The Best Pho Spots In Houston

When it's cold outside or a Tuesday night, here are the best spots for phở in Houston.
The Pho Ga soup from Cali Sandwiches & Pho, surrounded by various dishes.

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Houstonians eat phở for breakfast, use it as an allergy season remedy, and in desperate times, plead for it to correct the choices made during an evening out. Thankfully, the Vietnamese soup is accessible at every hour of the day, or for that one cold day a year.


photo credit: richard casteel



$$$$Perfect For:LunchQuick EatsLiterally Everyone
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Thiên Ân Sandwiches is a no-nonsense, simple, family-run place with great Vietnamese food. Constantly busy, Thíên Ân whips out bowls of phở large and small, with miniature broth-only bowls adorably named “phở baby.” While other dishes at Thíên Ân, like the bánh xeo stuffed crepe, are more popular, the phở is not too heavy or light.

While Cali is king for bánh mì, it’s also the grand duke of phở. Every bowl arrives steaming as if powered by its own internal heat source. Thin, delicious circles of fat dot the broth’s surface coating the entire soup with full, rich flavor. At $12 for a combination beef bowl, this phở can and will fill you up for an entire day, so throw on some stretchy pants if you plan on taking on a large order. 

Huynh is a beloved neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant in EaDo close to the convention center where every diner is treated like a regular. Soup here ranges from standard hot-as-hell bowls of phở tai with thinly shaved beef to the house special: aromatic bún bò huế. Order phở Vietnamese-style for all the meats and don’t be shy about using every last fleck of fresh herbs.

Most late nights, folks wait for a table at Mai’s Restaurant as though stumbling around a hospital’s triage waiting area. Dressed in club wear, everyone clamors for a table as staff whizz by squawking, “excuse me!” with heavy, loaded trays. Ask for any phở, and you be rewarded just as quickly with a massive bowl of broth, vermicelli, and tender beef that will erase whatever choices you may or may not have made that sent you to Mai’s in the first place.

One of the only places where you can get hand cut vermicelli noodles, this Chinatown restaurant serves small and large bowls with your choice of small noodles—the standard vermicelli at nearly every phở spot—or Phở Sapa’s specialty wide rice noodles. Steaming bowls arrive mere seconds after ordering. The subtle, clarified hot broth silky with soft vermicelli feels light and airy. We suggest getting wide noodles with a bowl of phở dặc biệt if you want to try a bit of everything (including tripe and brisket), or choose your own meat topping adventure.

photo credit: Richard Casteel

$$$$Perfect For:LunchQuick Eats

Family-run for decades, Kim Tài is one of the few remaining original Vietnamese restaurants in Midtown. Yeah, the entire building needs at least a coat of paint, and we’re not going to rush the long-standing husband and wife team that runs this place. While you wait, watch whatever glitzy karaoke show silently plays across the TV, and enjoy the rich gold mine of phở that the owners bring to the table just for you.

It’s impossible to see to the bottom of a bowl of phở at the counter-service spot Les Ba’get. We imagine a well of aromatic, beef-based broth that goes on forever somewhere in the kitchen, full of shimmering dark-brown liquid gold. And if the broth isn’t enough beef for you, add on lean or fatty brisket, with a side of lemongrass-grilled beef bone marrow.

Dakao makes enjoying a bowl of hot soup a slightly eerie uncanny valley experience. The entire restaurant resembles a very fake-looking garden with fever-dream decor of cloud ceiling tiles and Edward Scissorhands-style topiaries. Here phở is the sun all other dishes orbit around, like the phở gà lòng trứng non with chicken, giblets, and soft egg, or the miến gà with springy glass noodles as opposed to vermicelli.

If you only have 15 minutes for a meal, you can rely on Phở Saigon. The Midtown location is the type of place you go to eat phở alone in silence. Meditative trance music plays softly over the speakers in this dimly lit strip mall spot. The food comes out unbelievably fast. No one will talk to you (too much). The soup may not blow you away, but it’s utilitarian, and definitely one of the fastest. And sometimes, a bowl that appears nearly as quickly as it's ordered is all you really need.

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Suggested Reading

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The best pho, bún bò huế, and bánh mì that Houston has to offer.

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When it comes to Houston restaurants, think of this guide as your crash course.

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