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Restaurants

Pho Huong

Posted by Amanda / Reviewed on March 14, 2010 / review policy

pho huong torontoPho Huong, on the corner of Pacific Ave and Dundas St W, is a local hot spot in the Junction. While somewhat hidden away this 'authentic' Vietnamese restaurant is always bustling at mealtimes with families, groups of friends, and people stopping in for a quick meal. In my case, I'm making the trip on a rainy evening for some comforting broth to lighten up a long, hard day.

My best friend and I walk in to Pho Huong and are motioned by a busy server to take a table at the back. The restaurant is brightly lit and well kept, only having opened just over a year ago. The decoration is tastefully simple but the tables themselves are of the gets-the-job-done genre typical of pho restaurants. Each has a little station with tableware, utensils, and a wide array of condiments.

My friend's a regular and I've been there a fair share of times myself so we both quickly get to work jotting down our orders. Skipping over the Rice, Vermicelli, and other dishes, we go straight for the pho. While the others are good, especially the Vermicelli, we know that the Pho is the real star here and we're too tired to mess around.

pho huong torontoDespite our practiced efficiency, the tea arrives to our table before we've finished writing out our orders. We add on some drinks and spring rolls before our slip is picked up by one of the servers, who checks it over with a brisk nod and walks off.

pho huong torontoThe spring rolls ($3.75) come quickly. I pick a piece up, using a napkin to protect my fingers from the piping hot oil, and gingerly bite in. The shell is crispy and the filling tasty. My friend is famished, so I let her take the lion's share as I finish my piece and wait for the pho.

I don't have to wait long - the two bowls, huge though they're technically the "small," are deftly placed before us, accompanied by a plate of fresh bean sprouts, herbs, lime, and chilis. I generously season my bowl of rare beef and chicken with noodles ($5.95) with the herbs while my friend opts to leave her bowl of chicken with noodles ($6.50) as is.

pho huong torontopho huong torontoI work on my lemon and sugar with soda ($3.00) while I wait for the meat to fully cook in the broth. While Pho Huong offers a wide variety of freshly made fruit smoothies, I enjoy the clean simplicity of the very fresh and very sour fizz.

pho huong torontoFinally we dig into our pho bowls gracelessly, the long noodles dangling out of our mouths as we awkwardly attempt to bite them short. I'm rather convinced that someone better trained could do this with more dignity, but don't bother myself too much over it. The noodles are good and the meat is fresh, but it's the broth that's the reason I'll wander all the way to the junction for my pho. Made fresh daily using the owner Hanna's home recipe, it's complex and flavourful; it always reminds me of a comforting hug, putting the world back into perspective as each sip helps wash away my cares.

While the service is no-nonsense, there is no sense of rush to finish our meals. We take our time, sometimes chatting, sometimes just watching Hanna's three little girls run around the tables. Finally we flag down the bill and head back out into the pouring rain, our souls a little warmer than before.

Pho Houng is open from 10am to 10pm Sunday through Thursday, and 10am to 11pm Friday and Saturday. Dishes range from $6-$8 typically, pho coming in small (pictured above), medium, or large. They offer takeout and delivery.

Discussion

34 Comments

AV / March 15, 2010 at 10:16 am
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Dammit... there goes my Pho spot.
mjp / March 15, 2010 at 10:46 am
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My thoughts exactly, AV. :(
Benjamin / March 15, 2010 at 10:49 am
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I just blasted my gullet with some of that fine ass Lemon Grass Chicken, and my lady partner loved her some sweet Chicken Curry. It revolutionized the smartphone industry with super awesome taste!
Benjamin / March 15, 2010 at 10:51 am
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I just blasted my gullet with some of that sweet ass lemon chicken on rice, while my partner with lady bits slapped her belly with some fine ass chicken curry. This place is effin' sweet as all hell and revolutionized the smartphone industry with it awesome friggin' taste.
AW / March 15, 2010 at 11:12 am
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I'll concur with the first 2 comments!!
Brandon / March 15, 2010 at 02:16 pm
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one of the best spots in the city!
Al / March 15, 2010 at 03:53 pm
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But don't you miss the surly kids who were more interested in watching the monster-sized TV than taking your order in the spot's previous Pho incarnation? Yeah, me neither...
reality bites / March 16, 2010 at 02:34 pm
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noodles look good, but check their dine safe record:

