Denver's five best Vietnamese restaurants

Categories: Best of Denver

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Mark Manger
The goods at Pho 95, one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in Denver.
Denver has an abundance of Vietnamese restaurants, all devoted to a culinary canon that marries French and Chinese cooking into dishes that are delicious whether you're eating noodles on the street or chowing down at a formal feast.

Dozens of pho shops dot Federal Boulevard and South Havana Street, and more expansive restaurants offer a good selection of specialties from this Southeast Asian country. Here, in no particular order, are the five best Vietnamese restaurants in the Denver area.

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Mark Manger
Pho Duy, 945 South Federal Boulevard
The Denver area has dozens and dozens of pho shops, most of which serve up decent bowls of noodle soup. But only a few really stand out, and the one that rises to the top is Pho Duy, which is located in a strip mall on Federal Boulevard. The menu is as spare as the decor. Save for a few specialties and spring rolls, there's not much offered beyond pho -- but the kitchen doesn't need to make anything else to pull in crowds. Its intensely layered broth, which tastes like it comes from a very well-seasoned pot, supports nests of springy noodles, thin slices of beef, brisket or offal, and all the fresh herbal produce you can stand. Ribbon it with sriracha or ask for a little of the restaurant's homemade hot sauce for a punch of heat.

Pho95 010.jpg
Mark Manger
Pho 95, 1002 South Federal Boulevard
Pho 95 is another contender for the best pho-maker in town. We're suckers for the brimming bowls of rich beef broth filled with tendon, tripe or rare steak and noodles, sided by heaps of bean sprouts, cilantro and saw-leaf herb. But we also love almost everything else on Pho 95's menu, including bun (noodle bowls), spring rolls, egg rolls and a plate of thin pork chops, coated in a sweet-savory marinade and grilled crispy.

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Ba Le Sandwich, 1044 South Federal Boulevard
There are a few places to get great banh mi sandwiches in town, but our favorite is Ba Le, a tiny shop that turns out the city's best version, packing crisp-crusted baguettes with pate, pickled carrots, jalapeños and cilantro, among other fillings. You'll have to take your sandwich to go -- or perch on the planter outside to eat it -- but at less than $5 each, this is lunch on the cheap.

Location Info

Pho Duy

945 S. Federal Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Pho 95

1401 S. Federal Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Ba Le Sandwich

1044 S. Federal Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Saigon Bowl

333 S. Federal Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

New Saigon

630 S. Federal Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


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18 comments
PhoFiend
PhoFiend

I just discovered a new Pho restaurant (new to me at least) in South Denver called Pho Lee (i25 & Arapahoe next to the Target). It was as good as any Pho I had in Saigon. Worth a visit for sure.


Samfoodie
Samfoodie

If you want authentic Vietnamese Cuisine go where the Vietnamese people go! Da Lat 940 S Federal.  Everything on their menu is authentic Vietnamese!

Felsefa
Felsefa

GET OVER New Saigon, it is not even in the top 5.  It is the Blue Bonnet of Viet cuisine in Denver.  There is a reason the actual Vietnamese eat at other places.

Gracie
Gracie

All excellent choices, but what about 2 equally excellent places right down the street with more diverse menu options - T-Wa and New Saigon.  I have never had anything less than wonderful in either os those places.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Pho Duy has expanded their offerings a bit, but I go out of my way to get their pho -- I know that when I go elsewhere I will pay more for less.  Many people seem to be put off by the idea of making a meal out of a bowl of soup, but until they have had a good bowl of pho, their prejudice is uninformed.  I am told that Vietnamese will eat pho twice a day.  It seems a little strange that it originates in a tropical country, because there is nothing better when you're sick or it's cold and blustery.

Yvonne
Yvonne

Would add Vietnam Grill as that is where I am getting my Vietnamese food fix these days.  Going there for lunch today. But maybe don't add it.  The place is small and I don't want to have to wait when I go there.  Agree with other comments  here about Pho places being on the list.  The should have their own category. And if we are making one I am adding 1, 2, 3 Pho down in Highlands Ranch. I know, I know but we finally have a good family owned place down here  with excellent Pho and other, limited, Vietnamese food items.

printing stickers
printing stickers

Cool! I like Vietnamese dishes. There are distinct spices that make each dish unique yet connected with each other. I don't know if that has any sense, but that was my experience with a Vietnamese restaurant. 

Stan
Stan

There seems to be some kind of relationship between one's proximity to Federal and the quality of the Vietnamese food.  

Lamelamelame
Lamelamelame

Even more ridiculous is that Viet's is on Lori Midson's 100 favorite dishes list!!!!!! This is a typical list for Shunk: poorly researched, lazy and fucking lame.

Gerry
Gerry

I'd throw T-WA on my list!

Joey B
Joey B

seems odd that Viets was WW's best Vietnamese restaurant just a couple years ago and isn't even on the top 5 now.  Agree with Mantonat to; 2 pho shops and a sandwich place seems odd.  95 and Duy are my top 2 pho places too but I never think of them when I want an actual full vietmanese menu.

Mantonat
Mantonat

I would put Viet's on this list before I would include two pho houses. I've also had some excellent dishes at Da Lat (like their banh xeo), but it's always a little sad going there because it's always empty.

Samfoodie
Samfoodie

High 5! Awesome response. If you go to New Saigon the ratio for Vietnamese vs non is less than 2%. Vietnamese people do not eat at New Saigon. There's a large Vietnamese population in CO and they do not eat there. That should be a sign. Over priced, not authentic Vietnamese food. There should be a food challenge for authentic Vietnamese entrees for all VIetnamese restaurants on Federal by actual critics with Asian Culinary background.

What is wrong with you?
What is wrong with you?

And she is right about how there is not one restaurant in the world that covers all dishes of one cuisine. Just on Vietnam alone, if you visit it, you'll find that each food vendor specialize in only a few dishes, some only 1 dish. Collectively, they, i.e. each dish/food item, are known as the Vietnamese cuisine. Nothing wrong with her list here. It's her top 5. Not yours, so what? There are more important things in the world to be angry about than this... I guess ignorance breeds hatred. 

What is wrong with you?
What is wrong with you?

That's not nice. Why do you hate Laura Shunk so much? Do you know her personally? So many angry people...

David
David

Wow. Chill out, dude. It's just a top 5 list and there is not a bad joint on it.

Laura Shunk
Laura Shunk

While I see your point (and yours too, Mantonat), I included the pho shops and Ba Le because I wanted to name a variety of types of Vietnamese restaurants, not just the spots with "full" Vietnamese menus (because I don't think any restaurant in the world really does a "full" Vietnamese menu covering every single dish of the cuisine). I think a pho house still qualifies as a Vietnamese restaurant, as does a banh mi sandwich shop. But if you're looking for the top 5 restaurants with a broader Vietnamese menu, Viet's and Da Lat would certainly make the list.

Mantonat
Mantonat

I dig the sandwiches at Ba Le. Definitely unique and worth mentioning with any list of good Vietnamese.

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