The Best Phở Restaurants
In Chicago, IL
Published August 23, 2021
I’ve spent the past few months on a mission to find the best places to get a bowl of phở in Chicago! This popular noodle and soup dish from Vietnam is one of my all-time favorite foods, and there are so many places to get it throughout the city. This blog post is for all the foodies out there who are craving some phở in the Windy City!
Many of the restaurants on this list can be found on or around the intersection of West Argyle Street and North Broadway, which serves as Chicago’s Little Saigon. There are also a couple in Chinatown, and a few more are scattered throughout some other neighborhoods. Click or tap any of the links below to jump down to that section of the list!
Keep in mind that this list is not ranked in order! In fact, some of the most unique restaurants are down at the bottom!
- Phở Restaurants On & Near Argyle
- Phở Restaurants in Chinatown
- Phở Restaurants in Other Neighborhoods
How I Made This List
To write this blog post, I tried as many phở places as I could in Chicago! At every restaurant, I ordered a fresh spring roll (gỏi cuốn) followed by a combo bowl (phở đặc biệt), which typically comes with raw sliced steak, beef tripe, brisket, tendons, and Vietnamese meatballs. I did this so I could standardize the dining experience and try as many ingredients as possible in one meal!
Phở Restaurants On & Near Argyle
Miss Saigon Restaurant
This restaurant on Argyle offers friendly service and a casual dining environment. They add their own creative touches to classic Vietnamese fare, which makes every meal here a treat!
In terms of the menu, the gỏi cuốn at Miss Saigon is pretty standard. For a more interesting alternative, try their “Saigon roll” (not pictured here), which contains a crispy fried center. Miss Saigon doesn’t offer a standard phở đặc biệt, but they do have a “Pho Saigon.” This bowl of soup has a variety of meats including short ribs, something you won’t be able to find anywhere else!
A block or two down Argyle from Miss Saigon is Phở 777. This cozy little place serves a deliciously satisfying phở đặc biệt, although their menu has other excellent options such as an authentic bún chả Hà Nội.
The bowl size at Phở 777 isn’t huge, but they do offer generous portions of meat. Their broth consistently has a full and complex flavor reminiscent of fish sauce with a peppery aftertaste. Their spring rolls are equally good, with crisp lettuce and a lot of mint.
Address: 1137 W Argyle St, Chicago, IL 60640
If I’m being honest, Phở 888 is probably my go-to place on Argyle. It’s a small restaurant that serves large bowls of phở with generous amounts of tender meat. Their broth has more of a peppery taste, which I love. Their spring rolls are big too, and they taste very fresh.
Nhà Hàng Vietnam Restaurant
Address: 1032 W Argyle St, Chicago, IL 60640
This restaurant on the corner of Argyle and Kenmore has a colorful, eye-catching storefront. Go inside and find a table in their equally colorful dining room, or grab a table on their outdoor patio when the weather is nice.
Nhà Hàng Vietnam offers two sizes of combo phở, and their broth has a really unique flavor that isn’t really peppery. In my experience, they don’t serve as much meat as some of the other places on my list. As such, this might be a good place to go if you don’t like super meat-heavy phở.
Nha Trang Vietnamese Restaurant
Phở Restaurants in Chinatown
Phở Cafe • 越南粉
If you’re in Chinatown and craving hot noodle soup, this is a good place to try. Phở Cafe’s prices are pretty reasonable and the atmosphere is casual. Their phở đặc biệt is served in a pretty big bowl, and it comes with a lot of meat!
I think their broth has a strong, complex flavor to it, perhaps from the oxtail. It’s peppery and not too acidic, so a squirt of lime really compliments the soup. The shrimp gỏi cuốn here are a little small, but always super fresh! I would bet that they’re hand-rolled to order.
The Noodle Vietnamese & Thai Cuisine
Chinatown’s other prominent phở restaurant is called The Noodle. This restaurant serves a large number of Vietnamese and Thai dishes, and it always seems to get pretty busy for lunch. The most notable thing about The Noodle is their massive bowls and low prices. If any place on this list offers the most bang for your buck, it’s this one!
I have to say, their broth is on the lighter side in terms of flavor. If you don’t love super peppery, aromatic phở, you should definitely try The Noodle. Despite their low prices, they don’t compromise on the quality of their meat cuts. In addition to good food, their service has always been quick and friendly!
