Best pho in the city

Around this time of year I start to get serious pho cravings.  Nothing warms me up in winter like a bowl of steaming Vietnamese noodle soup especially with a sprinkling of fiery chopped chillis on top.  Of course I know that the best pho in Melbourne is to be found on Victoria street in Richmond or out in “Little Vietnam” in Dandenong but since neither of those are really convenient for city workers like me on a lunch break I’ve narrowed this list to the best pho in the city for a quick lunch time hit.  Forget a flu injection, you just need a couple of bowls of pho.

The oh-so-pretty pho plus a rice paper roll at Roll’d

1.  Mekong Pho
Service is brusque and the setting is pretty utilitarian with vinyl tables and diners crammed in side by side.  A television hanging in one corner plays random Hong Kong game shows while there is the obligatory knocking gold cat on the counter.  Yes it’s all about the pho here rather than the décor or service.  There’s over 20 different pho variations on offer at Mekong Pho but the traditional beef stars as the beef is tender and cooked to medium rare.  The pho made with chicken breast ($8.50) is clean and fresh but lacks the depth of flavour of the beef pho.   What I really like at Mekong Pho though is all the accompaniments that you can add yourself to customise your pho.  Some lime, beanshoots and hot chilli really make pho sing.  Bonus points for the flasks of tea on the tables as well.Essentials
Details: Mekong Pho, 241 Swanston Street, Melbourne City (Ph 03 9663 3288) Open: Mon-Sat 9am-10pm, Sun 10am – 10pm.
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve
Pho Bo Ga Mekong Vietnam on Urbanspoon
Chicken pho at Mekong Pho


2.  Pho 102 Saigon
It’s pretty hard to find Pho 102 Saigon, it’s down a bit of a grotty looking shopping arcade off Flinders Lane and the shop front itself is tiny.  But the pho here is rich and warming.  There’s no glamorous surroundings at this hole in the wall place and pho itself isn’t about luxury ingredients or complex cooking techniques either.  But I loved the zing of the herbs herbs, the soothing slurp of noodles and the savoury depth of the stock.  I would have liked more accompaniments on offer to jazz my pho up a little.Essentials
Details: Pho 102 Saigon, Shop 5 Hub Arcade, 318-322 Little Collins Street, Melbourne City (Ph 03 8683 5578).
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve.  Pho is $8.50.
Phở 102 Saigon on Urbanspoon
Pho at 102 Saigon


3.  Roll’d
The newest pho spot in town is Roll’d a canteen style store already attracting a mob of sharp suits thanks to its location down the legal end of the city.  The food on offer here is a bit of a sanitised take on Vietnamese cuisine but it’s all beautifully presented and undeniably convenient.  The pho here is called “Uncle Pho” but putting aside the kitsch name, Roll’d’s beef pho has a clear and delicate stock.  Sadly the beef itself was overcooked on my most recent visit but generally Roll’d does a decent pho and even better rice paper rolls.  I’ve written a longer review for Broadsheet of the place.  

Details: Roll’d,  Goldsbrough Lane, 181 Williams St, Melbourne  (Ph: 03 9600 1088) Open:  Mon to Fri 11am–3pm
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve.  Pho is $8.50.
Roll'd on Urbanspoon
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Gourmet Giveaway
Congratulations to Loren as the winner of the Gourmet Giveaway to win a $50 Groupon voucher.  Thanks to everyone who entered.  


  1. Oooo, I’ve heard of Roll’d but yet to visit – for some reason your Broadsheet link didn’t work…

    Btw Cara, I have awarded you the much deserved Lovely Blog Award 😀
    Check it out here:

    Thanks for being a foodie inspiration!

    Cheers 🙂

  2. Pho is so perfect for this weather! We had it twice in one week last week 🙂

  3. Petite Promise – I think I’m always craving pho

    Ames – Thanks for letting me know – have fixed it, and thanks for the blog award!

    Lorraine – Yes I fear I am addicted, it’s either pho or ramen all the way for me at the moment.

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