The Best Vietnamese Restaurants In Philly

The best pho, bún bò huế, and bánh mì that Philadelphia has to offer.
The Best Vietnamese Restaurants In Philly image

photo credit: Nicole Guglielmo

Vietnamese food is Philadelphia food, and we’re damn proud of it. South Philly is home to the East Coast’s largest Vietnamese population, but there are hundreds of Vietnamese restaurants all over the city. It’s dizzying, but it means we’ve become a go-to city for everything from pho and bún bò huế to ​​bánh mì and broken rice. From tiny, family-run eateries to spring roll-fueled banquet halls, these are the 12 best Vietnamese restaurants in Philadelphia.

photo credit: NICOLE GUGLIELMO



$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastCoffee & A Light BiteLunch
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The next time you want to dive into a book, have a memorable meal, and forget the rest of the world exists, come to this Vietnamese coffee shop in Kensington. While it’s perfect for a solo patbingsu parfait, they also have long tables great for a group to share the oniony broken rice porridge, cha fries that come covered with salsa roja and fried eggs, or crispy chicken ​​bánh mì coated with a sweet gochu glaze. Pair any of them with a dessert-worthy custard-layered egg coffee (made from beans sourced from Vietnam).

Vietnam is a one-two punch. The first floor of the dimly lit, wood-paneled restaurant has been serving huge vermicelli bowls, peppery pork claypot, and the city’s best spring rolls for over 40 years, while the second floor is a tiki bar, complete with flaming punch bowls and Mai Tais in colorful glasses. It’s a great option in Chinatown for groups looking to share huge portions of incredible food, but it’s cozy enough for a solo bowl of pho. Check out their sister restaurant, Vietnam Cafe, when you’re in West Philly. 

Bánh mì lovers worship at the altar of Ba Le, and with good reason. The Little Saigon sandwich shop and market is an institution, packed to the brim with everything from prepared deli meats and sweet treats to iced coffee and smoothies. But it’s the bánh mì—served on their housemade crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside baguette—that’s life changing. The warm bread is slathered in rich mayo and layered with things like pate, lemongrass chicken, or prawn patty. There’s no seating and the service is a bit chaotic, but one bite of #4 (stuffed with BBQ char xiu pork, pickled carrots, cucumbers, jalapenos, and cilantro) is worth a little turmoil.

photo credit: Nicole Guglielmo



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Locals are wild for Gabriella’s in East Passyunk (make a reservation or prepare for a Titanic it’s-been-84-years level wait). The specialty at the cozy BYOB is their whole fish, whether you get the sizzling catfish or crispy-fried red snapper, but you’d be remiss not to start with the shrimp-stuffed tapioca dumplings or wok-fried soft shell crabs. Don’t let the club music fool you—groups of friends may be dancing in their seats, but it’s more for the soulful spread on the table than the untz untz playing overhead. 

If you’re craving chicken pho—nay, any chicken dish at all—get yourself to Pho Ga Thanh Thanh, pronto. The broth is rich, the noodles are chewy, and the bone-in chicken (which is served on the side) is always juicy and tender. The restaurant takes up a large corner of Wing Phat plaza at 11th and Washington, and the friendly service moves quickly, so come solo for a comforting lunch, or with a big group for an early dinner.

The intersection of Passyunk and Snyder is an international restaurant row of sorts. There’s Little Morocco, Little Sicily Pizza, Mediterranean Cafe, and La Llorna Cantina. Lucky for us, there’s also Cafe Nhan, a cozy family-owned restaurant serving up Vietnamese comfort food. We love the rich oxtail pho and incredibly crispy chicken wings. But the bún bò huế, packed with marinated beef brisket, pig's feet, steamed pork roll, and housemade blood cubes is a must-try. The pungent flavors of star anise, fish sauce, annatto seeds, and Sichuan chili are balanced by the strong lemongrass broth. Order a limeade or Thai tea to keep your core temperature down.

Pho 75 is located in a strip mall right off Washington Ave. and you really can’t miss it—there’s a huge yellow banner on the side of the building with “Pho 75” written in red block letters at least six times. Your options at this classic Little Saigon spot are both very narrow and limitless. You’re getting pho (it’s pretty much the only thing on the menu), but there are at least 50 different combinations you can make with the meat alone. The well-done brisket and eye-round beef are what we always get, but get whatever feels right because there’s no bad bowl to be had here. And the broth—which is light and savory, meaty and herbal—is arguably the best in the city. 

The quintessential Vietnamese restaurant, Nam Phuong sits at the center of Little Saigon’s Wing Phat plaza (or what we affectionately refer to as "Chaos Corner.” If you’ve ever tried to park here, you would, too). Its walls are covered in murals of Vietnamese islands, chandeliers light up the endless rows of tables, and a TV plays videos of club goers grinding at Patong Beach. It can easily fit 100 people (and frequently does), but service is always fast and attentive. There’s something for everyone on the endless menu, but you can’t go wrong with the broken rice with grilled shrimp, smoky shaken beef, or the charbroiled pork platter.

Pho Ha is the no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point pho spot of our dreams. You’re seated at a communal table and served within five minutes at the strip mall restaurant at 6th and Washington. But the sparse decor and efficient service is not a reflection on the food—this broth, perhaps our favorite in the city, has the richest beef flavor of any we’ve tried, and every bowl is packed with large portions of meat. 

TBD The Breakfast Den, a cozy bohemian cafe at 15th and South, should really be called TVBD (The Vietnamese Breakfast Den). It’s not that the traditional American breakfast options are bad—the egg-and-cheese sammy and mini bacho cakes are pretty solid. But it’s the Vietnamese dishes that are the standouts. Sneak in during the week for crispy eggplant bánh mì and breakfast rice bowls, or take your chances amongst the masses on the weekends. The Thit Ko Hash—a mountain of tender pulled pork, jalapeño, melted cheddar, and two fried eggs—is worth the wait.

This South Street restaurant and shop serves—you guessed it—bánh mì and craft beer. But thinking that’s all they do is like thinking Tom Hanks just does a little acting. They also have sophisticated cocktails (if they have the tequila sunrise with passionfruit and egg white, get it), along with an extensive menu of Vietnamese street food and snacks. The chicken wings are perfectly crispy, the stuffed clams are tender and deliciously spicy, and the pork bao buns are a must-order. Pop into the industrial space anytime you’re feeling peckish—the small plates are always changing—but it tends to get busy on the weekends, so make a reservation if you’re going with a group.

Stepping into Pho Xe Lua is like stepping into the ’90s—tables are set with Chinese zodiac paper placemats, there’s a lobster tank in the entry, and scenes of palm trees and beaches are etched in enamel in the glass dividers. Time warp aside, it serves some excellent Vietnamese and Thai dishes in huge portions—the crispy spring rolls, pan-fried noodles with seafood, and shrimp pho are all standouts (and if you’re not sure what to get, the servers are more than happy to make recommendations). It can be tough to find when Chinatown is bustling, so keep an eye out for the glowing neon choo choo train in their window. 

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