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A bowl of pho with a side of herbs and a pair of chopsticks on top. Pho Lovers

11 Phenomenal Bowls of Pho in the South Bay

Where to find the most slurpable bowls of pho in San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, and beyond

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The South Bay is home to so many standout Vietnamese eateries, and that should come at no surprise. Today, San Jose has the largest Vietnamese population in any city outside of Vietnam, and this has ushered in seemingly limitless options for Vietnamese cuisine, including both Northern and Southern-style pho, banh mi, spring rolls, vermicelli noodle bowls, and so much more.

But on cold days, almost nothing is as comforting as a warm, hearty bowl of pho — a rather versatile dish with iterations that have transcended beyond its roots. Here are some of our favorite spots that serve the most umami broth, tender meat, and slurpable noodles.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Phở Lovers

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Pho Lovers is a family-owned restaurant that opened on Valentine's’ Day in 2015, with the goal of recreating the ambience of homemade breakfasts in Vietnam. The restaurant is committed to not adding MSG to their pho and intends to reflect flavors that prompt a sense of home, nostalgia, and camaraderie. Make sure to try the Pho Lovers Special Combo, which comes with rare steak, meatballs, and oxtail that falls off the bone, as well as their bun bo Hue and bo luc lac, a dish known as shaking beef.

Gogo Phở

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Since opening eight years ago, GOGO Pho has been committed to the savory flavor of their broth. Not only does the restaurant slow cook their bone marrow and beef short ribs for many hours, but they also extract impurities and excess fat to ensure the soup is clean and crisp. Their Rare Steak Pho, a fan favorite, is topped with a bundle of fresh herbs and thin slices of filet mignon. Aside from the pho, visitors also rave about the banh mi and the grilled lemongrass pork vermicelli, which is served with an amalgam of green apples, mangos, and cucumbers.

A bowl of pho next to a plate of vegetables and herbs. Gogo Pho

Though Tay Ho started in SoCal and now has numerous locations across California, it’s still a family-owned venture at heart, as each spot is run by a family member. Named after the Tay Ho District in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, the restaurants serve a variety of Vietnamese dishes from recipes that have been passed down through generations. For pho, the difference in Tay Ho’s lies in the satisfying and refined broth. The Special Pho, in particular, incorporates different cuts of beef each day — reminiscent of what other restaurants refer to as “chef’s choice.”

A white bowl with pho. Tay Ho

Phở Ý #1 Noodle House

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Pho Y#1 started in 1997 as the brainchild of two brothers who immigrated from Vietnam. Unlike many other pho spots in the area, Pho Y #1 has always had a rather modest menu that focuses just on pho — and doing it right. The Special Combo Pho clearly doesn’t skimp out on its various cuts of beef, including steak, well-done flank, brisket, soft tendon, and meatballs. This mix of cuts creates a complex, vibrant flavor in a broth that also bears a slightly sweet undertone. And because they run a lean operation, you can count on swift service. 

A blue-and-white bowl of pho topped with slices of meat. Pho Y #1

Pho Kim Long

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Pho Kim Long is one of the oldest pho spots in the South Bay and opened its doors 35 years ago. When the owners left Vietnam and immigrated to California, they aimed to bring a piece of home with them. To this day, the restaurant still relies on the same original recipes. The Pho Combo comes with a rich, beef-based broth that’s simmered for more than 20 hours and the noodles are topped with a generous array of meat – filet mignon slices, tendon, tripe, flank, and brisket. If you’re not feeling soupy, the barbeque vermicelli bowls, sizzling grilled fish, and rice dishes are also solid options.

A bowl of pho topped with cilantro. Pho Kim Long

Phở Công Lý

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Eight years ago, an entrepreneur, a business woman, and a hospitality expert came together to start Pho Cong Ly. While their Special Pho incorporates the usual beef suspects, their Gourmet Pho boasts a uniquely harmonious combination of beef shank, filet mignon, beef tongue, and oxtail. Even without MSG in their pho, the flavors in the broth are robust and fragrant. As for appetizers, the chicken wings are a crowd favorite. And for those who want pho without the meat, Pho Cong Ly is one of the only pho restaurants in the area that offers a fully vegetarian noodle soup.

Pho topped with rare beef. Pho Cong Ly

Pho Dao Restaurant

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At Pho Dao, the meat is definitely the star of the show. Though it’s rare to come across a pho restaurant that serves Kobe beef, family-owned Pho Dao prides itself on being one of the shops that sticks solely to filet mignon and USA Kobe beef for its noodle soups. The most commonly ordered dish is the Kobe Beef Noodle Soup, and for good reason. The tender, high-quality beef makes for an intensely flavorful broth, and the thick, fresh noodles really seal the deal. 

