It’s cold and raining outside, and I just ate a hot and tasty bowl of Pho. I’m so thankful to be born in Hanoi, where is also the hometown of one of the world’s best dishes. The food that I miss the most whenever I’m away from here. I have tried Pho in many other places, but unfortunately, in nowhere else I could find the same taste like Pho in Hanoi.
I have been a fan of Pho since I was a kid. In my old neighborhood, there was a Pho stall which I ate every morning. Not even a popular one. It was super delicious that I always ate two bowls at a time and never found it boring. I was a loyal customer of that stall for years until I moved away. Since then I have tried a lot of different types of Pho and brands in Hanoi. From the world-famous ones to those who are only known locally. Each of them has its taste, but they are all delicious.
Please also remember I might have different taste from you. And some well-known restaurants might not be as good as locally known restaurants and vice versa. It’s a big mistake trying just a few to have an idea about Pho in Hanoi. Try as much as possible and find your favorite Pho!
In this post, I want to share with you my ultimate list of Pho in Hanoi. There are three main evaluation criteria: Taste, Cleanliness, and Service.
My tip: In Hanoi, many Pho restaurants have the habit of adding monosodium glutamate to their broth. If you don’t like it (you should), remember to tell them not to include it in your bowl of Pho when you order. In Vietnamese, it is pronounced ‘Mì Chính.’
1. Pho Bat Dan (Phở Bát Đàn) – 49 Bat Dan
This one is famous for its queueing culture. Salty, delicious, no cinnamon rice noodles. The beef here is very well sliced, thicker than other Phos, both well-done and rare steak. It is fresh and sweet as well since the beef is sliced only when you come. They also have many types of beef for you to choose from.
The downside is you often have to queue for quite a long time. And remember this is a self-service restaurant, meaning you have to wait for your turn, find a seat and table and take the food there yourself.
My tip is to always go with another person here. One of you will wait to order while the other goes inside the restaurant to reserve the seats for both. Another tip is to avoid morning and afternoon time if you don’t want to wait for extremely long queues.
2. Pho Hang Dong (Phở Hàng Đồng) – 48 Hang Dong
The owner of this restaurant is the older brother of Pho Bat Dan’s owner. Pho here has similar taste to Pho Bat Dan although it is less salty. You should also try fried oil sticks here. The restaurant is clean but a bit small.
3. Pho Tu Lun Hai Ba Trung (Phở Tư Lùn) – 23 Hai Ba Trung & Pho Tu Lun Hang Ma – 59 Hang Ma
Two sisters run these stalls. The saltiest Pho in Hanoi. Each piece of beef is carefully thick sliced, sweet, meaty, and flavorful. But the specialty of Pho Tu Lun is its fat muddy broth. Just thinking about the broth here makes my mouth water. If this is not your taste, you can still order clear broth though.
Pho Tu Lun also serves Vietnamese beef stew which is excellent to eat with bread.
The cleanliness might not be as good as other restaurants since both of them are operated on pavements.
4. Pho Thin (Phở Thìn) – 13 Lo Duc
Pho Thin has its own way to make Pho. Instead of boiling the steak in broth, they fry it with ginger, onion, and garlic until it becomes medium rare before adding to the bowl with the noodles. In Vietnamese, it is called Phở Tái Lăn. Pho Thin’s broth is a bit fattier. Thus some people might hate it.
At Pho Thin you have to pay in advance, find a seat, then they will take the bowl to your table. Sometimes it can be very crowded, and you have to queue. Personally, I think this restaurant is not very clean. However, I have never experienced any problem here.
5. Pho Tai Lan O Quan Chuong (Phở Tái Lăn Ô Quan Chưởng) – 82 Tran Nhat Duat
A small Pho restaurant located at 82 Tran Nhat Duat next to O Quan Chuong. This restaurant is not widely known by foreigners or even Hanoians. Thus you don’t have to worry about seating in a restaurant full of people or wait for a long queue.
Here they serve the same kind of pho like Pho Thin. Although Pho Thin is more popular, I think Pho O Quan Chuong’s taste is better.
Small but spotless restaurant. Plus the owner is super friendly.
6. Pho Suong (Phở Sướng) – 24B Trung Yen Alley, Dinh Liet
Pho Suong is widely known for its light, clean, sweet broth. They also have many types of beef. Each piece of beef is carefully thin-sliced, tender and meaty. Sometimes I pass by the restaurant and cannot resist its smell that I have to go inside and take a bowl of Pho. Because of having a convenient central location, Pho Suong is always crowded. The thing I don’t like about Pho Suong is they use a lot of monosodium glutamate to make that sweet broth. An okay Pho restaurant.
