Ok, all you Pho soup fangirls and fanboys, this one’s for you. We’ve rounded up the spots in the city where to get the best of Vietnam’s proud national dish, the Pho soup, in Vienna. For those of you not familiar with the fad of Pho, this beef/chicken noodle soup, infused with basil, cloves and ginger, accompanied by extra bean sprouts, a spicy sauce, Hoisin (sweet and salty sauce), coriander and a wedge of lemon, make for a terrifically satisfying welter of flavours.
And on our slurping soup journey we discovered that it’s not only the noodles that are entangled in this culinary Vietnamese delight, but also the owners, who are basically all either related to each other or acquainted, in friendship or competition, on who best brings the flavours of home to Vienna.
Here are 7 of our favourite places for Pho in Vienna.
Vietnam Bistro – Best Pho
Where: Schönbrunner Straße 72, 1050
The look of the place may make you go ‘Meh,’ but the Pho will make you let out a long, drawn-out, ‘Mmmmmmm.’ This tiny takeaway place fills up daily around lunch as those in the know in the neighbourhood cram in to its poky seating area for its tasty Vietnamese menu. The service is all about getting the job done and getting the dish to you as quickly as possible. The Pho soup comes in a big bowl, and beautifully presented, with the standard sides (including fresh chili) that typically accompany the soup, while a spring roll starter is recommended.
Pho bo (beef) = 7.90€
Spring rolls = 2.90€
Vietthao – Best Pho
Where: Friedrichstraße 2, 1010
Only open in the evening (and full almost every single one of them) it’s safe to say the word is out about the tasty Vietnamese cuisine being served up at Vietthao. And the owner will proudly tell you that they’ve won the competition happening amongst the Vietnamese places in the city (that all seem to know each other) for THE best Pho in town. Every bowl of the famed Vietnamese soup that goes out is prepared by his wife, who’s secret ingredient is ‘alot of love and passion,’ they tell us. And while we don’t like to play favourites, the Pho here is one flavoursome bombshell, full of all the complex characteristics a good Pho soup should involve – a clean beef broth taste, good quality, thinly-cut beef strips, fresh leafy sides, and the bánh phở rice noodles, which just so happen to be homemade. Be sure to reserve here.
A main dish = 8.90–12.90€
Nguyen‘s Pho House – Best Pho
Where: Lerchenfelder Straße 46, 1080
Pho fangirls and fanboys have descended on this place like a bunch of really hungry, slurping ninjas (because ninjas are cool). Without any advertising since this eatery opened in 2013, its furniture that looks like it could be used in a real life Tetris game is full and the open kitchen is churning out fresh, light dishes at lunch and dinner. And according to Anna Nguyen and her husband Nghi, it all comes down to the heart they put into it … not literally, but you know what we mean.
“We cook the dishes we love from home and we cook them with plenty of heart.”
“Nghi is here at 7am every morning to prepare the Pho as he just loves cooking.”
Check out our full review of Nguyen’s Pho House, here.
Pho Bo (beef) = 7.90€
Goi Cuon (pork and prawns) summer rolls = 3.90€
Hanoi – Best Pho
Where: Mariahilferstraße 168, 1150
MON–FRI: 11am–3pm & 5pm–11pm
This is the place that has been serving up Pho soup even before it was cool. This is a family business where the son also plays the role of the nice waiter. The decor is (Hmmmm, how to describe it?) very green and looks like it’s an old Beisl that has been morphed into a Vietnamese restaurant, complete with Buddha at the door. The Pho soup served up looks very creative and different to the others we’ve sampled in the city, with the classic thin beef strips accompanied by meatballs end slices of hard boiled egg. The creativity is also in the setting, decorated in full kitsch, with fake lotus flowers overlooking a giant green Buddha statue on the bar. The artistic inclinations of the place can also be spotted on the plates that serve appetisers and mains with flowers carved out of various colourful vegetables.
The spectacle is also confirmed by the mix of flavours in the soup, strong tasting and hard to forget.
Pho Bo, Ga or Lam bo (beef, chicken or lamb) = 9.90€
Summer rolls = 3.90€
Happy Vietnam – Best Pho
Where: Neubaugasse 45, 1070
This hole in the wall is easy to miss, and we have to admit we almost left it out, hadn’t it been recommended by the daughter of the owner of another famous Pho place in the 7th district. Happy Vietnam is a small Vietnamese fast food eatery on Neubaugasse, where most customers get their meals to go, however, there’s also a few seats to stay and slurp. The Pho lives up to the fast food nature of the place and comes “ready-made,” with the sprouts, leaves and chilies already added to the broth, rather than on the side. The frying pots and pans of the kitchen, that are in sight from each of the 8 seats inside, make up the background noise here. And as for the soup, it definitely gets the job done: it’s freshly made, intensely flavoured and delicious, yet completely unpretentious, just like the prices and the look of the place.
Pho bo (beef) = 7.80€
Pho Cho Lon – Best Pho
Where: Zieglergasse 6, 1070
MON–THU: 11am–3:30pm & 5:30pm–10pm
FRI & SAT: 11am–10pm
This is one of our favourite refuges off of the busy Mariahilferstraße. Just half a block from the stressful shopping street hides this little restaurant with a dimly-lit atmosphere and the smell of flavours that simply pull you in off the street. They serve their dishes very elegantly, and while this is something hard to make happen with soup, they somehow manage to pull it off: the very thinly cut beef slices are placed almost like petals of a flower gently floating on top of the broth, and are accessorised with fresh herbs, shallots and bean sprouts.
We also recommend: that you check out the whole list of soups and try the one with crispy duck on top, for a change.
Pho bo (beef): 9.90€
Pho84 – Best Pho
Where: Neubaugasse 84, 1070
We love going to this place, mainly because of the pleasure of our own pun-intended nickname – Pho-Eighty-Pho. Get it?? Anyway, excuse us for our love for palindromes. Moving on – did you know that the lady who owns this place also owns a hairdresser further up the street? She’s not the cook though, yet only the smiling presence coming in between haircuts to check on soup slurpers and the atmosphere. The cook comes from Hanoi and offers in the selection of dishes a cross country Vietnamese journey.
And they make a damn good Pho soup! The aromas, fresh herbs and spicy broth were the actual elements that keep us coming back to this relatively new place, again and again. In its short life, Pho84 has proven its worthiness as a contender for the city’s best Pho.
Pho Bo (beef): 7.90€
Spring Roll: 3.90€