http://app.toronto.ca/food2/DineSafeMain?userRequest=view_history&;ESTABLISHMENT_ID=10326363
Sheryl / March 18, 2010 at 10:45 am
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Nooooo, the secrets out! Between this and Bhaan Thai down the street, I will be one sorry person when I move out of the Junction.
Ha! replying to a comment from reality bites / March 19, 2010 at 07:28 pm
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seriously? You think that's a bad dine safe record? You definitely have no clue what goes on in most restaurants...do yourself a favour and don't look up any other restaurants or stores, you'll never leave your house again.
Yvonne / March 21, 2010 at 08:23 pm
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Love the food, it was delicious. The atmosphere is cozy. However, we waited abit long for our food to come...but overall we really enjoyed the food here and the price was also reasonable.
Amanda replying to a comment from Yvonne / March 21, 2010 at 09:09 pm
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Hi Yvonne; can I ask how big the party was, and how busy the restaurant was? Just to help give an idea of what to expect: I know when I go, even when its rather busy, the wait isn't long at all--so I'm curious what conditions will make for a long wait.

Thanks

Amanda
Phogrl / March 23, 2010 at 08:00 pm
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PHO HUONG ROOCKS! This gem is wayyy better than the 'original pho' on Spadina, cold veggie spring rolls and the advocado shake are a must-try!
yvonne replying to a comment from Amanda / May 1, 2010 at 10:41 pm
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Hi Amanda,
Sorry didn't reply right away, but to answer your question, we waited about 1/2 for our food to come. It was rather busy that day, and not enough staff. But once the food came, it was all worth the wait. The food was delicious!!!!
Graham / June 27, 2010 at 11:02 pm
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I love this place. Go every other week. Great food, cheap prices, decent service. Occasionally when it's really busy there's a 20+ minute wait for food but 90% of the time it comes in under 10 minutes. YUMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!
Melanie / September 6, 2010 at 01:59 pm
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Terrible service. We went for pho here the other day, and have been here before. Each time we go, ordering is very difficult if we need to ask any clarifying questions about the menu. It seems that none of the servers can speak more than 5 words of English. This time in particular, we ordered an appetizer (or "appertizer" as spelled on the menu) of shrimp cakes. These extremely greasy, flavourless, very dense "cakes" were served with a single shrimp on top, left whole with legs, shell and all, deep-fried - for $7! I decided to give it a try anyway, minus the unappetizing-looking shrimp, but it tasted worse than it looked. When the server noticed we had not touched the appetizer, he offered for us to take it to go. After clearly letting him know that we were unhappy with this item and even stating that it tasted bad, he proceeded to mutter under his breath and asked us several more times if we wanted to take it to go. He refused to take it off our bill stating "it's done now" and when asked to speak to a manager, he replied that there is no manager today (on a Saturday!) So basically we were shit out of luck. We will never go back to this place.
mrkoss / January 16, 2011 at 11:27 am
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Great place, love the food.. last reviewer sounds like an asshole..
John / March 2, 2011 at 10:10 am
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Yeah I agree with you mrkoss. Shrimp cakes are an aquired taste and are usually sold like that. They can be bought exactly like that in stores in china town. The resturant just sells the shrimp cakes in the way they are suppose to be. I tried their shrimp cakes and ones from different places and realized that I do not like them myself. Some people like it and some people don't. What a terrible customer for asking for a refund for properly prepared food. The waiter probaly saw no reason to refund your food.
Karen / May 21, 2011 at 06:17 pm
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It's not really that much of a newcomer. It's been around for years. Just 'cause it surfaced to blogTO's conscience this year doesn't make it new. BTW, it's also been awesome for years. Thus, the first few comments.

