Last week I wrote about my favourite place to get bun in the city, and I mentioned that until quite recently, bun was my absolute favourite Vietnamese meal. I would only order pho (a big bowl of steaming broth with rice noodles and meat) on a cold winter’s night or when I was really sick. A good bowl of pho would soothe my sore throat, and the steam would clear my stuffed-up sinuses.
Of the little pho I’ve had, however, I can safely say that none could measure up to the pho at the Phoenix Restaurant. The Phoenix (properly known as Pho Phuong Hoang) is directly across the street from Pho Linh and is much less busy, meaning a quieter space with better service and ambience — it makes me sad to think of the people across the street who are drinking a second-rate broth. The rare beef pho at the Phoenix is phenomenal, and I know I’m not alone in this thought. The broth, rich in flavours, is more complex than I could have imagined. I could really taste the cinnamon, the ginger, and a hint of star anise. The broth is the soul of the soup, and alongside the thinly-sliced, rare-but-not-too-pink beef, this bowl is the Aretha Franklin of pho. A small bowl, enough for any hungry girl or boy, will run you $5.95 — a bit pricier than some other pho offered in the city but worth every cent. Be forewarned, however: while their pho is the finest, the rest of the menu leaves something to be desired.