24-hour Vietnamese Pho restaurant
I was an extremely loyal customer of this restaurant for a very long time (many years). It used to be GREAT - great food, great service, great value, eclectic décor.
But now, I refuse to even go back anymore. I am in mourning! This used to be my go-to place. Now, I am left with such a terrible taste in my mouth that I decided I just have to let it go. This is what happened. In the last 2 years this place has gone seriously downhill in every single way. I think there was a change of ownership (I'm not sure, but nothing else explains the depressing downturn that has taken place in this once-great place). This is what they did:
- changed and seriously LOWERED the quality of the food
- RAISED the prices (lower quality for more $)
- DRAMATICALLY reduced the quality of the service of the staff
- developed a SERIOUSLY BAD ATTITUDE towards long-time loyal customers like me
Here are just a few examples of the changes that they made:
(1) There used to be regular table service by regular servers. They eliminated this except for the very beginning step of ordering food and bringing the food to the table. After the food is brought to the table, they do not provide any further table service at all. The servers used to come by regularly to the table as a normal server does to ask if you need anything and also to refill the tea pot, refill your water glass, etc. --> now, every time I've been there in the last 2 years, after the server brought my food I was completely ignored from that moment on, and if I ever needed or wanted anything else at all (water, tea pot refill, order something else, order dessert, or get the bill) I had to literally get up and go to the front counter to ask for it.
(2) They used to bring the bill on a small plate complete with one slice of orange per person + one fortune cookie per person. They eliminated this. Every time I've been there in the last 2 years, they never once did this again. It was a nice touch. Believe it or not, it kind of made the meal, in the end. Now, not only do they no longer bring the little plate with the slice of orange, fortune cookie, and your bill........they refuse to bring the bill to the table at all anymore. You have to go up to the counter and ask for the bill.
(3) Good luck when you constantly DO have to go up to the counter every time anybody at your table needs anything at all --> the staff are sometimes not even there, they are in the back, and you have to actually have to call out to them loudly into the kitchen and ask one of them to please help you. I think this is totally unacceptable for a restaurant. You shouldn't have to call out to the staff in the kitchen when you want a refill of water, you want to order something else, or you want to pay your bill. Then again, if this is the kind of system they want, who am I to say they shouldn't have it? But seriously, they should probably put signs up saying they no longer provide full table service like they used to. It's not always the case that there is nobody at the counter when you need to go up there to ask for something, sometimes there actually is somebody around at the front counter to take your request when you are forced to get up from your table every time you want something....just not always...they're absent often enough that I sure remember having to do it often in the last 2 years of my continued loyalty.
(4) They used to be friendly staff for so many years! They most certainly are no longer friendly, and they don't even realize that they're unfriendly to extremely loyal customers who have been going there for years and years on end.
(5) The last straw for me was the last time I went there, about 1 or 2 months ago. After so many years of loyal devotion to this place, this last time I went for lunch there was an extremely loud child in the restaurant. This child was not a baby. This was an older child of about 12, 13 or 14 years old. The kid and his Mom were screaming at each other nonstop. They were so loud that it completely disrupted my meal. I was alone, but if I were with somebody else we couldn't have had a conversation - that's how loud it was. I was trying to read a book...I couldn't even read because the screaming was so distracting. The yelling went on and on and on...through the whole meal! I could tell that all of the customers were disturbed by the loud voices too. Finally half way through my meal I got up, went to the counter, and asked the so-called "server" if he could please ask these guests to be more quiet. Would you believe that this is what he said to me: "No! I'm not going to ask them to change their behavior, they have loud voices, they have every right to talk and eat just like everybody else." WOW! These were not just "loud voices". This was bloody screaming and yelling at each other, nonstop.
This "server" didn't even give a damn that I was an incredibly loyal customer for so many years....as long as I can remember. I have brought many many friends to this place. I had been frequenting it about once/week for several years in a row!
I was so shocked by his lack of helpfulness that I asked who he was. He said he was the owner.
Enough said -- right then and there, I knew that I would never, EVER give this owner my money again. This is an owner who does not care about his good customers.
Nobody should give their money to that kind of business owner.
I have gone several times to both locations and always appreciate that they are in areas where there is not a lot of other pho, and it hits the spot. This is true, but the quality does suffer on some days.
Good place if you're close by and have a vietnamese hankering, but otherwise there are other great places in the area.
I'll be the first one to admit that the place has a weird kind of ambiance, what with the purple walls, thrift shop artwork, and the neon olympic rings adorning the walls - and the floors really need a good scrubbing. I'm amazed the fish in the big tank by the front door are still alive - the previous fish died, and were replaced. So why do we frequent this place? The food is pretty good and inexpensive. We have dined here many times without a problem. We always end up ordering the same thing, so they remember us, and practically start writing down the order when we walk in the door! I especially like the grilled pork with spring roll and prawns with vermicelli - squirt a hefty amount of hoi sin sauce (after wiping the crud off of the dispenser), and good eatin' is yours! My son favours the grilled pork with vermicelli and spring roll. I've had the Pho Tai, and it's pretty standard - fills the gut, and chases away the chill on a cold day without chasing away the cash in my wallet.
For under 10 dollars, the Lemon Grass Chicken comes with a generous portion of rice, a big salad, and 2 wide pieces of chicken steak. What more can you ask for? Now, obviously the level of cleaness is not on par to your average restaurant, but hey, no risk no reward. I have been there for years and never have I had any health issues. If you like sports then this is a good place because they always have TSN and Sportsnet on.
