If you’re a fan of Vietnamese cuisine, Winnipeg offers no shortage of fine pho all over town. With our city’s pockets brimming with delicious Asian dining options, the appropriate question to ask is not where these places are, but which one to go to. If you’re close to downtown, there’s a place not too far away that might meet your Vietnamese dining desires.
Courtesy of foodpages.ca
It’s hard to miss Pho No. 1’s bright yellow sign as you pass it on the corner of Isabel Street. Just a brief detour outside of Winnipeg’s city centre, this restaurant offers a decent selection of Vietnamese and Chinese dishes, including noodle soups, meat entrees and combination platters. They also feature an impressive vegetarian menu.
The restaurant is average in size, and comfortably sits between 30-40 people in cushioned booths and tables. There’s nothing flashy about their décor, which is a running theme similar to a few other venues of its kind in the city.
After entering the narrow entryway, you’re quickly seated and served a tall glass of water. I appreciate something as simple as an oversized serving of H2O, considering the restaurant is often busy and glasses are not always actively attended to. The service isn’t exceptional, but they do try their best to accommodate to your individual needs.
The food usually comes out shortly you order, and rarely ever disappoints. For lunch, we ordered salad rolls ($5.99), vegetarian spring rolls ($5.99), deluxe wonton soup with BBQ pork, shrimp, chickens and vegetables ($7.99), lemon chicken ($8.99), and vegetarian spring rolls with vermicelli ($6.00).
Their appetizer rolls are always fresh on the inside and out. Namely, the vegetarian spring rolls were warm, crunchy and filled with a mix of tasty vegetables. The salad rolls were served with a side of peanut sauce, which tasted fairly similar to other recipes I’ve had in the past.
The deluxe wonton soup was filled with a generous serving of meats and vegetables. The broth was nicely flavoured from the medley of ingredients. The lemon chicken was covered in a fluffy batter, and the chicken inside was juicy and tender. The consistency of the batter was different than most other lemon chicken dishes, with a panko-like shell of crumbs covering its exterior. The vegetarian vermicelli dish featured the same delicious spring rolls we had as appetizers, however the lettuce in the dish was slightly browned and wilted.
The overall restaurant experience was well above average, with short wait times and fresh, tasty meals. The only downfalls were the not-so-fresh lettuce and the long absences of our server. Understandably so, because Pho No. 1 does get quite busy, especially around lunch and dinnertime. If you plan on paying this restaurant a visit, make sure to spare a few minutes before your meal to beat the afternoon or evening rush.