Phodown

New Saigon City, Turtle Tower, Vietnam II

In the Soup: Don't let the dingy awning fool you -- 
Vietnam II is the Tenderloin's swankest pho joint, with 
beef noodle soup as nuanced as a fine consommé.
Anthony Pidgeon
In the Soup: Don't let the dingy awning fool you -- Vietnam II is the Tenderloin's swankest pho joint, with beef noodle soup as nuanced as a fine consommé.

Location Info

Map

Turtle Tower

631 Larkin
San Francisco, CA 94109

Category: Restaurant > Vietnamese

Region: Hayes Valley/ Tenderloin

Details

New Saigon City
434 Larkin (at Golden Gate)
346-8889
Open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., closed weekends.
Reservations accepted. Wheelchair accessible.
Parking: moderately difficult. Muni: 19, 31.
Noise level: moderate.
Hot and sour soup $6.95
Bo luc lac $6.75
Combination pho $5.50

Turtle Tower
631 Larkin (at Willow)
409-3333
Open Wednesday through Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Tuesday
Reservations accepted. Wheelchair accessible.
Parking: moderately difficult. Muni: 19, 31.
Noise level: moderate.
Grilled pork $5.50
Grilled fish $11.95
Combination pho $5.75

Vietnam II
701 Larkin (at Ellis)
885-1274
Open daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (midnight on Friday and Saturday)
Reservations accepted. Wheelchair accessible.
Parking: moderately difficult. Muni: 19, 31.
Noise level: moderate.
Spring rolls $4.25
Duck curry $6.95
Combination pho $6.50

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Then came the pho, approximately a quart of luxurious, barely sweet beef stock, as carefully nuanced as a fine consommé. Turtle Tower regulars may miss fresh rice noodles -- Vietnam II offers only the standard dried version -- but no reasonable human being could object to the beef combo's array of well-done flank steak and brisket, rare eye round, meatballs, tripe, and (bless me) strips of tendon, whose texture might best be described as a cross between chewing gum and al dente pasta. Garnishes included the standard chilies, bean sprouts, basil, and lime, as well as refreshing sprigs of mint and a heap of crunchy shredded cabbage. The last two ingredients (rarities in these parts) had also charmed me in Honolulu -- a place that smacks more of paradise than the TL, but has nothing on us when it comes to pho.

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