Bon Cafe is a tiny Vietnamese restaurant on the corner of Main and 33rd. They serve Vietnamese classics including pho, vermicelli noodle based dishes, sandwiches, etc. Accept Visa & Master card.
I live fairly close to this place and decided to give it a try. I got a sandwich to go (#45) and was pleasantly surprised. Lots of meat and pickled toppings and the bread was very fresh. I think I will be getting my sandwiches here from now on rather than the more popular place down the road as they are usually sold out by the time I get there.
After many countless drive-bys before opening hours, I finally had my Bon Cafe fix last week. Between the three of us, we ordered the lemongrass chicken w/ spring rolls, 2 vermicelli bowls, and 2 cafe sudas. Because our order was over $20, we got the free springrolls! Expecting 1 roll, we were pleasantly surprised when 3 rolls came! Although crispy and tasty, they were not the best ones I've had. My fav spring rolls are the tightly packed ones - this one had some air pockets in it. But still tasty!
My vermicelli came filled to the rim! Unfortunately, with the huge bowl of noodles only came a small side of fish sauce. Being a dry noodle dish to begin with, the small helping of sauce didn't help much and wasn't enough. Fortunate for me, I was able to steal some from my fellow diners.
They also offer some great combos, such as sandwich, pop and spring roll for about $6.
I only recently discovered this little pho place, and I've come here so often I can't remember the first time I came here. The space is tiny; if you're a group of 3 or more expect to share a table if you eat in. It is very clean and fairly tidy so they certainly make the best use out of their cramped quarters. A/C blows through the air.
I've yet to try any of their soup based dishes, but have made a good dent to their vermicelli/rice dishes, their subs and their bubble tea. The subs are excellent, with a perfect balance of meats and coarsely chopped vegetables. The bread is fresh, but has a slightly denser texture and the crust is a little thicker than other banh mi, so it is not particularly kind to the roof of your mouth. The grilled sliced pork is generous on the delicious sauce so let the bread soak it up. They have a sandwich combo which includes a drink and spring roll; I'm tempted to stuff the spring roll into the sub next time I visit. Their lemongrass chicken dish is tender and ample with flavour, though the lemongrass doesn't take stage. Their spring rolls are light and crispy, but I find the filling a little underseasoned. The bubble teas are made with fresh fruit, but could be mixed better.
Service has that family run feel to it, mostly because it is a family run business. They're polite and easily accessible. Orders sometimes take a little long as they get backed up easily so if you're in a hurry I would think about calling in first.
Great little place to be for tasty, inexpensive Vietnamese.
if you're expecting a typical small mom'n pop Vietnamese restaurant. They had: Q-FM playing in the back, frosted windows that cover the lower third of the windows, semi-transparent lace doilies just above the frosted windows, glass on top of the tables which prevented spills and soiling of photographed menu items, communal lazy-susan-type chopstick and soup spoon holders on the table, bright fluorescent lighting with white walls. I'd say this was like the Vietnamese version of a North American mom'n pop greasy spoon.
While I only had their subs, and thus can't give you my opinion on other food items, I'll comment on these alone this time and will say more on a future review. The subs...hmmm. They were okay, the bread seemed not to be baked on premises as there was the not the fresh smell of baking wafting in the air, the size was again okay ( not tiny nor gargantuan ) when compared to other places, the taste was what I expected.
The guy who took my order was friendly, he chatted me up a bit and I'd have no problem going back to this place again. Nuff said.
Tiny little place that is relatively clean. Ambience is nothing to write home about but on par for most pho places in town. It feels safe and clean though. Waitress has always been very friendly. Service (even with 1 or 2 tables) is a touch on the slow side, but we'll deal with it as it seems the delay is because they're actually cooking the food when we order, not just scooping it out.
There is more than just pho here. The pho is decent, though a bit lighter tasting than most, we're going to cut it some slack because just as importantly, it doesn't seem like they use MSG in this joint. We always feel fine afterwards, no thirsty-ness or bloatiness.
The sandwiches are pretty okay as are several of the other non-pho dishes we tried. And it's cheap too!
Convenient location, clean and friendly service. Cheap and apparently no MSG. Worth a return if we get a hankering for Vietnamese. Our 2 choices to go at the moment are probably this or the Taste of Vietnam near Broadway & Oak.
I have to rave about their lemongrass beef salad on vermicelli noodles, really flavorful. I've tried to stop eating beef, but once in awhile, I order this dish. So good. And their lemongrass chicken is also delicious. They have fresh salad rolls, although they serve it with a thick hoisin sauce rather than peanut sauce. Hoisin sauce is supposed to be authentic...but personally, I prefer the peanut sauce. The bubble teas are excellent...the pearls are soft and chewy, unlike a lot of other places that have really hard un-chewable bubbles.
