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Restaurants

Golden Turtle

Posted by Tim / Reviewed on April 22, 2006 / review policy

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I live near a stretch on Ossington (between Queen and Dundas) overflowing with vietnamese eateries. I'm a regular customer of one of them, a place called Golden Turtle (otherwise known as Rua Vang) and in my experience this place serves up the best pho in the city.

While I'm also a fan of previously reviewed pho joints (and 2005 Best of Indie Toronto Nominees) Pho Hung and Pho 88, there's something about the flavours in the #13 Pho Rau Cai Tau Hu (Tofu & vegetable in noodle soup - $6) that make it, um, addictive; and the perfect meal on a rainy day like today.

Usually I get takeout and that's what the picture above shows. Everything's packaged in the standard way - soup in one container, rice noodles in the other, and a plastic bag with bean sprouts, lime and other additives.

Golden Turtle lacks the bustling and vibrant atmosphere of Pho Hung, and to a lesser extent Pho 88. It just never seems to get quite as busy, but does fill up around dinner time some nights.

For the non veggie or even non pho aficianados, there's plenty on the menu to choose from - over 160 options ranging from duck congee to grilled shrimp and pineapple with vermicelli.

Golden Turtle Restaurant, 125 Ossington (at Argyle). 416-531-1601.

Discussion

41 Comments

rotenblog / April 22, 2006 at 08:58 pm
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i'm sold! next time hanging out in trinity bellwoods i'll choose turtle over chippies ;)
St Dan / April 22, 2006 at 09:20 pm
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Hmm, I've always hit the Pho house that's just south of Dundas on the east side (sorry, I rarely look at names) but I might have to give Golden Turtle a try.
Tanja / July 15, 2006 at 02:02 am
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Stopped in tonight and it was awesome. I totally understand what you're saying about the flavour. Mmmmm.
Thanh / April 23, 2007 at 12:37 pm
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Don't go out of your way to come to his place. Not spectacular, average at best. Their large Pho is tiny, the quail didn't taste fresh and I've had better spring rolls in food courts. If you happen to be in the neighbourhood (which is a little on the ghetto side) and happen to be really hungery, it serves a purpose. Can only comment on what I had though, don't know about the rest of the menu. Quality may have slipped since that last couple of postings.
Melinda / August 8, 2007 at 07:31 pm
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I have been to this place a number of times as I live in the neighborhood (or "ghetto" as Thanh the expert speller calls it) and am a fan. The #1 pho is delicious (and the specialty) and I've had other entrees and appetizers and liked all of them. Highly recommend Golden Turtle.
Dave / June 12, 2008 at 08:50 pm
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I've been a fan of Golden Turtle for over eight years, since they were at their older location just up the street. I can say that the quality has been consistently excellent, contrary to the opinion of our friend Thanh. I have tried dozens of other Pho restaurants in town, and I still consider Golden Turtle to be the best. The old special #1 and the current #6 and 13 are still my faves. One of my top 3 cheap eats in TO.
Brandon / July 13, 2008 at 03:30 am
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I'm Viet, I love Viet food, and this place is pure flavour.

Hands down, the best in the Toronto. If not the best in the GTA, period. I only eat the Pho Dac Biet, Pho Tai Nam or Pho Ga, pending on what I'm craving for.

I could totally see myself in a Harold & Kumar-like movie about me trying to get to this place after hitting up some mary jane, haha.

A++++++++++++++++++++++
zorburt / August 3, 2008 at 06:59 pm
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how is that picture supposed to be pho? when did pho come with bell peppers in it and weird deformed pink shaped thing? what is that supposed to be? tofu? shrimp? are you guys serious?
Tim / August 6, 2008 at 12:13 am
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I'm not sure what you're looking at but what I see is a carrot, some tofu and green onions.
Michelle / October 18, 2008 at 08:48 pm
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I'm Viet and I despise this place. I can't believe people voted their crappy "pho" #1.

The best place for me so far, is Pho Dau Bo in Mississauga on Dundas St....IF you're willing to make the drive. The soup is fantastic and flavourful, and the beef slices are good. Just make sure you come well before closing time (11 pm) for the best bowl.

Pho Linh is not that bad for Toronto pho. Sometimes it disappoints, but if I were in T.O. and I needed a pho fix, I would go there. Palace is ok too. and Pho Hung is ok.
apetimberlake / October 31, 2008 at 03:36 pm
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Couldn't agree more with Michelle.
Pho Dau Bo is the best pho period.

