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Montreal’s best bowls of phở

Update 23 February 2021   |   Published on 26 October 2020   |   5064 shares
Tran cantine meilleurs soupes pho montreal

The weather’s getting colder, so to warm you up, we put together a list of the best phở in Montreal.

Phở, often called “soupe tonkinoise” in Québec, is the national dish of Vietnam. Traditionally the soup is eaten for breakfast but, due to its international appeal, phở is commonly enjoyed at any time of day. The two most important characteristics of good phở are the broth and the ingredients. It’s the interplay of these elements that separate a good bowl of phở from a great one! 

Typically, the broth for phở is made by gently simmering beef bones and aromatics for many hours — and sometimes days. A great broth takes a tremendous amount of knowledge, patience and experience.  Aside from the rich umami flavours yielded from the beef bones (and marrow!) the broth gains its distinctive fragrant flavour from a combination of aromatic spices (star anise, Saigon cinnamon, smoked cardamom, culantro and coriander). To a perfectly balanced broth are added any number of ingredients, most commonly being thin slices of raw beef, springy meatballs, tripe, brisket, chicken and of course, rice noodles. Served piping hot, phở can be seasoned at the table with lime or lemon juice, Thai basil leaves, raw onion, cilantro and chopped chilli. While many purists add little more than herbs to their soup, you can also add hoisin sauce and Sriracha, to taste. (more info here).

Phở is so good that it has become adored in cities all over the world! In Montreal, we are fortunate to have a large Vietnamese population and therefore many excellent Vietnamese restaurants. Phở is a staple in Vietnamese restaurants across the city and is one of our all-time favourite soups. In addition to being delicious, phở is also inexpensive; each of the addresses on this list could be found on our lists of excellent, affordable restaurants.

They're open! They’re open!

Pho Lien

Ask any UdeM student or the staff of the surrounding hospitals and they’ll tell you, Phở Lien is an essential restaurant in Côte-des-Neiges. Everything here is good — especially the phở (our personal favourite). We’re also fans of their homemade gỏi cuốn (fresh spring rolls). While line-ups can appear daunting, stick with it — they go by quite quickly. Word to the wise, they’re closed on Tuesdays so remember to plan ahead to avoid disappointment.
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They're open! They’re open! pho bang new york restaurant montreal

Pho Bang New York

A true institution in Chinatown, Phở Bang New York fees like it’s been around forever. Even if the competition in the neighbourhood is fierce, Phở Bang New York is one of, if not our favourite spots in town. The restaurant is always crowded full of hungry guests joyfully slurping-up their soups. We also like the reasonably priced house combos. The restaurant’s sky-painted ceiling the illustrations on the menu also make us smile with each visit.
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They're open! They’re open!

Pho Viet

Phở Viet is a small family-run restaurant known for its flavourful Vietnamese cuisine. The dishes of the house are prepared with love and generosity and are served by the endlessly charming owners. Open for decades, Phở Viet serves an authentic and truly tasty bowl of phở; definitely one of the best in town! Note that the restaurant is a BYOW (bring your own wine).
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Tran Cantine

Tran Cantine recently opened its doors on the corner of Notre-Dame West and Rue de Courcelle. The restaurant offers an excellent Vietnamese menu at affordable prices. From broths to marinades, everything here is homemade. On the menu are three classics phở options: chicken, rare beef or beef flank all priced at $12. We love the kind staff, the plates of tasty Vietnamese specialties and the fact that there’s now an excellent phở spot in the heart of St-Henri!
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They're open! They’re open! pho tay ho

Pho Tay Ho

This address is perhaps the most polished of the restaurants on this list. The restaurant is a well-established classic with guests regularly lining-up for one of the best bowls of phở in Montreal. The rare beef salad is also a standout dish and happens to be one of our favourite items on the menu. Service can be a bit spotty at times but it’s made up for by the affable owners and ultimately, by the excellent food. The portions are generous and the prices affordable… what more could anyone ask for?
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They're open! They’re open! 14 Prince Arthur

14 Prince Arthur 

The restaurant has existed for over 40 years and aside from a new website, it hasn’t changed at all. We come here to be comforted by old standards and it works every time. A Vietnamese classic, 14 Prince Arthur is open every day for lunch with a dinner service on Saturday evenings. Guests hailing from nearby offices flock to the restaurant to enjoy a comforting bowl of soup. As the owner once told us, “Phở is for the soul”; we completely agree.
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Excited for their return Excited for their return Phó Thàn Nam Quan

Phó Thàn Nam Quan

This restaurant is in the middle of nowhere, but let’s be clear it’s absolutely worth the trip! Located on an industrial strip of Côte-Vertu, Phở Thành Nam Quan’s reputation is built on word of mouth recommendations. The mainly Vietnamese clientele travels to the far-flung location for the restaurant’s generous portions, deep and rich broth and thick-cut pieces of melt-in-your-mouth beef tendon. Make the trip to try one of Montreal’s most sought after bowls of phở.
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Excited for their return Excited for their return Pho Mylys

Phó Mylys

This small restaurant tucked away on Rue  Jarry in Villeray makes a very good bowl of phở. The place is known for its welcoming and family-friendly atmosphere — offering a children’s menu for the modest sum of $5. The soup is served in three formats, as an appetizer, a regular portion or a larger full-meal portion. The service is impeccable and the prices are very affordable.
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Hà Mont-Royal

HÀ, on Mont-Royal Avenue, is a festive and affordable restaurant that we love. The welcoming and warm atmosphere is perfectly complemented by the exceptionally good phở. Using slightly more expensive cuts of beef, like filet mignon, expect to pay more than elsewhere, but it’s a worthwhile expense: it’s addictive. If you go, take the opportunity to try the imperial (read: fried) spring rolls (among the best in town).
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They're open! They’re open! cafeden restaurant st laurent

Cafeden

This is a rare pearl of a restaurant — we can’t stress that enough! Far from the typical phở spot, Den (which means black sheep) makes one of the best bowls of phở in Montreal. The decor of the restaurant is very clean and modern. The staff is always friendly, which adds to its charm. The soup, which is chef Chin Vu’s Mother’s recipe, is incredibly tasty. When eating at Cadefen we always take the opportunity to eat their papaya salad (one of the best in town).
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They're open! They’re open! red tiger village Maisonneuve restaurant vietnamien

Le Red Tiger

Red Tiger is a Vietnamese pub that celebrates the Vietnamese tradition of drinking fresh beer with great food! The space is vibrant and modern and the staff friendly and accomodating — no wonder it’s always packed. The restaurant serves a variety of tasty Vietnamese street food in an original space and at affordable prices. Among the many specialties is a very good bowl of phở. Red Tiger is the ideal spot for a business lunch, a meal on the go, or for an afternoon date.
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