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3.5
  • Food3.5
  • Service3.5
  • Value4
  • Ambiance2.5
  • Reviews27

Bon Cafe

4909 Main Street
Vancouver, BC V5W2R2
Tel: (604) 325-1199
Neighbourhood: South Vancouver
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese
  • Price: $ ($15 or less)
  • Service: Takeout
  • Meals: Lunch, Dinner
  • Features: Cheap eats
  • Hours: Mon: 11AM - 8PM, Tue - Sat: 10AM - 8PM, Sun: 11AM - 8PM
  • 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.

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 27 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Tasty Sandwich
By thecritic of Vancouver (374 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, September 4, 2008 - 7:00pm [Dine in]

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.

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More fish sauce please!
By epicurious of Burnaby, BC (507 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, July 28, 2008 - 3:39pm [Dine in]

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.
Cash only.

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Tasty pho and more
By EatsFats of Vancouver (314 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, October 20, 2007 - 5:03pm [Dine in]

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.

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A recent favourite
By Bonka of Vancouver (464 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, June 10, 2009 - 4:09pm [Dine in]

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.

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excellent place for take-out
By kawaii of Vancouver (51 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, May 17, 2009 - 7:12pm [Dine in]

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.

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Good enough :)
By kennydoc1999 of Vancouver (40 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, March 6, 2010 - 7:24pm [Dine in]

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.

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great viet food without msg
By foodie57 of Vancouver (21 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, March 14, 2009 - 2:18am [Dine in]

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.

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There's something for everyone!
By FineDiningMom of Kerrisdale (18 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, November 13, 2007 - 10:32pm [Dine in]

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.

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A regular
By foodmonkey of Vancouver (15 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, October 27, 2007 - 7:54pm [Dine in]

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.

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Excellent all around...
By grnbastard of South Van (17 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, November 29, 2006 - 9:03am [Dine in]

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.

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Your friendly neighbourhood Vietnamese Place
By Dinester of Cambie Vancouver (3 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 10:15pm [Dine in]

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.

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Solid
By epicurian of Kerrisdale (42 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, May 12, 2008 - 10:40am [Dine in]

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.

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Great Pho
By Savours of Vancouver (7 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, October 28, 2007 - 9:57pm [Dine in]

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.

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Great Vietnamese restaurant!!
By dgodin of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 11:59am [Dine in]

This is a cozy, stylishly decorated, conveniently located restaurant run by the owners who are most congenial. While the menu is somewhat limited, what they do serve is invariably excellent. The broth of their Pho soup is superb, and my wife and I find we develop a craving for it on average every 2 weeks or so! In addition to the usual variety of beef and noodle soup options, there is a cold salad with barbecued beef that is outstanding, and their Vietnamese-style sandwiches (believe it or not) are really terrific as well.

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not bad
By vinns of marpole, vancouver (23 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 4:34pm [Dine in]

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.

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Great meal
By Cuatro Chispitas of Vancouver (east) (1 Review)
Submitted Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 11:58am [Dine in]

Great meal and outstanding customer service. Bon Cafe has a variety of home-made style food and portions are just right. The owner is very friendly and the place clean and cozy. Without a doubt I will stop by there again. As for value, affordable and got great food. Love this place!

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Mighty Tasty Sandwiches
By schrutefan of East Vancouver (4 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, February 22, 2010 - 5:54pm [Dine in]

Bon Cafe has excellent Pho, but not quite as good or cheap as my favourite place, Thy. But wow, the sandwiches - they are fantastic, easily the best in East Van. They pack em with lots of meat and the shredded pork in particular is to die for.

The ambience is okay. It's small, well lit and clean, but the tables are too close together and the chairs are too big. The main seating area consists of 6 four person tables placed side by side in pairs, so if it's crowded, you might be sitting next to another party.

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A pleasant suprise!!
By foodluva of Vancouver (35 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, May 29, 2009 - 5:50pm [Dine in]

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.

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Pho sure good
By styledish of Vancouver (21 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, May 11, 2008 - 11:05pm [Dine in]

We live in the approximate area and we must have driven by this place a zillion times. But after reading the positive reviews, I thought I give this place a try.
We came in on Sunday lunch hour and it was fairly busy. We snagged the last available table which was really a portable picnic table. Luckily, a nearby table cleared out within minutes of us sitting down so we scooted over. We ordered a large rare beef flank and tripe noodles, one of their special sandwiches, and a lemon grass rice dish. I really enjoyed the pho noodles as the soup tasted mild but still savoury. With pho noodles, it's the actual soup that makes or breaks it. The bread used with the sandwiches had a nice crust but still soft inside...the only complaint was it seemed 'dry'. I think we are use to vietnamese sandwiches with some sort of spread in them.

My fave, the lemon grass chicken rice, was delicious and moist. One of the best around. You can always order the lemon chicken seperately like an appetizer too.

The service was a bit slow and the waitress would forget to bring the supplements to the food, like the sauces and dish of bean sprouts. But I think it was just busy. The other time I've dined there, the waitress was attentive and ensured that you were enjoying your meal. I do wish they had made and brought the vietnamese coffee at the beginning instead at the end of the meal so it can finish its 'drip' after my last slurp of the noodles.

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Great Vietnamese
By Sarsaparilla of SoMa, Vancouver (4 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, May 2, 2008 - 2:38pm [Dine in]

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.

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