Phở Restaurants in Other Neighborhoods
Sunset Phở Caffe
Sunset Phở Caffe is one of the most unique restaurants in Lakeview East. Their front window advertises that they serve Vietnamese and Jugoslavian fusion, which should immediately pique the interest of any foodie!
Once you go inside, you’ll notice a distinctly medieval vibe, with stained glass windows and a sloping ceiling. There are also retro travel posters on display featuring destinations in Vietnam and the former Yugoslavia.
The menu here includes a number of classic Vietnamese dishes like bún thịt nướng plus a Jugoslavian section. Luckily, you can get an excellent fusion dish by ordering their ćevapčići fresh spring rolls as an appetizer! What is ćevapčići? Well, I didn’t know either before trying it here, but it’s basically a delicious style of sausage from the Balkans. It’s such a good substitute for the standard shrimp and pork that are usually rolled into Vietnamese gỏi cuốn along with lettuce, bean sprouts, and rice noodles!
In terms of phở, Sunset Caffe serves a broth with a light flavor that doesn’t need a ton of hoisin sauce or Sriracha. And last but not least, there’s a full bar here. Ask about their fruit-infused liquors or enjoy a Saigon Beer with your food!
Sochi Saigonese Kitchen
Of all the restaurants on this list, Sochi is probably the fanciest. It’s also noteworthy that they specialize in Saigonese food. Their dining room is open and modern, and they typically have a busy dinner rush.
The most unique thing about a meal at Sochi is that they use incredibly tender pork and steak in their gỏi cuốn and their phở. This is reflected in their prices, but it makes for an interesting Vietnamese dining experience. They also don’t have bottles of hoisin sauce or Sriracha on the table, which suggests that they want diners to enjoy their broth without an excess of either sauce.
This restaurant also serves the thickest noodles of any restaurant on this list, in true Saigon-style. If you’re interested in trying a unique, more upscale interpretation of phở, consider visiting Sochi!
Phodega is an original concept for a phở restaurant located in Wicker Park. In addition to being a casual place to order a hot bowl of soup, it’s also a small convenience store specializing in Asian packaged foods and snacks.
The combo phở here has a light broth and high-quality meat. They don’t offer fresh spring rolls, but their fried shrimp spring rolls are a good alternative.
MK Noodle is a restaurant that’s not too far from Sochi in Lakeview. They have casual, semi-self service: you place your order at an electronic station in the front of the restaurant and go up to get your food when your name is called.
MK Noodle is a little on the pricey side, but their phở and spring rolls are really good, and the portion sizes are large. The broth here isn’t super fragrant, but it is still very flavorful. Their soup includes a lot of white onions, good cuts of all the meats you typically find in a combo phở, and a lot of noodles. If you have a big appetite and don’t mind spending a few dollars more, MK Noodle is a great phở place to try!
Little Vietnam Restaurant
I’m so glad I found this cozy little phở place in Edgewater! It’s technically within walking distance of Asia on Argyle, or you can get off at the Bryn Mawr CTA Red Line stop. The meal started off with a fresh shrimp spring roll that came with a notably delicious peanut dipping sauce.
Their take on phở was equally good. Their combo phở had a broth that had strong notes of onion and pepper, and the meat was all tender. I especially liked their meatballs. The service was quick and friendly and the restaurant itself was cute. If you’re further north than Argyle, be sure to check out Little Vietnam!
So... is this just a list of every phở place in Chicago?
Short answer: No!
Some phở restaurants I tried didn’t make the cut! Some simply didn’t serve a great bowl of noodle soup. A couple had decent broth, but served cheap cuts of gristly meat. A few had poor service and/or underwhelming food.
One restaurant in particular (which shall remain nameless) was found to be involved in a string of scandals, including but not limited to mistreating their workers. I would never knowingly recommend unethical businesses on my blog, which is why that popular phở joint is not listed here.
Go Enjoy Some phở!
Now you know where to go for the best phở and spring rolls in Chicago! If I find any other great Vietnamese restaurants that specialize in my favorite noodle soup, I’ll be sure to add them here!
Have you been to any places on my list? Are you going to try one? Leave a comment and let me know! Thanks for checking out my Chicago phở guide!
This post was published on Aug 23, 2021