Pho is the ideal meal deal for the winter. Get your fix of this warm, filling Vietnamese comfort food at these favorite Pho restaurants around Northern Virginia. You can find bowls at these spots for under $14. Don’t miss our full list of more than 50 meals for $14 or less.
By Olga Boikess and Dawn Klavon
It’s a plain Jane setting for sure: whitewashed walls and wooden chairs and tables in an Arlington strip mall storefront. It’s cash-only, and the service is matter-of-fact. Yet, this Vietnamese old-timer lights up food lovers’ radar screens with its soul-satisfying, traditional pho — meal-in-a-bowl beef or chicken noodle soups that cost well under $14. It is hard to imagine a better value.
Diners opting for the beef pho have a choice of meat cuts. Paper-thin slices of flank steak taste deliciously beefy in the most elemental way. Other choices include tendon, brisket, and tripe. Of course, the deeply flavored broth is the centerpiece of the dish. And it doesn’t disappoint. Slippery noodles buried in the bowl add body and texture. Add-ins include bean sprouts, fresh mint leaves, chiles, and lime.
Chicken pho is the other menu option. And if any soup deserves to be called “restorative,” this is a worthy candidate. Balancing the full-bodied broth are tasty coins of white meat chicken, noodles, and the same add-ins. Hot sauce is on the table. 1721 Wilson Blvd., Arlington — Boikess
Of the dozens of Vietnamese dining rooms in Falls Church’s Eden Center, this mall storefront is worth seeking out for its good-value versions of staples like pho, as well as hard-to-find regional specialties. Pho is breakfast food in Vietnam, so it wasn’t much of a surprise to arrive at 10 a.m. on a weekday to find the long tables in the sunwashed room filled with diners slurping its fortifying soups.
Nestled in a comfortable booth, we ordered pho with well-done flank steak for $13.95. Besides the options for various cuts of beef, tripe, and meatballs, pho can be ordered with succulent sliced chicken. The deeply flavored broth, supple noodles, crunchy sprouts, herbs, fresh chile, and full-flavored beef come together for a deeply satisfying meal — whatever the time of day. 6795 Wilson Blvd., Ste. 7, Falls Church — Boikess
Nothing hits the spot on a cold, rainy day like a piping hot bowl of pho — and Pho Duong in Burke checks everything on the list with its version of this fragrant, rich soup. Choose from 10 varieties of the classic dish, with a large bowl costing $11.95. Order the meatball pho for a substantial meal with fresh basil, rice noodles, bean sprouts, onions, cilantro, jalapeños, and a lime wedge. The fun is in creating your own masterpiece with just the right amount of everything to make your soup soar. This popular Vietnamese street food is transported to Northern Virginia at this tiny strip mall outpost.
Table service is speedy, and crowds flock to this pho restaurant for sit-down and takeout service. The no-frills décor is fine. You’re there just to inhale your massive bowl of soup.
Try the other authentic Vietnamese dishes, but count on pho as your go-to option at this popular, wallet-friendly spot. 9538 Burke Rd., Burke — Klavon