The creators of Ivy’s Pho House (the same Martin Ho crowd that gave birth to the inventive sushi restaurant, DOTS) on Mariahilferstraße, opened in 2017 another pho-king location (sorry, we couldn’t help it. Warning: more wordplays ahead), with a more generous setting, dedicated to the traditional Vietnamese soups that made them popular, along with a few Vietnamese BBQ dishes.
Ivy’s Pho & Grill is a true disruptor on one of Vienna’s most traditional shopping streets…
Wipplingerstraße is lined with shoemakers, jewellers and flower shops in buildings that all have lived some serious years of history. This street food-style Vietnamese eatery stands out as the street’s rebel that shines a purple neon sign amongst centuries of Austrian tradition.
The fun begins on the street.
The fun here at Ivy’s Pho & Grill begins on the street – the high, no-fuss wooden tables and long benches make up their modest Schanigarten for any pho-slurper who likes their street food, on the street. Everybody else is invited to step inside and be transported to a playful, dimly-lit, sleek and pop-py restaurant.
The long and narrow hall has walls covered in vintage Vietnamese propoganda posters, photos and Japanese manga stars, like Astro boy and other giant lego-like creatures watching over it all.
This all leads to the open kitchen, below the purple neon sign that reads Ivy’s Pho House – this is where the food of your pho-ntasy happens.
The richly flavoured broth that makes the base of the Vietnamese soup that somehow made it into global pop culture, the Pho, is cooked here fresh, every day. And as every pho fan boy and girl knows – this is important.
They serve a magnificent version of the classic Pho Bo (beef pho), complete with a side of fresh herbs, while their veggie version with tofu and avocado is just as tasty.
The ‘Anti-Hangover Pho’, that comes with a shot of Henessy mixed in is an interesting twist and makes for the perfect hair-of-the-dog hangover cure.
Come for the pho, stay for the Vietnamese BBQ dishes.
But here’s the thing. We already knew from the Mariahilfer joint that Ivy’s know their way around a good broth.
What we really came to check out was the Vietnamese BBQ side of the menu.
The options are few, and leaves us wanting more selection, but all of the inclusions are tempting.
We go for the lemongrass chicken – crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, the chicken is seasoned with a lemongrass-based marinade that works.
This, along with a simple fresh noodle salad and the Vietnamese ‘Hanoi’ beer to wash it all down has us feasting without leaving our monthly income behind (as is sometimes the risk in the fancy-schmancy city center).
Sharing of a Vietnamese banquet is encouraged…
Things are kept refreshingly simple in the menu. All the classic Vietnamese bites are there, like spring rolls (which are outstanding) and summer rolls, as well as a variety of dim sums (pork & crab, anyone?). And not only is the food impressive, it’s inexpensive, making this an ideal place for feasting with friends.
There’s nothing better than a restaurant that delivers on serving up the whole package you want when dining out – a unique experience, atmosphere and kitchen. Ivy’s Pho & Grill certainly ticks all of these boxes.