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The legendary “shaking beef” (bo luc lac) at Thanh Hoai
The legendary “shaking beef” (bo luc lac) at Thanh Hoai

29 Top Vietnamese Restaurants in NYC

Where to find the best shaking beef, pho, banh mi, and more

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The legendary “shaking beef” (bo luc lac) at Thanh Hoai

Vietnamese cuisine in New York City has come of age in this century, going from a series of cafes with similar menus clustered in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens Chinatowns to a startlingly diverse collection of banh mi shops, themed bistros, regional specialists, quirky inexpensive cafes, and, yes, pho parlors, where the signature soup has been backdated with original versions from Hanoi, and joined by other delicious soups like bun bo Hue, equally as good but not as well known.

But the coronavirus has been particularly tough on Vietnamese restaurants, as it has been on Chinese ones, and over the last eight months we’ve seen lots of old favorites close, including An Choi, New Xe Lua, Nha Trang Centre, and Saiguette, though the last promises to reopen sometime in the future, on its website at least.

Meanwhile, several promising new places have popped up since this map was last published, like Saigon Social, catapulting the traditional Vietnamese cafe into fried chicken sandwich territory, and Just Pho, more intent than ever before on serving us Hanoi-style rather than Saigon-style soups. Here are Eater critic Robert Sietsema’s favorite Vietnamese places in all five boroughs, plus a bonus in Jersey City.

Note that restaurants with outdoor dining are so indicated; for those that don’t list that option, plan on carrying out or exercising your delivery options.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Cơm Tấm Ninh Kiều

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2641 Jerome Ave
Bronx, NY 10468
(718) 450-3833

Not far from Edgar Allen Poe’s cottage in Fordham Heights, this Vietnamese restaurant lies in a neighborhood known for its Cambodian community, represented by a couple of very good grocery stores. Cơm Tấm Ninh Kiều excels at soup, including an excellent banh canh featuring thick tapioca noodles in a tomato-tinged broth bobbing with seafood. The pho is great, of a simpler sort than most Saigon-influenced bowls are; make sure you get it with beef balls, best removed and dipped in chile sauce. Order online.

After eating at Cơm Tấm Ninh Kiều, visit Edgar Allen Poe’s cottage.
After eating at Cơm Tấm Ninh-Kiều, visit Edgar Allen Poe’s cottage.
Robert Sietsema

2. Two Wheels

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426 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024
(646) 429-8661
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The name doubtlessly refers to the tiny neon bicycle in the front window of this small and charming shop. The Vietnamese food has been Westernized somewhat, to good effect. The pho features regular meatballs rather than the pounded Southeast Asian article, and the banh xeo, while retaining its rice noodle wrapper, has been fried to resemble a hard-shell taco. And don’t miss the sticky and spicy chicken wings. Outdoor dining. Order online.

Two deep fried rice wrappers loaded with shrimp look like hardshell tacos. Robert Sietsema/Eater

3. District Saigon

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37-15 Broadway
Queens, NY 11103
(718) 956-0007
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Located in Astoria, District Saigon is one of those modern places seeking to present the cuisine to younger audiences, the decor combining elements of a Quonset hut and a discotheque, with a striking sunset mountainscape on one wall. There are snacks and unusual dishes galore, including homemade pate presented on a baguette, salmon in a caramelized galangal fish sauce, and phos that focus on beef balls and smoked brisket. A full bar also attracts the customers. Outdoor dining. Order online.

Brisket and beef ball pho, Ho Chi Minh City style
Brisket and beef ball pho, Ho Chi Minh City style
Robert Sietsema

4. Just Pho

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252 W 31st St
New York, NY 10001
(917) 261-7494
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This cafe across the street from Penn Station set tongues wagging when it opened a year ago in a neighborhood notorious for its pizzerias and Irish bars. At first it concentrated on Hanoi-style pho and little else, which means a spare bowl with a deeply flavored broth and exceptional noodles, reminding us that pho is actually the name of the noodles. Gradually, the menu has expanded somewhat to include pho ga, made with chicken instead of beef, and bun, a dish of noodles and grilled meat. Order online.

A bowl of soup with two types of beef and chopsticks thrust into the soup. Robert Sietsema/Eater

5. Sai Gon Dep

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719 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10016
(212) 818-1188
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Murray Hill’s Sai Gon Dep, founded two years ago, is that rare pho parlor that specializes in pho ga, or chicken pho, which is very popular in Hanoi right now and Houston, too. This stomach-soothing soup boasts firm rice noodles and a pungent dipping sauce of chicken fat and fresh ginger. Many other Vietnamese soups are available, and don’t miss the pig ear salad.

A soup with chicken parts and white noodles visible, with herbs and an orange dipping sauce, all on a filigreed blue background. Robert Sietsema/Eater

6. Thai Son

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40-10 74th St
Queens, NY 11373
(718) 476-6805

Located anomalously on the Elmhurst/Jackson Heights border, Thai Son was once part of a chain that had many prominent branches. Now this is one of two remaining (the other in Manhattan’s Chinatown). It constitutes a very agreeable Vietnamese hash house, specializing in the over-rice dishes favored in the Mekong Delta, plus the usual spring and summer rolls, pho and banh mi, as well as some unexpected upscale entrees, such as frog legs in French butter. Outdoor dining.

Com dia featuring grilled pork chops, shredded pig skin, and crab omelet
Com dia featuring grilled pork chops, shredded pig skin, and crab omelet
Robert Sietsema

7. Omai

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158 9th Ave
New York, NY 10011
(212) 633-0550
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This Chelsea restaurant incorporates elements of a French bistro, with white tablecloths and a partly Gallic wine list. The pho is exceptional, with noodles more delicate than most, served with a pair of sauces that should be used for dipping the meat rather than dumped in the soup. Other standouts: bo bia (soft vegetarian rice paper rolls), co bam (seared monkfish with rice crackers), and vit nuong (duck with ginger lime dipping sauce). Outdoor dining.

A bowl of pho front and center, with a spoonful of rice noodles raised up, and a plate of basil and cilantro in the background. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

8. JoJu

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83-25 Broadway
Elmhurst, NY 11373
(347) 808-0887
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Founded in 2011, JoJu extends the frontiers of the classic banh mi sandwich, constructing some newfangled ones out of things like Korean bulgogi and Japanese pork belly, while retaining the usual Vietnamese varieties. All may be customized with a fried egg, and made mega spicy by the addition of both green and red hot sauces. An unusual offering is banh mi fries heaped with pickled vegetables, herbs, and sauces. Manhattan location, too. Order online.

JoJu is one of the city’s most unusual banh mi shops.
JoJu is one of the city’s most unusual banh mi shops.
Robert Sietsema

9. Summer

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85-36 Grand Ave
Flushing, NY 11373
(718) 803-6233

This banh mi and bubble tea parlor in an obscure corner of Elmhurst south of Queens Boulevard does some of the best Vietnamese sandwiches, with a signature featuring pork, bacon, and a fried egg. Another attraction is a customizable soup (called “spicy hot noodle soup,” even though it’s not particularly spicy) something like bun bo Hue that allows one to choose two ingredients to be added from a varied list that includes fish balls, clams, duck feet, pig skin, fatty beef, and squid.

The customizable soup at Summer always includes crunchy lotus root
The customizable soup at Summer always includes crunchy lotus root
Robert Sietsema

10. Sao Mai

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203 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10003
(212) 358-8880
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Sao Mai is the East Village’s Vietnamese standby, laid-back and inexpensive, and decorated with enough fake foliage that it makes a nice date spot. It functions as a sort of Vietnamese diner, offering a full menu of standards that are consistently better than they need to be, including a papaya salad rife with fresh herbs, lemongrass chicken over rice, caramel clay-pot pork, and luxurious bun platters served with brittle rice paper wrappers that must be dipped in warm water before use. Outdoor dining. Order online.

The herby and refreshing papaya salad
The herby and refreshing papaya salad
Robert Sietsema

11. Di An Di

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68 Greenpoint Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 576-3914
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A neon bowl of pho blazes in the window at this Greenpoint two-year-old from the owners of the late, lamented An Choi. That pho is excellent, more Hanoi than Saigon, and served with a phalanx of homemade condiments. Beef, chicken, and vegetable permutations are available. The reset of the menu hops around to some interesting places, including classic shaking beef, caramel-braised pork belly, garlic noodles with seafood, and fried chicken with fish sauce. Outdoor dining. Order online.

Fried chicken over rice with fish sauce Alex Staniloff

12. Madame Vo

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212 E 10th St
New York, NY 10003
(917) 261-2115
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When Hanoi House appeared in the East Village three years ago, Madame Vo popped up with much less fanfare only a couple of blocks away, specializing in soups. A Vietnamese cyclo (pedicab) beckoned from the front window, and the menu seemed more devoted to Saigon than the currently faddish Hanoi. That meant pho in several permutations, with heaping plates of herbs and sprouts, as well as soy-glazed chicken, salted crab, and a particularly lush rendition of Vietnamese fried rice. Outdoor dining.

Here’s the special Madame Vo pho.
Here’s the special Madame Vo pho.
Robert Sietsema

13. New Thanh Hoai

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234 10th St
Jersey City, NJ 07302
(201) 918-6599
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This Jersey City restaurant, located near the mouth of the Holland Tunnel, provides three elegant dining rooms, a full bar, and a voluminous menu only slightly more expensive than the usual Vietnamese café. The pho is top notch, and a bowl seems to be on every table at lunchtime. But maybe go for some of the other dishes, including the legendary “shaking beef” (bo luc lac), a lemongrass saute of squid or chicken, a fried whole flounder, or clams steamed in beer. Seafood is a strong point. Outdoor dining.

The pork stuffed cha gio are particularly large and luxurious.
The pork stuffed cha gio are particularly large and luxurious.
Robert Sietsema

14. Hello Saigon

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180 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 254-2088
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This breezy greeting is Greenwich Village’s neighborhood Viet restaurant, intent on attracting a local constituency by offering comfortable surroundings and good food. And not just with its pho and banh mi — try bun bo Hue, a dark and spicy soup from the port city of Hue; or the clay-pot chicken bobbing with quail eggs; or the bun thit heo nuong, an omnibus bowl of rice noodles, grilled pork chops, shrimp crackers, and crisp spring rolls littered with crushed peanuts and fresh chiles. Order online.

A rice noodle bun with pork chops, spring rolls, and shrimp chips
A rice noodle bun with pork chops, spring rolls, and shrimp chips
Robert Sietsema

15. Hanoi House

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119 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10009
(212) 995-5010
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When it landed on St. Mark’s nearly four years ago, Hanoi House was an anomaly on the East Village scene, providing a real contrast to mainstay Sao Mai. The sparer menu at this stylish spot included dishes many diners had never seen before, many from Hanoi, including a bowl of pho that attracted immediate attention. Frog legs heaped with pickled garlic and peanuts, clam congee, and bumpy, crunchy spring rolls loaded with pork and crab were special faves. Outdoor dining.

Bun cha at Hanoi House provides a filling meal
Bun cha at Hanoi House provides a filling meal
Robert Sietsema

16. Van Da

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234 E 4th St
New York, NY 10009
(917) 994-4781
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Van Da is a small cafe that describes its purview as “modern Vietnamese cuisine.” What that means is delicate small plates like shrimp and sweet potato fritters and grilled squid Hanoi style, in addition to bigger snacks that include a short-rib grilled cheese served with a cup of pho broth, for dipping. Then there are noodles, salads, dumplings, and mains that run to shaking beef and tamarind-glazed pork ribs. Lots of modern flourishes on an eclectic menu. Outdoor dining.

A half toasted cheese sandwich with beef inside propped up next to a glass of broth. Robert Sietsema/Eater

17. Saigon Social

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172 Orchard St
New York, NY 10002
(646) 609-3202
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Moving into the old Mission Cantina corner spot on the Lower East Side, Saigon Social set tongues wagging with its fried chicken sandwich, which layered an outsize crisp cutlet with shredded pickles and vinegary red hot sauce in banh mi fashion. But even more impressive were its garlic noodles, which layered a shifting roster of flavorful main ingredients over the glistening noodles, including, most recently, soft-shell crab. The usual pho and bun take a back seat. Outdoor dining.

The middle of a fried chicken sandwich, on a white plate with a blue edge. Serena Dai/Eater

18. Bánh Mì Saigon

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198 Grand St
New York, NY 10013
(212) 941-1541
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Starting out around the corner on Mott Street in the back of a jewelry store 31 years ago, this wonderful sandwich shop was the among the first to make its own baguettes, the perfect light and airy vehicle for a banh mi. The sandwich is made in all the usual permutations, including the primary one: pate and a barbecued pork made in house. Then on to sardines, chicken, and beef, plus a vegetarian banh mi that showcases faux meat, plus a few miscellaneous Vietnamese dishes available during the pandemic, including wonderful rice crackers.

A baguette sandwich seen from the end and held aloft, bursting with shredded pickled vegetables and cold cuts.
This is banh mi #1 at Banh Mi Saigon.
Robert Sietsema/Eater

19. Pho Grand

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277C Grand St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 965-5366
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This sentimental favorite just off Chrystie Street boasts a menu that, in an old-fashioned way, lists 20 variations of pho based mainly on the beef combos thrown therein. The over-rice dishes called com dia are also a high point, and so is beef with lemongrass, shrimp paste on a sugar cane, chicken curry served with a baguette, and anything featuring grilled beef or pork. Outdoor dining. Order online.

Pho Grand
Pho Grand has two dining rooms with a Vietnamese village decor
Robert Sietsema

20. Bep Ga

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70 Forsyth St
New York, NY 10002
(917) 261-4716
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A microscopic Lower East Side cafe right across the street from Sara Roosevelt Park, as the name suggests, Bep Ga specializes in Vietnamese chicken dishes, foremost of which is pho ga. It is undeniably wonderful, and so is the chicken salad and chicken and rice. In my experience, the hours here are irregular, so call ahead and eat your carryout in the park. Check Instagram for special dishes and opening times.

A bowl of chicken and herbs with broth on the side.
Chicken salad is served with a cup of broth at Bep Ga.
Robert Sietsema/Eater

21. Bunker Vietnamese

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99 Scott Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(718) 386-4282
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Formerly located on Metropolitan Avenue in Ridgewood, Bunker moved across the border into Bushwick two years ago into much bigger, flashier premises, tricked out to look like a hawker market. The menu uses premium ingredients to turn out the pancake banh xeo (heritage pork), papaya salad (house-made beef jerky), banh mi (Red Wattle bacon), and spring rolls (Jonah crab). Vegetarian options abound, and a full bar is available. Outdoor dining in rear patio. Order online.

Bunker channels a Vietnamese hawker market.
Bunker channels a Vietnamese hawker market.
Robert Sietsema

22. Lucy's Kitchen

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262 Irving Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(718) 483-9837
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This popular neighborhood spot in Bushwick pays special attention to vegetarian versions of Vietnamese dishes, and the pho comes with a choice of beef or meatless broths. Another quirk is that smoked brisket is put in the beef pho, making it a species of barbecue. Banh mi are also offered on a very short menu, obviating the need for difficult choices. The place shone in Eater’s pho tour of the city. It has a Williamsburg branch, too. Outdoor dining. Order online.

Enjoying the smoked brisket pho
Enjoying the smoked brisket pho
Robert Sietsema

23. Bricolage

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162 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 230-1835
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This Park Slope Vietnamese bistro has a San Francisco pedigree and a cozy dining room. Don’t miss the banh xeo crepe, a nicely browned half-moon stuffed with shrimp, pork, and sprouts; the claypot sardines, washed down with salted lemonade; or the pig ear or tripe snacks. The menu takes Vietnamese standards as a starting point, then embroiders on them, usually with positive results. Outdoor dining. Order online.

Clay pot sardines in Park Slope
Clay pot sardines in Park Slope
Robert Sietsema

24. Banh Mi Place

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824 Washington Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238
(718) 552-2660
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A gem on the border of Prospect Heights, Banh Mi Place doesn’t look like much, but it has one of the best menus of the Vietnamese sandwiches in Brooklyn. Not only does it proffer the classic meat, poultry, and seafood versions, it goes one step beyond to use meat substitutes. This sounds like an inherently bad idea, but the simulacra function perfectly here, maybe even better than the original products. Bun salads, pho, and com dia (over-rice dishes) round out the menu. Order online.

Vegetarian pork banh mi, you won’t miss the meat
Vegetarian pork banh mi, you won’t miss the meat
Robert Sietsema

25. Ba Xuyên

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4222 8th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11232
(718) 633-6601

This classic Vietnamese sandwich shop on the northern verge of Sunset Park’s Chinatown is nearly as old as Banh Mi Saigon, and it constitutes a local hangout for the Vietnamese population, who sit drinking tea and feasting on snacks from the cases that line the walls. The hilltop park from which the neighborhood gets its name is nearby, so why not carry out and have a picnic?

Why not take your banh mi to the nearby park and have a picnic?
Why not take your banh mi to the nearby park and have a picnic?
Robert Sietsema

26. Thanh Da

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6008 7th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 492-3253

The most agreeable Vietnamese cafe in the city makes you feel like you’re sitting in someone’s kitchen. Sure, you can a great banh mi or bowl of pho, but my favorite has long been banh xeo, a perfect rice-batter crepe that cooks up crisp and yellow, furnished with herbs and lettuces for wrapping bites, and the usual nuoc cham (fish vinegar). Thanh Da has an offshoot at 56th Street and 8th Avenue, also in Sunset Park, that mainly peddles banh mi. Outdoor dining.

The banh xeo crepe makes an amazing brunch
The banh xeo crepe makes an amazing brunch
Robert Sietsema

27. Phở Tây Hồ

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2351 86th St
Brooklyn, NY 11214
(718) 449-0199

This Bensonhurst cafe is incredibly popular — not only is the pho here first class, with one of the best beef broths, but the lively shrimp canh chua tom, a pink soup by turns sour, spicy, and sweet, is also worth ordering. The cook-it-yourself fondues and grilles are also commonly selected. In total, the menu offers 150 dishes. 

Pho Tay Ho lies on bustling 86th Street
Pho Tay Ho lies on bustling 86th Street
Robert Sietsema

28. Little Saigon Pearl

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9 Bay 35th St
Brooklyn, NY 11214
(718) 996-8808

Named after a Ho Chi Minh City market, this tiny cafe in Bath Beach offers a smaller menu than most places, to its credit. The dish everyone raves about (it’s on every table), tom hoa tien are whole shrimp wrapped in paper-thin pastry with crabmeat. Soups are another strong point, from the pho to bun bo Hue to sup mang cua (made with crabmeat and bamboo) to canh chua ga (a sweet-and-sour chicken soup that flaunts its tomato wedges). 

The flagship app of Little Saigon Pearl
The flagship app of Little Saigon Pearl
Robert Sietsema

29. Pho Rainbow 3

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42 New Dorp Plaza
Staten Island, NY 10306
(718) 987-1084

What could be better than a razor-thin, flame-grilled pair of pork chops tossed atop broken rice and garnished with tomatoes and cucumbers? Pour on the nuoc cham (that’s the sweet and vinegary sauce). Located just over the light-rail tracks in the ancient Dutch town of New Dorp, Pho Rainbow does the over-rice dishes called com tam best, but also turns out a great beef-ball pho.

If you’re a pork chop lover, Staten Island’s Pho Rainbow is your place.
If you’re a pork chop lover, Staten Island’s Pho Rainbow is your place.
Robert Sietsema

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1. Cơm Tấm Ninh Kiều

2641 Jerome Ave, Bronx, NY 10468
After eating at Cơm Tấm Ninh Kiều, visit Edgar Allen Poe’s cottage.
After eating at Cơm Tấm Ninh-Kiều, visit Edgar Allen Poe’s cottage.
Robert Sietsema

Not far from Edgar Allen Poe’s cottage in Fordham Heights, this Vietnamese restaurant lies in a neighborhood known for its Cambodian community, represented by a couple of very good grocery stores. Cơm Tấm Ninh Kiều excels at soup, including an excellent banh canh featuring thick tapioca noodles in a tomato-tinged broth bobbing with seafood. The pho is great, of a simpler sort than most Saigon-influenced bowls are; make sure you get it with beef balls, best removed and dipped in chile sauce. Order online.

2641 Jerome Ave
Bronx, NY 10468

2. Two Wheels

426 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
Two deep fried rice wrappers loaded with shrimp look like hardshell tacos. Robert Sietsema/Eater

The name doubtlessly refers to the tiny neon bicycle in the front window of this small and charming shop. The Vietnamese food has been Westernized somewhat, to good effect. The pho features regular meatballs rather than the pounded Southeast Asian article, and the banh xeo, while retaining its rice noodle wrapper, has been fried to resemble a hard-shell taco. And don’t miss the sticky and spicy chicken wings. Outdoor dining. Order online.

426 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024

3. District Saigon

37-15 Broadway, Queens, NY 11103
Brisket and beef ball pho, Ho Chi Minh City style
Brisket and beef ball pho, Ho Chi Minh City style
Robert Sietsema

Located in Astoria, District Saigon is one of those modern places seeking to present the cuisine to younger audiences, the decor combining elements of a Quonset hut and a discotheque, with a striking sunset mountainscape on one wall. There are snacks and unusual dishes galore, including homemade pate presented on a baguette, salmon in a caramelized galangal fish sauce, and phos that focus on beef balls and smoked brisket. A full bar also attracts the customers. Outdoor dining. Order online.

37-15 Broadway
Queens, NY 11103

4. Just Pho

252 W 31st St, New York, NY 10001
A bowl of soup with two types of beef and chopsticks thrust into the soup. Robert Sietsema/Eater

This cafe across the street from Penn Station set tongues wagging when it opened a year ago in a neighborhood notorious for its pizzerias and Irish bars. At first it concentrated on Hanoi-style pho and little else, which means a spare bowl with a deeply flavored broth and exceptional noodles, reminding us that pho is actually the name of the noodles. Gradually, the menu has expanded somewhat to include pho ga, made with chicken instead of beef, and bun, a dish of noodles and grilled meat. Order online.

252 W 31st St
New York, NY 10001

5. Sai Gon Dep

719 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10016
A soup with chicken parts and white noodles visible, with herbs and an orange dipping sauce, all on a filigreed blue background. Robert Sietsema/Eater

Murray Hill’s Sai Gon Dep, founded two years ago, is that rare pho parlor that specializes in pho ga, or chicken pho, which is very popular in Hanoi right now and Houston, too. This stomach-soothing soup boasts firm rice noodles and a pungent dipping sauce of chicken fat and fresh ginger. Many other Vietnamese soups are available, and don’t miss the pig ear salad.

719 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10016

6. Thai Son

40-10 74th St, Queens, NY 11373
Com dia featuring grilled pork chops, shredded pig skin, and crab omelet
Com dia featuring grilled pork chops, shredded pig skin, and crab omelet
Robert Sietsema

Located anomalously on the Elmhurst/Jackson Heights border, Thai Son was once part of a chain that had many prominent branches. Now this is one of two remaining (the other in Manhattan’s Chinatown). It constitutes a very agreeable Vietnamese hash house, specializing in the over-rice dishes favored in the Mekong Delta, plus the usual spring and summer rolls, pho and banh mi, as well as some unexpected upscale entrees, such as frog legs in French butter. Outdoor dining.

40-10 74th St
Queens, NY 11373

7. Omai

158 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
A bowl of pho front and center, with a spoonful of rice noodles raised up, and a plate of basil and cilantro in the background. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This Chelsea restaurant incorporates elements of a French bistro, with white tablecloths and a partly Gallic wine list. The pho is exceptional, with noodles more delicate than most, served with a pair of sauces that should be used for dipping the meat rather than dumped in the soup. Other standouts: bo bia (soft vegetarian rice paper rolls), co bam (seared monkfish with rice crackers), and vit nuong (duck with ginger lime dipping sauce). Outdoor dining.

158 9th Ave
New York, NY 10011

8. JoJu

83-25 Broadway, Elmhurst, NY 11373
JoJu is one of the city’s most unusual banh mi shops.
JoJu is one of the city’s most unusual banh mi shops.
Robert Sietsema

Founded in 2011, JoJu extends the frontiers of the classic banh mi sandwich, constructing some newfangled ones out of things like Korean bulgogi and Japanese pork belly, while retaining the usual Vietnamese varieties. All may be customized with a fried egg, and made mega spicy by the addition of both green and red hot sauces. An unusual offering is banh mi fries heaped with pickled vegetables, herbs, and sauces. Manhattan location, too. Order online.

83-25 Broadway
Elmhurst, NY 11373

9. Summer

85-36 Grand Ave, Flushing, NY 11373
The customizable soup at Summer always includes crunchy lotus root
The customizable soup at Summer always includes crunchy lotus root
Robert Sietsema

This banh mi and bubble tea parlor in an obscure corner of Elmhurst south of Queens Boulevard does some of the best Vietnamese sandwiches, with a signature featuring pork, bacon, and a fried egg. Another attraction is a customizable soup (called “spicy hot noodle soup,” even though it’s not particularly spicy) something like bun bo Hue that allows one to choose two ingredients to be added from a varied list that includes fish balls, clams, duck feet, pig skin, fatty beef, and squid.

85-36 Grand Ave
Flushing, NY 11373

10. Sao Mai

203 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10003
The herby and refreshing papaya salad
The herby and refreshing papaya salad
Robert Sietsema

Sao Mai is the East Village’s Vietnamese standby, laid-back and inexpensive, and decorated with enough fake foliage that it makes a nice date spot. It functions as a sort of Vietnamese diner, offering a full menu of standards that are consistently better than they need to be, including a papaya salad rife with fresh herbs, lemongrass chicken over rice, caramel clay-pot pork, and luxurious bun platters served with brittle rice paper wrappers that must be dipped in warm water before use. Outdoor dining. Order online.

203 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10003

11. Di An Di

68 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Read Review |
Fried chicken over rice with fish sauce Alex Staniloff

A neon bowl of pho blazes in the window at this Greenpoint two-year-old from the owners of the late, lamented An Choi. That pho is excellent, more Hanoi than Saigon, and served with a phalanx of homemade condiments. Beef, chicken, and vegetable permutations are available. The reset of the menu hops around to some interesting places, including classic shaking beef, caramel-braised pork belly, garlic noodles with seafood, and fried chicken with fish sauce. Outdoor dining. Order online.

68 Greenpoint Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222

12. Madame Vo

212 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003
Here’s the special Madame Vo pho.
Here’s the special Madame Vo pho.
Robert Sietsema

When Hanoi House appeared in the East Village three years ago, Madame Vo popped up with much less fanfare only a couple of blocks away, specializing in soups. A Vietnamese cyclo (pedicab) beckoned from the front window, and the menu seemed more devoted to Saigon than the currently faddish Hanoi. That meant pho in several permutations, with heaping plates of herbs and sprouts, as well as soy-glazed chicken, salted crab, and a particularly lush rendition of Vietnamese fried rice. Outdoor dining.

212 E 10th St
New York, NY 10003

13. New Thanh Hoai

234 10th St, Jersey City, NJ 07302
The pork stuffed cha gio are particularly large and luxurious.
The pork stuffed cha gio are particularly large and luxurious.
Robert Sietsema

This Jersey City restaurant, located near the mouth of the Holland Tunnel, provides three elegant dining rooms, a full bar, and a voluminous menu only slightly more expensive than the usual Vietnamese café. The pho is top notch, and a bowl seems to be on every table at lunchtime. But maybe go for some of the other dishes, including the legendary “shaking beef” (bo luc lac), a lemongrass saute of squid or chicken, a fried whole flounder, or clams steamed in beer. Seafood is a strong point. Outdoor dining.

234 10th St
Jersey City, NJ 07302

14. Hello Saigon

180 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012
A rice noodle bun with pork chops, spring rolls, and shrimp chips
A rice noodle bun with pork chops, spring rolls, and shrimp chips
Robert Sietsema

This breezy greeting is Greenwich Village’s neighborhood Viet restaurant, intent on attracting a local constituency by offering comfortable surroundings and good food. And not just with its pho and banh mi — try bun bo Hue, a dark and spicy soup from the port city of Hue; or the clay-pot chicken bobbing with quail eggs; or the bun thit heo nuong, an omnibus bowl of rice noodles, grilled pork chops, shrimp crackers, and crisp spring rolls littered with crushed peanuts and fresh chiles. Order online.

180 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10012

15. Hanoi House

119 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009
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