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3.5
  • Food3.5
  • Service3.5
  • Value3.5
  • Ambiance3
  • Reviews39

Pho Tan Vietnamese Restaurant

4598 Main Street
Vancouver, BC V5V3R5
Tel: (604) 873-3345
Neighbourhood: East Side
  • Cuisine: Pho, Soup, Vietnamese
  • Price: $ ($15 or less)
  • Reservations: Accepted
  • Service: Takeout
  • Meals: Lunch, Dinner
  • Features: Wheelchair accessible
  • Serving not only noodles and lemongrass chicken/pork/beef shortribs, but also a good variety of la carte dishes, from skewers to fried bean curd wrapped crab meat paste. Special orders/requests for off-menu items are always welcomed. Just call ahead and discuss with management.

    Plenty of free parking all around with no meter parking and a small lot behind the restaurant.

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 39 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Amazing Beer Crab
By 8there of Vancouver (66 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - 11:18am [Dine in]

I had been here on a few occasions for the regular pho and rice dishes, and found them to be adequate but not outstanding. What I never knew was that some of their special items not on the menu were incredibly good.

Beer crab in a clay pot - amazingly tasty, even for someone who usually doesn't like to eat crab because it's so messy. It was hot, juicy, and full of flavor. After you eat the crab you can ask to add noodles to the delicious soup to finish it all up. For a 3lb crab it was $50.
Braised Ox tail - this one was tasty and tender, but a bit oily for my taste.
Lamb chops - wonderfully seasoned, tender, and grilled to perfection.
Eggplant - this was an interesting one. You could taste a charred flavor like it had been grilled before being doused in a slightly sweet and sour sauce. If you like your eggplant mushy then it's worth a try.

We had dinner on a weeknight and had made a reservation. When we arrived it was pretty empty, but halfway through our meal there was a lineup and people were being turned away. It's not often you see that at a Vietnamese place. Service was decent, our plates were changed about 3 times during the course of the meal. I think you may need to pre-order the special items, but it's definitely worth a try. My mouth is watering just thinking about that crab!

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Bad service, rude server
By May Chan of Vancouver (east) (1 Review)
Submitted Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 11:00pm [Dine in]

A group of us (6) went to the restaurant last Friday for dinner and had a terrible night out. All the servers are rude and unpleasant. Other than bring out the food to the table, there was no return of the servers. We flagged down the server and the response were rude and unpleasant. The restaurant is full but they should not neglect the service. The dishes we ordered are OK but we would never return because of the bad experience.

Worst of all it's CASH ONLY, so remember to bring CASH or you will have to run to a bank machine to get some to pay for the bill.

Some of the restaurants are forgetting good service is a MUST and not a bonus to the customers.

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Good Pho, reasonable value
By lindarose of Vancouver (172 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, June 18, 2010 - 9:19pm [Dine in]

After reading many good reviews at Dinehere.ca, I decided to give Pho Tan a try.

First impression was only okay. I called ahead to ask if they accepted VISA. The woman who answered the phone said, "Hello." This is a pet peeve of mine. I answer "hello" when I am at home. When I am at work, I answer, "Hello (or, better yet, good evening) then state my company name." This is basic professionalism. I asked the woman if I had reached Pho Tan and she said "yes." I asked my question "Do you take Visa" and she answered something unintelligible. I asked again, this time a little slower and tried to be more clear. She stated, a bit impatiently that it was cash only.

Anyways, they have no telephone manners.

I tired the place anyway (and brought cash)...

The place is decorated nicely - a bit more atmosphere than most.

There were lots of people there including lots of families (so we felt we fit in nicely).

We ordered our standard fare (Rare Beef Pho, vermicelli bowls with chicken, minced pork and spring rolls and I had my favourite drink - a salty lemon on soda).

The prices were very reasonable ($7 for a large Pho; $7.50 for the vermicelli bowls and only $2.75 for my salty lemon drink; soft drinks were $1.60).

The Pho was tasty. The bowls were okay - I found the minced pork had a weird powdery seasoning on it. The chicken was good and it was nice that it was completely boneless. The spring roll was tasty. My salted lemon drink was very tasty and had just the right amount of preserved lemon and sweetness. I ordered two of them!!

Our waitress was very pleasant and efficient.

I would go again if I was in the area, but I have another favourite Pho place which I will continue to go to as Pho Tan and my other place are the same driving distance from my home.

