Sunday, January 13, 2013

Pho Van Van, 93 Holland Avenue, Tel: 613-722-1663

(We are very happy to welcome Claudia to this grub review, and were thrilled to add her input!)

Being in a family where both mom and dad work full time can be really hectic, leaving you asking at 5:30 p.m....WHAT'S FOR DINNER?? I'M STARVING!! Enter Pho Van Van to save the day (when you’re greeted on a first name basis…you wish you could buy shares in the place…).

 Pho Van Van has been one of our favourites since we discovered it about 4 years ago. Nestled amongst a chain of restaurants to appeal to any palate in West Wellington Village, Pho Van Van offers a comfortable atmosphere, friendly service and delicious food to appeal to even the pickiest of diners (aka: “Miguel” ;).

We LOVE to share the following appies:
 #1: Salad rolls with shrimp (and peanut sauce) – according to Miguel, this should never include mint (he’ll learn to love it)

#3: Deep fried spring rolls (Miguel: love it every time!) (Jenny: I wish Miguel wouldn’t insist on dissecting the rolls every time looking for pieces of shrimp…grrrr)

#6: Deep fried squid (huge and juicy!)

#8: Deep fried tofu (served with green and red pepper, onion and garlic) – YUMMY!!  

The appies are a perfect size, allowing you to try a few different items without filling up before your main meals…often a problem for parents with little ones.

Sadly, our main meals rarely differ from the following – but really, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?? 

Jenny: #67 Rice noodle soup with shrimp and chicken (spicy sat̩) Рthe best part is the little deep fried onions and sat̩ sprinkled on top; #309 Grilled Chicken and Shrimp on vermicelli (amazing with carrots, cucumber, lettuce, peanuts and the most delicious fish sauce ever!!)
Miguel: #309 Grilled Chicken and Shrimp on vermicelli (same as mom – minus the lettuce, cucumber and fish sauce); #56 Shrimp fried rice – the more shrimp, the better!
Claudia: #64 Savory seafood soup with rice noodles – she can’t imagine anything else could taste better ;)
Marco: #101: Rice noodle soup with rare beef…always a hit; #501 Beef in black bean sauce with vegetables…good, but the soup is better.  

MMGR Comments:

Miguel: I would like people to know that everything is really good on the menu. There isn’t anything that isn’t good. I like the fact that it is all windows on the first floor…so very bright and welcoming. It is located in an old house, so it feels friendly and you feel at home. It just feels very comfortable. And there is deep fried ice cream!!
Its one of my favourite restaurants ever – it’s a really good place to go with your family. There is no other better Vietnamese restaurant in Ottawa from my perspective.

Jenny: We’ve tried quite a few different pho spots in Ottawa, from Merivale Road, to the Market to Chinatown…but by far, we’ve always preferred, loved Pho Van Van, and have essentially given up going anywhere else. Miguel and Claudia have pretty much captured the essence of the spot, so I won’t repeat other than to say that Pho Van Van offers great food, good prices, comfortable atmosphere, reasonable portions, quick and friendly service – we totally recommend!!

Claudia: It is very good if you’re looking for a light delicious snack, because my mom and I like to go there for a quick lunch on the weekends when we go shopping. Everyone in our family thinks it is amazing. Pho Van Van is very close to my school, and last week, my friends and I tried to go at lunch during the week, but it was too busy to get a table. Next time, we’ll get shrimp salad rolls for take out, then go back to school. It is my favourite restaurant.

Q & A:
What is the first thing you notice when you walk in?
It has a comfortable setting and you are always warmly greeted by the staff.

What is the first thing that appeals to you on the menu?
Miguel: All of the seafood on the menu appeals to me!

Jenny: As with most Asian fare restaurants, the variety can be overwhelming! It has taken us years to determine exactly what we love to eat there…but whether it’s for dine in or takeout, we’ve never been disappointed.

Is the service quick?
Very quick – we both agree to that. Often times, we think – whoa – how can they do that so fast??

Is the service friendly?
They are very friendly, and more importantly, accommodating (a bonus for young diners). Example: both Claudia and Miguel LOVE the fish cakes in the seafood pho – and the staff is always willing to give them extra fish cakes on anything they order…and we’ve never been charged once.

Are the prices reasonable?
Miguel: I don’t know????
Jenny: Yes, very reasonable (or we wouldn’t be back so often!!).

Is the location accessible?
It is easily accessible by car and bus as it is centrally located on Holland Avenue, near the Wellington Street intersection (just behind the Great Canadian Theatre Company). There is a limited amount of parking in the rear (about 5 spots), but we’ve never had trouble finding parking along Holland Avenue. However, it is not wheelchair accessible ;(  (Miguel insisted this needed a sad face, as it is the only thing that he can think of that is wrong with PVV).

Final words: Sunday at 9 p.m….Miguel says “I’m so hungry for pho right now…damn you Grub Review!” Good night all, and until next time, eat well!! ;)

Your friends,

M&M (&C)


  1. I also used to go to Pho Van Van quite a bit when I lived just down the street. I learnt the hard way, though, they're closed on Sundays! :-(

  2. Hey Miguel, I'm coming back to Ottawa soon. You have to let me know if there are any new great restaurants I should check out! Post an update! ;-)