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Sao Mai

Map & Directions 203 1st Ave.
New York, NY 10003
  • Vietnamese
  • Daily 11am-10pm
  • All Major Credit Cards
  • Takeout, Vegetarian Friendly
  • Dinner, Lunch
  • Beer/Wine
  • Accepted
  • Street


Village Voice's Description

Sao Mai ("Morning Star"), far from Chinatown in the East Village, offers a Vietnamese menu that doesn’t stray into Cantonese territory, nor does it offer a useless variety of redundant dishes. The pho is probably the best in town, with a light broth barely scented with spices. The house signature variety features brisket, eye of round, and beef balls. The papaya salad is also superb, a crunchy heap of green fruit tendrils flavored with fish vinegar and Vietnamese mint, an herb rarely scene in Gotham. There are a couple of unique items on the menu, too, including an interesting sandwich that uses the banh mi format to showcase pho fixin’s. With its semi-private tables, this is a great place for a date.

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Tips from foursquare

  • Serious Eats on 06/17/13

    Reliably delicious Vietnamese in the East Village. The lunch-only banh mi are winners, too.

  • Village Voice on 05/31/12

    Robert Sietsema is convinced that Sao Mai may be the best Vietnamese restaurant New Yorkers have. Keep an eye out for the goi bo, banh cuon, and for all you naysayers, give the pho a shot.

  • Kim P. on 07/01/13

    Best pho I've had in NYC thus far. It's Mama & Papa Pham approved, y'all!

  • Sahm A. on 05/30/12

    Great Vietnamese, a bit more classy than most. Mussels were particularly excellent and the pho and spring rolls both good. Still BYOB.

  • Nicole C. on 11/10/13

    Love the vegetarian pho, lots of fresh veggies.

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