Beef phở from Nam Nam

Denizen’s definitive guide to the best Vietnamese restaurants in town

Thanks to the Southeast Asian cuisine’s fresh and fragrant flavours, Vietnamese food has earned its place on our weekly rotation year-round, and in Auckland, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to world-class Vietnamese fare. From authentic, Hanoian takes to modern fusion offerings, these are the places turning out the best Vietnamese in town.

Try It Out Restaurant

For some, Otahuhu may be a bit out of the way, but for us, it’s well worth the journey to Try It Out (literally). The eatery’s rare beef phở is some of the best we’ve tasted in the city and we are not the only ones who think so. The restaurant is always packed with locals as well as patrons from all corners of Auckland who have made the essential journey to satisfy their Vietnamese-specific cravings. If you’re wanting something a little different, step outside of your comfort zone and try the rare beef with tendons. It lends the phở an addictive bite and some are sure they can never go back to traditional beef phở after experiencing this authentic take.

Jungle 8

Jungle 8

Jungle 8 is Auckland’s newest Vietnamese joint turning out exceptional fare in an entirely immersive setting that brings to life the countries and cities of Southeast Asia. Unsurprisingly, the classics take centre stage at this inner-city eatery — from aromatic wagyu phở, to Vietnamese mainstay, pork bánh mì, to crisp spring rolls brimming with soft crab and spiced pork (some of the best we’ve tasted); served alongside modern takes such as crispy, subtly spiced eggplant, hot and sour salmon and a show stopping young coconut and prawn salad, all accompanied by an impressive list of cocktails that conjure heady southeast streets.

Le Vietnamese Kitchen’s Popping Prawns

Le Vietnamese Kitchen

A self-proclaimed ‘melange of heady flavours and aromatic spices’, Ponsonby Road’s Le Vietnamese Kitchen is renowned for having some of the tastiest modern Vietnamese in the city. The eatery has earned a reputation for its considered offering and inspired take on the classics. Make like a Viet local and opt for the crispy half duck with aromatic salt and sticky orange ginger glaze or the cult-status popping prawns, or branch out and order our pick — the kaffir lime and lemongrass chicken, perfectly paired with coconut and a chilli satay sauce.

Cafe Hung Viet

Turning out fantastic, authentic Vietnamese food in the heart of Devonport, Cafe Hung Viet is one of the city’s hidden gems. With chefs hailing from Hanoi, the fare is a take on Hanoian classics. Here, the beef phở is exceptional, brimming with fragrant, fresh herbs and paper-thin strips of tender rare beef. The Vietnamese locals also specialise in the classic bánh mì, where chicken liver pâté is paired with either crisp pork belly, grilled chicken or lemongrass tofu, topped with fresh chilli and coriander. Outstanding.

Cafe Hanoi’s Crispy Soft-shell Crab

Café Hanoi

It would be remiss of us to round up the city’s best Vietnamese eats without including the utter institution that is Cafe Hanoi. This Britomart-based eatery has consistently served up elevated, modern, Hanoian-style Vietnamese to city dwellers for over a decade, and continues to deliver on all fronts. Recently moving sites to occupy the chic, two-level space opening into the laneway of The Hotel Britomart, the restaurant lends itself to both formal and casual dining, with a menu that caters to any and every need. Aside from the infamous phở ga, which is always a must, the fresh rice paper rolls – in particular, the tofu, pineapple and crisp sesame cracker iteration, must not be missed.

Saigon Kitchen’s Pho

Saigon Kitchen

This Burswood favourite heroes beef phở, and take their craft very seriously, providing a grand total of nine different variations of the Vietnamese delicacy. At Saigon Kitchen, the deluxe phở is the way to go. The deep bowl is filled with every cut of beef you can imagine, from the flank to the tendon and even tripe. Vietnamese beef meatballs are also added to the dish and the medley of meats creates a melange of textures and flavours that make every bite enticing. For dinner, Saigon Kitchen opens its famed Steamboat Buffet, where you can pick and choose an unlimited amount of vegetables, wontons, seafood and meats to add to the large boiling pot of broth on your table, making Saigon Kitchen the go-to place for large groups seeking a sensational feast.

Nam Nam’s Pork bánh mì

Nam Nam

If you’re in a time crunch and need a quick fix, Nam Nam in Takapuna is one of the top lunch spots on the North Shore. The beef and chicken phởs are undeniably delicious, but it’s the vegan mushroom and tofu phở that has the locals hooked. The mushroom lends the broth a deep yet pure flavour, similar to mushroom dashi, and pairs perfectly with the vegan tofu summer rolls. Nam Nam is also popular for its bánh mì, and while the tofu iteration is tasty, the lemongrass pork sausage variation is the hero. The juicy, marinated pork is enriched with house-made mayo and pâté which goes down a treat when followed by sips of the palate-cleansing broth from the phở. Nam Nam also offers catering, which we can confirm is equally as delightful.

Hello Mister’s Pho

Hello Mister

A favourite amongst city-dwellers, Hello Mister is a local take on Vietnamese with a particular focus on fresh, fast and insanely tasty grab-and-go fare, and the concise menu has been crafted with this in mind. Here, you’ll find only the classics: bánh mì, rice paper rolls, phở, bún, and a slightly more indulgent deep-fried spring roll iteration. The perfect spot for a light weekday lunch, Hello Mister is firmly on our radar.

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