The service here isn't friendly. But the food is good, particularly the soup deals. Even the smallest size is enough to fill you on most days!
Good for a student, the ambiance is just weird, I've never seen so many old television sets in one place before.
Did I say the service isn't friendly? But I don't particularly care about friendliness when I'm looking for a cheap meal.
I've been coming to this place for years now and even not as a student anymore nearby. I would definitely count this place as best pho in town. It's strange given the reviews below of the eccentric decor (and no lack of TVs. I count at least 8, holy!) and questionable hygiene, I still love this place and its pho. The broth is rich and deep in flavour and it's light as air. The satay pho comes out steaming hot and the soup is really to die for with a squeeze of lime and basil. Haven't tried the rice dishes before but heard good things from my dining companions. Spring roll is passable.
This place is also affectionately referred to as "Thai Spicy" by my friends and I.
I found myself in this unfortunate restaurant last week and I daresay, it made me nostalgic for the good old days, when I was bumming around southeast asia and trying to live on four dollars a day. This joint is completely out of character in what is a fairly upscale neighborhood. Not sure how to proceed with this review because by the time my tea and spring rolls arrived, I had lost my appetite. This place is dirty. the floors and walls and tables and kitchen - are DIRTY. The glass my tea came in was greasy and I couldn't bring myself to eat my food. I kindof wish I had said something - like "I'm leaving here without eating because your restaurant is dirty" It made me long for a grading system like they have in Los Angeles. cheers.
We've lived in the area for years but just went in for the first time this evening. Based on the reviews, we were a little squeamish, but really, the food was good. The service wasn't bad.
Now don't get me wrong, this place does not give off a "clean" vibe at all. The bathrooms are not for the faint of heart, and even the menus reeked (spilled fish sauce?). Let's hope the kitchen is cleaner.
The regular pho was as good as any, and the satay pho was interesting - same noodles, but in a kind of tom yum broth.
All in all, good meal at a good price.
Fondly refereed to as "Thai Spicy," by the boyfriend and I because of the neon sign in the window, Gold Train Express has been a favorite place for us to eat for ages.
I beseech any of you reading this to give GTE a chance after reading what I have to say. It's true that it the ratings here are awfully grim, and perhaps rightly so, but don't judge this little gem by its cover.
I've lived in Point Grey for a number of years now and GTE definitely stands out from the bunch. Walking in, it is definitely has a bizarre ambiance you wouldn't expect from an otherwise upscale neighborhood. There are odd Olympic rings mounted on the wall, strange eastern religious monuments, and unusual Greek-style motifs along the ceiling. The floor is definitely in need of a good scrub as well.
But even so, the food is AMAZING. Having become a regular over the years, I've learned that everything is made from scratch in a traditional Vietnamese fashion. The pho in particular is to die for - rich with flavors, not too salty. You'll also find noodle bowls, curries, and a variety of fruity beverages available as well. I know the appearance of the place may suggest you could go home with food poisoning, but it has never happened. The staff do wash their hands and the fish tank is regularly cleaned out. Prices are also very fair, which makes GTE an excellent option for poor students like myself.
As soon as you walk in, it isn't "welcome!" but rather "for how many?" - The staff are not exactly warm and accommodating, but they're nice enough to get you something if you need it, even if you have to go up to them to ask for it.
So give GTE a try! If you're a fan of Vietnamese food, you shouldn't be disappointed.
Great food for little money. Service is pretty good. If you want a cheep place to eat this is really a good spot! I loved the spring roles and the soups. The restaurant is quite run down, but it adds to the ambiance. There all also TV's that show sports. Overall, love this restaurant.
I love vietnamese food and i know it inside out.
I read all the reviews before i went to this place and thought maybe the bad reviews were a few years old that they improved.
The pho broth had a weird background taste, and the spring rolls were fluorescent yellow. The flavour tasted like old, poor grade products. If you dont have a developed pallet for vietnamese pho or spring rolls then the place is not bad but if your looking for good viet food, this is not the place to go.
I was craving a little pho for lunch yesterday, and since this is the only Vietnamese restaurant in the Kits/Point Grey area, I gave it a shot.
The place was dark and dingy, but I sat down anyways - takeout isn't really an option when you want a hot noodle soup.
I ordered my favorite noodle soup, Bun Bo Hue, and it came fast enough, but it was missing even basic ingredients that make the dish what it is. The plate of bean sprouts and basil that accompany the noodles looked wilted and old. All the sprouts were broken in half, as if they were leftovers from other patrons. I found the same of my noodles, every noodle was about 1-2 inches, as if they were leftovers. A few bites and I had to leave.
I don't think I'll ever come back to this place, no matter how bad my craving for Pho is!
I've rarely been in a restaurant that was so openly dingy, bordering on dirty. The water tasted odd, the soup bowls weren't cleaned up from the last use - the floors were sticky. I'm not sure why it's such a mess, because it could be a really great place with some good cleaning up. I found that the broth smelled sort of funny, like the water, and I couldn't really enjoy my meal. The broth wasn't very rich, and I call the food value poor because I didn't end up eating even half my soup because of the weird smell and the dirty bowls. I might like it better if I weren't afraid of catching something nasty.