Showing posts with label Pho. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pho. Show all posts

Toronto Pho for Delivery

Note: Prices in post are based on regular menu prices and may be higher when using delivery services

For some people, the fall is signified by breaking out the boots and scarves; or for the youth, going back to school. In my books, it’s the return of bowls of steaming noodles and broth. My internal clock, which happens to be my stomach, yearns for it as soon as September hits. So, it wasn’t surprising to my husband when I announced that pizza was out, and pho was in.

Having followed Toronto Pho on Instagram for the better part of the year, they were the first company I called. Turns out they retired their own delivery service and now goes through Uber and Door Dash, so a quick zap of the app and my bowl of noods was on the way.

A deep-fried spring roll ($5.75 for two) goes with pho like cookies with milk. Sadly, Toronto Pho’s roll incorporates way too much taro, turning the filling into a crumbly bland mush. It didn’t help that the salt was non-existent, so all the flavours came from the sweet thin dipping sauce. Seriously, the frozen ones from the supermarket are better.

I’d go with the grilled rolls instead, our chicken version ($6.95 for two) was absolutely delicious, a bundle of vermicelli with bean sprouts and mint leaves, wrapped in lettuce, and then layered with grilled chicken and wrapped in a chewy rice sheet. The double roll helped keep the noodles soft while adding an extra crunch after getting through the soft rice wrapper. Meanwhile, the marinated grilled chicken had enough flavour but was further augmented by the savoury peanut sauce on the side.

The starters helped keep me satisfied while I heated up the broth in a pot and zapped the noodles in the microwave. Taking the five minutes to do this really helps enhance the experience. After all, I’m craving a steaming hot bowl of noodles… not lukewarm broth with clumped pho.

Toronto Pho’s broth packs a strong punch of spices (star anise and cinnamon?) and is seasoned well without becoming overwhelming. While Pho is never overly heavy, Toronto Pho’s soup feels extra “clear”, almost like a consommé than bone broth. It’s delicious, just not necessarily hearty.

The noodles remained chewy having been separated from the soup and there were plenty of toppings included with the bowl – the typical bean sprouts, Thai basil, and lime, but also a long leafy lettuce type vegetable and onions as well. Yum! I love the mix of herbs with pho.

They also didn’t skimp on the beef, there was plenty of it and soft tendon ($12.50) in my bowl. My only complaint was there was a thick end slice of the meat left with everything. Have you ever tried chewing through a cheap cut of lean beef that’s been sitting in transit for a while? Thank god I have the jaws of life.

I do have to give credit to Toronto Pho for using paper containers for their noodles and broth (sadly not the rolls, which is strange as there are plenty of small paper box options) and helping the environment.  While the experience wasn’t stellar, it nonetheless satisfied my “it’s-becoming-fall” stomach, and there will be plenty of grilled rolls and noodles in my future.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: Various locations
 Delivery: Uber and Doordash
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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!

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Angus Pho House 越来香 (Toronto)

A bowl of pho simply sooths the soul. The salty bone broth is nourishing without greasiness, the silky noodles filling without overpowering the soup and the other ingredients a good addition but never the stars.

Angus Pho House is quickly becoming my favourite place in the city. The dining room is small but brightly coloured artwork adorns the walls. I continuously get the beef brisket and beef tendon noodle soup ($7.95 for a small and $8.95 for the large): the brisket can be hit or miss (at times a few too many chewy bits) but the tendon always soft and sticky.

Aside from their great flavourful broth that’s not oily, the noodles are quickly cooked so they retain a delicate bite. The toppings – green onion, red onion, bean sprouts and Thai basil – are the traditional favourites and plentiful.

Sometimes, we also succumb to the Vietnamese spring rolls ($5.95), even though they’re not required given the sheer amount of noodles in the small bowl. The fillings also vary in quality, at times the taro overtaking the bits of minced pork inside. However, they have always arrived freshly fried with a crisp crust.

Angus Pho House’s menu offers a variety of options above the typical grilled meat on rice. Judging by other diners, their curry with roti, fried noodles and laksa noodles are also popular. Perhaps, maybe, who knows… I will try these other offerings. For now, I am satisfied with a hot steaming bowl of pho.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 5443 Yonge Street

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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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Pho in the GTA

Recently the Japanese ramen has been taking over Toronto with bowls of oily soup and hunks of tender meat. Although ramen is good, I can't help but go back to its Vietnamese cousin - pho. It still offers the comforting combination of hot soup and carby noodles, but with the added benefit of fresh vegetables and less oil.

