Have you ever calculated how many sandwiches you eat during a school year? The sheer volume of your total intake of those hand-held meals is difficult to ignore. Nearly every food outlet on campus sells them; often they’re the best bet compared to the hot entrée available in the cafeteria. So get off campus and forever forget about those boring sandwiches after eating at Pho-Ever. (See what I did there?)
While the space inside the restaurant is fairly compact, I’ve never felt claustrophobic dining there. All the tables are large, which is great for all the little dishes of dips and soup toppings (not so great for hand-holding across the table).
Diners always begin their meal with a cup of hot tea, but ordering another drink isn’t frowned upon. Personally, I don’t enjoy bubble tea ($3.95–$5.45), but my roommates love it. Flavours range from mango to lychee, or taro if you’re adventurous. No matter the time of day, I always request a Vietnamese coffee ($4). Coffee grounds are steeped in a glass of condensed milk, creating sweet, thick liquid caffeine. Poured over ice, it’s so much better than Starbucks.
For appetizers, consider sharing vegetable tempura ($5.45). Unlike the Japanese equivalent, all the vegetables (yam, carrot, onion, zucchini, cabbage, potato and green onion) are julienned together, so every bite contains a bit of everything. Spring rolls ($3.95) and salad rolls ($5.45) are worthy of an order and easy to share. Vegetarian versions of both are always available.
If you care to stay traditional, order one of 10 pho soups ($8.45–$8.95). Pho-Ever’s pho broth is slightly citrusy, slightly savoury and never overly salty. All orders come with rice noodles, onion and scallions already in the broth, and bean sprouts, lime, cilantro and serrano pepper can be mixed in at will. When my future kids get sick, this will be their equivalent of chicken soup.
For the indecisive diner, consider a dinner box ($14.95). This comes with the vegetable tempura, both spring and salad rolls, a small pho soup and a stir-fry of your choice. The tofu stir-fry is my favourite. Give it a go if you aren’t afraid of soybeans. Pro tip: the dinner box is ultra large. Ask for the soup to go, as it won’t lose any of its flavour if you heat it up the next day.
I also favour the vermicelli bowls ($9.45), which are best described as a deconstructed noodle salad. The heaping bowl of rice noodles is topped with shredded carrot, lettuce and cucumber, bean sprouts, crushed peanuts and your choice of grilled chicken, pork, prawns or tofu. A light rice vinegar vinaigrette ties everything together. I suggest the grilled pork. It adds a smoky barbecue aroma to the fresh dish.
Pho-Ever has a separate vegetarian menu, as well as takeout. There’s no reason not to visit, unless you’ve become addicted to sandwiches. I can’t help you there.
4 out of 5 stars
1669 Pear St.
Hours: Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
250-388-0028 for takeout