Where To Eat Pho In Atlanta guide image


Where To Eat Pho In Atlanta

We can never forget about the hot bowl of broth, no matter what season it is.

Sometimes we need pho to comfort us when a polar vortex has descended upon the city. But since we also need its reviving powers whenever we’re feeling emotionally frigid on the inside, we can never forget about the hot bowl of broth, no matter what season it is. Here are some of our favorite places to warm up our bodies and our cold, cold hearts with the tasty Vietnamese noodle soup.


Pho Dai Loi 2

A glittery chandelier hangs above the large, otherwise generic beige-tiled dining area—a sharp contrast to the generally casual interior of Pho Dai Loi 2 on Buford Highway. We love the variety here and have yet to try a bowl we don't like—this is easily one of the best pho places in ATL. Goldilocks would be at home with the bowls in three sizes (the large IS large) and the most pho selections of any place in town. It’s hard to recommend just one, but try a bowl with rare beef because it’s so tender it falls apart as it makes the trip to your mouth and melts once it hits your tongue.

Slide into a booth at Nam Phuong on Buford Highway and settle in because it’ll take a long time to look through their menu, which feels like the size of War and Peace (and makes for better reading). Or just order the pho, because it’s the best thing on the long-ass menu (the pork intestines are a very close second). These bowls of pho are massive and could easily be shared by two people, but that would be weird, and we’re selfish. But we’ll generously share this guidance: don’t ruin your broth with extra condiments. It’s a little saltier than most places and honestly is perfect as is. The meat here can be a little tough, but that’s easily forgiven since you’ll really want to slurp the liquid gold broth down with a straw.

What We Suki Suki lacks in aesthetics, it more than makes up for in flavor. It’s a tight squeeze inside the narrow Qommunity (EAV’s global food collective), and at lunch time, it’s nearly impossible to find a seat at the few picnic tables inside. We almost always have to wait for our decent sized bowl of broth, but since this is one of our favorite pho spots in Atlanta, it’s always worth it. Their broth is marinated for 24 hours and packed with meat (get the eye of round beef pho), perfectly cooked noodles, and so much cilantro we almost mistook the bowl of greenery for a salad.  We wish we could guzzle this broth every day, but they’re only open Wednesday through Friday for lunch.

From the bright, loud yellow walls in the one-room dining area to the steady roar of conversation from diners and a constant stream of people picking up carryout orders, it’s safe to say Anh’s Kitchen will assault your senses. But the invasion of flavors is why we keep going back to this casual Vietnamese eatery in the heart of Midtown. Their expansive menu features everything from banh mi to clay pot dishes, but the pho is a crowd favorite. Get the filet mignon pho with medium-rare slices of beef or try one of their rotating specials with fun options like a lobster pho. The bowls are enormous and filled to the brim with thin, traditional rice noodles, but the meat (we’re still salivating over the tender beef) is the star of the show.

Whoever designed the interior of Mai Kitchen in VA Highlands had a love affair with cut-out shelves. They are everywhere and filled with bottles, flowers, and other knickknacks. The giant white-domed lighting fixtures make you feel like you might be beamed up at any moment. But it all pulls together to give off laid-back yet trendy vibes that we kinda dig. With only three pho options, it’s easy to feel a little cheated—until you taste the broth. Good things take time, so it’s marinated for a full 24 hours and is so hearty that you might be tempted to drink only the broth. The meat isn’t quite as good as its sister restaurant, Anh’s Kitchen (the brisket is a little tough while the filet mignon is solid), but the broth and perfectly cooked noodles make up for it.

When we’re craving a meal inspired by the street food scene of Saigon, we head to Lady Ha. It sits beneath the Ford Factory Lofts, just off the BeltLine. Although the interior with exposed brick walls and industrial chic light fixtures would be easy to write off as just more BeltLine development explosion, one bite of their banh mi's slathered with butter mayo will have you eating your words. While this isn’t strictly a pho spot, it’s still a solid stop when we’re craving some hot broth—the nearly-colorless house chicken pho reminds us of the comforting chicken noodle soup from our childhood. Stuffed with thin noodles and scallions, the cilantro is served on the side, so if your olfactory receptors have a thing against the herb (our condolences), you can still enjoy. 

