The Queen and University crowd have a new spot to dine! Vv Magazine’s Amanda Phuong gives us a first look at Pho Vistro, the latest restaurant to hit the Queen West strip.
Growing up in a Vietnamese household, I like to think that I know a thing or two about traditional Vietnamese cuisine. And pho is, without a doubt, a comfort food that reminds me of home – a dish that warms its eaters inside and out.
While the dish is simple, what makes one pho better than the next are the ingredients used, something that the owners of Pho Vistro, Dr. Hoanh Nguyen and Quang Nguyen, understand greatly. Though the duo are first-time restaurateurs, they’ve managed to master a pho that is authentic, savoury, and healthy.
Inside, Pho Vistro is long and narrow, like many of the establishments on Queen St. West. Imagined by Fraser Designs, the 34-seat space features an exposed brick wall and an open concept kitchen, where patrons can watch their food being prepared.
Offering only the freshest and most natural ingredients, Pho Vistro’s secret weapon is their broth, of which they have three kinds: beef, chicken, and vegan. Each broth is slow cooked for 36 hours, featuring vitamin rich ingredients like cinnamon, star anise, and organic bean sprouts, which have proven health benefits. Their menu is inclusive to all eaters, with gluten-free and vegan options, and a completely peanut-free kitchen.
Their menu is short and simple, starting with a handful of appetizers that are all $8 or less. The fried chicken-filled spring rolls ($4.50) have a crisp-yet-not-too-greasy exterior while the fresh imperial rolls ($4.50) are crunchy and refreshing. Unlike most fresh rolls, Pho Vistro’s don’t feature rice noodles and are instead jam packed with fresh veggies.
Another must-try appetizer is the Vietnamese-style ribs ($6). Slow cooked and tasty, the braised beef is tender, falling apart with the pull of a fork. While the spring and fresh imperial rolls are shareable, I suggest hogging this dish to yourself.
Alongside classic pho ($10.50), Pho Vistro serves a signature dish – a traditional dry pho ($10.50). Also called the salad pho, this dish has all the goodness of a regular pho, with a heartier serving of vegetables. The broth is served on the side, making it a perfect take out option for workers in the neighborhood. Each menu item can be supplemented with additional toppings such as short ribs, oxtail or avocado for an extra $2.
Rounding out the menu is Pho Vistro’s selection of beverages. Highlights include the traditional Vietnamese iced coffee ($4.50), perfect for an after-lunch caffeine pick-me-up.
And the delicious smoothies ($5) that come in four flavours, vegan and sugar-free options: avocado, avocado banana, mango, and banana.
Pho Vistro is located at 259 Queen St. West and is open Monday-Friday 11am to 9pm and Saturday-Sunday 12pm to 11pm.
Have you tried Pho Vistro yet? Which dish was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.