Pho

Critics' choice
Pho Bar
Eixample

With a visit to Pho, you’ll be pleased to find a true Vietnamese eatery – simple and delicious – an authentic bar and restaurant representative of Southeast Asian cuisine. The food here is not only flavourful, but healthy and fresh to boot. Vietnamese cuisine stands apart from food from other parts of Asia, with fewer fried foods than Chinese, and less emphasis on spicy flavours than Thai. In Vietnamese dishes, spiciness doesn't pack quite the punch but serves more as a flavouring, blended with an abundance of expertly measured herbs throughout every dish, such as mint (a big player), basil and cilantro.

Along Vietnam's Mekong River, women prepare dishes, mostly soups, while sailing in their boats for those along the riverbank to taste. Soups are still the main attraction at Pho (which is what they're called), where Haí Nguyen cooks with the same artistry and exquisite taste she clearly called on to decorate her little two-floor restaurant. Shades of fuchsia, green and white dominate, chosen for their ability to inspire hunger, according to students of colour psychology. Satisfy a big appetite by savouring a bún bò hue, a delicious, spicy soup with lemon herb, veal and pork. You can also get it with chilli pepper, soy sprouts and two kinds of cilantro. 

We sampled the cha giò rolls with diced meat, noodles and vegetables, fried, crunchy and wrapped with fresh mint leaves and lettuce and dipped in a fish sauce. We also started with the goi cuon chay, summer rolls with bún (rice noodles), meat, prawns, lettuce, carrot and cilantro, wrapped in Vietnamese rice paper and served with hoisin sauce (chilli pepper or shellfish). In North Vietnam these are called nem. Haí and her German husband, Holger, began this journey two years ago, giving up their old jobs and lives in the process. They married in Sitges, and, after having visited most of the Asian restaurants in the area, came to the conclusion that there was a lack of high-quality Vietnamese cuisine, and they wanted to be the ones to fill that niche.

Haí uses recipes from her mother and uncle in Australia in her cooking, but the rest of the magic is a result of her diverse experiences in many countries coming together to create a pleasant, colourful, simple, not too flashy locale that is a hit, mostly thanks to word of mouth. They also offer Vietnamese beer, a short menu of wines and delicious teas.

Venue name: Pho
Contact:
Address: Sepúlveda, 159
Eixample
Barcelona
08011
Opening hours: Tue 5pm-11pm; Wed, Thu 1.30pm-4pm, 8.30pm-11pm; Fri, Sat 1.30pm-4pm, 8.30pm-11.30pm. Sun 1.30pm-4.30pm.
Transport: Urgell (M: L1)
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