Melbourne’s certainly not short of Vietnamese food, and good ones at that. But it can be hard to cut to the chase and know exactly where to go. We’ve done the hard yards and have ordered these 11 fantastic Vietnamese joints, from budget to blow-out.
$ | Budget
I Love Pho
You’d have to have been living under a rock to have not heard about I Love Pho’s epically delicious, quick, easy and cheap pho. It’s located on Victoria Street in Richmond, so is surrounded by plenty of competition, but it’s our stand out pick in a busy strip of Vietnamese joints. The standard beef pho is the way to go, in our humble opinion.
Wat Da Pho
This South Melbourne gem is on Clarendon Street and is everything you could want from a simple Vietnamese venue. Wat Da Pho is light, bright and cheap. There are a few different pho options, all of which are excellent and the sticks with vermicelli salad is also a good option. There is a $10 special of 3 rice paper rolls which is actually great value – the rolls are large and extremely fresh. The lemongrass beef, pork and prawn, and chicken and avocado is my standard trio.
Prahran favourite, Hannoi Hannah has been a hub of Vietnamese deliciousness for quite a while. Adding to their regular service of top-notch lunch and dinner dishes, Hanoi Hannah now serves Sunday Vietnamese breakfasts of acai bowls with plenty of fruit and the best bloody Marys around, amongst other dishes.
If it’s takeaway that you’re after, two doors down from the main shop front, there’s now Hanoi Hannah Express Lane, where you’re order will be ready in a jiffy…. And you won’t have to contend with the hordes of dine-in patrons.
Relatively new, MoPho Canteen has been dishing up delicious fare to Carlisle Street visitors for a few months now. Offering a full menu of Vietnamese dishes, it’s the pho that really is the stand out. The vegetarian pho is packed with mushrooms and greens and is a regular order even for the meat-loving dinners.
Could this be the best pho in the south side?! We’ll let you decide!
Master Roll in Toorak has a simple menu of traditional dishes that you’ll be familiar with. The rice paper rolls and very moreish and are all gluten free, but for me, the Banh Mi is where it’s at. The pork belly banh mi is fresh and there’s just the right amount of crackle in that bad boy.
South Yarra & Melbourne CBD
Vietnamese stalwart, Miss Chu has two different venue – one in the CBD and one on Toorak Road in South Yarra. Both offer a full menu of Vietnamese morsels and larger dishes. Make sure you go with a friend or two so that you can share – it’s hard to narrow down your order here! The dumplings are steamed and there’s a lightness to them that can be hard to find in dumplings. The master of the Vietnamese custard bun, if that’s your kinda thing, we recommend that you head along.
$$ | Mid-Range
Another relatively new venue, Botherambo has added something pretty special to Swan Street in Richmond. It has a great atmosphere, the food is delicious and the cocktails are some of the best we’ve had from a restaurant in a while - what’s not to love?! The smoked trout salad is my personal favourite here, it’s extremely fresh and there’s a fantastic kaffir lime after taste. It’s the perfect dish for a takeaway lunch – fresh AND convenient! Leave room for dessert because the banana spring rolls are lip-smackingly good. (And if you're looking for a bargain take-away Viet lunch, they're great for that too!)
Another Balaclava favourite, Uncle is a funky spot that has a full menu of Vietnamese favourites. The beef pho her is fantastic and the beef is always fresh and just as I like it. If you’re looking to branch out to something a bit more fancy shmancy, the wagu beef in betel leaf is well worth it and for dessert, if you’re feeling adventurous the Thai Basil fried ice cream, black sesame foam and freeze dried berries with lime syrup, as sure to hit the spot.
Younger sister to Hanoi Hannah, Saigon Sally dishes up a more fine-dining Vietnamese experience. The ‘Feed Me’ option is excellent if you’re a little of all the best dishes, it’s $59 and is worth every penny. If you’re a sweet tooth, we recommend the Tira-Mi-Sally, as you probably guised, it’s Saigon Sally’s take on tiramisu.
$$$ | Blowout
Dandelion is another hot spot for quality Vietnamese food on the south side. The menu is a mix of tradition Vietnamese dishes that you’ll be familiar with, as well as some more experimental dishes. I’m a sucker for anything duck, but the Peking duck broth with egg noodle, bamboo shoot, roast duck and cinnamon mint is definitely worth ordering. The desserts are epic too (and so pretty!)
An addition to Richmond this year, Anchovy offers an interesting Vietnamese-Australian fusion menu. The food is interesting and surprising, while still being delicious. The Duck, pork and water chestnut terrine served with mustard and rye lavosh is my personal favourite, though you can’t really go wrong with anything on the menu. It might not be Vietnamese food as you know or expect it, but the influence is strong and it’s a great venue if you’re after some higher-end Vietnamese.
Loking for food to go? Check out Melbourne's Best Gourmet Take-Away Eateries. Yum.
Image credit: Botherambo, Michelle Jarni for The Urban List