Hopefully the owners enjoy more business now. They deserve it.
Pat / July 14, 2011 at 03:41 am
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I enjoy the food everytime I go. The spring rolls are awesome.
Shawna / September 1, 2011 at 10:54 pm
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My wife and I have been loyal customers of Pho Huong at Pacific and Dundas for over 5 years. We have enjoyed many lovely meals from this restaurant, thus, we were even more suprised by our treatment recently. After placing a takeout order for fresh rolls and bun vermicelli my wife went to pickup the order that was waiting at the front counter. The clerk did not ask what our order was nor confirm a name or phone number. As it turned out we were unfortunately given the wrong order. By the time we were properly notified of the mistake we already had the food at home and the restaurant was closing. We were even more shocked to be told by the proprietors when we contacted the restaurant, that they had confirmed the order with my wife and that it was our fault and they COULD neither refund or credit our order. The reason given for this was that the clerk had asked if we orders Pho and fresh rolls. For the record, we have always had a hard time communicating with various staff members at this restaurant since english is not their first language, however, in this case my wife was NOT asked at all about what she had ordered. As a result of this incident and the casual disregard for us as loyal customers WE WOULD NEVER GO BACK TO THIS RESTAURANT AGAIN! It is sad that the customer no longer comes first. Greed and disrespect of the truth would seem to be more important at this establishment.
PhoHungry / September 16, 2011 at 09:07 pm
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I hear you, AV.

I was really disappointed when I went to Pho Huong tonight. The food was great - as it usually is - but I waited 45 min for it. Granted, it's a Friday night and they were slammed but still...45 min? Really? I will only go back on a Monday - Thursday only.
Hanna / September 17, 2011 at 05:42 pm
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The reviews from shawna was not right, the waiter and waitress have enough english to explain and take orders over the phone even though English wasn't our first language please do not discriminate our people. We offer u and do u a favor to deliver the right order which your wife in a rush and grabbed a wrong order it wasn't our fault at all
Toronto replying to a comment from Shawna / September 18, 2011 at 12:28 am
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Your review weren't correct, I have been to this restaurant so many times, both waiters and waitresses spoke well in English
kim / January 18, 2012 at 05:00 pm
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Do they have delivery ? Have been there before and I love it .
kim / January 18, 2012 at 05:10 pm
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Okay I read it and yes they do . Lol sorry
Peter / June 18, 2013 at 04:42 pm
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Hanna - Shawna was not discriminating against our people (as she stated she was a loyal customer for 5 years, and I'm Vietnamese myself). She's discriminating your restaurant's poor customer service. And to clarify, providing a customer with a correct order is *NOT* a favour. It's the expectation, since they are giving you their money. Your business is a trade of food, for money. Since your (now former) customer did not receive the food of their choice, they are rightfully entitled to their *CORRECT* order, or a reimbursement. Shame on you and your business for not doing what's right for the customer, and your business. You can't be so short-sighted and just make a sale. You have to make a customer... which brings in more sales. Stupid. You don't want to take my advice, but if you do, you'll thank me for it. Read some business books... Step 1, apologize to Hanna publicly. Step 2, invite her and her wife to come in for a complimentary dinner (since the cost of your ingredients for a meal for 2 is about $4.00). Step 3, make it the most epic experience ever, so that they will come back, and they will continue to recommend your restaurant to other future potential patrons, and so they will stop bashing your restaurant every chance they get.
Toronto / June 26, 2013 at 10:18 am
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This restaurant open only 4 1/2 years, that review was written 2years ago. Come on
Richard / October 20, 2013 at 01:05 pm
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Disgusting that owner Hanna brought even here racial issues. Definitely no normal person should go now to such a place; and for all immigrants here is the message; if you think you are discriminated in my country, the door is open, nobody invited you here. And yes, I am an immigrant myself, but I associate myself with my home - Canada (otherwise, why I came here?).
DS / October 26, 2013 at 02:31 pm
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Agreed with the comments about the secret being out. Also, about the dine safe record? Seriously? That's about as good as it gets in a restaurant haha!
DS / October 26, 2013 at 02:44 pm
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As for everything else up here ^^, can't comment! not my bidness!
ugh / April 26, 2014 at 11:40 pm
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really too bad about the generally awful customer service... food is okay and consistently so but unfortunately the crappy, borderline rude service is also pretty consistent. this place is only successful because theres not much else in the neighbourhood
AV replying to a comment from ugh / June 23, 2014 at 11:56 am
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You go for Pho expecting good customer service?
Terry / June 23, 2014 at 11:22 pm
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I would always return for: cold spring roll with grilled chicken, fresh lemonade, and Viet beef stew with rice noodles - yummmm.

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