The Twin Cities’ Best Vietnamese Restaurants
Home to a vibrant Vietnamese community, the Twin Cities are a pho-lover’s paradise. And in a town chock-full of great Vietnamese restaurants, it’s difficult to name the best. From fantastic noodle soups to Banh mi sandwiches, bao to broken rice platters here are our favorite Vietnamese spots.
If you want one of the most authentic Vietnamese beef noodle soups in the city, go to Quang. Grab a bowl of brothy, fragrant pho with sliced beef, brisket, meatballs and tripe—known as pho thap cam or #503. Yes, the service is brash at times, but that’s probably because this family-owned spot finds breaks hard to come by. There’s rarely a wait much longer than 15 minutes though, so hands-down it’s worth it every time.
2719 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408 / 612.870.4739 / quang-restaurant.com
Even though it shares a parking lot with a gas station, Lotus Restaurant is nothing short of Vietnamese paradise in Loring Park. Herbaceous bowls of pho, golden egg rolls with thin, crispy skins and countless other delicious, Vietnamese dishes are served up at this family-owned, locally-loved restaurant. The beef with potatoes in oyster sauce is a guilty pleasure worth every bite.
113 W Grant St, Minneapolis, MN 55403 / 612.870.1218 / thelotusrestaurant.com
Modern Vietnamese cuisine has many French influences. Ngon Bistro takes some of the best ingredients and technique from both to create a French-Vietnamese fusion cuisine that is astoundingly good. The menu skews more fine dining with items like crispy rabbit dumplings, duck pho, even an artisanal cheese plate. If you’ve got a little more money in your pocket and want to try something new, this is your place.
799 University Ave W, St Paul, MN 55104 / 651.222.3301 / ngonbistro.com
Named after its most popular dish, Pho 79 serves up 19 different variations of herb forward, steaming bowls of pho. Not many Vietnamese joints in the Twin Cities have a seafood pho, but this place does a salty, oceanic version of the classic soup with shrimp, fish balls, crab claw, scallops and squid. Top it with fresh plenty of bean sprouts, fresh basil and jalapeño.
2529 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404 / 612.871.4602 / pho79mpls.com
This tiny family-owned deli is one of my family’s favorite places for Banh mi. They’re super cheap, served on crusty French bread and loaded with big shreds of pickled daikon and carrots, cilantro, and grilled meat. The place is cozy, but the service is friendly and the food is fantastic.
2532 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404 / 612.870.4700 / jasminedelimpls.com
With a menu that combines Vietnamese classics and Chinese favorites, Hoa Bien is a spot with great service, awesome food and a clean, approachable atmosphere. The fantastic beef noodle salad pairs well with an order of fresh spring rolls. Turnaround is quick here, but you can stretch it out with a che ba mau, a not overly sweet concoction of red and yellow beans, jello, coconut milk and a bit of ice.
1105 University Ave W, St Paul, MN 55104 / 651.647.1011 / hoa-bien.com
Pho Tau Bay
Credit: Molly Mogren Katt
Located on Eat Street, Pho Tau Bay’s rich, marrow-infused pho broth is one of the best the Twin Cities have to offer. But let’s not stop at the pho. Their hot and sour soups, green papaya salad, broken rice platters and excellent Vietnamese coffee are all on the top of my list.
2837 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408 / 612.874.6030 / photaubay.us
Located in the tangled skyway system of downtown Minneapolis, Bep Eatery is taking a non-traditional approach to Vietnamese—and it works. Line up and pick a meal (spring rolls, banh mi, pho or a vermicelli noodle bowl) then choose what meats, sauces, or toppings you want. The ingredients and tastes of Vietnam are all there, just presented differently. It’s an easy spot to get to and their unique fast casual take is just what your lunch break needed.
100 S 5th St #210, Minneapolis, MN 55402 / 612.338.5189 / bepeatery.com
St. Paul’s Hmong Market is America’s best little-known ethnic market, with countless fruit and vegetable stalls and rustic, insanely delicious dishes in the food court. The Hmong are from China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, and their food is incredible. From Hmong sausage to made-to-order papaya salad and hearty pho, it’s my top lunch spot in town. Some of the best food in the Twin Cities is being cooked by the vendors in these tiny little food stalls.
217 Como Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55103 / 651.487.3700 / hmongtownmarketplace.com
With seating for 30 if you squeeze, Trieu Chau is a tiny spot right on the Green Line light-rail running from downtown Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul. The menu is simple and straightforward, just like the food. Get the pork egg rolls and then dive in to whatever you’re in the mood for, from bun bo hue to pho ga, even Chinese dishes like chow mein and fried rice.
500 University Ave W, St Paul, MN 55103 / 651.222.6148