Where to Find the Best Pho in Boston

By Eric Twardzik
Where to Find the Best Pho in Boston

An essential Vietnamese dish, pho is a noodle soup typically brimming with beef and topped with verdant herbs. (Pro tip: Pho rhymes with “huh,” not “hoe.”) Fresh toppings and light broth make it a year-round treat, but pho is especially satisfying once the temperature dips—and the city’s sizable Vietnamese population is happy to provide at restaurants around the city. Next time you’re craving a bowl of beefy noodle soup, here's where to find the best pho in Boston.

Soup Shack - Where to Find the Best Pho in Boston

Ramen, Thai noodle dishes, rice bowls, and apps like Gyoza are all options at pan-Asian restaurant Soup Shack, which maintains locations in Jamaica Plain, Brookline, and Cambridge. But Pho is a star on the menu: The beefy Dac Biet represents the traditional route, though Pho Ga, featuring an aromatic chicken broth and shredded meat, is a worthy detour. For further adventures in pho at Soup Shack, consider the Mi Hoanh Thanh, with the aromatic broth, pork-and-shrimp dumplings, and ramen noodles; or a bowl of Pho Sate spiced with chili oil. 

Pho Viet's Boston
Brian Samuels Photography

Pho Viet’s is a bit slicker than some other mom-and-pops on this list. It boasts locations in Brookline and Newton Centre, a walk-up order system with interactive tablets, and even its own merch shop. However, you’re not here for the T-shirts—you’re probably here for the banh mi. But for those days when you’re craving soup over a sandwich, go for the bright and beefy Pho Dac Biet, which matches a highly acidic broth to a generous amount of thinly sliced steak and tendon. You’ll choose between rice noodles or egg noodles for the starch, and can count on receiving a heaping portion no matter which direction you go.

Pho Le

Where to Find the Best Pho in Boston

Fields Corner is known as Little Saigon, thanks to being the heart of Boston’s Vietnamese community. Pho Le is a neighborhood standby, acclaimed for its Seven Course Beef and large-format dishes, including an entire oven-roasted catfish. But don’t neglect its title dish: the signature Special Beef Noodle Soup (Pho Dac Biet), filled with thinly sliced eye round steak, well-done flank, brisket, tendon, and tripe. If the traditional toppings don’t appeal to you, try a variation (there are eight) made with different combinations of those beefy ingredients.

Pho Basil

Pho Basil
Credit: Pho Basil

Pho Basil’s location on Massachusetts Avenue positions it to serve students at the nearby Berklee College of Music, but there’s no reason why those budding musicians should have it to themselves. We love this spot for Pho Sate, a kicked-up take on beef noodle soup that’s turned spicy and lightly sweet with chili oil and cherry tomatoes. Spicy isn’t the only route to take: Pho Basil serves eight other bowls of pho, including the more classic beef-based Dac Biet and a chicken-based Pho Ga, all of which can be (forgive us) beefed up with the addition of meatballs or raw egg yolks. 

Pho’n Rice

Pho’n Rice Boston

In Somerville, Pho’n Rice boasts a large menu with hints of Thai cuisine as well as awesome Vietnamese food. The neighborhood favorite makes good on the first half of its namesake with a Pho Dac Biet that’s light yet complex, striking just the right balance of savory meatiness and acidic sweetness. Don’t eat beef? Pho Rau Cai is a rich chicken broth full of vegetables, while vegans can comfortably slurp a Pho Chay that adds veggies and tofu in a vegetable-based broth. (The rice—not to mention crispy fried spring rolls and spicy Bun Bo Hue—is also very good.)

Pho 2000

Pho 2000 Boston
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

This casual joint is located off Dorchester Avenue, the well-trodden thoroughfare of Fields Corner. But Pho 2000 nonetheless stands out with some of the best pho in Boston. Let the neon sign on the window depicting a bowl of steamy soup beckon you in for the namesake classic beef noodle bowl. Pho 2000, as it’s called on the menu, places brisket, beef flank, tendon, tripe, and rare steak in a light beef broth that’s both savory and sweet. For just $1 you can add tender and spicy beef balls to the mix, which you absolutely should do.

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