Pho V.Ta Review

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Room pho improvement

One rainy afternoon we found ourselves looking for something new to try. We’re always interested in what a “mom and pop” has to offer, so we decided to pop in to Pho V.Ta, a tiny Vietnamese restaurant at Bowen and Pryde. We don’t eat a ton of Vietnamese food (in fact our Sealand Pho review was probably the last time) so we were excited to see what was on offer. The menu promised Banh Xeo (pronounced “see-ow”), which is a type of crispy pancake with meat and veg. We’ve always wanted to try that out.

Unremarkable but perfectly fine.

This was a rare lunch time meal out for us. Covid restrictions had all but ended and the restaurant had quite a few patrons when we arrived. A server dressed in casual clothes promptly let us know he’d get a table ready. It was a bit odd, because the tables on one side of the restaurant were full of customers, but tables on the other half were empty, unlit, and in some cases, covered in supplies or racks of unbused dishes. Why not seat people there?

Speaking of tables, it should be mentioned that the décor and facilities at Pho V.Ta are aging and in rough shape. The dining room is in need of updating and the tables and chairs are covered in old stains and marks. Obviously, none of this makes the food taste worse, but be warned this is not a glamourous place to take a date.

Once seated, disappointment struck when we tried to order. The beer we selected was not in stock. The soup entrée we wanted wasn’t available that day. The banh xeo was only served on a different day. Strikeout! Undeterred, we fell back on our usual. Salad rolls (aka summer rolls) and peanut sauce to start. A curry and seafood soup for her, and a vermicelli, pork, and spring roll entrée for him. Oh and a hot coffee. It was miserable outside!

It’s not going to win any awards for presentation, but this was a good soup.

Our salad rolls came out promptly. They were unremarkable. We like them (that’s why we often order them) but these failed to differentiate themselves from any others we’ve had. Ample peanut sauce was provided, which was nice because we love that stuff.

Our entrees were next and again we were …whelmed. The coconut curry soup was splashed into a bowl and served with vermicelli, but there was no garnish or sprouts, or optional herbs like you might get with a pho order. This was a flavourful curry, though mild on the heat. It had ample seafood and the veggies were crisp and delicious. We did find it a touch too sweet for our taste but it wasn’t a deal breaker. Oh, and there’s a lot of pigment in this soup. You will have yellow lips when you’re done. No kissing after.

We probably should have just ordered this in the first place. Serendipity!

The other main (pictured above) was the classic pork and vermicelli plate (plus spring rolls, due to us having bottomless stomachs). It’s a classic lunch dish. Pho V.Ta again kept it simple, but the ingredients were fresh and quality. Vermicelli has basically no flavour so it’s up to the richness of the pork (and the nuoc cham – fish sauce) to do the lifting, taste-wise. This one came close but needed one or two more pork slices to hit the right ratio between meat, rice and salad.

We were still wondering where our coffee was when we finished up our meals, which was both a compliment to the restaurant for bringing the food so quickly, but also a knock for taking that long to get a basic drink out.

Only, it wasn’t a basic drink. Some miscommunication must have happened along the way, because just then a nice iced coffee arrived. Vietnamese iced coffee is delicious because it’s made with condensed milk. (Condensed milk is like honey from a cow, btw. Try it sometime.) We weren’t about to turn that away and so enjoyed it almost like dessert.

Our bill for the starter, two entrees and the dessert coffee came to $50, including tax and a modest tip. We consider this to be good value. Prices are something Pho V.Ta gets right, and customers have noticed.


Despite it’s very high rating on Google, we can’t fully recommend Pho V.Ta. We would be a bit more upbeat if the food was a knockout, but the restaurant offers merely standard fare, albeit at good prices. There is definitely a clientele looking for quick, decent eats at a good price, and who don’t care about shabby servers or beat up facilities. If that’s you, definitely pop in to Pho V.Ta and check it out. Others, for whom there is more to dining out than just the filling of stomachs, will find V.Ta has a ways to go before it truly impresses.

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