Due the cosmopolitan makeup of Hamilton, one can easily travel the world from a culinary perspective without ever leaving this wonderful city. A few years back my friend Marko introduced us to Pho Dau Bo, or happy cow as we refer to it (due to the cow happy/smiling on their logo) and we’ve been hooked ever since. Fresh, relatively cheap and so vibrant on the plate… how could one resist?
There are a few locations of Pho Dau Bo in Hamilton, with the Upper James Street one being the newest and most glamorous, when compared to the simple and unassuming interior of their Stoney Creek and Cannon Street locations. With a sleek modern interior, double the seating and conveniently located close to our home, we thought we’d give this Upper James location a test drive.
Pho Dau Bo Restaurant
830 Upper James St #103
As we walked in we thought we’d be in for a long wait as there was a fairly large crowd waiting to be seated (so we assumed) and the restaurant itself was jammed packed. We were immediately seated, followed by the customary complimentary hot lemongrass tea and menu. The crowd at the front were people waiting for their take out orders (very deceiving).
I invite you to watch the video below to get our full perspective on Pho Dau Bo Restaurant. In case you’re wondering, we ordered combo #480 | ♦ CÔM BÒ VÀ TÔM XÀO XÃ ỚT | $12.00 : Steamed Rice with Grilled Beef, Shrimp, Lemongrass & Red/Green Peppers
- this is our 2nd time at this location and both times the taste/quality of food wasn’t as good as their other locations.
- service is much faster here (from the time you order to being on your table).
- customer service is NOT like North American standards. Not a complaint, just an observation. No fake smiling, always in your face and not overall overbearing. However other than taking our order and delivering our food, we never saw our server again.
- don’t sit and wait for the bill – go up to the checkout and they will have it ready for you.
- the booth/bench type seating is very cramped – choose a table in the middle of the dining area for a bit more space if you’re in a group of 3 or more.
- the menu is LARGE and delicious.
- you must try the fried spring rolls – but be careful as they can be VERY hot (temperature) when they first arrive on your table.
- during the summer months the complimentary lemon grass tea is served chilled.
- depending on the dish, it does not travel well (if you plan on getting takeout) You really want to enjoy it FRESH from the kitchen.
- spicy dishes will have a pepper image next to it on the menu.
- be bold and try the garlic chili sauce (forget that sriracha business – LAME!).
- wish they would start back having fresh bird’s eye pepper as they used to.
Have you been to Pho Dau Bo Restaurant? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.