The place is simple, clean, but nothing special. I think it's better for take-out than eating in, but I've eaten there many times, and always had a good experience. I think they spent more money on their kitchen in the back, which is like some super-stainless steel epic kitchen, than the decor, because they want to invest most in the quality of their food.
The owners are a couple who are total sweethearts. The husband especially is talkative and engaging. Loves to talk about his son, about food, traveling...chat with him about the care he puts into his food, you'll probably be there for an hour.
Our family decided to try this place out, after reading all the great reviews. It was well worth the visit. In fact, it was so good that we ate 4 meals in 2 days at Bon Cafe!
Hubby loved the sandwiches (I didn't care for the carrot and daikon, though), and the kids and I loved the lemon grass chicken on rice/vermicelli.
Prices are reasonable and the service is friendly.
We started going here when it opened mostly because Au Petit Cafe a half block down was too hard to get into. Now we're almost regulars here. The soups are really flavourful and big. The sandwiches are as good as Au Petit's. Service is always very friendly. It's hard not to feel like we're cheating when we have to chose Pho Bon or Au Petit over the other. Fortunately, both seem to be doing quite well.
This place is a hidden gem. The owners provide excellent friendly and personalized service, very rare for a Vietnamese Pho joint. Their bubble teas are very popular and awesome, Vietnamese sandwiches are outstanding, just as good, if not better than down the block's Au Petit. The pho broth here is excellent: homemade and very savoury. It is packed with that true authentic 'homemade' taste - they use real hearty beef bones and is slow cooked for hours and their pho noodles are cooked very . This place is awesome all around.
I have been to this restaurant a couple of times. Although the food is pretty good, I am not sure it warrants quite a few five star reviews from single reviewers. I thought the pho broth to be quite tasty, but lost points due to the noodle texture. It was extremely soft. Service was speedy. Spring rolls were tasty, so were the subs. I do like the bread better from it's competitor down the street. I suppose it's less healthier due to more fat content. Ambience is like any little hole in the wall, this one is a bit more cheerful due to all the natural light.
Stopped in for a viet sub today and was pleasantly suprised! Tried the #45 special to go. It's $3 if you do take out. When i got home i was suprised to see it was packed with lots of meat and veggies. my only complaint is that there were hot peppers which i will ask for next time. It was delicious and definitely a great value.
Can't really comment on the service but the person who served me was very courteous and friendly. The ambience of the restaurant was clean, simple, and airconditioned =) Will definitely eat in next time and try the pho and rice dishes next time.
There are scores of decent or poor Vietnamese restos in Vancouver, but few that stand out in a good way - Bon Cafe is one. It's not that the food will begin a culinary revolution - but care, thought and attention breathes life into the food. The broth for the Pho is aromatic, tasty, and free from MSG - the noodles have more body and taste fresher than most places. The spring rolls are wrapped and cooked to order - so come to your table tasting fresh and not too greasy. The Lemongrass Chicken is really fragrant - generous portion grilled to perfection (love the crispy onions that garnish it) - even the rice is delicious (there could be a hint of coconut added).
The couple that own Bon Cafe seem to care about their food and are trying to build something that will last. Thursday night my wife and I were the only ones there. Great value and worth a visit - I know we'll be back soon.
This little place is great for take-out. I think it is one of the healthiest Vietnamese restaurants I've been to. I like it because I don't get that sick msg-feeling afterwards, but all the dishes are still pretty tasty. They have an addictive hot and sour seafood soup. Their pho soup base is non-greasy. They also have a good selection of bubble tea, and they offer them with either powder or fresh fruit. The owners are friendly and accommodating, really nice people. It's very good value, and one of the healthier choices.
After reading rave reviews, I decided to try this place out. I got the lemongrass chicken on rice vermicelli, and my bf got the beef pho. Rice vermicelli wasn't chewy enough, but the chicken was great. The soup for the pho is great, but the noodles itself was again not chewy enough...too soft!
Service was ok. Not bad. I might come back again...if I'm in the area.
Nice little neighbourhood place run by a friendly family. The family, especially the husband, makes you feel at home.
Certainly not the best Vietnamese food by any means, but a solid choice for those days when you need some no fuss comfort food - Vietnamese style. I usually come for dinner when I feel too lazy to cook and just want fast, cheap, consistent and friendly. Bon fits the bill.
We always get our tea right away and the food usually arrives about 5 minutes later, always fresh and tasty.
My favourite is the Beef Stew. You get it with either rice or bread. The stew is thick and rich, and well balanced in flavour. I judge a stew by the carrots. The carrots are good - infused with loads of flavour yet not at all mushy.
