Part of a series of restaurant recommendations offered in The Stranger’s 2017 Guide to Food and Drink (International Edition).
You can get yourself fed—with one of the city's best bowls of pho, no less—from the morning till the wee hours at this stylish Vietnamese mini-chain, with locations in Capitol Hill and South Lake Union, and a third coming to University Village this year. That pho is lovingly, expensively crafted (the oxtail broth takes a full 24 hours to prepare), as are the rest of the noodle soups, protein laden vermicelli bowls, and street-food-inspired small plates, like fried frog legs and grilled lemongrass beef skewers. (And that's if you can get past the croissants, macarons, and other sweets in the stunning pastry case.) The cocktail list is alive with fresh juices and unusual bitters, which you can taste for yourself at their early evening and late-night happy hours. JENN CAMPBELL
There's a reason this Vietnamese joint is usually packed, and that it has opened successful branches outside of its original International District location, in Belltown and Bellevue. You can order pretty much anything off the rather expansive menu and be content in the knowledge that you'll leave satisfied no matter what it is—any of the vermicelli or rice combos (the latter often served with a fried egg on top), a range of pho and congee, and fresh offerings ala goi du du (fresh green papaya salad). I'm particularly enamored of the bot chien (rice flour cakes that are crispy on the outside, gooey in the middle, pan-fried with egg and scallions, and paired with a sweet soy dipping sauce), and the beef spare ribs, more like mini bone-in rib eyes coated in a light barbecue sauce and covered in sautéed green onions. LEILANI POLK
Phorale is not technically Vietnamese. Or Korean. Or Mexican. Or really anything other than what chef partners Jimmy Bui and Young Cho want it to be. That said, the majority of their menu is composed of banh mi, so Vietnamese it is. Though the format of their sandwiches hails from Vietnam, the things that go in them vary wildly. They are, however, united in deliciousness. The basic spicy pork sandwich—the "Fuego"—is literally and figuratively fire, but you also can't go wrong with their bulgogi Philly cheesesteak, their fried chicken sandwich, and their playfully bright take on pho. The Phorale fries—loaded curly fry nachos with a very creative array of toppings—are an instant nap, but one you'll definitely want to take. Most impressive? They make all this magic happen from what was once a forlorn torta counter tucked into the back of a corner store in South Park. TOBIAS COUGHLIN-BOGUE
Do you want a delicious sandwich for $3.25? Of course you do. Will you get it anywhere outside of Little Saigon? Not likely. Twelfth and Jackson neighbors Seattle Deli and Saigon Deli operate on the same essential business model—dirt-cheap Vietnamese delights to go—but every Seattleite has an opinion about which is better. Well, except this one. My personal feeling is that if you can make a sandwich not only palatable but actually good for less than $4, that's all that really matters. Both places have vegetarian, chicken, and pork options, and both do the spicy, zesty banh mi thing quite well. For the economically minded picnicker, there is no better option in the city. Oh, and did I mention they have $1 egg rolls to tide you over while you wait? TOBIAS COUGHLIN-BOGUE
One of the best restaurants in Seattle, Stateside is consistently great, wearing its Vietnamese-French mash-up on its sleeve. The crispy duck fresh rolls are divine, the master stock crispy chicken rivals any other fried chicken in town (yes, Skillet, looking at you), and the tamarind beef and kohlrabi salad is a surprisingly delicate and interesting take on a dish you've had a million times and were unimpressed with. The cocktails are Vietnamese inspired—a Mekong Mule, anyone?—which might raise your eyebrows at the cultural appropriation, but the drinks (like the food) are admittedly delicious. Not an inexpensive Capitol Hill outing. TRICIA ROMANO
Despite its large size, the International District's Tamarind Tree has a cozy, romantic atmosphere. It's good for date nights, friend nights, and birthday parties. My friend Mari will not leave until she has the fresh Tamarind Tree tofu roll stuffed with herbs, roasted peanut, fresh coconut, jicama, and carrots. Also a must: the green mango salad served with grilled prawns, the okra lemongrass satay, and the stuffed squid—packed with minced, marinated pork and black mushrooms. The portions are large and the prices are right, which might explain why Tamarind Tree has weathered several foodie storms. TRICIA ROMANO