PHỞ HÀ NỘI SAN JOSE

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Pho Ha Noi serves Northern-style pho, which comes with thick, silky noodles and a clean, lighter broth. But that doesn’t mean the broth is simple to make. More than 500 pounds of bone marrow are cooked in a large 500-liter pot for almost 24 hours. Pho Ha Noi also promises consistent quality with their meat, as they say they source all of their beef from Whole Foods or Costco, while their free-range chicken comes directly from local farms. Aside from the beef and chicken pho, the egg rolls, egg noodles, and spring rolls are also fan favorites. And for those on the other side of the South Bay, you’re in luck — there’s another location in Cupertino.

A hand holds chopsticks and picks up noodles and beef. Pho Ha Noi

Phở Gà Nhà

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Pho Ga Nha sets itself apart from many of the other pho spots in San Jose through its specialization in all things chicken. Over the past six years, the restaurant’s owners have consolidated the menu down to focus mostly on poultry items, while integrating some of their family’s long-standing recipes from Vietnam. The Combination Chicken Pho is made with locally raised, free-range chicken and provides an option for those who may be craving a lighter bowl of pho. Another commonly ordered dish is the com ga roti, or roti chicken, in which chicken is marinated, fried, and slathered in the restaurant’s signature sweet and savory sauce. 

A white bowl with noodles and soup in front of a plate of bean sprouts and basil. Pho Ga Nha

Phở 54

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For those who’ve made San Jose their home for many years, Pho 54 may ring a bell as another one of the original, no-frills pho spots in the area. Don’t let the unassuming strip mall or lines on the weekend turn you away — the clarified broth, slick noodles, and large portions will likely make the visit worth it. You can’t go wrong with the Special Beef Combo Pho, which comes with steak, brisket, flank, tendon, and tripe, as well as plentiful accoutrements like basil, bean sprouts, and lime. And if you’re looking to order a side with your noodle soup, the crispy egg rolls are a solid option.

Pho Papa

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Pho Papa is one of those spots that cuts right to the chase with not much else on the menu aside from pho and side options. The interior is reminiscent of a ramen bar —  they offer seats at the counter where you can witness a bit of the behind-the-scenes magic. The Special Pho comes with a hefty assortment of rare steak, well done brisket, flank, tendon, and fatty brisket, along with a heap of herbs and garnish. Uniquely, Pho Papa offers the option to order a single, large beef short rib as a noteworthy accompaniment to your pho. It’s tender, meaty, and falls right off the bone. 

Phở Lovers

Pho Lovers is a family-owned restaurant that opened on Valentine's’ Day in 2015, with the goal of recreating the ambience of homemade breakfasts in Vietnam. The restaurant is committed to not adding MSG to their pho and intends to reflect flavors that prompt a sense of home, nostalgia, and camaraderie. Make sure to try the Pho Lovers Special Combo, which comes with rare steak, meatballs, and oxtail that falls off the bone, as well as their bun bo Hue and bo luc lac, a dish known as shaking beef.

Gogo Phở

A bowl of pho next to a plate of vegetables and herbs. Gogo Pho

Since opening eight years ago, GOGO Pho has been committed to the savory flavor of their broth. Not only does the restaurant slow cook their bone marrow and beef short ribs for many hours, but they also extract impurities and excess fat to ensure the soup is clean and crisp. Their Rare Steak Pho, a fan favorite, is topped with a bundle of fresh herbs and thin slices of filet mignon. Aside from the pho, visitors also rave about the banh mi and the grilled lemongrass pork vermicelli, which is served with an amalgam of green apples, mangos, and cucumbers.

A bowl of pho next to a plate of vegetables and herbs. Gogo Pho

Tay Ho

A white bowl with pho. Tay Ho

Though Tay Ho started in SoCal and now has numerous locations across California, it’s still a family-owned venture at heart, as each spot is run by a family member. Named after the Tay Ho District in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, the restaurants serve a variety of Vietnamese dishes from recipes that have been passed down through generations. For pho, the difference in Tay Ho’s lies in the satisfying and refined broth. The Special Pho, in particular, incorporates different cuts of beef each day — reminiscent of what other restaurants refer to as “chef’s choice.”

A white bowl with pho. Tay Ho

Phở Ý #1 Noodle House

A blue-and-white bowl of pho topped with slices of meat. Pho Y #1

Pho Y#1 started in 1997 as the brainchild of two brothers who immigrated from Vietnam. Unlike many other pho spots in the area, Pho Y #1 has always had a rather modest menu that focuses just on pho — and doing it right. The Special Combo Pho clearly doesn’t skimp out on its various cuts of beef, including steak, well-done flank, brisket, soft tendon, and meatballs. This mix of cuts creates a complex, vibrant flavor in a broth that also bears a slightly sweet undertone. And because they run a lean operation, you can count on swift service. 

