Sacramento’s top 10 best pho restaurants
Our writer rounds out his favorites.
I couldn’t possibly try every pho restaurant in the Sacramento area, but these 10 serve up a really good bowl. The soup at each eatery changed from visit to visit, so I’ve included a small memory about each—but be warned, the descriptions are in no way representative of how it may taste on a daily basis. That’s sort of the magic of pho.
1. Pho Anh Dao
6830 Stockton Boulevard, Suite 165; (916) 428-2826
The entire experience here makes you feel like you’re on vacation: The slower pace of service, the bustling strip mall, sharing a table with strangers, the numerous languages spoken by other customers. Pho Anh Dao’s chicken and beef broth are both delicate in flavor.
2. Pho Lotus Vietnamese Restaurant
9600 Bruceville Road, Suite 100 in Elk Grove; (916) 686-9474; www.pholotus.com
The beef broth at Pho Lotus has depth, with equal parts marrow and standard beef stock. The homemade chili oil is a great condiment.
3. Star Ginger
3103 Folsom Boulevard, (916) 231-8888, www.starginger.com
True to its name, there’s lots of star anise and ginger flavor here, which makes for a fresh and delicious bowl of chicken pho.
4. Pho Xe Lua
5331 Stockton Boulevard, (916) 451-8838
This place serves a tasty bowl for pretty cheap, and its portions are huge—a great overall value for hungry pho eaters.
5. Pho Aroma
6434 Stockton Boulevard, (916) 393-9988
Like its name suggests, the broth here is very aromatic. It’s dark and features a lot of beef-marrow scent and taste.
6. Pho 54 Vietnamese Noodle House
6191 Greenback Lane in Citrus Heights, (916) 727-9123
It’s a dark, cloudy broth with intense beef flavor and lots of cilantro floating at the top of the bowl.
7. Pho Viet
5948 Auburn Boulevard in Citrus Heights, (916) 338-1868, www.phoviet916.com
There’s a lot of star anise flavor in Pho Viet’s beef pho. The chicken pho features tender chicken and a very clear broth.
8. Pho Saigon Bay
various locations, www.phosaigonbay.com
This pho broth here is clear, and the chain is known for offering heaping piles of meat and veggie toppings.
9. Pho Bac Hoa Viet
various locations, www.facebook.com/phobachoaviet
A few of Pho Bac Hoa Viet locations are open late, so it’s perfect for a hankering of late-night pho. Some locations offer the Pho Challenge, a gigantic bowl that should only be attempted by really hungry customers.
10. Pho No. 1
5323 Sunrise Boulevard in Fair Oaks, (916) 966-2020; 7127 Elk Grove Boulevard, Suite 101 in Elk Grove; (916) 683-8384
The soup here has very soft noodles and delicate beef broth that’s relatively clear, yet flavorful.