Pho 88 (North York)

Location: North York, Canada
Address: 5197 Yonge Street
Website: http://www.pho88.ca/
Type of Meal: Dinner 


There’s no hiding it … I love pho. Something about the rich but not overly heavy broth, thin noodles and simple ingredients makes me happy. It’s the first thing I crave when I return home from a long vacation. There’s an abundance of it around the city and prices are unbelievably low for something that tastes so good! But, not every place makes it great – you can refer to this post for my top picks.

One evening my friends and I needed a quick dinner and found the line at Kinton Ramen way too long. Luckily, Pho 88 was just doors away and held promise for the same thing we craved – a big bowl of noodles and broth. Until this occasion, I’ve only been to Pho 88’s Scarborough location, which has always satisfied me. But, after eating at the North York location I wonder if they are even related given their menu and taste differs so much.

The spring roll platter ($11) was an enticing starter. Included were a good selection of the traditional favourites: deep fried chicken spring rolls, deep fried shrimp rolls and fresh cold shrimp rolls. On the side, a trio of sauces: peanut & chili, sweet chili Thai and a Vietnamese vinaigrette.


We weren’t impressed with the platter. The two fried versions could have been hotter. It’s either because it wasn't cooked long enough or there being too many layers of wrapper, but there was a doughiness to the roll’s inside. Additionally, there was too much filler (taro and yellow beans) such that the chicken was barely recognizable and even the shrimp rolls contained some. The cold roll was worse – the noodles were hard and the shrimp not at its freshest.

My pho, the plain rare and well-done beef ($6.75 for the small shown below; $7.75 for medium or $8.75 for large), was a touch better. But, it was really was just a hair better. The broth was a tad watery lacking that deep beef bone essence you’d expect. The beef was decent and lean but there was but a few slices and for a bowl that’s supposed to contain rare and well-done it arrived looking the same. The noodles were fine and the one saving grace to the meal.  


So, yes, I love pho. But, I’m definitely not in love with Pho 88’s North York location.

Overall mark - 5.5 out of 10

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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