South Austin Phở Restaurant Guide!
Welcome to the South Austin Phở Restaurant Guide! I’m featuring ten restaurants serving pho in South Austin for those of us that live and work south of the river, and for those visiting the city for festivals like ACL or SXSW, as part of the Austin Food Bloggers’ 2018 City Food Guide (#ATXBestEats).
A big fan of homemade soups, I have recently become obsessed with Vietnamese Pho–the perfect quick restaurant meal to enjoy any time of year. Pho is light, refreshing, and hydrating on a hot summer day— just add lots of fresh veggies (an option on every menu) and wait for it to cool a little before digging in! And on a cold, rainy day, pho is warm and comforting— believe me, you’ll have to take off your jacket after a few bites! Another plus to going out for pho is that most restaurants serving pho have a wide variety of other dishes (for those not as obsessed with pho as I am) such as Vietnamese vermicelli bowls, salads, spring rolls, curries, sushi, and/or standard Chinese dishes.
For the uninitiated, pho is a brothy Vietnamese soup typically made with a rich broth, rice noodles, and some kind of meat, that you top with fresh garnishes including cilantro, Thai basil, bean sprouts, jalapeño slices, and lime wedges. Hot chile sauce and hoisin sauce are often offered as condiments to go with the pho. You can dip the meat in some sauce on a side plate or drizzle the soup with a little sauce. Pho is typically made with chicken, beef, or fish broth flavored with various aromatic spices such as ginger, clove, star anise, fennel seed, black cardamom and/or clove. Many restaurants in Austin also serve pho with vegan broth, which I have notated with a (V) next to the restaurant name.
Pho With Us (V)
9900 S IH 35 Frontage Rd #500, Austin, TX 78745 (map)
Newly opened, this family owned and operated restaurant in Southpark Meadows is a real find. Pho With Us opened its doors in December 2017, and has a clean, bright, and warm atmosphere. They serve various kinds of pho (beef, chicken, or vegan broths– all were exceptional) and the most bright and plentiful veggies we have seen– just ask to add veggies to any bowl for a small charge. We had the opportunity to speak with Chef Chau Ro (who has been cooking professionally for 24 years and also opened Dong Nai on South Lamar) and the manager Paul (her soon-to-be son-in-law) who were both friendly, welcoming, and passionate about their new restaurant and its authentic cuisine.
3421 William Cannon Drive Ste 101, Austin, TX 78745 (map)
“Me Con” or “Mother and Daughter” Bistro bases its menu on authentic recipes from their mother. One of the closest pho restaurants to our house, we also think it is one of the best in South Austin. The service is always excellent and all the dishes we have tried have been great (pho, daily specials, curry dishes). Their vegetable pho uses chicken broth, so unfortunately no vegan pho, but they do have vegan options for other meals.
4211 South Lamar Blvd #E1, Austin, TX 78704 (map)
Owned by the same folks as the new Pho With Us, Dong Nai is located in the strip-mall near Target and has a loyal following. We went on a cold weekday and it was packed with people busily eating on their lunch hour. Service was friendly and quick. I’ve got an inquiry out to them about vegan options. I wasn’t able to tell from their menu if they have a vegan broth.
Pho Please (V)
1920 East Riverside Drive D140, Austin, TX 78741 (map)
I took my family here last summer when I was getting over a cold. We were there on a weekday for lunch and it was very busy (but yet no wait) with a mix of families, students, and professionals feasting on pho and other noodle dishes. The atmosphere was lively, clean, and bright. They serve chicken, beef, shrimp, and vegan pho options, and were happy to accommodate my request of chicken broth, no chicken, and lots of vegetables.
Het Say (V)
2121 E. Oltorf St. #12B, Austin, TX 78741 (map)
“Het Say” or “Beyond Words” is located in a strip mall on East Oltorf where you are greeted by knowledgeble and friendly staff. They offer seafood (shrimp, fish balls, squid, imitation crab), 100% vegetarian broth (with tofu, broccoli, napa cabbage, mushrooms, carrots), and various beef and chicken versions of pho.
1501 South 1st Street, Austin, TX 78704 (map)
Elizabeth Street may be better known for their baked goods, fancy appetizers, and bahn mi, but they also offer unique, less conventional pho (such as Cauliflower, Bok Choy, White Miso & Toasted Seaweed; Red Snapper; or Pork Belly, Meatballs & Soft Boiled Peeler Farms Egg) with broths made from fish & shrimp, chicken, beef, pork, or just vegetables.
Pho Thaison (V)
3601 W William Cannon Dr, Ste 250, Austin, TX 78749, 512-892-8777 (map)
161 W. Slaughter Ln. #L850, Austin, TX 78748, 512-280-2060 (Southpark Meadows) (map)
These are the two South Austin locations of the Austin-based chain. Their pho comes with either the standard beef and chicken or a vegan broth. In addition to pho, they offer Asian staples such as curry, sushi, and spicy Singaporean dishes. We like to take our daughter and her friends here because they have something that each person will like. Check out AFBA blogger Suzanna Cole’s review of the Southpark Meadows Pho Thaison from a few years ago.
Other Pho Restaurants in South Austin I haven't had a chance to try:
2400 E Oltorf St #1A, Austin, TX 78741 (map)
1931 E Oltorf St B, Austin, TX 78741 (map)
4001 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 (map)
No MSG, hormone-free meats, no vegan broth option.
12918 Shops Pkwy, Austin, TX 78738 (map)
I haven’t had a chance to try this place, but would be worth a try if you’re out near the Galleria. They have beef, chicken, seafood, and vegetable (with chicken broth) versions of pho– no vegan pho options as of yet. In reviews on the web, someone mentioned that they don’t automatically serve the standard pho garnishes (cilantro, bean sprouts, jalapeños, etc.), so would be good to ask for them when you order. They offer a wide variety of Asian dishes besides pho, so good place to take the family or a large group.