A great Vietnamese meal sticks with you...
And no, we don't mean in your teeth. The lingering pleasure that a well made Bánh Mì sandwich or a plate of perfectly wrapped spring rolls provides is culinary nourishment at its best. We're of the belief that a big bowl of steaming hot pho will cure you of all your ills; and if it doesn't, at least it will cure your hunger.
It's telling that noted food and travel authority Anthony Bourdain had a particular fondness for Vietnamese cuisine. The late world-traversing gourmand was very open in the fact that his first trip to Vietnam fundamentally changed him, and we're pretty sure the local flavors played a big part in that transformative experience.
While we certainly encourage everyone to travel often as see as much of the world as possible, you don't need to go to Saigon to eat some excellent Vietnamese. See our favorite places to get Vietnamese food in Austin below.
PHOTO CREDIT: HAI KY FACEBOOK
1931 E. Oltorf
3808 Spicewood Springs
Considering how much the Do512 office eats at Hai Ky, not including them on this list would be a real splash of pho in the face. Even if we weren't such stalwart loyalists in the Hai Ky army we would still have to pay proper tribute to their delectable steak and brisket pho.
Photo Credit: Kim Phung
2237 E Riverside Dr, Ste 101-A
7601 N Lamar Blvd
315 N Bell Blvd
If you grew up or live around North Lamar and have an appreciation for Asian food, you may already be a fan of Kim Phung's. The inauspicious interior gives way to some seriously awesome food. Of particular note is Kim Phung's Bun Thit Nuong, a hearty mix of pork, egg rolls, and vermicelli noodles.
Photo Credit: @eatingatxglutenfree
Calling 888 a jack of all trades would not do it the culinary justice it deserves. So while you can get some very good Chinese and Thai food at this Oltorf eatery, you can also get some seriously stellar Vietnamese dishes. 888's spring rolls are very good, and the location is ideal for pick up orders.
Photo Credit: Sunflower Vietnamese Restaurant
Sunflower feels how a Vietnamese restaurant should feel. Located on Research Blvd, this restaurant is the definition of authentically Vietnamese. The pho is hot, delicious, and filling, and it's only the tip of the iceberg on their menu. Sunflower has a thorough selection of Vietnamese meals that you may have never tried before. Not only that, it's menu prices are pretty easy on the old wallet.
PHOTO CREDIT: SAIGON LE VENDEUR FACEBOOK
If you're confused by the French "Le Vendeur" part of this food truck's name... Well, you might need to brush up on your Vietnamese history. There is a pervasive and storied background to French influence in Vietnam, and the cuisine is almost undoubtedly better for it. Saigon Le Vendeur pays tribute this incredible melding with their incredible Banh Mi.
Photo Credit: @yachterson
1908 Guadalupe St.
Whether it be because of the delicious food or quiet atmosphere, many UT Students practically live at Phở Thái Sơn. The long-running Guadalupe restaurant is family owned and operated, and that warmness goes a long way. Both in the care spent in preparing the food, and the friendliness the waiters and waitresses exude in their serving of it.
Photo Credit: Parker Featherston
9200 N Lamar Blvd
As far as charmingly nondescript Asian cafes go, Thanh Nhi is pretty much the golden standard. As anyone who has eaten at an unexpectedly delicious strip mall eatery can attest, it's within that unassuming plainness that magical things happen. Thanh Nhi doesn't have a huge menu, but the things they do serve (Vietnamese sandwiches and noodle soups) make it more than worth visiting.
PHOTO CREDIT: BUN BELLY FACEBOOK
5001 Airport Blvd
You know the kind of place that's slightly upscale, but never snooty? That's Bun Belly. Although to be fair, their goofy name alone should be enough to dispel any fears of pretension. The whole menu is presented with decorum and class, but the Bahn Bao sliders are where it's really at.
Photo Credit: @Kevinhelgren
10901 North Lamar Boulevard
Pho is a dish with an almost dizzying array of consummate variations, and we believe in trying them all. That's easier said than done, especially when every next variation can seem like your next lifelong favorite. Pho Saigon is the perfect Vietnamese place to try to sample every possible Pho permutation that their extensive menu allows. It'll take a while to get through it all, but the research will be delicious.
Photo Credit: @jonnymikeatx
8222 N Lamar Blvd D33
Some restaurants have that bizarrely welcoming feeling of being a second home to their customers. With its safe, quiet atmosphere and alluring smells, Tam Deli & Cafe surely fits that bill. Located next to a tattoo shop in a strip mall, Tam Deli & Cafe doesn't look like much from the outside, but it's the scrumptious and hearty Vietnamese fare on the inside that counts.
PHOTO CREDIT: ELIZABETH ST. CAFE FACEBOOK
1501 South First St
You can't talk about Vietnamese restaurants in Austin without giving props to Elizabeth St. Cafe. The smartly decorated South 1st restaurant is hip where it wants it and has heart where it needs it. On any given day, its patio will be filled with people whose happy expressions show that they clearly made the right choice for lunch. Elizabeth St. Cafe has a breakfast, lunch, and dinner (don't forget brunch) menu that boasts in vogue items like Octopus Salad, Roasted Pork & Wood Ear Mushroom Omelette in the same breath as old Viet standards like Banh Mi and Vermicelli bowls.
And the elusive Tan My Restaurant that we can't find a website for.
Got a favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Austin that deserves more love?
Let us know!