NYCGuide

Where To Eat Phở In NYC

When it's cold outside and you need a bowl of noodle soup, head to one of these spots.
Where To Eat Phở In NYC image

photo credit: Kate Previte

Maybe the thought of deeply aromatic broth with noodles hit you as soon as you woke up this morning, or maybe you just need something warm and comforting because it's several degrees below freezing outside. Either way, it sounds like you need a good bowl of phở. Read on for some of our favorite options made with 14-hour brisket, tendon, tripe, chicken, and more.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Phuong Vo

Vietnamese

Upper West Side

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerFirst/Early in the Game DatesLunchOutdoor/Patio Situation

This popular place on the Upper West Side has a few different varieties of phở—including a dry veggie version with mushroom broth on the side for dipping—but our favorite is the dặc biệt. It comes with fall-apart tender brisket, fatty tendon, and crunchy strands of tripe in an intensely flavorful star-anise-and-cinnamon-forward broth. We hate it when meat comes overcooked in phở. That won’t happen here. The thin slices of beef arrive appropriately rare, so they can reach a nice medium temperature after a few minutes.

Picture the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you in the past year. The phở bac at this popular East Village spot is similar to that, in that you won’t be able to stop thinking about it in excruciating detail. The broth is rich and deep in flavor, the filet mignon and brisket are perfect, and the hefty servings of chopped cilantro and pickled garlic bring this bowl of soup over the top. We’d like to add this combination of ingredients to everything we cook at home, but a huge cauldron of simmering beef bones, ginger, and star anise just won’t fit into any of our apartments.

photo credit: Ben Hon

$$$$Perfect For:Big Groups

The “madame pho” at Madame Vo (The Very Unofficial Infatuation Best Dish Title in NYC) is rich and aromatic, with lots of warming spices that will make you question why cinnamon isn’t in more savory dishes. And while the baseline $20 bowl is full of sliced rare beef and meatballs, with all the usual suspect fixings, you really are missing out if you don’t get the $10 short rib add-on. It’s a giant, succulent dinosaur-style rib bone that’ll save you a trip to the pet store, because you’ll likely be taking at least part of your bowl home in a container.

You’ll have to schedule your phở date with Mắm, but it will be worth it. This tiny Chinatown restaurant rotates through different Vietnamese specialties, and you need to pre-order on Hot Plate to reserve a seat. Keep an eye out for phở days. We’ve spent many a rainy Monday dipping pieces of skin-on poached chicken into their lemongrass chili sauce before spooning it into our mouths with noodles and a flavorful but light broth. Or, look for a phở bo night if you’re more interested in fatty beef and an extra herbaceous broth. Both bowls have wide rice noodles with a bit of a bite, and the meat-to-noodle ratio properly treats meat as the main.

photo credit: Noah Devereaux

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Phở Grand

There’s a constant flow of delivery workers walking into this Vietnamese restaurant on the LES. That doesn’t mean this place isn’t good for eating in though. You can choose from over 20 varieties of phở, but don’t overthink it. Just get the #1. The medium-rich broth is that ideal middle ground between too heavy and watered down, and we love the gelatinous tendon and thinly sliced brisket and eye round.

Lucy’s whole thing is brisket smoked for 14 hours, and they’re really f*cking good at it. Order the brisket phở and you’ll get thick, tender slabs of meat similar to what you’d find at a BBQ joint, with deeply herbaceous Vietnamese flavors. They give you a generous amount of meat, and the broth is so flavorful that there’s no need to dump a bunch of sauces in there. Add a couple summer rolls and a Vietnamese coffee, and you’ll be in beefy bliss.

Nón Lá is a tiny, sparsely-decorated place that should be one of your go-to spots for Vietnamese food in the East Village. Their phở broth leans light, but it’s still packed with plenty of flavor, with notes of star anise and clove. We suggest squeezing in a little lime and hoisin right away. Get the phở with brisket, which is so tender and satisfying that you’ll have to ask how it was prepared.

photo credit: Kate Previte

High Lúa is our favorite place to get phở in Williamsburg, and we especially recommend their classic beef or chicken options. The broth here relies more on aromatics than salt for flavor. In fact, there’s so much going on that even if you normally add hoisin or chili paste to your phở, you might want to consider skipping it. The noodles are a little thicker than they are at some other spots, but we like the texture.

District Saigon should be your go-to for phở in Astoria. They’re one of your only Vietnamese options in the area, and they do not take this responsibility lightly, offering a few different styles of phở and really nailing them. Our favorites are the smoked brisket phở with a super smoky broth and the vegan phở with a slightly sweeter broth under a generous mound of green vegetables and tofu. The District Phở also deserves a nod for its beefy bone marrow meatballs.

Thái Sơn is a Chinatown classic for a reason. Everything on the expansive menu is good, but a lot of people come here just for the phở. Their broth is particularly rich and salty, and if a standard-size bowl isn’t enough, you can upgrade to an extra large for around a dollar. We like to round out our meal with an order of ultra-crispy spring rolls.

At this Vietnamese spot on the LES, both a beef and chicken phở are available. We prefer the latter, which comes with broth that tastes like it's been cooking for at least two days straight. You’ll get a pleasant sourness in the soup, and it’s filled with plenty of herbs, onions, and chubby boneless pieces of chicken. On your way out, grab some pre-packaged items like mung bean rice balls and pandan coconut jelly.

This Sheepshead Bay staple has been a local favorite since the early '90s, and it’s time more people know about it. The broth here is light but flavorful, and the noodles have a pleasant chew. The #1 phở, which comes with a little bit of all things beef, is the classic, but we also love getting a bowl of noodle soup with a perfectly charred pork chop on the side for a bit of variation.

You’ll feel like an extremely lucky person to be eating any of the five bowls of phở at Di An Di. But the phở thìn hà nội is the one we keep coming back for. It’s packed with tender brisket, noodles, and at least two large handfuls of scallions, along with an egg yolk on top—and it could easily be shared amongst four people. We recommend you hoard as much of it for yourself as you can.

photo credit: David A. Lee

$$$$Perfect For:Cheap EatsBig Groups

You’ll find some of the best phở in Chinatown at this 1980s-era restaurant, which specializes in the regional cuisine of Teochew. All of the soups are under $11, and you have your choice of flat noodles or thin egg noodles. The clear broth in the special beef noodle soup—which comes topped with a heap of fresh herbs—is a textbook example of how to do something simple and very, very well.

This mostly Vietnamese restaurant in Chelsea is a typical casual neighborhood spot that you can walk into any night without a reservation, and you should come here primarily for the classic phở. It's straightforward and will satisfy any craving for a comforting bowl of soup, with only one type of beef (eye round) in a subtly sweet broth with scallions and herbs. You’ll also get some whole chili peppers on the side, which we haven’t seen anywhere else.

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Suggested Reading

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The Best Bánh Mì In NYC

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Whether you need a soup, a sandwich, or 14-hour smoked brisket, these are our favorite places to eat Vietnamese food in the city.

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Lê Phin is a cafe in the East Village with signature Vietnamese coffee drinks and a cute space where you can pretend to get some work done.

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