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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Pho Basil: An affordable array of Vietnamese cuisine

Pho Basil restaurant located in the Back Bay. Photo by Michelle Dang / Mass Media Staff.

Enjoying new experiences off-campus is one of the most exciting aspects of college life, and that includes discovering new places to eat. Boston is known for having a diverse culinary scene, and on the well-known street of Massachusetts Avenue, there is certainly no limit to the number of options available.

Located at 177 Mass. Ave. in Boston, Pho Basil is popular for their affordable and authentic Vietnamese cuisine. On the Orange Line, the restaurant is a nine-minute walk from the Massachusetts Avenue stop. From the UMass Boston campus, it is a 15-minute drive.

Fairly minimalist in decor, Pho Basil’s interior is bright and charming, exuding a comfortable and mellow atmosphere. The many groups of customers seated at tables, as well as the attentive and cordial servers, contribute to a pleasant social environment.

While there is a considerable amount of tables, the seating area is small due to the narrow layout of the building. As a result, seating can fill up quickly. Those looking to eat there for lunch should arrive as close to opening as possible to avoid the lines. If there are no seats available, customers can wait at the entrance or scan a QR code to join the online waitlist.

Open from 11:30 a.m. until 10 p.m., Pho Basil offers an assorted all-day menu, with options for low-calorie, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free alternatives. From chả giò, a fried, crispy roll filled with ground chicken or tofu, carrot, taro root and onion, to small soups like súp hoành thánh, wonton soup made with lean pork and shrimp dumplings in clear chicken broth, there are plenty of delectable options to look at before even deciding upon the main course.

Though Pho Basil specializes in Vietnamese cuisine, they also serve several Thai dishes on their menu, such as their pad Thai, pad gra pow, gra pow fried rice and various kinds of Thai noodle soups. There is also a separate lunch special section offered until 3 p.m. Customers can order dishes from this section with a choice of mixed vegetables, chicken or tofu for $10.95, or a choice of beef or shrimp for $11.95.

One of the most popular dishes offered by Pho Basil include their phở đặc biệt, which is Vietnamese beef noodle soup with rare steak, well-done flank, tendon and tripe, topped off with sliced onion, scallions and cilantro. A side plate of fresh bean sprouts, basil leaves and lime wedges are provided to add to the customer’s liking. Priced at $13.95, the sizable serving of phở đặc biệt will leave the customer satisfied with both its delicious taste and low cost.

Saigon noodle is a stir-fried noodle dish, highly recommended with crispy chicken. The dish consists of stir-fried, flat rice noodles with egg, broccoli, red pepper, carrot, bean sprout, scallion and sesame oil drenched in a mild spicy sauce. The noodles are so incredibly flavorful that they can be enjoyed by themselves. Combined with the savory, rich taste of the tender crispy chicken, the Saigon noodle with crispy chicken is popular among customers for a reason.

With its Back Bay location, Pho Basil is surrounded by streets and centers perfect for shopping. Newbury Street, Boylston Street and the Prudential Center are all less than a 10-minute walk away, and the entirety of Massachusetts Avenue is ready to be explored.

For those craving Vietnamese or Thai cuisine and wanting an affordable yet delightful dining experience, Pho Basil should be placed at the top of the list. Take time out of the day to stop by  and enjoy a scrumptious meal as a break from college classes.