By: Natalia Dziubaniwsky
There’s something about a bowl of warm and steaming pho that really hits the spot for me.
A popular Vietnamese soup, pho consists of flavourful broth, rice noodles, herb and vegetable garnishes, and meat such as beef or chicken. This bowl of soup is sure to warm your belly during the coming winter months or satisfy your appetite and taste buds during any season.
I attended a tasting to sample the menu at the newly launched Pho Vistro on Queen Street West in Toronto. Pho Vistro’s menu focuses keeping their dishes healthy and fresh by using all natural ingredients.
Their bone and vegan broths are brewed for over 30 hours and flavoured with herbs and spices such as Himalayan salt, star anise, cloves, Vietnamese cinnamon and basil. No MSG allowed in this kitchen!
Here’s a look at some of the menu items we sampled during dinner:
Vietnamese chicken wings – Marinated in lemongrass and finished with a touch of Canadian maple syrup. Tender with a gentle sweetness, I’d order these wings again.
Photine – A fusion dish made of rutabaga and sweet potato fries; topped with black beans and braised beef. A tasty dish, the cook on the rutabaga is on the firm side, while the sweet potato is the opposite.
They also serve vegan and chicken spring rolls and crispy imperial rolls. I personally preferred their imperial roll option as I found the spring rolls to be on the dry side.
Their broth is light in flavour and delicious as is. Add some hot sauce, hoisin and a squeeze of lime to intensify the flavours of your soup. I ordered the beef variation and was really happy with how tender the beef was. Chicken and vegan pho options are also available. Try their signature “dry” pho, which serves the broth, noodles and garnishes separately, when you’re on the go and need to take out.
They have a few smoothie options on the menu; pictured is their avocado banana blend. Made with avocado, banana, ice and condensed milk, this smoothie was so incredibly thick and creamy.
I can’t finish a Vietnamese meal without ordering Vietnamese coffee. I opted for the iced version which wasn’t overly strong or sweet like some establishments make it.
The interior of the restaurant is warm and inviting with a fun polaroid photo wall of customers proudly holding up their empty soup bowls (#phogoals!). Next time I come for a bowl, I’d love to try another menu item like their Vietnamese ribs and rice, or perhaps another smoothie flavour. Pho Vistro is located at 259 Queen Street West and is open 7 days a week.
— Natalia Dziubaniwsky