I have never been to this place though, however your picture looks like a disgrace to pho everywhere!

Looks more like Won Ton Soup to me.
Wendel / November 10, 2008 at 12:40 pm
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It is very good, excellent...top 10 for sure, but not Number 1.
apetimberlake / April 1, 2009 at 08:34 pm
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Went here tonight!!!
great stuff, the pho was really good with small beef balls.
And this area isnt ghetto, its so nice.!
Peter / April 12, 2009 at 03:33 am
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Pho can be eaten anytime of day or night. You can have it in a "beef" broth or with "chicken", but not with tofu & vegies!
If you're looking for good value, beautifully clean fresh design, a true authentic taste and ambiance of Vietnamese & Thai cuisine, check out this place at 769 The Queensway, Etobicoke(at Royal York) its called MOSAIC ASIAN KITCHEN + WINE BAR. They also have a great selections of wines & martinis!
OVERRATED / May 28, 2009 at 04:07 am
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The place closer to Queen with the red sign that's across from XPACE has way better broth and the people who work there are much nicer. I find Golden Turtle's broth to be quite bland in comparison. The only this this place has going for it is outdoor seating which is pretty unheard of for Pho spot (from my experience).
OVERRATED / May 28, 2009 at 04:07 am
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only thing! I meant to type "the only thing..."
Pouria / June 10, 2009 at 11:43 pm
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I went there on Monday and the pho was very good. A tad on the sweet side for my taste but a bit of hot sauce balanced it out. My friend had one of the soups at the back of the menu (something with satay) which was spicier and also really good. So far best pho I've had in the city.
LeGourmand / October 22, 2009 at 10:25 am
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I ordered the spring rolls, fried pork chop & grilled chicken on rice, pho ga (chicken), mango shakes, and Vietnamese drip coffee (cold). This was last weekend.

Impressions:
*the pho portions are smaller than other places but not so small that you feel you're being ripped off. It's a "healthy" small.
*pho is not the best in the City...the broth is too MSG flavoured for me to accept this as quality pho...however, it's BETTER than most Pho 88 or Pho Hoa franchises where the MSG flavouring is in excess.
*the spring rolls are oily, but delicious beyond anything I've ever had before. These spring rolls can compete for the BEST spring rolls in Toronto. Pho Hung, Pho 88 are decent but these springs here were fantastic - so much so that after the first bite, when the flavour erupts, you will pause to enjoy that moment.

Overall, a nice dining experience. With the exception of the spring rolls (which were out of this world), the rest of what I ordered was acceptable-good, but not a clear winner by any means.
FoodieCook / January 15, 2010 at 04:10 pm
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Pho Dau Bo in Mississauga is the best Pho hands down! That choo choo train place that used to be on Spadina just south of Dundas was great too but they closed down :(
rüps replying to a comment from FoodieCook / February 24, 2010 at 02:54 pm
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"that choo choo train place that used to be on spadina just south of dundas" is still there.
it's just on the second level and the name of the place is xe lue aka the pho train.
http://www.blogto.com/announcements/2009/01/getting_on_the_pho_train/
Brian / November 1, 2010 at 02:34 pm
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I'm a regular customer. I'm a fairly polite person and say thank you for each thing they bring me and I don't think that I have ever heard a single your welcome from the servers. My gf and I have started playing game where we try to not say thank you at all to them (as we know that it will fall on deaf ears). Whichever of us says screws up and says thank you first has to pay for the meal.
Jordi / December 22, 2010 at 02:27 am
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Brian you sound like an arrogant idiot, the kind who spends $5 on a meal and expects to be treted like a king. I get that businesses are supposed to be grateful for your patronage but did you ever think maybe these people are tired, perhaps didn't hear you, or just don't speak English? Or just don't care?? If you don't like it, don't go back and if you don't have anything to say about the food, stay out of the conversation instead of providing us with your whining. Two "wrongs" don't make a right.
karenina / February 4, 2011 at 12:14 am
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dont go. go to the one just south.Pho Tien Thanh. 57 Ossington. East side. it has a different, more gritty (ads for permanent makeup on the wall and funny animal photo of some kind of morphed deer or forest spirit by the cash) ambiance but the pho is much tastier. Here you get the hot pepper without asking for it! Also Staff are always a pleasure. I find the staff at Golden Turtle blah. I mean this Jordi guy is ranting on - but there they at golden turtle they act like you dont exist. i once sat like over ten minutes waiting for change and had to get up to ask because it wasnt coming. The mirrors do make it easier to look around at peoples pho styles and pretty eyes but Pho Tien Thanh wins by farrr.
i go number 17 small. rare beef on the side (yes, i am bad like that)
Nigitstil / February 26, 2011 at 04:10 pm
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Best pho and vietnamese in TO hands down. I've tried my fair share and my boyfriend and I always seem to come back to Golden Turtle! Its also a bit of a favorite for a friend of mine after yoga to drop in for some much needed warm pho!
Roddy Freid / June 12, 2011 at 05:35 pm
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Very good pho and waitresses.
Angela / June 21, 2011 at 12:05 am
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If you want good Viet food, go to Golden Turtle. If you don't want fish sauce spilled all over your table to drip all over your stuff, and be insulted in a foreign language by a rude waitress, then avoid this place.
Trifelife / November 11, 2011 at 11:38 am
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Very respectable but not #1.

