The Best Pho In San Francisco

Despite its name, San Francisco’s Tenderloin isn’t particularly known for its steakhouses. One short stretch of Larkin Street reveals the neighborhood’s true treasure: Vietnamese pho. The area known as “Little Saigon” is lined with mom-and-pop restaurants that specialize in the hearty noodle soup. Typically served with a plate of fresh herbs and bean sprouts, the dish has become a San Francisco staple thanks to a wave of Vietnamese immigration that began in the 1970s. The local culinary scene has certainly benefitted from this wave, as sightings of delicious pho have become commonplace on Larkin Street and across the city.
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Multiple Locations: Northern-Style Pho

Owner and chef Steven Nghia Pham prepares northern-style pho (served without bean sprouts and other garnishes) from farmer’s market veggies, free-range chicken, and freshly made noodles. CBS San Francisco named his savory broths among the Bay Area’s best.

Multiple Locations: Pho On the Cheap

This homey spot won _SF Weekly’s_ Best of 2012 award for its pho, which can be ordered with beef, chicken, seafood, or mixed vegetables. Try the vegetarian version with sautéed cabbage, tofu, straw mushrooms, and rice noodles.

Financial District: No-Frills Pho

Sai’s tasty pho and convenient location in the Financial District attract long lines during the lunch rush, so get there early. For a pho alternative, try Sai’s popular clay pot, filled with chicken, shrimp, and rice.

Downtown/Civic Center: Rare Beef on the Side

You can order the slices of rare steak in Pho Tan Hoa’s house specialty, pho dac biet, two ways: in its beefy broth, or served on the side. Try the latter to control how much the meat is cooked.

Downtown/Civic Center: Seven-Way Beef Dinner

Order the seven-way beef at this cash-only downtown eatery to try Vietnamese dishes ranging from beef carpaccio to grilled meatballs wrapped in wild pepper leaves. _Check, Please!_ also praised the meatball and rare beef pho, calling it “addictive.”

Downtown/Civic Center: French-Inspired Vietnamese

Inspired by a small French restaurant in his hometown of Hanoi, chef Jimmie Kwok serves French-inspired Vietnamese dishes. _SFGate_ says the roasted squab is particularly tasty, but consider the southern-style beef pho with basil, mint, and other fresh herbs on the side.

Downtown/Civic Center: The Famous #25 Dry

Ha Nam Ninh is best known for its “#25 Dry”—also known as the hu tieu nam vang. It's a bowl of shrimp, calamari, fish balls, ground pork, shredded chicken, and noodles accompanied by separate bowls of broth and sauce and a plate of bean sprouts.

Chinatown: Five-Spice Chicken Pho

This no-frills eatery adds a twist to traditional pho by serving it with lemon wedges instead of lime. Try the five-spice chicken pho, a house specialty recommended by _Lonely Planet_.

Russian Hill: Open Late

Fans of late-night snacking can head to this Russian Hill restaurant until 2 a.m. every day. No matter when you arrive, you can get a bowl of rare steak pho, served southern-style with fresh basil, lime, chili, bean sprouts, and scallions.

Financial District: Vietnamese Soup and Sandwich

Chef Hung Lam specializes in bún riêu, a traditional noodle soup with crab omelet and homemade pork meatballs in a crab-tomato broth, prepared according to his family recipes. He also serves classic beef pho and Vietnamese sandwiches from a takeout window—a popular option for lunch.