the only one with grilled shrimp paste, which is one of my favourite things ever (Pho Kim has a pretty good variation of this; shrimp paste wrapped around a sugar cane stalk, a beautiful combination of sweet and salty). I can’t seem to recall what my dad usually orders, but he loves beef stew, so that’s usually what he gets, otherwise he gets the same as my sister. Something I like to do with my mom is I order the bún and my mom orders the pho and we share, that way we can have the best of both.
In terms of appetizers, we’ve pretty much tried everything. It may be my memory, but I think the 17th Ave location’s calamari has less breading/batter on the outside making it more enjoyable than the Ranchland location. Calamari will always be my favourite and I continue to look for more opportunities to try all the calamari at the restaurants I go to.
In terms of accessiblity, both locations are pretty hard to access. The Ranchland location is up a set of pretty steep stairs. And while the 17th Ave location doesn’t have stairs, it has a step that is kind of hard to get up onto. Furthermore, both entrances are pretty narrow and fitting a wheelchair or even a walker through is hard.
This is my go to place for Vietnamese food that has me coming back time and time again. I don’t even mind the wait here. We’re usually in and out pretty quick and the food is always good. It’s definitely not fine dining, but who cares when it’s happiness in a bowl. I’d give this place a 4.5/5.