Pho Quinn (Toronto)

Maybe I’ve been conditioned to have low expectations for good service while dining at a pho place. Having mostly visited holes-in-the-wall where getting your order in a timely manner and having someone bring the bill to the table to save you a trip to the cashier is five-star service, I was pleasantly surprised when I was greeted warmly when entering, asked whether I’d like our bean sprouts boiled or raw, and the chopsticks and spoons weren’t already on the table but brought over in a mug of boiling water.  Pho Quinn claims top spot, in terms of service, for a pho restaurant in my chart.

Their positive attributes don’t stop at the hospitality, it extends to the food as well. The pho broth is flavourful and not greasy; the type that you can have a lot of and keeping drinking after the noodles are gone. I’d recommend they cook their noodles a little less since they will continue expanding in the soup, but I’m also a lover of pasta al dante so may not be the typical palette. There was a decent portion of protein in their raw beef, brisket, and tendon pho ($10 for a small) with massive chunks of tendon that were chewy and tender.

Being my first experience with the bún riêu vermicelli soup ($11.50), I’m torn on whether it’s something I’d order again. Maybe if I’m in the mood for a richer bowl of noodles, given its broth is saltier with the shrimp paste flavours shining through. The tofu puffs are a great edition as it helps soak in the soup and their chewiness goes nicely with the tender Vietnamese meatballs - finely minced pork paste that is squeezed into clumps, which break apart easily with each bite.

Aside from that, there’s one shrimp (for the entire bowl of noodles) and pieces of tomato that must have been added raw as it cools down the soup. Aside from the not-hot-enough temperature, I would have liked the soup to be spicy as well; luckily, there’s chili sauce at the table. Lastly, the bún riêu arrives with lai fun noodles, which are silkier than the pho’s rice noodles and goes nicely with the stronger both.

We skipped the spring rolls and tried the deep-fried shrimp bean curd ($7.50) instead. Sandwiched between the flaky bean curd sheets is shrimp paste that adds a chewy meatiness against the light crispy layers.  

With COVID still underway, Pho Quinn’s dining room is ideally set up with tables in individual booths and added plexi-glass at the top to create even greater separation. It made for a comfortable dining experience. The great service continued throughout the meal: they cleared away unneeded plates as we finished dishes, they were attentive with our bill, and even came around to ask how we were enjoying the food. This visit to Pho Quinn may have spoiled me - from now on I’m going to have much greater expectations from others going forward. 

Overall mark - 8.5 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 2900 Warden Avenue (Bridlewood Mall)

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - 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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