The night before my mom left Vancouver to fly back to Hawaii, we decided we wanted something simple and fast to eat in the evening. That way, there would be no need for grocery shopping, and we could still hopefully grab a bite that wouldn’t take us too far away from our home base.
I’d heard that the Vietnamese place called Pho Central on Davie Street wasn’t a bad option for pho in the downtown core, so we decided to wander down there for some soup and other things.
The restaurant is actually super tiny, and only had enough seating for around 16 people or so. We walked in the door and had about a 5-10 minute wait, while others were finishing up their meals. After a few people from different tables left, the staff quickly set to work rearranging some seating and we were then set to start our meal. During all of this time, I also noticed a lot of people walking in to get takeout for dinner as well – it seemed to have a constant flow of people in and out, dining in a variety of capacities.
I had noticed a couple of guys at a table nearby eating these really large bowls of vermicelli with different types of meat and a spring roll. It looked so delicious that that’s exactly what I ended up ordering – the Grilled Pork Skewers and Spring Roll on Vermicelli Noodles. I was actually a little disappointed in the meat though once I had my first bite. I was expecting a lot more flavour, but found it to be extremely bland – kind of sad that it looked much better than it tasted. The spring rolls were pretty good at least – they were smaller in size than my favourite ones at the Cambie Vietnamese Restaurant, but still weren’t too bad. There was also an abundance of noodles and veggies also in the dish, and I only actually made it halfway through when I had to call it quits. Definitely a good sized dish for the price (I think it was around $8.95).
My mom had the Spicy Beef and Pork Soup, but substituted the round thick vermicelli noodles with plain rice noodles instead. I liked the flavours of the broth in this one, and I think this was actually my favourite dish of the evening. It came with number pieces of beef flank and some pork, and I spent a lot of time digging into her bowl throughout the meal (maybe that’s why I could only finish half of mine)! Of course, these were served with a large side of bean sprouts, chopped up jalapenos, basil and lime (I just took the pictures before they had been fully dressed).
Last of all, I tried my brother’s Beef Ball and Brisket Pho. Again, the broth was alright, but it wasn’t anything special, and again didn’t compare to that of my great super friend at the Cambie Vietnamese Restaurant I mentioned above. It just didn’t have enough flavour to it and could have used a bit more time boiling in preparation.
Overall, Pho Central is good in that it gives a closer location for pho downtown. It was pretty good, but nothing spectacular that I would go to again unless I was needing something fast and inexpensive nearby. Otherwise, I’ll continue to definitely opt for my other more frequented restaurants for Vietnamese food, like Phnom Penh.
1118 Davie St.
Vancouver, BC, V6E 1N2