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A disapointing experience
By susanchan of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Monday, July 23, 2012 - 12:55pm [Dine in]

We had heard about the Beer Crab and other special dishes, so the 6 of us decided to try this restaurant for our get-together. We made an appointment and pre-ordered the 4 of the specials that I read about in the reviews.The crab was okay..not outstanding. It was supposed to be 2 1/2 lbs, but that was questionable, the chicken salad, bitter melon/egg was okay. I have to say that the braised oxtail was really good..big pieces and very tender.
It was the attitude of the staff that will prompt us to never go there again. We had ordered just one bread to dip the oxtail sauce, we got that within 5 minutes. Since we had more sauce left, we ordered another one. We waited 10 minutes, no bread. We asked a second server about the bread, no bread. Finally, we got hold of another server and told them to cancel the bread because now we have no more sauce left (15 minutes now). After a few minutes, the male server came to us to verified that we had cancelled the bread, we said yes. He then said that it takes at least 15 minutes to make the bread. We said sorry, but we are almost finished and there is no sauce left to dip. A few minutes later, a lady server came and again told us that it takes 15 minutes to make the bread, it is ready now and they had to throw it away. NOT NICE, she said angrily. Whatever happened to the customer is always right? It was a $1.25 Vietnamese roll..not one of their overpriced specials!

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First time I refused to leave a tip at a sit-down restaurant.
By pickygourmand of Vancouver (5 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, June 10, 2011 - 6:20pm [Dine in]

Restaurants, especially mom & pop outfits, are a tough business in Vancouver. Knowing this I try to be very forgiving when I have a bad dining experience. Every restaurant has a bad day.

I also judge restaurants in their respective context. I don't expect to a busy noodle place in East Van and expect cheery, smiley service, and have the server ask if I'm enjoying my meal and if I want my water glass topped up. That's strictly for Rob Feenie like places; not a noodle place where you go to have good, cheap, eats.

What I DO expect is consistency and, above all, professionalism.

I have only gone to Pho Tan a few times - usually under protest to friends who want to go - and have never enjoyed my dining experience. While I appreciate the many positive ratings given to this restaurant I find that the Vietnamese food is mediocre. The pho broth lacks flavour and excites me as much as a bowl of instant ramen.

The portions are skimpy at Pho Tan for what you pay, and for what their competitors more north of 30th Ave offers along Main St., and Fraser St., respectively -- although I will give Bon Cafe on Main and 33rd Ave a thumbs up for a grilled pork Vietnamese sub that more than rivals offerings at Au Petite Cafe.

So I already had reservations about going to Pho Tan because the food is unexciting and I leave hungrier than when I started.

However, today was the straw that broke the camel's back. The server, older lady, screwed up my order. My dining companion distinctively heard what I ordered yet when the server brought my food it was incorrect.

I pointed out that she had brought me the wrong plate and she put up a fuss and kept insisting it was what I ordered. Knowing this was futile, and not wanting to make a scene, I accepted the wrong order.

To me, a server making a mistake, not making any effort to correct it, not even apologizing, and then blaming the customer is wrong. While I don't believe the adage, "the customer is always right", in this case the server was wrong but could not care less.

I left my payment separately from my friends, and left only the price of the meal, and no tip except two pennies; the second penny was to let them know the first penny was not a mistake!

I don't ever recall a time I refused to leave a tip. Even in the worst times where the food was bad, or the server was having a tough day, I would leave 10-15%. However, I was so annoyed that I gave her and restaurant what I thought they deserved and will never go back there again. My friends may want to go back but I'd sooner eat alone elsewhere than to give Pho Tan my business.

I'm not discouraging people to NOT go to Pho Tan but please don't think it's the best Vietnamese restaurant in a 2 km radius just because you heard it was. There are much better ones who give better food, better portions, and better service.

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Off the Menu items
By cocoeater of vancouver (323 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - 1:20pm [Dine in]

Went here on a Friday after a friend pre-ordered a few items which isn't available on the menu. Beer crab came in a clay pot, very good with some soup on the bottom to add to some white noodles after. Crab was moist and very good. Lamb chops were made in some tangy sweat sauce and BBQ'd, very good. Then the oxtail was in some five spice and came in a thick sauce, again very good. Also had the boneless chicken wings and spring rolls off the menu.

Would go again but pre-order. The service was very good and changed plates with a better than your normal Pho place ambiance. Value was good.

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nice decor in a pho restaurant
By foodie57 of Vancouver (21 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, July 31, 2009 - 9:47pm [Dine in]

This place has above average décor for a pho restaurant. It is relaxing inside, and it looks like somebody put some thought into it. The food is pretty good, I have no complaints. The pho has a good broth, lots of fresh bean sprouts and the like on the side. Spring rolls and salad rolls have always been tasty. The people working there are friendly. I will be back, it’s nice to go there for lunch and finish with an iced coffee on a hot day.

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Decent clean place
By EatsFats of Vancouver (322 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, November 11, 2007 - 10:46pm [Dine in]

Considering what kind of restaurant it is, unusually "nice". Very clean decor and finishings inside. Very clean, you can feel comfortable hanging around there.

