When I walked into Pho Thao it was a typical winter night in Vermont: about 10 degrees with snow falling on the ground. Located in the New North End on North Ave in a renovated house, Pho Thao is a restaurant that specializes in tasty, fresh Vietnamese cuisine.
Once I entered I was greeted by the friendly staff and seated with a complimentary teapot full of delicious, flowery, hot tea. The restaurant was a little cooler than I would have preferred, especially since I was seated near a window, but the tea quickly warmed me up. The menu contains classics such as spring rolls, fried rice, lo mein and dumplings along with many vegetarian options.
I ordered the vegetable spring rolls, vegetable and tofu fried rice, vegetable lo mein and pork dumplings. In total my order came to $26.60. I ordered a lot of food, enough for three people. If you are eating alone expect to pay just around $10.
My veggie spring rolls came out within five minutes. They contained rice noodles, lettuce and tofu, all wrapped tightly in rice paper. The rolls were large and refreshing. They were definitely worth $3.99.
Soon after that, my pork dumplings arrived. They were juicy and cooked perfectly. The dumplings are served with both a sweet soy sauce and a spicier sauce. The dumplings were the only thing I ordered that should have cost a bit less. I only received seven, and they were fairly small for $6.
After I finished my dumplings, my main courses arrived. The generous portion of fried rice was enough of a meal by itself. The rice was a little less crispy than I prefer but the flavor definitely made up for it. Mixed in the rice were bell peppers, broccoli, crispy tofu and cilantro. Dressed on top were two of my favorite garnishes: spicy scallions and earthy bean sprouts, which helped balance the sweetness of the rice. For $6.99, the fried rice was a steal and I would absolutely order it again.
The lo mein was also a very large portion. Similar to the fried rice it came topped with cilantro and bean sprouts. The lo mein came with crispy tofu, bell peppers, green beans and mushrooms. The noodles were a bit undercooked and a little cold but the sweet and mildly spicy soy flavor of the noodles were great and all the veggies were crispy and delicious. The lo mein was also $6.99 which made it a great deal for the portion size.
The staff was friendly and fast. The food was tasty. The bathroom was clean. The food was delicious and the cost was spot on. My only complaints would be the temperature of the restaurant and the undercooked noodles and rice. However, I can easily look past these considering how affordable Pho Thao is. If you’re looking for good Vietnamese food but don’t want to spend a lot of money, Pho Thao is a great option.
1355 North Ave, Burlington, VT 05408