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A few things set Pho Avina apart from the usual bare-bones, strip-mall ethnic joint. The cheerful décor is one; the exhaustive menu is another. Along with standards like pho and all kinds of seafood dishes, this place serves a variety of roll-your-own spring rolls, lots of vegetarian dishes, sweet boba drinks, and a dozen banh mi, Vietnamese subs that aren't as ubiquitous as they should be. Located right across from ASU West, this place is cheap and homey - something you don't need to be a student to appreciate.
I've eaten Vietnamese food all over the valley, and this place is by far my favorite. Particularly the BÚN BÒ HUE ~ Spicy Beef Soup. It is hands-down the best version of this I have ever had. The broth is so flavorful I dream about it. It is incredibly complex and it's hard to pinpoint what flavors are in there, but you won't care, you'll be too busy eating the bathtub sized bowl of heaven.
Also amazing are the grilled meats, especially the shrimp. They have a delicious sauce on them and taste smokey from the grill. Awesome on the rice platter or in the "roll your own" spring rolls (a very light and healthy way to enjoy Vietnamese!)
Also of note are the rice flower crepe (allow a few extra minutes for this one if you are in a lunch rush) and the fantastic creamy curry (chicken, beef, shrimp or tofu). The entree comes with rice, BUT if you order it off the "sandwich" menu, you'll get a smaller portion (the regular is huge) surrounded by warm crusty french bread. To. Die. For. Not spicy but full of flavor and the creamy taste of coconut milk.
They can get pretty busy at times and occasionally the service is a bit slow, waiting to check out etc, but not always and it's worth the wait. Just ask for your check a little early and don't be afraid to flag done a server. They are all VERY friendly.
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Consider us impressed. For such a tiny restaurant, Pho Avina sure has managed to bulk up its menu with a wide variety of Vietnamese specialties. There are more than a hundred items in all, from simple classics like bun (rice vermicelli noodles) and piping hot pho (noodle soup with a characteristically fragrant broth and fresh herbs), to more elaborate combinations like com tam dac biet, with grilled chicken, pork, beef, and shrimp served with fresh and pickled vegetables on broken rice.... More »
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