Service was pretty quick and friendly. Maybe a little too friendly, almost "used car salesmen" like. Hmmm...

Food presentation is above par for Vietnamese places in Vancouver. By far. Fortunately, it also has the taste to match. We had a lot of stuff, broken rice dish, thin noodles, spring rolls. Just no pho that day. Some stuff was slightly on the greasy/oily side, but was otherwise done quite well. My only disappointment is that the menu selection is pretty much "the usual", nothing new or really interesting like I've experienced at other places (i.e. not in Vancouver).

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Consistantly great
By thecritic of Vancouver (376 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, October 2, 2006 - 2:09pm [Dine in]

I recently moved into the area and have eaten here 3 times. Each time I had 3 different items on the menu. All were good even with the higher expectations from the previous visit. The food is inexpensive, quality Vietnamese food and tastes of home cooking. The pho broth is tasty and not greasy. Ingredients are fresh, items come out of the kitchen very quickly.

The service is very good, especially for a Vietnamese restaurant. You can tell that they actually care about the customer and ensure they are well looked after. When the restaurant is slow, they offer great service without hovering over the tables.

Definately recommended, I will return often.

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Mmm Food
By davidsugarclub of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - 12:55am [Dine in]

For fresh and tasty food, I suggest Pho Tan at Main St and 30th for food that is bursting with joy.

The menu is filled with tempting appetizers and main courses to fit for any sized hunger.

The food arrives fast.
It is always a pleasure to spend extra time speaking with the manager and the kitchen staff love the compliments. Customers leave happy and warm hearted after filling their desires.

You choose the right meat combo in bowls of noodle soup broth filled with rice vermicelli, fresh basil, sprouts and a few slices of chili and lime.

Don't bother looking at prices because you will want to try everything and all the prices are reasonable.

Look forward to sharing different appetizers and having your own bowl of noodles.
It is so tasty and refreshing, I find myself there to enjoy it year round.

Vietnamese iced coffee is perfect with a little extra condensed milk.

My personal favourite is plain noodle soup and having a side order of Lemongrass grilled chicken.
The spring rolls are always number one, and for dinner consider asking for specialties off the menu as they have mastered the grilled lamb chops.
Be sure to tell them that you want them cook medium or med-well as the lamb cuts are bigger than normal.

Parking is free, service is depending on who which waitress is on (or off). Food has never let me down.

If you are looking for something for plain or exotic, fast lunch or casual dinner, you can find good value to visiting Pho Tan regularly.

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Great first impression and experience
By Haley of Vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, December 31, 2009 - 1:16pm [Dine in]

If you're looking for good Vietnamese food, this is the place to go! A first time experience last night will lead to more visits here. Friends took us after raving about it a few days before and I knew it had to be good as he used to be a food writer in Asia. He pre-ordered (not on the menu) the day before some interesting dishes that I would not have tried and I have to say the sauces for these dishes were fabulous!!!

1) Beer Crab - flavor explosion and the broth was great with vermicelli noodles. It's served in a clay pot steaming hot.
2) Lamb chops over fried chips with a slightly sweet sauce that doesn't cover up the taste of the meat but enhances it.
3) Ox tails - had a more Asian sauce with star aise or was it 5 spice? It was like having a stew where the meat fell off the bones and was juicy and tender.
4) Assorted spring rolls - crispy outside and a flavor explosion with each bite.

Highly recommend this place!

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Good pho
By foodluva of Vancouver (35 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, September 17, 2009 - 7:08pm [Dine in]

Came here for lunch today at around 330pm. There were only about 3 other tables so it wasn't busy. No complaints about service. I got my food about 5 mins after ordering. I came here after hearing good reviews from friends and its silver rating for best vietnamese from vancouver mag. I really like the broth, didn't taste msg nor was i thirsty afterward, and it had a really nice flavor. The amount of rare beef was about standard but they were a little stingy with the tendon. The sprouts and basil were fresh and clean (this is important to me). The decor is also nicer than other pho places. Would definitely return.

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My new favourite pho hangout.
By leatherbelly of Vancouver (12 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, January 11, 2009 - 1:56pm [Dine in]

When it comes to pho for me it's all about the broth and the beef. Both were excellent on the two occasions I visited last week with clients. The broth isn't greasy or too salty. The beef is good quality, sliced thinly and fall apart to the tooth.

Service was solid the first time. The second time I got the pho, later the spring roll, finally the coke despite ordering them at the same time. There's a bit of a language issue I think rather than just bad service. Fair enough. Service comes with a smile though which isn't always the case at other pho eateries I've tried. If you want a big steaming cauldron of pho for less than $6 (large) give it a whirl. I'll be back for sure. Leave your plastic. Cash only.

