This is not your typical Vietnamese restaurant. Located in San Jose’s Vietnam Town, Pho Ha Noi is discreetly tucked away in the back corner of the plaza, but should not be overlooked. The restaurant is bright, clean, and airy with a gorgeous painted mural that graces the back wall. The ambience invites you to take your time, enjoy your meal and stay awhile. They even have a happy hour (Monday – Thursday, 5pm-11pm) and an excellent wine list curated by Vintage Wine Bar and Wine Merchants on Santana Row.
Quality is key here. All ingredients are sourced fresh and nothing is ever frozen. They use only organic free range chicken and USDA beef. The biggest difference between Pho Ha Noi and other restaurants in the area is their Northern style beef pho (pho bo). The meat is tenderized by hand pounding it. The broth takes 36 hours to make and is full of flavor, but at the same time is clean, clear, and light. Pho Ha Noi even makes their own rice noodles fresh daily. They are a little bit wider than the typical pho noodles you are probably used to and have a great mouth feel.
To start out our meal we tried out their Nem Nuong rolls, which have grilled pork slice, crispy stick, lettuce, mint, and a special dipping sauce. We loved that these had a bit of crunch and texture not found in your typical spring roll.
Another one of our favorite dishes at Pho Ha Noi is their Chicken Salad. It’s light and refreshing made with onions, coriander, fried shallots, chicken and Nuoc Cham dressing. The onions are very light and the chicken was super tender.
Hainanese Chicken (Com Ga Hai Nam) is always a satisfying and yummy comfort food. Pho Ha Noi makes theirs with organic chicken meat and they serve it with a delicious rice and side of chicken broth. This is the perfect dish for fall or a cold winters day.
This was our first time trying Chicken with Dry Egg Noodle (Mi Ga Roti) and we were impressed! The noodles are slightly al dente, so they have a great chewy texture. This dish is served with a bowl of broth on the side. To eat it properly, mix the lettuce and shallots in the broth, then pour everything back in the main dish and stir it up for some deliciousness!
With Pho Ha Noi’s extensive menu and happy hour specials we will definitely make a trip back to try out more of the dishes. It may be difficult not to order the same things since they were so yummy!
Now through 11/15/17 Pho Ha Noi is donating $1 per large bowl Pho or a glass of wine purchased to those affected by the Sonoma-Napa wildfires. Donations will be split equally between Red Cross, Sonoma County Resilience Fund, Napa Valley Community Fund and Sonoma Humane Society.
Pho Ha Noi is located at 969 Story Rd., Ste 6048, San Jose, CA 95122