Get us in your inbox

Search
Nong La pho
Photograph: Courtesy Nong Lá Vietnamese Cafe

The best pho in Los Angeles

From the SGV to the Westside, we’ve found the best pho in the city.

Patricia Kelly Yeo
Written by
Patricia Kelly Yeo
Advertising

The most recognizable dish in Vietnamese cuisine is pho, and it's for good reason: The long-simmered beef broth (sometimes available in chicken and veggie varieties) delivers maximal flavor and delight in a light, comforting noodle dish perfect for colder weather, sick days and just about any day, in our opinion. Traditionally consumed as a breakfast food, you'll find Vietnam's national dish at any hour of the day here in Los Angeles—with as many subtle variations as Japanese ramen.

While we're no strangers to tricking out a lackluster bowl of pho with hoisin sauce, Sriracha and a twist of lime, every single bowl of pho in this guide will satisfy without the need for a heavy dose of condiments; some run lighter, others funkier, but all shine with the necessary amount of allium, spices and—let's not forget—time needed to produce a high-quality bowl of pho. If you're looking for a nourishing, inexpensive meal, head to one of these pho spots (they're not all in the San Gabriel Valley!), grab a soup spoon and dig in. 

The best pho in Los Angeles, ranked

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • El Monte
  • price 1 of 4

The hospitality might be blunt and to the point here, but the namesake soup is second to none at this longtime pho specialist with outposts in Rosemead and South El Monte (the latter named Pho Filet 2). At Pho Filet, northern-style pho gets pared down to the essentials: an aromatic, soulful broth with depth accrued from long-simmered bones; slightly softer, wide, flat noodles; and your choice of beef cuts. The final, exquisitely simple result is adorned with a smattering of herbs, has an ideal scallion-to-soup ratio and includes thin slivers of ginger that ultimately illuminate a perfect beef sunset in a bowl.

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Alhambra
  • price 2 of 4

This restaurant with outposts in Alhambra and San Gabriel traces its culinary lineage to Pho 79, the James Beard Award-winning eatery down in Garden Grove. Run by another branch of the Tran family, Saigon Eden offers a bright, clear beef pho with similar flavor and vibrance as the one offered at Pho 79 down in Orange County. Made by simmering oxtails for over 12 hours, and infused with cinnamon and star anise, the fragrant bowls of soup simply can’t be improved upon.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • San Gabriel Valley

Since 2017, this tiny shop in Rosemead has churned out freshly made bowls of organic chicken pho—and the crowds that still come in daily reflect that quality hasn’t dipped in the slightest. Choose from glass noodles (mien ga) or rice noodles (pho ga) for a taste of Hai Phong, the northeastern port city where chef-owner Phan Tran originally hails from. Compared to beef pho, chicken pho runs much lighter in flavors, but the version at Pho Ga District still manages to impart a deep, meat flavor to its broth. You’ll also find amazing steamed chicken here, as well as Hainan-style chicken rice—byproducts of culinary influence from Vietnam’s northern neighbor.

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • price 2 of 4

In our honest experience, most restaurants offering 50/50 Asian menus tend to falter at one or another, but that’s far from the case at Golden Delight, a sleekly designed eatery in Rosemead that fills up early thanks to a deftly executed mix of Vietnamese and Chinese dishes—particularly the unconventional hot stone pho. The broth stays warm for what feels like hours in the stone bowl, and the clean-tasting broth is one of the most light, flavorful versions we've tried in the SGV.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Eastside
  • price 1 of 4

If you know, you know: This nondescript restaurant at the edge of Chinatown is home to some of L.A.'s best pho. With a deep, almost funkily beefy taste, Pho 87’s delicious namesake has drawn hungover Angelenos from near and far on late weekend mornings, but even the stone-cold sober will appreciate the affordable, steaming hot bowls of noodle soup. The family-run shop also offers a solid array of khai vi and combination plates with your choice of rice, vermicelli or banh hoi, but the reason to come to this lonely and desolate stretch of North Broadway is the pho.

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Chinatown
  • price 1 of 4

This tiny old-school establishment inside Chinatown's Far East Plaza might only be open during the day, but the zippy, clean-tasting bowls of steaming hot pho, banh mi and other well-executed budget-friendly dishes all make a morning or afternoon visit here worth the time and planning. One of the most centrally located spots on this list, Thien Huong is the rare restaurant where everything—and we mean everything—is solidly delicious, but the modest bowls of pho in particular keep us coming back. Note: This place fills up quickly on the weekends, so head here early or you’ll have to wait for a table.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Van Nuys
  • price 1 of 4

The undisputed pho king of the greater San Fernando Valley (with a stray location in the South Bay), this neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant offers the 818’s best beef noodle soup. Transparent slices of onion, strips of beef brisket and glistening cubes of beef tendon mark Pho So 1’s delicious, murky broth with notes of charred onion and cloves. The meal is completed by a plate of garnishes that catches the light like an herbaceous still life, if you sit by the window at the right time of day.

