The best pho restaurants in NYC

New York’s best pho restaurants—from Chinatown stalwarts to Bushwick sleeper hits—will warm your belly all year long
Photograph: Shutterstock
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New York touts unmatched bagels, classic red-sauce Italian restaurants and a ramen game on par with the noodle temples of Japan, but steaming bowls of Vietnamese noodle soups are harder to come by—without the best pho restaurants in NYC, that is. There are plenty of Gotham joints at which to slurp up the hangover-curing, slow-cooked broth, from no-frills old-timers in Chinatown to a second-generation Bushwick charmer.

RECOMMENDED: See more of the best restaurants in NYC

Best pho restaurants in NYC

1
Lucy's Vietnamese Kitchen
Photograph: Sahra Vang Ngyuen
Restaurants, Vietnamese

Lucy's Vietnamese Kitchen

icon-location-pin Bushwick

Purists may balk at the notion of a vegetable-based pho that shines among the meaty regulars, but the lone offering of noodle soup at chef-owner Johnny Huynh's Bushwick kitchen is just that. A savory, yet light broth is simmered for three hours with mushrooms, star anise, charred shallots and ginger, and built with unorthodox fixings like shiitake and bok choy. Beef is available as a topping in thick, hand-carved strips of brisket that's been smoked for 14 hours over mesquite and applewood. Diners tuck into the piping hot bowls as well as sandwiches (pho banh mi, lemongrass chicken) at the shop's singular red-painted, wooden communal table.

2
Pho restaurant
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock
Restaurants, Vietnamese

Sao Mai

icon-location-pin East Village

Vietnamese native Ronny Nguyen tenders traditional fare from his homeland at this 40-seat, wood-fitted East Village restaurant. Pho is the star of the menu, with the eponymous Pho Sao Mai special packing brisket, beef eye round and beef balls in a light, refreshingly balanced broth. For the red-meat–averse, seafood, chicken, and vegetable alternatives join the beef-based varieties.

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3
Bun-Ker
Photograph: Courtesy Bun-Ker
Restaurants, Vietnamese

Bunker

icon-location-pin Queens

The hip Ridgewood bungalow finally moved to Bushwick. Helmed by Thai-born brothers Jimmy and Jacky Tu—who earned their stripes at Eleven Madison Park and Korilla BBQ, respectively—, the shop offers trekworthy Southeast Asian street eats like the traditional banh xeo (a savory crepe with shrimp, egg and bean sprouts) and crab spring rolls sheathed in Chinese egg-roll wrappers instead of standard rice paper. The single pho here is a lighter, ginger-infused chicken variety, dressed with requisite herbs like cilantro and basil.

4
Pho Bang
Photograph: Dan Q Dao
Restaurants, Vietnamese

Pho Bang

icon-location-pin Little Italy

This ramshackle Mott Street haunt offers its titular dish at generously economic prices: an extra large bowl will set you back at most eight bucks. The choices for pho are mostly traditional—such as eye of round, navel and omosa—but the menu expands to include lesser-known dishes like canh chua (spicy-sour fish soup) and banh mi cary ga (curried chicken served with a French baguette).

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5
Restaurants, Vietnamese

An Choi

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

In an attempt to bring more authentic Vietnamese food to New York, owners Tuan and Huy Bui have opened this small space designed to look like a street alley in Saigon. It comes complete with a mobile food cart dispensing banh mi sandwiches, including fillings such as char siu pork belly with pickled carrots, daikon radish, cilantro and aioli. The restaurant also specializes in pho: chicken or beef broths with rice noodles, bean sprouts, Thai basil and lime.

6
Khe Yo
Photograph: Courtesy Khe Yo
Restaurants, South Asian

Khe-Yo

icon-location-pin Tribeca

As New York’s first Laotian restaurant, Khe-Yo brims with trailblazer pride. The restaurant is the brainchild of megatoque Marc Forgione and his longtime right-hand man Soulayphet Schwader, a Laos native who delivers the cuisine of his homeland with upmarket style. Although pho is a traditionally Vietnamese dish, Schwader gives the soup a regional tweak, nodding to the Thai city of Nong Khai where refugees from both Laos and Vietnam fled and settled down. Served during weekday lunch and weekend brunch, the bowls are rejigged with pickled jalapeños and sriracha mayo.

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7
Saiguette
Photograph: Filip Wolak
Restaurants, Vietnamese

Saiguette

icon-location-pin Upper West Side

Presentation is not the draw of this uptown sandwich shop, which has been slicing old-school, Saigon-style banh mi since 2012. Orders are unceremoniously shoved out in plastic bags from a small window beside the steamy, bustling kitchen, packed with tall Tupperware brimming with beef broth and Ziploc bags of pungent basil leaves, lime wedges and bean sprouts. Combine the ingredients for a bowl of startlingly good pho with supple, paper-thin slices of rare brisket, slurpworthy rice noodles, crunchy slivers of raw onion and a bold dash of hoisin-sriracha sauce.

8
Thai Son
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/korafotomorgana
Restaurants, Vietnamese

Thai Son Restaurant

icon-location-pin Chinatown

Named for a peak in northern Vietnam, this veteran Baxter Street stalwart offers more than 130 classic dishes including curries, vermicelli and spring rolls. A sizable chunk of the menu is devoted to 16 varieties of the national noodle soup with fixings ranging from eye round steak and fatty flank to chewy tendon and tripe. Sample all the cuts at once with the Xe Lua (which translates to "train" in Vietnamese), a double-sized bowl with over seven types of beef.

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9
V-Nam Cafe
Photograph: Courtesy V-Nam Cafe
Restaurants, Vietnamese

V-Nam Cafe

icon-location-pin East Village

Primarily a banh mi sandwich shop, this pocket-sized café offers French baguettes stuffed with oddball options like crispy sunfish with pickled onions as well as the traditional pork-and-pâté. The pho here is of the simpler Hanoi style, with a dark oxtail broth, thinly-sliced rare meat and noticeably fewer herbs than its Mekong delta counterparts.

10
Restaurants, Vietnamese

Saigon Shack

icon-location-pin Greenwich Village

This charming MacDougal Street mainstay dispatches nine types of Vietnamese sandwiches (fried crabcake, Peking duck) and vermicelli bowls (pork chop, sauteed shrimp) to nearby bargoers and NYU students alike. The simple bill of fare also includes eight varieties of pho, including a tofu-based vegetarian version, a classic sliced beef and the house special: three cuts of beef and slices of Vietnamese ham mingling with fresh herbs in a surprisingly fiery orange broth.

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11
Restaurants

Bò Cà Phê

icon-location-pin Nolita

For Bò Cà Phê, home is that crowded dining enclave known as Soho’s Petrosino Square. Its menu centers around Vietnamese rice noodle salads, or bò bún, as they’re referred to in French, a near-perfect dish for the health obsessed. Bò Cà Phê builds its version using gluten-free rice noodles, sprouts, carrots, cucumber, fresh herbs, a lean protein of choice and dressing on the side. 

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