The pho is standard fare. It's good stuff though. I only wish the noodles were a little bit more chewy. I usually go for the Hue Spicy Noodle soup because it has more bite, but that's just my personal preference for spicy soups over regular pho.
The meat dishes have good flavour, especially the lemongrass chicken, but once in awhile it can be a bit grisly. Sandwiches are pretty good too, but again occassionaly found the meat a bit grisly. Spring rolls decent, could do with more flavour.
Overall a solid choice and a safe bet.
I happened to have visited Vancouver in mid August 2009 again and, on one morning, got off the bus on Main Street (near 33rd Street). I walked for a while and, when I felt a lttle bit hungry, I found a small restaurant named "Bon Cafe" at the street corner.
Upon entry, I found that the restaurant was clean and tidy. A couple, with a cute little boy, were inside, and they welcome me with nice smile. I noticed that it provided vietnamese food mainly. I ordered a beef noodle with soup and a coffee for breakfast. The boss of this shop, holding an old golden key-ring, talked to me warmly, and I just felt like meeting a friend that I had not seen for 20 years! I then looked to the outside street, through the big-glass-walls, suddenly immersed in memory of some friends that I had played badminton games long long time ago nearby.
After about 10 minutes, I was served with the noodle and coffee. Though the beef soup was very yummy and sweet, I did not feel the presence of any seasoning. The soup appeared to be naturally made in home-style. The beef was fresh and delicious, and the taste was very impressive when I ate them together with the assorted vegetable provided by the restaurant. I finished it with a wonderful cup of coffee (which I remember was a French coffee, if not wrong). The coffee was very blended and did give me a brand new morning to continue with my tour.
Before I left, I had given a golden "toy coin" to the little boy, who returned me with a sweet smile which I still remember today. The lady (I guess she is his mum) was very polite.
Definitely, I would like to recommend this restaurant to my friends and I will go there to have beef noodle next time I visit Vancouver. Very good food and very good service at a small but clean and tidy Viet restaurant, with good sensation of enjoying a Viet meal.
Like other reviewers, I love good Vietnamese lemongrass chicken and while I'm loyal to the restaurant a block away, I'm always up for trying new restaurants. So I tried the lemongrass chicken with spring rolls over vermicelli at the Bon Café this evening to see how it would compare.
Now, I have to say I was neutral going in because after all, both these restaurants are low-cost and high turnover. Exceptional ambience and high quality meat cuts are unrealistic expectations. But that said, lemongrass chicken should actually taste like lemongrass!
I don't know how the chef did it, if they were in a hurry or what happened, but I ended up with a serving of chicken that was overcooked and dry in one place yet still raw and pink inside in another. And again, I'm baffled how the majority of it was flavorless other than a bit of sugar and a lot of powdered peanut. Maybe they forgot to put these ones in the marinade? I'm also going to mention that my chicken was also incredibly fatty, or perhaps flabby is the word because it was not crisp and grilled but rather flabby, soggy and without flavor. But I'm of the school that traditional Vietnamese lemongrass chicken has to be somewhat fatty because that's where the flavor is. Or should I say, is supposed to be.
Were it not for the spring rolls which were okay but fried in very old oil, I would have given the restaurant a food rating of poor.
Service was adequate and friendly and nothing more than what you would expect for this type of establishment. The server was occupied because family came to visit and I found it amusing that after waiting 15 minutes, I was finally offered a cup of tea literally 30 seconds before my take-out order was ready to go.
If I were to go back, I would never order the same dish and I would probably try one of the pho’s instead. I would also take care of that any meat I was served was sufficiently cooked.
I ordered pasted pork and spring roll on rice noodle. The pork taste very good. They sprinkle some flied garlic on the pork. That little something make it a lot difference from other places. The spring roll is not bad neither. Better than spring roll that you would get from Chinese restaurants. My friend had beef noodle soup which was quite good too. The taro bubble tea is quite good as well. I had better bubble tea but that in Seattle.
I asked for a small cup of soup to sip with my dish and the owner, I assume, gave me with no charge. The owner informed us very politely that we would get free spring rolls because we order more than $20. I'm very happy with the service.
Great Pho. This is the real Pho. Nice Large Portions. Not the MSG in Hot Water Deal. I can enjoy my food without having to order a whole pitcher of water. This is a hidden gem. I wish they would take Interac Payments though. I would go more often because they're not close to a Bank ATM Machine.
Excellent place for tasty pho and REAL vietnamese dishes. The vermicelli with grilled pork, spring roll and veggie is amazing. As is the beef pho! Proportions are enormous!
Great food, great price! Would go back in a second.