Pho, pronounced “fuh,” is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of a long-simmered beef broth base with rice noodles. Typical garnishes can include Thai basil, bean sprouts, lime or lemon.
There are a number of places to find pho in the Baltimore metro area, but a select handful of places are known by the locals to really do it right. Follow this list and stay away from the “faux” pho.
Pho Dat Thanh
9400 Snowden River Pkwy
Columbia, Md. 21045
Price: Entrees $12 to $22
Hours: Daily 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Carry out until 9:45 p.m.
Pho Dat Thanh in Columbia, Md. is must for any pho lover. With its extensive menu of more than 100 items, it is sure to please everyone in your group. The menu features traditional pho items along with “house specials” and traditional Asian cuisine like general chicken and lo mein. The restaurant also offers a full dessert menu, as well as a number of refreshing fruit smoothies. Pho Dat Thanh features a full bar and the dining room is upscale, yet inviting. And of course, children are always welcome. Private dining, catering and carry out orders are all available as well.
5764 Baltimore National Pike
Catonsville, Md. 21228
Price: $6 to $13
Hours: Daily 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Pho Number One in Catonsville, Md. is the next stop on the list, due to its rave reviews from locals and the media. The food is trendy and complex, pleasing to the eye and just plain old delicious. The menu features traditional pho as well as other Vietnamese cuisine. The restaurant also serves appetizers, desserts and Vietnamese style non-alcoholic, alcoholic drinks, wines and beers. Dining is very casual and children are always welcome. Pho Number One opens at 10 a.m. and is a great lunch break stop with fast service and affordable specials. It also offers catering and carry out.
Related: Hearty Soup Recipes
1116 Rolling Road
Baltimore, Md. 21228
Price: $7 to $10
Hours: Mon to Sat 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sun 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Pho Saigon is another extraordinary restaurant attracting attention. The menu features classic Vietnamese cuisine that will not disappoint. The broth itself has some of the best flavor in town. Paired nicely with Pho Saigon’s delicious egg rolls, the pho make for a great dipping sauce. The atmosphere is fun and casual and children are welcome. This is another easy stop for lunch with quick dine-in service and carry out, and prices starting at just $7. Bring cash because credit cards are not accepted.
785H Rockville Pike
Rockville, Md. 20852
Price: $7 to $11
Hours: Sun to Thurs 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Fri and Sat 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Closed Tuesday
Pho 95 in Rockville, Md. is renowned for its pho made with traditional techniques. The classic beef broth is made by charring onions and ginger and simmering with bones, marrow, anise, cinnamon, fish sauce and a host of other ingredients. You would think all of that taste would come with a price, but the menu is affordable with nothing over $12, including the quail item. The menu also features Vietnamese drinks, beer and wine. The dining room is casual and children are always welcome. This restaurant is also available for carry out.
Pho Hiep Hoa
921-G Ellsworth Dr
Silver Spring, Md. 20910
Price: $9- $14
Hours: Sun to Thurs 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri and Sat 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Pho Hiep Hoa in Silver Spring, Md. is last but not least on our list of fabulous pho spots. The entrees are plated beautifully, and the menu is fun and customizable. It offers a number of affordable “house specials” and a few familiar favorites like sesame chicken. There is also a large number of appetizer and dessert selections, as well as a large beverage and dessert menu. The eatery’s vibe is comfortable and family friendly, with carry out also available.
Related: Guide To International Cooking
Kristin Mason is a personal chef and food writer living in the sprawling Baltimore/Washington, D.C. metro area. She holds a degree in business and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando, Fla. in 2006. Kristin enjoys cooking for family and friends, traveling to try new foods and being in the great outdoors. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.