With so many locations, options are endless. Many reviews and articles have been written about downtown pho locations. But what if you live north of Bloor where should you go? I've visited a few uptown locations and here's my take. Keep in mind that some of the restaurants are chains so they have other locations throughout the city. I haven’t gone to any of their other sites so can’t vouch if everything is identical.

My "Go-To" Location

Location: Pho 88
Address: 325 Bamburgh Circle

Pho 88 isn’t really the best at anything but was the restaurant my parents brought me to as a child, so I can’t help but feel nostalgia towards it. There’s something about it that offers a homey feeling to me, so I love to stop by after coming back from a long vacation.

My pho of choice is the small well done flank with tendon ($6), which surprisingly is a combination rarely found at other locations. Most connoisseurs like their beef rare and to have it cooked table side in the broth. My preference is to have the meat cooked to begin with in order to retain as much heat in the broth as possible, especially after adding in the cool vegetables. The tendon is a great addition but has to be small pieces cooked for long periods of time to get it to the sticky glutinous jelly consistency I enjoy - Pho 88 nails that down.

Their broth is saltier than the others so it’s a matter of preference. But, since the beef, noodles and vegetables (bean sprouts and basil) are not seasoned I like the broth to be savoury to bring everything together. Additionally,their bowls contain more onions (chopped green and shavings of white) which add a nice aroma to the soup.

Pho 88’s biggest problem is inconsistencies. Sometimes the broth and spring rolls are amazing and other times just okay. I find they are surprisingly at peak performance during weekends when they are busiest. Normally, their pork and shrimp spring rolls($3.50) are crispy and the filling a good mix of pork, veggies and vermicelli noodles. On this occasion the filling was a tad mushy because of adding too much taro into the mix, but they still had their usual crispiness.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

Where You Go for Vegetables and Spring Rolls

Location: Pho Metro
Address: 2057 Lawrence Avenue East

Pho Metro is a recent find for me located in a small strip mall where you’d never notice it unless you knew where to go. With the smallest capacity, this place gets busy during peak hours. Luckily, service is lightening-quick with bowls arriving minutes after placing your order.

Included in their plate of vegetables are the normal bean sprouts, basil and lime wedges; but, they also offer long coriander which I haven’t found anywhere else. The coriander looks like a thick long blade of grass and tastes like a fusion of chive and mild coriander.

The broth of Pho Metro’s noodles ($5.95) is clearer than competitors and almost has a consume quality to it. Not offering a cooked beef option, I wrote it in and unfortunately the beef arrives shrivelled and unappetizing looking. It’s likely because they use a leaner cut of beef so it’s relatively dry, although still tender given its tissue paper thinness.

The cigar thick spring rolls ($4.50 for 2 or $7.50 for 4) are the best I’ve ever had with a filling where you can actually taste the pork. They are crispy and have an airy delicate centre; I could easily have two to myself! As a warning, Pho Metro’s spring rolls are served piping hot (coming from someone who can handle hot temperatures), so you may want to hold yourself back and let them cool down a bit.

Overall mark - 8.5 out of 10

Where You Go for the Cleanliness

Location: Pho Vietnam
Address: 3262 Midland Avenue

Recently opening a new location on Midland Avenue, Pho Vietnam's dining room is one of the most opulent and cleanest I've seen. Consisting of individual tables (rather than the long communal set-up), relatively comfortable chairs and clean wood panelling it’s a location for those who may be squeamish about the regular hole-in-the-wall surroundings.

Also, they are one of the only restaurants that serve their side of bean sprouts pre-boiled, if e-coli is something that troubles you.

Strangely, they do not offer a well done beef only option (I’m sure they may if you specially request it), so I opted for the rare & well done beef pho ($6.50). Pho Vietnam also offers a choice of noodles – dried or fresh. The fresh version has a smoother texture but I find it too soft. Rather, the tried and true dried version, which of course is rehydrated before serving, has the springiness I like.

Pho Vietnam is likely better for those that are health conscious. Their broth is bland for me but is good for those who are watching their salt intake and the thinly shaved beef is much leaner than most. Sadly, during my visit, the broth wasn’t hot enough so quickly became lukewarm after adding all the vegetables.

The pork and shrimp spring rolls ($5.50) were extremely crispy, to the point that it may have been too crispy as it seems like they were rolled in two layers of wrapper. Sure, crunch is great, but a really good spring roll also has an airy “light” middle, so I found Pho Vietnam’s version a bit dense.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

Pho 88 on Urbanspoon Pho Metro on Urbanspoon Pho Vietnam Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon