Sai Gon Pho

Posted on 2009-02-10 20:10

232 Bank St.

This is right off of Bank St in busy downtown Ottawa. At the time of this writing, major construction is underway on Bank Street right where the restaurant is located, but they are still open. There is metered parking on the side streets close by.

They have a large selection of Vietnamese dishes, including appetizers, soup, rice dishes, roll-ups, desserts, and fancy drinks. Dishes range from $8 - $14, while the beef noodle soup is $6.49 (sm) to $8.49 (lrg).

Hours are Monday to Saturday 11am - 10pm, and Sunday 11am to 9pm.


This has to be the worst Pho

This has to be the worst Pho restaurant in Ottawa. With high price points and low content...

For an $8.99 bowl of pho I go about a 1/3 of a hamburger worth of meat (essentially three small slices) the bowl was half full of content.

At the end they charged me $3 extra because my bill was less than $10 and was paying Mastercard, which by the way is against the Mastercard Merchant Terms.

Sai Gon Pho

That all sounds really nice. I'll try it soon. So thanks for that hint.

In order to try something new

In order to try something new I always love to hear from restaurants like this here. So thanks for that hint.


This place has been around

This place has been around for a while but only recently have we got a chance to review it. It's nice to see a new place opened in a more mainstream place near the downtown core. It's obviously a good strategy since the place was full on the Friday we visited. we arrived at 11:45, the place was full at noon, and there was a lineup at the door from noon until 12:30.

The cutlery and dishes are unique to the pho restaurants that I've tried in Ottawa. The large size comes in a square bowl while the mediums come in a triangular one. The spoons have a small hook on the end so you can hang it from the side of the bowl without it falling in. A nice idea.

Service was reasonably good, especially given how busy the place was. I had number 35 large, the "vegetarian" option. Vegetarian in this context means that it contains no meat, just vegetables, tofu and rice noodles, but also contains beef broth. So, nearly vegetarian.

Once I added some hot sauce, the soup was tasty. The vegetables were pea pods, broccoli, onion and something else I can't remember. There was some MSG but not a whole lot.

No tea was served and I didn't think to order any, since most places automatically serve it. The default drink here is water.

Rating: 7

P.S. There's a caricature of a grinning Vietnamese "peasant" with a hat and chopsticks on the menu, the restaurant sign and the top right of the website. Does anyone else besides me find this depiction offensive?


I don't really see how one

I don't really see how one would find that offensive; it's not portraying the culture negatively, or am I missing something?


I love trying new (for me)

I love trying new (for me) pho places, so I eagerly made my way downtown - just to get caught up in the construction and parking nightmare. Hopefully the ongoing construction won't adversely affect the business affected too much.

I got there 20 minutes before noon, and good thing as in the next 5 minutes people just streamed in until the place was packed. Either really good food, or really good location (or possibly both). Turns out to be really good location, and....fairly good food actually.

I started with the deep fried spring rolls, and they were I'd say just on the good side of average. I tried the traditional beef noodle soup, and found the broth to be worthwhile, with decent quality beef.

They do not bring you tea automatically like most other pho places, which leads me to thing they charge extra for it (I forgot to ask if this was the case). A minor point, but the food is already a tad more expensive, probably due to location. Service was reasonable - by no means fast but not slow either.

I look forward to trying some of their other soups, maybe a sate or my old stand-by BBQ pork with shrimp and egg noodles.

rating: 7.5