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