8 Great Vietnamese Restaurants In Austin

The best spots to get pho, bún bò Huế, bánh mì, and more in Austin.
8 Great Vietnamese Restaurants In Austin image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Asking us to pick our favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Austin is like asking us to choose which of our hypothetical children we love the most—it’s impossible. But just like in your fake family, we can accept that every member/spot has its strengths. So we picked our favorite places to get a few classic Vietnamese dishes. From pho and bún bò Huế, to bánh mì sandwiches and bánh xèo, here’s where to go for Vietnamese food in Austin. 


photo credit: Richard Casteel


North Austin

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The pho at Pho Phong Lu’u is our favorite in town, and we’re clearly not the only people in agreement, as evidenced by the line spilling out of this North Austin restaurant around lunchtime every weekend. It also happens to be one of the few Vietnamese spots in town open at 10am, meaning you can actually enjoy a bowl of pho for a late breakfast as the dish was intended. The broth here is incredibly aromatic, with notes of cinnamon and clove permeating through the rich aroma of slow-cooked beef bones. The meats on top are pretty standard, with the exception of the savory meatballs, among the best in town. 

What to order: Pho with meatballs

A trip to Fresh Bowl in North Austin is one of the best ways to kick off a week. In part for the ube coffee—basically a ca phe sua da with a bit of ube syrup in it—the other part is for the bánh mì. There are a few different options here, but all of them arrive on a housemade baguette that arrives toasted and puffy, resulting in an audible crunch and a small shower of crumbs after each bite, We like to get the house special—made with a tiny mountain of cold cuts and roasted meats, plus a very generous spread of pâté and mayo. Fresh Bowl also has a pretty big menu of Vietnamese specialties, including pho made with fresh rice noodles, vermicelli bowls, and hot pots. 

What to order: House special bánh mì

1618 Asian Fusion on East Riverside wears a lot of hats. Dim sum brunch? Check. Pho, pad thai, and Peking duck? You might think that a place casting such a wide net might stretch itself a little thin, but despite the broad menu, there are a few things 1618 does especially well, including Vietnamese noodle soups like pho and hủ tiếu. 1618’s hủ tiếu is a little on the sweet end, but in a way that helps to highlight some of those deep, savory flavors in the pork broth. It’s not a dish that a ton of restaurants in Austin offer, either. But sometimes when you cast a wide enough net, you end up catching some great stuff.

What to order: Hủ tiếu Saigon

There’s a pretty extensive list of Vietnamese specialties at Tan My near 183 and Ohlen Road, and we’d put just about all of them into the top tiers of their respective categories here in Austin. But right at the top of them all is the central Vietnamese specialty, bún bò Huế, that pairs a bright and fiery orange broth with thick, chewy rice noodles, fresh herbs, a few slices of beef, and savory cubes of congealed pork blood. It’s spicy, with a strong lemongrass flavor that we think about as soon as the temperature drops below 80°—though that certainly hasn’t stopped us from ordering it in triple-digit temps. 

What to order: Bún bò Huế

Despite what the name might indicate, most of the dishes at Fresh Tofu on North Lamar do not, in fact, contain any tofu. Instead, you can expect to find a small menu of mostly Northern Vietnamese specialties like bún riêu, and bánh cuốn, the latter of which is our favorite thing to get here. Each order consists of a few long sheets of rice noodles that have been tightly rolled around a layer of minced pork and steamed until cooked through. Then they’re served with a bowl of fish sauce for dipping, and a pile of bean sprouts, cucumbers, and herbs to add a bit of freshness to it all. There’s also a handful of ready-to-eat dishes you can grab for later, including dumplings, steamed cakes, and silken tofu.

What to order: Bánh cuốn

Sip Pho—from the team behind Pho Please—offers great pho options in a beautiful and minimalist dining room and patio. The beef pho comes with all the classic options—like rare steak, brisket, tendon, and tripe—or you can get a bowl with a full beef short rib and feel like you’re in an episode of The Flintstones. They make a really tasty banh mi as well, if you’re not feeling particularly broth-inclined.

What to order: Beef pho

Even with the large size of the dining room at Sunflower in North Austin, there’s a decent chance you’ll show up at any given hour and find a wait. That’s because everyone is here to order from the large menu of central Vietnamese specialties, including bánh xèo—one of Sunflower’s signature dishes. The crispy rice flour crepe takes up half the plate, with the other half reserved for a small mountain of fresh herbs, pickled vegetables, and sheets of lettuce for building your own hand rolls. We like the pork and shrimp variety, but you can also sub out the pork for poultry or calamari. And it’s all served with a spicy fish sauce-based dip that adds a bit of brightness and heat to each bite. 

What to order: Bánh xèo

Le Bleu in North Shoal Creek is the grown-up, sit-down version of Saigon Le Vendeur, a small trailer on East 7th, that also specializes in bánh mì and vermicelli bowls, which just means that you have two access points for a couple of our favorite items in town. Bún bowls arrive with a lot of options, including a few that we haven’t found anywhere else in town—like lamb or garlic butter prawns—but we like to pair our rice vermicelli noodles with spicy, marinated chicken thighs since it’s pretty much the most tender version you’ll find around. There’s also a full menu of dishes including pho, bánh xèo, bò lúc lắc, and more.

What to order: Spicy chicken bún

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