Pho 168 (Gerrard and Jones)

Last weekend, I craved for pho.  It was a cold and miserable couple of days, and we took the opportunity to go out for soup during the 2 hour-window that the sun sort-of peaked. I remembered passing by a pho restaurant on Gerrard and thought it was time to try it.  We know that there’s a plethora of pho places over at Broadview and Gerrard, but we wanted somewhere more local (and with parking).  Try getting a parking spot in Little Chinatown on weekends — not worth it to destroy my chill weekend mode.

So, on that note, we headed over, and tried out Pho 168.

The Skinny:  Stuff we liked…

  • The pho.  Good enough to quickly satisfy a craving, but want to stay in the neighbourhood.  I ordered the rare beef, tendon and tripe (PH10 on the menu)– my usual go-to favourite at any pho restaurants.  Broth is good, and has enough complexity to keep me interested.  Nothing earth-shattering, but satisfying enough.  Fat content is good, and it’s not too salty.

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  • The service. It’s fast-fast.  Everything must have arrived about 5 minutes after we ordered.  That’s always a bonus.  It’s hard to sit in aromatic Vietnamese restaurants waiting for food, as your stomach grumbles amidst all the delicious food smells.
  • The Vermicelli Dish.  The husband ordered the Beef wrapped in betel leaves, with bean curd shrimp and sausage (BH2 on the menu) .  It was also good, but it’s your average vermicelli dish fare, except for the beef wrapped in betel leaves — those were extra good.
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The Skinny:  Room for Improvement

  • The pho.  Yes, it’s in both categories.  Although I liked the broth, the meat arrived “not rare” and all stuck together in a weird, hard ball.  The tripe tasted a tad overcooked, and I had to search for a tendon piece.  Much room for improvement here.
  • The deep fried shrimp rolls (K03 on the menu).  Do not order this.  Just don’t.  It’s not shrimp, and frankly tasteless.  Not worth the calories.

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The Verdict:  I will return, but only if my craving is for any pho within a 5 minute drive radius, or say… I was shopping at Gerrard Square, and in the area anyway.

  • If I want real pho for the soul, I would head to Pho Tien Than on Ossington and Queen.  We used to live in the area, and they honestly have the best pho I have ever tasted (and I have tried pho in many neighbourhoods — from east end to the west end, from one chinatown to the other, to Scarborough, Markham, and beyond).
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