Though most places around UC Berkeley are laden with college hangs, 'The Pho Bar' holds solid ground with $11 Pho that keeps the college students at bay. Don't feel too sorry for the loner you see by the window cradling a steamy white bowl at the long wooden bar; they know this is the best Pho in town. Community tables lie beyond the registers where one can view the goings on in the display kitchen and still retain a comfortble distance. Though 'The Pho Bar' has a large Vietnamese menu containing meat and vegetable dishes as well as popular 'Bahn Mi' sandwiches and rolls, it's the large Pho bowls that will be occupying most tables. Adding a daikon to the traditional vegetables 'Pho Bar' fills its flavorful soup with good size servings and offers a help-yourself area for side dishes of sprouts, limes, jalapeno and Shiso (Japanese mint). Already on the tables are hoisin, sriracha, pepper and other fixings to get you ready, set, pho. Vegetarian and oxtail soup are offered as well as other treats beyond beer and wine. Many frescas, coffees and blended drinks on ice do well to cool a mouth tempted by too-hot-pho, while green tea is made courteously available for self-service. In the winter the fire place is blazing, offering a cozy and comfortable retreat to warm patrons from the inside out. Beignets are a tasty surprise on the dessert menu, served fresh and warm; these fried and fluffy treats sprinkled with powdered sugar are great finish to a full bowl of Pho.
Pho lovers who haven't yet found 'The Pho Bar' need to come here, those who know it are already returning. If you don't Pho, now you know.