Pho Bac has been called the best pho in Seattle, so I checked it out to see if the hype is real. They have 2 locations – but their Seattle location on Jackson is currently the only one open for dine-in, so I bundled up in the cold and headed there for a warm bowl of soup and an iced cold vietnamese coffee. I got there around 1:30 pm and surprisingly the shop was still bustling. Around 50-60% of the tables had guests and it was a lively atmosphere. The shop is unique – it features a modern bar and lighting but the tables and seating are what you would normally see in a pho shop. I loved that they had combined traditional with modern to make the space their own. One of their most instagrammable features is a bright, neon sign with a mustard-yellow bike underneath it. The sign says “Phocific Northwest” – a fun plan on Pacific Northwest highlighting pho.
Now to what y’all are here for – the food! I started my meal off with an iced cold vietnamese coffee ($4.50). If you’ve never had vietnamese coffee, it is very strong coffee mixed with sweetened condensed milk. If you aren’t prepared, it will knock you because it is strong! After that first sip, you’ll adjust and it is delicious and will definitely give you the caffeine bolt you desperately need. I also grabbed their Cha Gio (fried egg rolls – $6), Pho Tron ($13) and (Pho $12). The egg rolls are stuffed with pork and shrimp and fried to a golden crisp. They are served with pickled carrots and fish sauce for dunking. These are a great appetizer to start your meal – light and crispy on the outside and tender and soft on the inside. The Pho Tron caught my eye – I intended to grab pho from this place, but these noodles looked so interesting I had to try them. They are turmeric noodles tossed in a house sauce and topped with fried shallots, peanuts, cilantro, onions, bean sprouts and served with a side of either beef or vegetable broth. You also get your choice of beef, prawns, or tofu with the noodles. I went with the prawns and I’m glad I grabbed this dish to try. The house sauce was slightly sweet and when you mixed it all together it was incredible. Full disclosure, I wasn’t 100% sure how to eat this dish – I didn’t know if I was supposed to pour the small side of broth in with the noodles or dunk them on the side. So I did my own thing, I ate some without the broth and then I would take a spoonful of broth and put some noodles on top – it was pure chaos on my table and I am sure I got some looks of what are you doing! Definitely don’t skip the Pho Tron! Now on to the pho – what they are known for as being the best in Seattle. I ordered a classic rare steak pho that is pretty traditional – comes in a large bowl with beef broth, noodles, and rare beef with a side of bean sprouts, onions, lime, jalapenos and the typical works! Their pho really does hold up to the claim to be the best! WOW. The broth was warm and rich in flavor – a lot of pho’s I have eaten you really gotta add a lot of the sauces to make it really good, but not this pho. You didn’t even need anything else in it. The beef was also definitely a top cut, it almost melts in your mouth and was so tender and juicy. I could have eaten a hundred bowls of this at once. It filled my stomach and soul and warmed me from the inside out. If you haven’t been to this place, check it out. It definitely was some of the best pho I have eaten.
Next time, I want to try their Pho Fries! For the information, check here.