Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Photasia - Irvine

If you live in Irvine and eat Vietnamese food, there’s a 23% chance that you’ve been at a restaurant owned by the family that owns Pho Ba Co. Out of the thirteen Vietnamese restaurants in Irvine (yes, I counted them), three--Pho Ba Co, Ha Long and PhoTasia--belong to the same owner.

While it’s not a monopoly nor hardly a chain, when you want consistently well prepared bowls of pho or a plate of Vietnamese BBQ and rice, Pho Ba Co and PhoTasia can be depended upon like a Swiss watch. (Ha Long, known for their spaghetti basil dish, is more of a take-out joint).

They are my standbys when I get the craving and I am not interested in schlepping it out to Little Saigon. And in their bowls and plates I find comfort food, simple food, food that always hits the spot.

The pho broth never feels overloaded with salt or MSG. The combo rice plate with shredded pork skin, Vietnamese egg quiche, and grilled pork chop is the perfect sampler platter of textures, culminating in a chop that’s sweet and tender down to the bone.

And even though I know I can get the same kind of food for a lot cheaper outside the city limits, especially for cha gio that comes with lettuce and herbs to roll them in, sometimes you have to take stock of where you are as much as what you’re eating.

In Irvine, where Donald Bren has monopolized real estate and commands sky-high rents, Pho Ba Co and PhoTasia still manages to offer prices that are reasonable for the area. On top of that, their service is, by far, the best for a Vietnamese restaurant in the City.

5329 University Dr.
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 857-0856

Olea - Newport Beach


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