Foodie Review: New Pho Bo Ga La

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Ottawa is addicted to Phở, the Vietnamese soup. A few years ago, one phở restaurant opened, then another one, and another one… and now phở places can be found from Chinatown to the far suburbs of Kanata.

Really, what’s not to like? Phở restaurants are typically cheap if not very fancy, and I guess the soup is quite comforting during our long winters.

Most phở restaurants operate on the same basis: a small menu, with mostly spring rolls as appetizers and different phở combinations (various cuts of meat). The items are numbered and you write your order on the piece of paper provided. Hot tea is almost always offered, as well as herbs and spices for your soup (i.e. mint, chili, lime wedges, etc.).

I’m not a huge fan of phở myself, I much prefer bún. It is typically a bowl of vermicelli served over a bed of bean sprouts and cucumber, topped with some meat (beef, chicken, pork or even shrimp) and chopped spring rolls, spring onions, roasted peanuts and a small bowl of nước chấm. Like with the phở, you can pick your ingredients (meat, spring rolls, etc.).

These two dishes are about $10 each and are very filling.

Not all phở places are created equal, and New Pho Bo Ga La is my favourite because of the efficient service and the fact the place is well-run and clean.

The Good

  • Super-fast service, can be in-and-out in 30 minutes.
  • Cheap and filling.
  • Free tea, lots of hot sauces available.

The Bad

  • Can get pretty packed.
  • Service is very impersonal, i.e. food is dumped on the table, period.
  • Doesn’t take debit.


At a glance

New Pho Bo Ga La (blue sign with a Buddha at the front)
763 Som­er­set St W (Chi­na­town)
Ottawa, ON K1R6R1
(613) 233-2222

A Bowl of Pho

A Bowl of "Bun" (Vermicelli)

New Pho Bo Ga La on Urbanspoon


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. So I see you branched off into food reviews now. I do that too, but not in my blog, instead, I Yelp! it.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’re a fan of Asian soups too. I have a friend, who I took to a pho shop, but thought that it was just bits and pieces of meat and vegetables swimming in broth. Needless to say, she wasn’t happy.

    • Originally, I started reviewing a few local on Yelp but I got very annoyed with the website because all of my reviews were filtered. I don’t want to waste time writing a thoughtful review if no one is going to read it! So I’m publishing them on my blog, which I actually think is a good idea. Just once in a while, for a change!

  2. I visited a Vietnamese restaurant when I was in Cambodia. The setting was beautiful, but too bad the menu was loaded with meat stuff… guess it’s common for the Viets’ diet. Not really a cuisine for vegetarians.

    But that said, I love noodles/vermicelli in soup! I’m a bi fan of soups and tonic concoctions. Guess it’s my Asian root! 😀

    • You know what, come to think of it I can’t think of a single vegetarian option in Vietnamese restaurants here! Must be cultural.

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