I ordered the usual..the Pho Tai Nam my broth lacked flavor.
The meat was high quality. The Service sucked and they take cash only.

Kat / July 17, 2012 at 04:26 pm
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I just came from Golden Turtle where I found a large 2" SCREW in my noodle dish! Yes, a screw! CRAZY! My tooth is aching from biting into it now. I showed the lady the screw I found in my dish and she just said "Oh sorry," and she shrugged her shoulders and left. I was like uhm no this is more then a Oh sorry walk away situation. I may have cracked my tooth! She said ok you don't have to pay for your meal then. I said no, I'm going to the dentist and you are going to pay for my bill and me and my friend's lunch. Then a man came over and said Sorry, we just had a renovation earlier. Really?? That's what you say? First, that was ages ago now, and secondly that shouldn't matter!! I am never going back other then to give them my dentist bill!! Plus Pho Tien Thanh south of it is much better!

They literally screwed me!
mayor dodge / July 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm
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Sorry to hear about your calamity, Kat. I guess all patrons should bring metal detectors along and scope the bowls before eating. Maybe check the owners' head while you're at it.
Veronica / August 11, 2012 at 01:26 pm
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Good pho and fast service!
Jaynan / August 23, 2012 at 09:41 am
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You guys are kidding me right? If you have eaten here recently, then you do realize that their offerings are now pretty bad.
There is a very good reason why this place barely has any Asians (especially Vietnamese) eating there anymore.
Yes- its true, non Vietnamese can have a very good palate for Vietnamese food too. But non of them go there anymore? There has got to be a reason.
Melissa / September 9, 2012 at 12:33 am
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I went here tonight for dinner with a few friends. The pho was good but the sizes were considerably smaller than other pho restaurants (the XL is more like a M). I would not say that it is the best in TO. I will NOT come back again because the service was staff was incredibly rude and my friends and I felt very rushed through our meal. Every few minutes one of the staff would ask if we were finished eating, even when this was clearly not the case. When we asked for more tea and chili peppers the waitress acted as though our requests were completely unreasonable. There are plenty of good pho restaurants in Toronto and I would much rather be a patron at a restaurant where my business is appreciated and I can eat my meal without feeling like an inconvenience to the staff.
Edward / October 1, 2012 at 07:59 pm
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I agree with Melissa and Jaynan. Read the reviews all the way back to 2006 and something has been lost cause I took a friend there a couple of weeks back expecting something awesome and got the exact opposite. Small portions, not so pleasant experience and a bland Pho. Good for me that I work up around Don Mills and York Mills cause there's a little plaza there with a wonderful Vietnamese spot called WonderPho and it serves a pretty decent, if not an almighty Pho Ga and Pho Ca Ri Ga (yellow curry chicken noodle soup) that is big and beautiful. Lunch is always busy. Service is sweet too.
sara / November 1, 2012 at 08:27 pm
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You would think going to a restaurant for dinner would be a satisfying experience. Nope. You can go to Rua Vang AKA The Golden Turtel Restaurant on 125 Ossington and have manager Hoang Nguyen ruin your over impressions of Pho Restaurants in Toronto.

