visited Friday December 20, 2014
A cold rainy December afternoon and catching up with a girlfriend calls for some good Vietnamese food..... specifically Pho! So after seeing a picture featured in the Hamilton Magazine of Pho Dau Bo on the mountain, I had to check it out for myself. I've been to the two other Pho Dau Bo locations downtown and thought they were ok, but generally I've preferred other Vietnamese restaurants in the city. This location may have changed my mind a bit.
The décor here is unlike the other two locations, which are typical thrown together Vietnamese joints. The Upper James location sets a beautiful atmosphere, with pretty hanging pendant lights, big comfy banquettes, a feature white brick art wall and modern fixtures and colours. I'm usually quite fine with uninspiring interior design as long as the food is good, but I will admit that the attention to detail here heightened the experience just that little bit more, especially compared to the other two locations.
|Fresh Shrimp Rolls $4|
I ordered the small Fresh Shrimp Rolls $4 to start. It came two in the order which was perfect for my girlfriend and I to start our meal with. The rolls were each filled with three cold shrimp, lettuce, rice noodles, mint and encased in a thin rice paper wrapper. A bowl of peanut sauce garnished with ground peanuts, carrot and daikon was served on the side for dipping. The rolls were super fresh and made to order...you can tell they're not pre-made because the rice paper wrap starts to dry up and harden if they are made too far in advance. Even by the end of our meal the one piece left started to lose its al dente consistency. The mint inside was perfect and although super simple these rolls are always a favourite of mine. I should really make them at home more often now that I think of it!
|Pho Tai $5.75|
The service was excellent. A warm pot of tea is always served when you arrive and food comes out lightning fast at these places. The two of us ate a filling, satisfying lunch for $19... you really can't beat that....well maybe you can...I hear a bowl of Pho in Vietnam goes for a whopping $1. I CAN'T WAIT!!!! If you haven't had Vietnamese food yet you should try this place. Its comfortable, affordable and accessible.
Food 4.0*, Value 5.0*, Service 5.0*, Décor/Ambiance 4.5*
Overall 4.6*: I really do love Vietnamese food, so you'd really have to royally screw it up to make me say anything bad about these restaurants. However, this place has a great ambiance to it for casual dining and the service was spot on. I'm glad there's another restaurant on the mountain to get my Pho fix!