7. Pho Ganh Hang Chieu (Phở Gánh Hàng Chiếu) – Located at the crossroads of Hang Duong and Hang Chieu
This one is what I like the most. Established more than 30 years ago, this stall has become a part of Hanoi’s culture. A small stall operated on the pavements. Although it is located in the center of Hanoi, most of the foreigners don’t know about its existence due to its unusual opening time: 3 A.M. If you think who the hell goes eating Pho at 3 A.M you are wrong.
Few minutes after opening, this little corner of Hanoi becomes crowded because of diners. Almost every day they sell out at about 7 A.M. You have only 4 hours for a chance of tasting one of the best Pho in Hanoi so wake up early. Who comes first will be served first, and you also don’t have to queue. Come here, find a seat, and wait for your turn ranging from 10 to 15 minutes.
The best thing of Pho Ganh Hang Chieu might not be its taste only, but the atmosphere it creates. It is so Hanoi. Definitely recommended. Remember to try Vietnamese beef stew Pho with fried oil sticks here.
8. Pho Bo Van (Phở Bò Vân) – 57 Hang Chieu
Another Pho restaurant at Hang Chieu street. Pho Van is just… excellent. Some people consider Pho Van is the best Pho in Hanoi. Pho Van has clear sweet broth, all thanks to the beef bones being carefully stewed for hours. Plus an excellent combination of tender noodles and thin-sliced beef. Here you could also try their pickled garlic which is palatable.
The service is good. Although Pho Van is always a busy place during its opening time, you will not have to wait for ages. The only negative thing is the narrow space due to the location.
9. Pho Tuu (Phở Tựu) – 8A Hàng Da
Pho Tuu is mostly known by Hanoians. At Pho Tuu you will have a big bowl of Pho with lots of noodles. The noodles strings are soft but elastic. The broth is sweet and flavorful, in combination with tender beef slices and onion create one of the best Phos in town.
The restaurant opens in the morning and evening. However, you should come early in the morning for the best of Pho Tuu, since in the evening the owner’s son makes Pho and he’s not as good as his father in my opinion. Tuu is a small restaurant and can only serve about 15 people at the same time. You should come early before everything is sold out.
10. Pho Ly Quoc Su (Phở Lý Quốc Sư) – 27 Phùng Hưng
While wandering around Hanoi you will probably see many Pho Ly Quoc Su, but the original and the best one can only be found at 27 Phung Hung street.
Here they serve you a big bowl of Pho with sweet broth, no monosodium glutamate included. Fresh, tender beef slices will not disappoint you. The downside is sometimes the smell is bad.
The stall is small, and you have to eat on the sidewalk. In summer it could be quite uncomfortable. Guest have to queue and pay in advance since the stall is quite crowded. Still, Pho Ly Quoc Su deserves a try.
Other Phos which I think you should try. They are located in different locations, so find the ones near your place. They have good recommendations from other people. Not all of them match my taste though. Try them and have your own opinions.
11. Pho Tu Hai – 233 Van Chuong 1 Alley, Kham Thien Street
12. Pho Vui – 25 Hàng Giấy
13. Pho Nho – 27 Huynh Thuc Khang
14. Pho Ga Cham (Chicken Pho) – 63 Yen Ninh
15. Pho Ga (Chicken Pho) – 1 Do Hanh
16. Pho 111 Cau Giay – 111 Cau Giay
17. Pho Man Gam Cau (Phở Mặn Gầm Cầu) – Gam Cau (or 34 Hàng Giấy)
18. Pho Bo That Truyen – 2 Hoa Lu
19. Pho Bo – 33 Le Dai Hanh
20. Pho Chat – 268 Kham Thien
21. Pho Ga Van Anh – 45A Mai Hac De
22. Pho Oanh – 100 Cau Giay
23. Pho Ga – 12 Nam Ngu
24. Pho Thanh Hang – 83 Hoang Hoa Tham
25. Pho Vit – 92 Lo Duc
26. Pho Ga – 156 Quan Thanh
27. Pho Hien – 138 Nguyen Chi Thanh
28. Pho Phu Xuan – 36 Hang Da
29. Pho Ngo – No. 5, Alley 40, Tran Duy Hung
30. Pho Tuan – No. 4, Alley 75, Nguyen Cong Hoan
31. Pho Oanh – 113 Nguyen Truong To
32. Pho Bau – 483 Kim Nguu