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Isn't pho what you need?

Image: Ba Bar

If it hasn’t been officially declared the civic dish of Seattle, a trillion devotees of the potent Vietnamese noodle soup have informally made it so. The steaming broth is popular all year but goes seriously craveable during cold season. Here are four of Seattle’s very best:

Pho Bac

The little red boat at the intersection of Rainier and Jackson, and its two siblings, have become this city’s primary go-to for pho—thanks to robust broth, plentiful greens for herbal counterpoints, and admirable consistency. They also offer Chinese doughnuts for dipping, which arrive warm and flaky.

Ba Bar

This irrestistible mashup of authentic Saigon street food with stylish Seattle bar scene features three or four exquisite phos at dinner (till 2am weekends) and maybe twice that many by day; the oxtail is a fathomless wonder. Yes, cocktails do go with pho.

Pho Ba

Who needs decorative appeal when your pho is this fine? The International District storefront features a forever-cooked broth, lyrical with flights of cloves and cinnamon. The #8 (round steak) is the most popular, with reason.

Stateside

The casually gorgeous Capitol Hill Cafe serving elegant Vietnamese food usually features a beef pho in its weekend brunch lineup: a masterpiece of authenticity. But classically trained chef Eric Johnson also uses the potent soup in unexpected ways—as braising liquid for the beef in the potstickers, for instance, or as jus for the pulled beef Pho’rench Dip sandwich. (Disclaimer: This pun wasn’t mine and thus could not be helped.)

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Editor’s Pick

Stateside

$$$ Vietnamese 300 E Pike St

Eric Johnson’s dining room doesn’t look like anything in Seattle—a balmy subtropical paradise of palm-fronded wallpaper and minty accents. His food is simila...

Pho Ba

$ Vietnamese 415 Seventh Ave S

All the idiosyncratic charms of the International District are distilled in one yellow-aired dive, fragrant with the aromatics of pho. There are other dishes...

Editor’s Pick

Ba Bar

$$ Vietnamese Multiple Locations

Open all day and till 4am weekends, Monsoon’s street food sibling is a go-to for great food and drinks, no matter the hour. Especially with three locations a...

Editor’s Pick

Pho Bac

$ Vietnamese Multiple Locations

What looks like 100 years’ worth of splattered soup stains the walls and floor of Pho Bac’s triangular fishbowl at Boren and Jackson, a joint that strains th...