For pho purists, Glenwood Park’s Pho Cue might come off as some type of unforgivable sin with its mixture of barbecue and pho. But it’s a tasty union we never knew we needed. There’s only one pho bowl on the menu, and it’s served with a choice of pulled pork, brisket, chicken, or mushrooms. The broth is brisket-based and has a distinct smoky barbecue flavor. We recommend the brisket, which fuses perfectly with the broth and is so tender it falls apart immediately with one poke of a chopstick. The rest of the menu is just as unique, with barbecue banh mi and banh fris (saucier than the banh mi and served over fries) and smoked brisket egg rolls that prove we love anything fried in a pastry wrapper.

Their trendy half-oval bar with neon blue and purple lights, minimalist interior, and plenty of tables for two make Le Fat a date night destination in West Midtown. With a variety of Vietnamese and Chinese fusion dishes that are our usual go-to’s (like the tasty chicken clay pot or drunken noodles, and always get the spicy green beans because, damn), we’re rarely here just for soup, but there is a brisket and meatball pho on the menu. It’s perfect for broth minimalists, as the bowl is packed down with so many noodles and a generous amount of meat that there isn’t quite as much broth—a plus since it weighs in on the bland side, so you’ll be grateful for the hearty portion of meat and the tableside hoisin sauce.

We Suki Suki is our usual pho spot in EAV but since they have limited hours, we can always come to So Ba when we need a fix. The small, unassuming green exterior is matched by their laid-back interior that squeezes in roughly 10 tables, which are always filled. Whether you’re having a casual date night, eating with your new baby in tow, or grabbing a cơm or bun dish with friends before hitting the bars, anything goes here. But the pho is the highlight with three sizes and eight different options (they’re all tasty). Order one with brisket and get extra for $3 because it melts in your mouth, and we always leave wanting more.

Dua on Broad Street in Downtown Atlanta serves up a variety of Vietnamese dishes. But as soon as you spy the restaurant’s logo, which includes a steaming bowl of pho, you’ll know what to order. The small interior is usually bursting with hungry GSU students waiting on carryout orders. Dua isn’t doing anything particularly novel with their pho (they offer all the usual meats along with shrimp and veggie options), but the broth is flavorful and the bowls are packed with a decent amount of noodles and cilantro. When we’re downtown and craving a bowl of hot broth, Dua’s always provides a quick, casual, and reliably good option.

The sleek white bar of Pho Nam is usually packed with people enthusiastically slurping up noodles or stuffing banh mi into their mouth. The pho combo has rare beef, meatballs, and fatty (phat-ty?) brisket and broth that only needs a little doctoring with your favorite condiments. Krog Street Market’s lunch and dinner rush mayhem is partially blocked out by the upside down parasols hanging from the ceiling and bar seating that faces the wall. Pho Nam’s pho won’t win any awards, but it’s a dependable option, especially if your crew can’t decide on a food genre and want to explore multiple options in the food hall.

With three locations (and a fourth on the way), Vietvana seems intent on bringing pho to every corner of Atlanta. Their Midtown location is typically packed with hordes of Georgia Tech students and jacked professionals from the nearby L.A. Fitness. We like Vietvana because it’s one of the few spots where you can build your own pho—there are five broth and 12 meat options. For meat lovers, get the Special Combination Beef pho, featuring meatballs, tripe, brisket, and flank steak (bring on the meat sweats). Their noodles are a little thicker than most pho spots in the city, but as Beyoncé told us (kinda) a little extra never hurt anybody. After, head to their dessert cases, which are stuffed with macarons, tiramisu, and cheesecake, all pretty solid when we need a sugar fix.

O Mi Ga is a stall inside the Municipal Market (a.k.a. Sweet Auburn Curb Market) serving pho and a variety of other salad and noodle dishes. We like to hit up O Mi Ga when we can’t be bothered to wait in a line of any size. Plus, the pho is packaged in carryout containers with the broth separate from the meat and veggies, so the textures stay fresh longer and you can dump it in whenever you’re ready to eat. The broth needs some help from sriracha and hoisin sauces, but when that pho craving hits and you need a fix, O Mi Ga will suffice.

Pho King is reliable and quick, so we’ll still hit it from time to time, but Pho King in Midtown should really be downgraded to Pho Duke because their pho feels more like a “Spare” (sorry, Harry). There are 10 pho options to choose from (steak is our pick), but they all need a bit of doctoring to take the broth to the next level. Though forgettable, their soup is adequate enough if you're in the area and need warm broth. The decor is likewise unremarkable except for a large wagon wheel with a rope on the back wall (don’t ask).

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photo credit: Tabia Lisenbee-Parker

Where To Eat Pho In Atlanta guide image