This looks like your "typical" greasy hole-in-the-wall pho place along Kingsway. Really. Maybe it has gone downhill from the previous reviews. The place looks okay clean, but you can tell, it hasn't been given the most thorough scrubbing. Standards have gone up from new competitors.
Service was okay, but not terribly spectacular. Waiter wasn't very helpful or personable.
The menu. Is small. I mean small. There kind of seems to be a decent list, but it's split up in something like 5 sections, and if you know typical Vietnamese stuff, there's often a lot of similarities. Like 5-10 noodle soups listed, but they're pretty much all the same thing. Same base, same noodle. One gets the pork cake, the other a fish cake. Big whoopy.
Nothing wrong with small, but if you're going to go that way, then you have to be good. Really good. Or really unique.
It does manage unique, sort of. Does it specialize in Northern Vietnamese food? Maybe. I'm no expert, but since we've had stuff elsewhere (sadly, not in Vancouver), this doesn't measure up to past experience. The noodle soup base and the noodles were different, so I guess it might be worth a try from that standpoint. The steamed rice cakes, blah, they're okay, but seriously, you can get that at least as good from numerous places in Vancouver. The sub? (There are only 2 choices if memory serves). Blah. I wouldn't say the quality is bad, but it is the most uncreative, underwhelming Viet sub I've ever tasted. I'm pretty sure the noodle soup was pretty high on the MSG factor as well...
Recommend? Probably not. It's just not good enough to make it worth a trip. It isn't even unique enough. If I were absolutely starving and I were right on that block. Maybe. Just maybe. Naaaw.....
Mrs. C and I were out shopping with some friends when they started craving pho. We decided to hit Kingsway's little Vietnam area since there is a high concentration of soup outlets there. We ended up at the TT cafe.
The restaurant was simply decorated but very clean. The menu had lots of pho choices, but we noticed that the offerings seemed different than at the big franchise pho places. For example, they had pho with deep fried fish cakes and crab paste. That was different. Also, instead of bean sprouts, we got lettuce and cilantro with our phos. That was different too. I think it was all authentic, but I am no expert on the foods of V-land.
We had a variety of phos, including the aforementioned crab paste and fish cake style. I decided to be contrary and got sweet rice with pork. I also got fish cake and squid cake on the side. I didn’t taste the pho, but Mrs. C commented that the soup base was a little different from what we have had elsewhere, and it was packed with flavour. Plus the fish cake was a nice change from the usual beef. The consensus at our table was that the food was very tasty and not expensive. Service was great and our server was extremely friendly.
The place was filled with Vietnamese people, there was some kind of Vietnamese karaoke DVD on the TV, and as I mentioned the food seemed authentic to me, so I am guessing this place is the real deal.
I'd like to echo Mr C's assessment, in late hindsight ;)
This was my first Vietnamese place in Vancouver, I had just moved here, and took my car to the nearby Canadian Tire for inspection to register/license. It was going to be a 1/2 hour wait, so I decided to go down the street and visit one of the many Vietnamese places I passed on the way, being a huge fan of Pho. This was the first one, so truly a random stumble. I walked in, and felt a little out of place, as there were only Vietnamese people there, watching some sporting event on the TV (always with the TVs...).
They did not have any Pho at the time, but kindly helped me out with the menu, and I settled on a pork floss baguette, which was very delicious and inexpensive. Then I went back to Can Tire, where I was informed that my 2 week old car was indeed certifiably in fine shape, and that'll be $100 please.
Went with some friends for lunch on a Saturday. Service was pretty quick, and the food was nice. As the other reviewers have noted, you won't find typical 'beef noodle/pho'... their soup is tomato-based and tangy; the one we ordered had grilled fish and fish cakes. The spices reminded me of food that I had when travelling through Vietnam when I was younger. They also have Banh Mi (subs) and steamed rice wraps (similar to Chinese 腸粉) if you're looking to try something else.