Finding the elusive vegetarian pho in Toronto

Vegetarians rejoice: pho is typically a beef-based dish, but you can enjoy it too. This traditional Vietnamese soup usually contains rare beef but the meat-free version — with noodles and tofu in a veggie broth — is available if you know where to look. It might not taste like the classic version, but these pho-makers still ladle on the flavour. [Image credit: iStock.com/ Kelseyhboyte]

Pho Pasteur Restaurant

1
525 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 1H4

If you have a craving for excellent Vietnamese food at 2 am, this is the place to go. Pho Pasteur in Chinatown is open 24/7. Small and compact, this spot may feature faded decor but the food is delicious and will satisfy your cravings. The pho menu is long considering it’s such a small joint, and while it features lots of meat, they don’t forget vegetarians. For $9.99, you can enjoy their Phở rau cải tàu hủ, a completely vegetarian pho.

Rua Vang Golden Turtle Restaurant

2
125 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Z2

The Golden Turtle offers a traditional Vietnamese menu featuring pho, vermicelli and rice congee, to name a few. Their interior walls are painted with large-scale, traditionally inspired murals that add to the Vietnamese vibe. The Golden Turtle’s pho menu is extensive, and while most phos contain chicken or meat, one pho is completely meat-free: Phở rau cải tàu hủ. It’s made with tofu and vegetables in a tasty noodle soup base, and your choice of either vegan or pho stock. This pho comes in two sizes, either extra-large or large, at $9 or $10 respectively.

Pho U

3
398 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A 2Z7

Pho U has a funky, modern neon green sign, and the cozy interior is decorated with cushioned chairs and benches that are perfect for lounging. Their Regent Park location is open six days a week from 11:30 am to 9 pm and closed on Saturdays. With affordable prices, they’re perfect for budget-conscious folks. They offer delivery, takeout and free WiFi at their dine-in location. Although they don’t have a dedicated vegetarian menu, they do offer a few meat-free options, including a tasty vegetarian pho in two sizes: medium ($6.50) and large ($7.50).

Cafe 668

4
885 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1V9

Café 668 is a family-owned and operated restaurant featuring a selection of Asian-inspired dishes. They might not be the go-to place if you want authentic Vietnamese cuisine, but they offer a wide selection of meat-free options — including a vegetarian pho. Theirs comes with an assortment of vegetables and tofu for $8.50. The long menu includes a wide variety of appetizers, salads, soups, noodles, fried rice and more. Café 688’s trendy, modern interior is spacious yet cozy.

Pho Phuong

5
1603 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6K 1T9

On the edge of Brockton Village is this modern Vietnamese restaurant with a traditional menu including several pho dishes in a trendy and spacious setting. The food looks as gorgeous as the decor, featuring a clean and modern look. Pho Phuong’s menu contains many of the standard Vietnamese dishes, including a flavourful vegetarian pho for those on a meat-free diet. While they offer no home delivery, takeout is available. They’re open seven days a week, serve alcohol and accept all forms of payment.

Cafe Pho Nho

6
2060 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6R 1W9

Blink and you might drive by Pho Nho, but you would be missing out on some great Vietnamese cuisine if you did. The sign outside and the decor may be basic and low-key, but the food is anything but. Located in Roncesvalles Village, Pho Nho’s menu features a generous selection of vegetarian options, including a delicious vegetarian pho made-to-order. And they don’t skimp on ingredients: theirs is packed with vegetables — from cabbage to potatoes — and features deep-fried tofu in a flavourful broth. Pho Nho is affordably priced, with almost every dish under $10.

Hanoi Three Seasons

7
2-1135 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1K9

Foodies and non-foodies alike will delight at this restaurant serving authentic North Vietnamese cuisine. Known for their bright green walls, Hanoi 3 Seasons has a lively and cheerful vibe, along with a new patio, which is perfect for relaxing on summer days. They’re located in Leslieville, and open every day, except Mondays, for lunch and dinner. The menu may not be large, but it’s focused on quality, and includes a delicious vegetarian pho called Pho chay. The combination of mixed vegetables and tofu is $9.50 a bowl.

Pho My Duyen

8
1208 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H 1N2

Pho Jade offers a wide selection of affordable Vietnamese cuisine in a casual, modern atmosphere. As the name suggests, pho is their specialty, and they offer an extensive selection. The vegetarian pho is made with a special meat-free broth. Each pho, or rice noodle soup, comes in two standard sizes: the small one costs $6.95 and the large is an affordable $7.95. Other menu items include a wide selection of rice dishes, vermicelli, noodle-based meals and even a dedicated vegetarian menu.

Pho Tien Thanh Fine Vietnamese Restaurant

9
57 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Y9

This Vietnamese restaurant is popular among pho lovers in Toronto’s west end. It’s a small, no-frills eatery with little to offer in terms of aesthetics but that’s because they focus on what they know best — making great food. Their delicious pho menu is, of course, mostly chicken or beef-based, but they do have a token vegetarian pho. The Phở rau cải tàu hủ contains the usual tofu, vegetables and noodles in a veggie broth. It’s available in four sizes, priced from $7.25 to $9.50.

Pho Hung Restaurant

10
350 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2G4

This bustling, family-run restaurant is small, intimate and well-decorated with large old-world paintings. Located in Chinatown, they’re known for a broad selection of traditional and authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Owner Nguyễn Đắc Thòi and his family emigrated from Vietnam in 1980, and opened their first Vietnamese restaurant in 1985. Today the family manages three locations in Toronto and Mississauga. Their vegetarian pho comes in small and large servings ($6.50 to $8). Pho Hung’s special vegetarian menu offers other choices as well.

You don’t have to travel to Vietnam to try authentic pho – it’s available right here in Victoria. So put away your passport and visit one of the Vietnamese restaurants below. Soon you’ll be sipping on savoury broth, seasoned with traditional Vietnamese spices and full of tasty meat and veggies. Close your eyes and you might forget you’re in Canada!
Eating out doesn’t have to be expensive – and you don’t have to sacrifice quality or taste just to get a good deal. Luckily for us, there are a number of Victoria eateries that offer satisfying meals for less than $10. Drop in, fill up, and leave with the energy you need to make it through the rest of your afternoon.
Student life can be hectic, so you need food that’s tasty, quick and, most importantly, cheap. Here are some of Victoria’s most student-friendly off-campus restaurants. Some are just down the street; others are a short bus ride downtown. But all of them have cheap eats that’ll keep you fuelled from frosh week to finals.
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