A blue-and-white bowl of pho topped with slices of meat. Pho Y #1

Pho Kim Long

A bowl of pho topped with cilantro. Pho Kim Long

Pho Kim Long is one of the oldest pho spots in the South Bay and opened its doors 35 years ago. When the owners left Vietnam and immigrated to California, they aimed to bring a piece of home with them. To this day, the restaurant still relies on the same original recipes. The Pho Combo comes with a rich, beef-based broth that’s simmered for more than 20 hours and the noodles are topped with a generous array of meat – filet mignon slices, tendon, tripe, flank, and brisket. If you’re not feeling soupy, the barbeque vermicelli bowls, sizzling grilled fish, and rice dishes are also solid options.

A bowl of pho topped with cilantro. Pho Kim Long

Phở Công Lý

Pho topped with rare beef. Pho Cong Ly

Eight years ago, an entrepreneur, a business woman, and a hospitality expert came together to start Pho Cong Ly. While their Special Pho incorporates the usual beef suspects, their Gourmet Pho boasts a uniquely harmonious combination of beef shank, filet mignon, beef tongue, and oxtail. Even without MSG in their pho, the flavors in the broth are robust and fragrant. As for appetizers, the chicken wings are a crowd favorite. And for those who want pho without the meat, Pho Cong Ly is one of the only pho restaurants in the area that offers a fully vegetarian noodle soup.

Pho topped with rare beef. Pho Cong Ly

Pho Dao Restaurant

At Pho Dao, the meat is definitely the star of the show. Though it’s rare to come across a pho restaurant that serves Kobe beef, family-owned Pho Dao prides itself on being one of the shops that sticks solely to filet mignon and USA Kobe beef for its noodle soups. The most commonly ordered dish is the Kobe Beef Noodle Soup, and for good reason. The tender, high-quality beef makes for an intensely flavorful broth, and the thick, fresh noodles really seal the deal. 

PHỞ HÀ NỘI SAN JOSE

A hand holds chopsticks and picks up noodles and beef. Pho Ha Noi

Pho Ha Noi serves Northern-style pho, which comes with thick, silky noodles and a clean, lighter broth. But that doesn’t mean the broth is simple to make. More than 500 pounds of bone marrow are cooked in a large 500-liter pot for almost 24 hours. Pho Ha Noi also promises consistent quality with their meat, as they say they source all of their beef from Whole Foods or Costco, while their free-range chicken comes directly from local farms. Aside from the beef and chicken pho, the egg rolls, egg noodles, and spring rolls are also fan favorites. And for those on the other side of the South Bay, you’re in luck — there’s another location in Cupertino.

A hand holds chopsticks and picks up noodles and beef. Pho Ha Noi

Phở Gà Nhà

A white bowl with noodles and soup in front of a plate of bean sprouts and basil. Pho Ga Nha

Pho Ga Nha sets itself apart from many of the other pho spots in San Jose through its specialization in all things chicken. Over the past six years, the restaurant’s owners have consolidated the menu down to focus mostly on poultry items, while integrating some of their family’s long-standing recipes from Vietnam. The Combination Chicken Pho is made with locally raised, free-range chicken and provides an option for those who may be craving a lighter bowl of pho. Another commonly ordered dish is the com ga roti, or roti chicken, in which chicken is marinated, fried, and slathered in the restaurant’s signature sweet and savory sauce. 

A white bowl with noodles and soup in front of a plate of bean sprouts and basil. Pho Ga Nha

Phở 54

For those who’ve made San Jose their home for many years, Pho 54 may ring a bell as another one of the original, no-frills pho spots in the area. Don’t let the unassuming strip mall or lines on the weekend turn you away — the clarified broth, slick noodles, and large portions will likely make the visit worth it. You can’t go wrong with the Special Beef Combo Pho, which comes with steak, brisket, flank, tendon, and tripe, as well as plentiful accoutrements like basil, bean sprouts, and lime. And if you’re looking to order a side with your noodle soup, the crispy egg rolls are a solid option.

Pho Papa

Pho Papa is one of those spots that cuts right to the chase with not much else on the menu aside from pho and side options. The interior is reminiscent of a ramen bar —  they offer seats at the counter where you can witness a bit of the behind-the-scenes magic. The Special Pho comes with a hefty assortment of rare steak, well done brisket, flank, tendon, and fatty brisket, along with a heap of herbs and garnish. Uniquely, Pho Papa offers the option to order a single, large beef short rib as a noteworthy accompaniment to your pho. It’s tender, meaty, and falls right off the bone. 

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