. My gf and I went to Rua Vang AKA The Golden Turtle Restaurant at 125 Ossington Ave in Toronto. My gf and I went there because we heard and my gf has gone there before and they are always busy. But we are not sure how the manager Hoang Nguyen, was feeling today before we walked in. When we were asking for suggestions on a rice dish if their chicken or beef dish was preferred ,more by their clients, we got the response " some people like chicken and some like beef." We laughed lightly unsure if the waitress did not understand the question and chose chicken. We clearly said out loud we wanted to chicken.. Despite incorrectly writing down the wrong item and got shrimp instead. We have all made mistakes in ordering at other restaurants before and would have anticipated and appreciated if the manager's daughter who came to our table once our dishes were ordered would have said, despite incorrectly writting down the wrong order and discovering I had a seafood allegery as I addressed it to her. You would think the daughter who spoke english better than the waitess would be like, oh miss, dispute our policy or not throwing out food, we understand and we will give you the chicken dish as you stated it out loud to the waitress or just be like, you made a mistake and we are sorry for this but our policy does not allow for us to change your order and it be on us. However, no, tnone of these scenarios did not happen. Not only were we told, the restaurant does not waste food and that it was our fault for writing the wrong number down and you can pay your own mistakes even if you can or cannot eat the meal. When we received the bill, the manager personally came to our table to ridicule us for writing down the wrong number and told us in a fairly rude and uncalled for manner to make sure we write down the right dishes we want. I understand initially,my gf and I may have written down the wrong number, but we said outloud to the waitress we wanted chicken. The waitress could have asked us to confirm our order as we did say out loud "we want chicken." And the manager at the end of our experience did not have to come over and make us feel stupid and ruin the overall dinner experience. I have never had an experience where I felt the need to share with others how poor this manager, Hoang Nguyen of Rua Vang AKA The Golden Turtle Restaurant on 125 Ossington in Toronto made me feel. I have been to other restaurants were the manager has come out but despite making an error, they turned the situation on a positive note and made me feel, that, hey I think I'll come back and try something else on the menu.

Worst restaurant experience and poor customer service and leadership skills from Manager Hoang Nguyen!!!! Do not go, unless you want to made a fool of. Go to Pho 88 in Mississauga, great staff and whether it be your first or you are a regular, the staff laugh and smile and try to make your customer experience leaves you a smile and overall good impress of their establishment.

Please share with others and tell them to avoid this spot!!
Kev K / March 29, 2013 at 09:36 pm
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Sara, you sound like every restaurants nightmare. Get with the program, write your shit down and deal with it. This place is great. Not the friendliest service I've ever had but hey, its cheap as hell and is delicious!
Georgia / April 2, 2013 at 01:26 pm
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mm, i did have hair in my food at the Turtle on three separate occasions (in a row!), at which point i finally stopped going.

also, their "we are not responsible for bugs in your food in the summertime" is a bit off-putting, not to mention completely illegal.
p / October 18, 2013 at 09:02 pm
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i believe the people who say its dirty and poor customer service. I have been there once and that was my impression as well. food was just ok, but not exceptional.
.. manager shuts at the customer and hair in your food.. are you kidding me? I don't think I am coming back there.., even if the the comments are a bit exaggerated, still sounds awful.

people, raise up your standards!
Tina / October 29, 2013 at 04:29 am
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Pho Dau Bo is so generic.....they don't do it right (they leave the soup boiling on high) and they are quite dirty. Golden Turtle is a disgrace. Pho Vietnam has to be one of the best pho I ever had out. I dunno about Ben Thanh in the Toronto area but the one in Waterloo never disappoint. Of course the best pho is homemade by north vietnamese parents.
Gary Linekar / November 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm
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Golden Turtle is where all the Gwai Los with yellow fever go.

Tien Thanh just down the road is much more authentic and better quality.
jason / October 17, 2014 at 09:45 pm
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You placed every pho joint's PHO above PhPho Linh so I can't even take you serious. When do you find a Vietnamese person go out of their way to eat there? We don't. Thanh used the word ghetto, cuz he hasn't been to the ghetto he's an idiot on that part. But there's no way turtles pho is better then linhs. But what would I know I'm only a vietnamese person.
Elle / November 19, 2014 at 01:06 pm
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Golden Turtle. Trendy, over rated. Worst Service EVER!!!

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