Vietnamese cuisine offers some of the best meals for a quick, healthy fill and Adelaide’s offerings are up there with the best of ‘em. Whether you’re looking for a family dining experience or a snack on the run, these are our picks for the top Vietnamese restaurants in Adelaide.
Sit Lo is the Anglicized version of the Vietnamese word for rickshaw, which is why the CBD restaurant's funky dining room is peppered with little rickshaws and bicycle wheels. The restaurant offers a contemporary take on Vietnamese goodies. Sure, their logo boasts “finest quality pho,” and it is pretty damn good, but noodles, cold rolls and lotus root chips walk out the door like hotcakes, too. Don’t expect fine china, dishes are served take-away style in eco friendly cups and trays. Don’t leave without trying a bao stuffed with slow cooked pork belly, soft shell crab or panko fried chicken.
Saigon Gate devotees call this Adelaide’s best kept pho secret. No more, though. The kitchen offers everything you could possibly want in the Vietnamese staple; the soups are served fast, fragrant and fresh, each dish packed to the brim with veggies and lean meat. Cold rolls are made to order and the quail is marinated in lemongrass, herbs and spices and has its own loyal fan-base.
The menu at Nghi Ngan Quan (or NNQ, as it’s affectionately know) is 15 pages long; if you can’t find your favourite Viet dish on this menu, it doesn’t exist. All the dishes are reliably tasty; no surprises, just good, hearty grub that does the job when you’re hungry. There’s a decent, reasonably priced wine list and a friendly generosity running through the cuisine and the staff. Regulars love to cook their beef at the table, then whack the the protein between two lettuce leaves with veggies, noodles and sauces.
Nestled among the Vietnamese grocers, restaurants and hole in the wall cold roll places in Woodville Gardens is Pho Ba Ria 2. We’re not sure where Pho Ba Ria 1 is, but who cares? You won’t after you’ve tried the pho here. The beef stock is cooked for 48 hours with plenty of star anise and cinnamon and you get pocket change from 10 bucks after a bowl.
A Pennington mainstay for nearly 30 years, Vietnam’s owners lay some claim to introducing Vietnamese food to Adelaide, and we think it’s a case of the original and the best. There are no airs and graces here, just good traditional dishes. Sure, the dishes have gotten a bit more expensive over the years, but we’re willing to pay a (small) premium for a taste of the old country.
Across the road from Adelaide Central Markets, foodies in the know brave a deserted alleyway with the promise of smashing pho just past a few shuttered windows. Thanh Thanh rewards its diners with a bright and cheery dining room and gigantic servings of whatever your pho heart desires. Also try the combination broken rice plate and bring an empty stomach.
Sometimes you want a delicate, considered meal and sometimes you just want a giant tiger roll, crunchy on the outside, soft inside and stuffed to bursting with warm roast pork, butter mayo, pickled veggies and fresh herbs. Best food on the run.
Banh Mi is another seriously good hole in the wall spot turning out Vietnamese rolls to impatient city dwellers, this time in Grenfell Plaza. We like their modern take on the street food sambo, the east-meets-west approach of using premium slow cooked meats, fresh salads and sauce on the side. Wash it down with coconut juice, made on the spot and topped off with big chunks of coconut.
Set in the west end of the CBD, Adelaide Pho’s specialty is pho bo, beef noodle soup. It’s the perfect combination of tender freshly sliced beef in a full, meaty broth that will warm you from the inside out. Also on the must-do list here is the authentic paw paw salad with just the right amount of kick. Round things off with an avocado smoothie, a crowd favourite.
Little NNQ is the sexy little sister of Nghi Ngan Quan and the CBD offshoot doesn’t disappoint. The new real estate has brought Little NNQ a trendier fitout than its Ferryden Park relative, but it retains the humble cuisine that it’s loved for. Roll your own rice paper wrap, making good use of the house-made sauces and chutneys, then opt for a couple of share plates, making sure to include the char grilled king prawns.