Turtle Tower review image

Turtle Tower


501 6th St, San Francisco
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

On those chilly San Francisco nights when you need something to thaw out your mildly frozen soul, the answer is always Turtle Tower. The casual Vietnamese restaurant in SoMa is churning out phở that’s more effective at warming us up than our favorite space heater. But even when it’s 85 degrees out, you’ll still find us here, finishing off a massive bowl of wonderful noodle soup.

Turtle Tower makes Hanoi-style phở, so don’t expect to see a pile of bean sprouts, herbs, and other garnishes arriving with your soup on the side. But their phở doesn’t need the extras to be fantastic. The thick, flat rice noodles are the main event—they’re always boiled to bouncy perfection. And the broth is intensely flavored with chicken or beef, depending on which soup you order. You’ve got ten different phở options, with toppings like soft chicken strips or beef stewed in wine sauce. When in doubt, go with the fragrant phở bò dặc biệt, which comes with a mountain of well-done beef, tripe, and rare beef.

The rest of the menu covers everything from rice plates and bánh mì to specials like sticky rice with steamed chicken and Chinese sausage. Everything on it is solid, but the phở outshines them all. Whether it’s the dead of winter or lunchtime on a random weekday, know that Turtle Tower will magnetically pull you back, again and again.

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Food Rundown

Turtle Tower review image

photo credit: Sarah Felker

Phở Bò Ðặc Biệt

Filled with three types of beef (well-done, rare, and tripe), this soup is our go-to. It’s meaty, and the broth is perfectly spiced and light.

Turtle Tower review image

photo credit: Sarah Felker

Phở Gà

Chicken phở usually isn’t our first choice at other phở spots, but since tasting Turtle Tower’s, we’re converts. Their version is topped with strips of chicken that soak up the soup really nicely. It’s a standout every time we come here.

Bánh Mì

Solid, but nothing to write home about. Stick with the soup.

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