Phở at iPho
Hủ Tiếu at iPho
Foods from iPho

2017 Mar 25
Slowly working my way through the (mostly disappointing) Vietnamese restaurants in the ByWard Market, I was happy to find this one offers food that is at least recognizable as Vietnamese! Like the others, the menu lacks Vietnamese names for menu items, but unlike the others this one has Vietnamese section headings (phở, hủ tiếu, etc).

My soup was quite wonderful... a clear and flavourful broth, lots of tender brisket, eye of round, chewy beef ball, and even a generous plate of beansprouts and basil! There are three sizes: Small $8.95, Medium $9.95, and Large $11.95. My Medium was a smidge smaller and pricier than the Chinatown or suburban equivalent, but as afinekettle mentioned that is to be expected with ByWard Market rents.

My only negative comment is that I would swear this broth was pure chicken broth as used in hủ tiếu. I ordered phở but there was no beefiness nor any hint of the characteristic star anise or cinnamon aromatics. Was it a mistake? Did they run out of phở broth? Is this their phở broth? I should have asked! Anyway, this might be a showstopper for some but I thought it was pretty delicious.

2016 Feb 11
tldr: Terrible and deceitful service. If you want to be treated disrespectfully and dishonestly, visit this establishment. Otherwise, stay away.

Not only was their service inadequate (no water given, no napkins, nothing) but I had this experience:

I specifically went to this establishment because I heard that they had spring rolls made with rice paper. I've had them before and they are different from regular spring roll paper because it is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Not only are they different in taste and texture, but they also cost $1-2 more.

In the menu it lists different types of spring rolls and this one in particular specified that it was made "with rice paper." However, when it arrived it was made with regular spring roll paper. Me and my friend didn't notice because we were talking and starving until we were almost done. It was then that it clicked so I asked the waitress, not really expecting anything except an acknowledgement that it was wrong. However, she proceeded to argue with me and tell me I was wrong. I refused to back down and she directed me to who I believe is the owner's wife. She also kept telling me I was wrong and was very condescending. She pulled out BOTH wraps and tried to convince me that the one that said rice paper on the package wasn't rice paper.

This is when the owner comes out and he literally asks me "What is your problem?" I tell him and we, AGAIN, proceed to argue about the difference between normal spring roll paper and rice paper, while the two things are in front of us. He switches arguments then and says in Vietnamese, the two things are the same word. This makes absolute no sense because if they were the same, they wouldn't need to specify a difference and charge a premium. Furthermore, I knew they weren't the same because I've tried it before.

We argue for another five minutes before he switches arguments, AGREES with me that they messed up, but in a condescending tone, tells me "Well you finished almost all of it, so we can't do anything. You should have said earlier." By this point, I felt beyond frustrated and disrespected so I asked that they discount the premium since what I was served was just a regular spring roll. He refused and said that wasn't fair for his business and that since it was just $2, I should just leave it. I disagreed and we argued until he agreed, but not before he said to me: "I'm only doing this once. This is not how you do business. This is wrong. It's not ladylike for you to be doing what you're doing."

Not. Ladylike.

To be asking to be treated honestly? Ridiculous. I told him to mind his own business when it comes to how I act and went back to the seat.

However, when the bill came, it was not discounted as mentioned. I had to go BACK to him and ask him about it again. He was dismissive and waved his hand at me. I asked him what that meant and he told me if I wanted a discount, I could do it myself. So I did. In the meantime, he gave me lip, telling me "This is the only time I'm doing this. You're being a bad customer. You should be ashamed of yourself. Next time, I won't do this."

I told him, "Don't worry. I won't be coming back." And he said, "Good, I don't welcome customers like you."

So, like I said in the beginning, if you want to be treated disrespectfully and dishonestly, visit this establishment. Otherwise, stay away.

2013 Sep 17
New Vietnamese place opened up at 115 Parent Avenue (Parent and Murray) where The Druid used to be.

The food was very good (probably better than most pho I've had in Ottawa) but about 20-20% more expensive than in Chinatown, so my soup was about $10. Given the location and presumably the way higher rent, I was fine with paying that much more since it's still cheaper than most stuff in the neighbourhood.

The food was substantially better than the other Viet places in the market, so I'll be back here for lunch even though it's a bit more expensive.

If you go now, they have a 15% off special on everything because they've just opened. No clue how long that's going to stay.

2017 Sep 30
The Medium Satay Chicken Soup with Rice Noodle, Shrimp, BBQ Pork, and Tofu ($10) was surprisingly good by ByWard Market standards. While not as great as some of the best suburban Vietnamese restaurants, I'd put it on par with most of the places on Somerset. Nice option!

2018 Nov 17
This time the phở was definitely beef broth! And it was really tasty, if a bit on the sweet side of normal. I'm quite thrilled to have a source of decent phở in the ByWard Market now.

The Medium was $11.50, so prices have jumped 15% since last year but the quality has jumped even more so I'm okay with this. :)