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what a great place
By beckybee of vancouver (7 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, December 21, 2008 - 10:48pm [Dine in]

We're new to Vancouver and are so glad to have found a great Pho place. I recommend the House Special Pho - a spicy coconut broth with rare beef. The spring rolls are also very good. I've been there twice now and the food is great. Seems to be popular locals and folks from all backgrounds. Highly recommend it if you liek Pho and Vietnamese cuisine.

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The Worst Bowl of PHO Noodles
By May Yee of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 6:46pm [Dine in]

On Sunday July 22nd 2012, we decided to head to Pho Tan for some noodles.

Unfortunately, the meal experience was not enjoyable. I had No. 18 - sliced rare beef and beef ball noodles.

The service was quick as we were one of the first few customers of the day.

The bowl of noodles with rare beef and beef ball that I had was just plain awful. I managed to skim out a full chinese tea cup of oil filled from my noodle bowl. The beef slices looked awful.

The first waitress had notice and mentioned to me, that there was so much oil skimmed out from the noodle bowl. She was shocked herself.

Secondly, the second waitress tried to take $3.20 of tips for $16.80 meal. I took the tips back and gave what was deserved. She was upset and she told the lady boss, and they both knew I was very upset for the meal and did not do anything about it.

I will grant the first waitress, as she was kind and nice to serve us efficiently. The second waitress was upset with me for giving such a small tip before she can swipe it from the table.

Definitely, will not step into this restaurant again.

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Good Food Good Server VERY Reasonable Prices
By stevendrowe of Vancouver (44 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, October 5, 2009 - 10:08pm [Dine in]

This is our second visit to the restaurant. The new owners have been there since May 09 and looks better than the previous residents, we didn't go in prior to this as it looked dirty.

The good is excellent, both times I have had sandwich which were good but also tried others food and especially love the beef stew with noodle soup!! I always have their Vietnamese coffee as well, always delicious.

The service is quick and friendly, very attentive and ensure we are happy. Everything is served fairly quickly.

This isn't The Ritz but its very clean and welcoming, certainly above average for the price range they charge for the food.

This is local to us and would come back on a regular basis.

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Non-Pretentious Tastiness
By jollyg of westend (11 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, June 5, 2009 - 8:28am [Dine in]

Great bowl of Pho as well as other traditional vietnamese dishes -not found at "just pho restaurants". MSG in soup, as expected, but does leave overly dry mouth feeling. Decor is simple and clean -no neon signs in sight. Prices are good. Outside needs a few cosmetic fix ups. Overally I will come back for the pho alone.

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Better than the average pho joint
By Lanie23 of Vancouver (53 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, January 19, 2009 - 9:57pm [Dine in]

The restaurant decor and furniture is definitely nicer than most pho places that I've been to. The spring roll/pork/vermicelli combo is awesome. So is the pho- tasty soup, perfectly done pho. Big portions, very reasonable prices for these dishes, in the $6-7 range. The only minus is that the rice dishes that I've seen come out leave something to be desired- something that looked like a stirfry and another one was a porkchop? Anyhow, it looked a bit like something the average person would cook up in their kitchen which is not a compliment. Stick to the pho or vermicelli and you will not be disappointed!

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Oustanding Vietnamese Restaurant
By Toebee of Vancouver (6 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, November 22, 2008 - 11:54pm [Dine in]

I am new to Vancouver and my girlfriend and I are always looking for good places to eat. This time we went to eat at Pho Tan’s based on the good reviews that it received. We were not disappointed.

Food:
I ordered Grilled pork on rice and it was very good. Well cooked and flavourful.

My girlfriend ordered Satay Skewer, Prawn Supreme on Sugar Cane, Salad Roll, with Steamed Vermicelli. The Satay Skewers were amazing. Would go there just for that.

We also ordered a side of spring rolls which also tasted good. Not over done and the size of them was very big which was good for me.

Service:
The food came extremely fast and the place was full. Did not even finish the first cup of tea before the spring rolls came to the table. Staff was very pleasant and courteous.

Value:
Cannot complain about the price. Inexpensive good food! You cannot go wrong.

Ambiance:
Nice and clean on the inside. Décor was nice and modern with a touch of Vietnam. One of the nicest Vietnamese restaurants I have ever been in.

Overall, we would say that it is a good restaurant and it is one of our new favourite places to eat. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for good Vietnamese food.

Only downfall is that they take cash only for the immediate moment but you will not be breaking the bank to eat at this great establishment.

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nice lunch
By seanathon of Surrey (4 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, December 30, 2007 - 11:35pm [Dine in]

The food was delicious, competitive prices, service was quite pleasant and very quick. The bathrooms were small but had a fabulous hygienic toilet seat cover - that made up for it. Had a wonderful bowl of Pho and a rice dish with fried vegies and tofu with oyster sauce. Was impressed with the service. If we are in the area we will definitly return for a wonderful lunch.

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