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Where to eat lunch this week: Anh Dao

The bún at Pho Hung may have a great reputation, but this version of the one-bowl wonder is better and cheaper at just $6

(Photos by Renée Suen)

The place: The narrow, fluorescent-lit space is crowded with glass-topped tables, each cluttered with chopsticks, soup spoons, sriracha and Asian condiments. Faint chopping noises and gentle clangs emanate from the open kitchen while one employee bustles through the restaurant, playing host, server, sous-chef and barman.

The crowd: Chinatown regulars and students looking for something cheap and filling. Patrons keep some of their winter gear on for insulation in the underheated room.

The deal: A hearty, winter-fighting bowl of bún ($6), a Vietnamese staple with a combination of meat, herbs and other goodies served on vermicelli.

The dish: Soy-marinated grilled pork comes on a bed of springy vermicelli. The imperial roll is a golden shell filled with ground pork served alongside a mountain of crisp mint, cucumber, bean sprouts, julienne carrot and daikon. A bowl of sweet and sour dipping sauce adds a perfect pungent edge. For drinks, adventurous imbibers may enjoy the no. 142—soda with orange juice, milk, egg yolk and ice ($3.75).

The time: An idle 47 minutes.

The cost: $12.50, including drink, tax and tip.

Anh Dao, 383 Spadina Ave. (at Cecil St.), 416-598-4514.

  • Michael

    meh…soggy vermicelli and the uber tastiness of too much msg. Sticking with Golden Turtle.

  • ban

    i a;ways eat here! woot!

  • Maelle

    The service has gradually declined over the years. The owners and servers are rude; they rush you to eat and leave that you don’t get to enjoy it. Very disappointed to see the negative changes.

  • Carl

    Not sure about some of the other comments, but I’ve always had a great experience at Anh Dao! I’ve always found the food to be incredibly fresh, the service to be friendly and prompt, and the pace has always leisurely.

    I think it’s great value, the portions are more than generous, and it’s the most authentic Vietnamese food around.

    Don’t change a thing!

  • Claudio

    The funny thing about the Golden Turtle is that it’s super popular despite serving greasy, flavorless food. But by all means go there, I will enjoy the amazing Anh Dao food all the more if I don’t have to stand in a line of hipsters with no tastebuds.

  • jessica

    Just got home from eating at Anh Dao for the first time, so disappointed! Service was rude. All the shrimps in our dish were raw in the middle and gave attitude when we pointed it out.
    Will never recommend this place to anyone.