They Must Have The BBQ Pork, At Least?
April 18, 2008 10:31 PM   Subscribe

Any good pho in Downtown Houston?

I'll be in downtown Houston for a few days, and I'm wondering if any good Vietnamese pho places can be found. I can't really venture far out of downtown, since I'll only have an hour or two between commitments.

I'll take other interesting restaurant recos too. Cheap and light preferred; I'm not interested in fancy dress-ups and sit-downs.
posted by rokusan to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Well, pho doesn't have BBQ pork, only beef (and pho ga has chicken). But Houston has an ENORMOUS Vietnamese population and lots of good pho, so don't worry.

There's a place called Pho-Nga which I thought had excellent pho tai and pho bo. Didn't have anything else there.

Second to my love of pho is my love of banh mi, and there's also a great place serving these Vietnamese sandwiches, which are to subway what pho is to Campbell's chicken noodle.

Thien-Ann or -Anh, I can't remember which, is the name of the best banh mi place i tried there. There were 2 others that I visited but they weren't memorable. The BBQ pork banh mi were fantastic.

I think there's also some good Laotian and Thai food in Houston - lots of Asian generally, even decent dim sum, which surprised me, being a Bay Area-bred food snob. Houston is a world-class city, though, with world-class food.
posted by luriete at 10:59 PM on April 18, 2008

I strongly agree with Thien Anh, 2600 Travis, right outside downtown. I'm a regular. The banh mi is to die for.
posted by capcuervo at 11:25 PM on April 18, 2008

You've actually landed in pho-central. Mai's is great, open 24 hours. There are some REALLY big Vietnamese places that are only moderately good, but cater to a largely anglo crowd - Kim Son for instance - no need to attend.

You'll want to head over to mid-town, between downtown and Montrose, for super-snappy places but there's lots of them, like Tafia.

Enjoy! Houston really does have fantastic food, particularly ethnic food. We just don't brag about it often.
posted by pomegranate at 5:34 AM on April 19, 2008

any great pho places a lot closer to galveston? (im there once a year or so)
posted by gcat at 6:15 AM on April 19, 2008

Just South of DT used to be called Vietnamese Town. Many businesses have moved to the West side of town with the recent redevelopment of the area as "Midtown," but there are still some classic places for excellent Vietnamese. Mai's and Van Loc (both off the HCC rail stop) are probably the most famous, Pho Saigon on Milam (off the MCGowen rail stop), Givral's off the same rail stop has great Vietnamese sandwiches for $2.50 and free wifi. Same rail stop: Cali Sandwich is also a good sandwich shop. If you haven't had the sandwiches - YOU MUST! All these places are quick, easy to get in and out of in your time frame and rail accessible so you don't need a car. If you do use a car there's plenty of free or metered parking near these places too. This site has reviews; look for ones in 77002 or 77004 zip codes. Everyone has their favorite place and often people think the service is rude - but it's really just functional and direct. Enjoy!
posted by dog food sugar at 6:24 AM on April 19, 2008

Oops - add 77006 to that list of zip codes for food near downtown.
posted by dog food sugar at 6:26 AM on April 19, 2008

gcat - try Pho 20. Reviews of Pho 20.
posted by dog food sugar at 6:38 AM on April 19, 2008

Mai's! In my experience, parking is a bit of a challenge during the day, but it's worth it.
posted by cr_joe at 7:36 AM on April 19, 2008

Pho Saigon is the best Pho. Les Givrals is the best banh mi and pork with rice.
posted by charlesv at 9:46 AM on April 19, 2008

thanks, dog food sugar! awesome. i didnt expect to find one right in galveston, though maybe i should have.
cant wait to properly introduce my family to the awsomeness of pho (they live there)!
posted by gcat at 11:45 AM on April 19, 2008

Hey I just noticed Les Givrals has a Market Square (800 block of Congress) location right smack in the middle of downtown.

For other eateries downtown I like Treebeards, also on Market Square for really excellent Southern cooking with a Louisiana flair, and El Rey on Main @ Preston for tacos.

If you take the rail to the HCC stop there's Tacos a GoGo on Main @ Alabama (and an excellent record shop next door to browse).

Everything listed in this thread is pretty easy in and out, and casual.
posted by dog food sugar at 4:13 PM on April 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

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