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Little Tokyo
  • price 2 of 4

This family-run pho shop with locations in Little Tokyo, Gardena and Alhambra offers a deceptively simple menu that packs flavor into excellent versions of Vietnam’s greatest culinary hits. While you’ll find matriarch Lani Nguyen steaming up made-to-order artisanal mooncakes and a few more creative dishes at the newest location in Alhambra, both Downtown and South Bay locations offer impeccably made broth simmered for 16 hours, as well as a bountiful cold-cut banh mi served with a side of the same delicious pho for dipping. Pho Ever’s approachable take on bun bo hue, tasty combination plates and cafe sua da (condensed milk coffee) are also worth an order—if you can tear yourself away from slurping up their delicious, flavorful bowls of pho.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Santa Monica
  • price 2 of 4

Run by a pair of siblings, this mini pho empire stretches from Northeast L.A. all the way to the Westside—and there's a perfectly good reason for it: a crowd-pleasing, milder pho with springy noodles, high-quality beef and plenty of bean sprouts and herbs. Stop by Sage Blossom (the Chinatown location) for the largest menu, but even the more pared down offerings in Santa Monica, Atwater Village and Venice will satisfy those in search of a decent bowl of pho. Food aside, the stylish interiors and friendly staff also set Blossom apart from the rest of the pack—the presence of some semblance of hospitality, in truth, actually makes a huge difference.

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • La Brea
  • price 2 of 4

For pho connoisseurs, much of Central L.A. might feel like a wasteland when it comes to an all-around winning combination of aromatic long-simmered broth, beef cuts, rice noodles and herbs—except for Ănăn. Though you'll find the menu’s overall prices higher than other Vietnamese restaurants, this La Brea shop offers delicious, high-quality beef and chicken pho and the relative convenience of not having to schlep all the way to the San Gabriel Valley. Aside from noodle soup, skip over the steeply priced banh mi for Ănăn’s wonderful chicken curry (car ri ga) and cornstarch-battered imperial rolls.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • South Bay
  • price 2 of 4

Since 2003, this strip mall restaurant has quietly kept the South Bay fed on the kind of breadth of high-quality Vietnamese cuisine that wouldn't be out of place in OC's Little Saigon. You'll find a deeply satisfying beef pho here—one that doesn’t need to be tricked out with hoisin sauce and Sriracha to give it life. An expanded outdoor seating area and remodeled dining room have given Saigon Dish a more polished look and feel, but the brisk, no-frills service and weekday crowds showcase the fact that this busy spot in Lawndale hasn’t lost touch with its neighborhood roots.

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Venice
  • price 2 of 4

Since 2018, this bright, airy strip mall eatery along Lincoln Boulevard has delighted Marina del Rey and Venice residents with a rich, dark brown pho with strong notes of anise, cloves and cardamom. Simmered for 72 hours (versus just 12 to 16 at other spots), Camp Pho's namesake soup showcases the deeper, funkier but no less delicious side of Vietnam’s national dish. A handful of vegan-friendly items, including two kinds of plant-based pho, help round out the menu selection—and the all-around delicious offerings means Camp Pho easily ranks among the top pho options on the Westside.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • South Bay
  • price 1 of 4

Run by the second generation of a family of SoCal pho restaurant owners, this workhorse Vietnamese restaurant in the South Bay and Long Beach offers the convenience of late-night hours (the Gardena location is now open 24/7) and a straightforward, vegetarian-friendly menu centered around pho. Pho Daily’s namesake nourishing broth delivers flavor with minimal grease and plenty of herbs, while the summer rolls with pork sausage arrive with a tasty, high-quality peanut sauce. Beyond pho, there’s also a vast array of other common Vietnamese dishes, some more well-executed than others—making Pho Daily a great option for any and all late-night Vietnamese cravings and a solid takeout and delivery go-to for locals.

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Koreatown
  • price 1 of 4

We searched far and wide among Koreatown’s many strip mall pho joints for the area’s best Vietnamese noodle soup, but none came close to Khanh and Helen Tan’s pho shop hidden along a busy commercial stretch of Western Avenue. Though consistency and excellence aren’t words we’d necessarily apply to every dish, Tan’s above-average pho stands out from the crowd with a beautiful, deeply aromatic broth and high-quality toppings. Unlike other minimalist pho shops in the neighborhood, Ktown Pho doesn’t skimp on garnishes—which makes it easy to sit a spell and enjoy your bowl of pho in the roomy seating area.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Atwater Village
  • price 2 of 4

This noodle shop with locations in Atwater Village and Santa Monica offers a pricier, but decent bowl of pho for those in the neighborhood. Flat, soft rice noodles and the usual accompaniments make for a hearty, comforting bowl of the Vietnamese soup—and while the broth on its own wouldn't exactly win any awards, the sleeker dining room, relative convenience for locals and vegan options make this one of the better pho destinations in both Northeast L.A. and the Westside.

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Sawtelle
  • price 2 of 4

With one location along Sawtelle and another on La Brea, this modern Vietnamese shop gets the job done with a serviceable, familiar pho that nourishes with a singular, beefy purity and flat rice noodles. High-quality cuts of meat and plenty of garnishes round out this solid pho destination, which also offers vegetarian broth topped with tofu and organic oyster mushrooms.

Craving Thai food instead?

Recommended
    You may also like
    You may also like
    Advertising

    The best things in life are free.

    Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

    Loading animation
    Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

    🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

    Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!