While the Gold Train Express II wasn’t much to look at, it was one of our favourites for consistently good (and cheap) pho during that long winter we eventually escaped from.

GTE recently underwent some much needed renovations and changed its name to Pure Delight Cafe. But will it still be the same? For now we will recommend the following three Vietnamese restaurants in Kits instead while we wait to try PDC.

Chi Modern Vietnamese Kitchen

Instead of the usual take-out style pho and bánh mì, this restaurant offers a more refined selection of Vietnam’s best dishes. Chi Modern just opened last summer on West 4th Avenue and has at the helm MasterChef Vietnam star Chi Le. Her pho (noodle soup) is made with local free range chicken or waygu beef, and her crispy spring rolls are filled with sous-vide duck or organic mixed vegetables. Le is also expanding our knowledge and tastebuds of Vietnamese cuisine by offering other well-known dishes from her homeland including Bo Luc Lac (shaken beef made with filet mignon) and Ga Kho To (tender lemongrass chicken claypot).

Chi Modern Vietnamese Kitchen, 1935 West 4th Avenue, 604-336-3010, chirestaurantbar.com

Mr. Red Cafe

Another one that opened last year is family-owned Mr. Red Cafe on West Broadway (their second location is in East Van). Their menu, heavy in Hanoi flavours, is as authentic as it gets this side of the Pacific, with most recipes handed down from owner Rose Nguyen’s grandmother. The traditional dumplings and the sticky rice dishes are particularly unique and delicious. Try their family meal available on Sundays – an ideal way to experience a wide variety of their creations.

Mr. Red Cafe, 2680 West Broadway, 604-559-6878, Facebook

Pho Japolo

Belonging to a small chain of Vietnamese eateries (and a sushi spot) around town, budget-friendly Pho Japolo does a steadfast $10 pho with a variety of meat toppings including some of the more traditional and uh, adventurous parts of beef such as tripe. The bánh mì (submarine sandwiches) are a good bet too and a steal at under $6.

Pho Japolo, 2807 West Broadway, 604-737-1278, no website

Last modified: September 5, 2017

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