Vong Gac – Now Closed

January 31st, 2008 · 12 Comments

phodown 2.0 banner

Target 2.1: Vong Gac – Now Closed

Vong Gac ext.Address: 663 East 15th Ave. (map)
Phone: 604-872-6650
Menu: Page 1; Page 2; Page 3; Page 4
Price: $5.25 small; $5.75 large
Condiments Photo
Fishtank Photo

Visit date: January 24th, 2008
Visit time: 7:20 PM


Jason’s ratings (#16 rare beef, flank & tendon except they were out of flank and added meatballs) –

Broth: 7/10
Beef: 5.5/10
Noodle: 8.5/10
Condiments: 7/10
Other factors (service, atmosphere, etc): 6/10

Jason’s total: 6.8/10

Des’ ratings (#13 rare beef & meatballs) –

Broth: 7.5/10
Beef: 6.5/10
Noodle: 7/10
Condiments: 6.5/10
Other factors: 7/10

Des’ total: 6.9/10

Total Score (averaged across both raters, all variables) = 6.85/10
Quality per dollar (based on large pho) = 1.191/$

Description from Jason:

Last year we started a Vancouver phenomenon. It was called the Great Phodown. Our eighth phodown was a place called Pho Thai Hoa. On March 28th, Frances Xu commented on that phodown and suggested I check out Vong Gac. Last week, I did just that.

vong.gac.phoWhenever I go into a pho shop, I expect the service to be fairly abrupt. That’s one of pho’s charms, really. But at Vong Gac, I honestly felt like I wasn’t wanted. There was only one other table, but it wasn’t even 7:30 yet, so I didn’t think it was too late for pho. Anyhow, after waiting for about ten minutes, a man I can only assume was the owner extricated himself from an intense card game and handed me a menu. Ten minutes later, he took my order and ten minutes after that, the pho arrived.

The first thing you have to know about Vong Gac is that it’s a Northern Vietnamese style of pho, so the spicing and condiments will be a bit different than the majority of places. I kind of like that as a change up. So for instance, you’re probably not going to get basil or bean sprouts. Instead we got some sawtooth herb, which I normally like for it’s fresh oniony flavor, only Vong Gac gave me mostly stems, a questionable move if ever there was one. I ordered the pho with rare beef, flank and tendon, but when it arrived, it had meatballs in it. I questioned this and was told that since they were out of flank, they gave me meatballs instead. These are moves I would like to know about beforehand.

Fortunately, the pho itself was pretty good. The noodles stood out as excellent with no clumpage and great texture. The broth was very well spiced, something common with the Northern style, but unfortunately highly watery and oily. The oiliness I can live with, but I just can’t abide a watery pho. The meat itself was fine, but I deducted points for getting the wrong kind.

Overall, I’d recommend Vong Gac as a good option for pho, if not for the rude service and kitchen mixups. Next up: where to find a pho closer to Kits/downtown/Point Grey? Does anyone know?

Tags: Pho · Retired

12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 nat // Jan 31, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Pho Number One
    1120 Denman Street

    Never been there before.

  • 2 Jim // Jan 31, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    You seem to try a lot of pho in town. Which one is the best for you ?

  • 3 Jason // Jan 31, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    hey jim.

    thanks for reading! check the phodown lowdown for last year’s winners.



  • 4 Jim // Feb 1, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Hi Jason,

    Some places that I liked was…

    Au Petit Cafe
    Pho Hoa (Richmond or 49th)

    If you haven’t been there I strongly recommend you to go. Thanks for all the reviews!

  • 5 Jason // Feb 1, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    yeah au petit cafe is on my list. maybe pho hoa.

    thanks jim.

  • 6 Dan // Feb 2, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    wasn’t au petit cafe the one we disqualified from the first ‘down for being closed on a random wednesday?

  • 7 Vangroover // Feb 7, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    I’ve always wanted to got to Vong Gac to sample the food since it looked like a bona fide Vietnamese establishment. But a certain police chief advised me that some of the VNese eating joints on Kingsway (and other areas) may just be a front for illicit activities. He mentioned something about glazed dark glasses, obstructed interiors, and the word “Cafe” as tell-tale signs of these establishments. Vong Gac seemed to fit the descriptions. But since you tried it and got out safely, I’m gonna give it a try myself. . . thanks for the recon. I just hope the cook isn’t some smuggled indentured servant.

  • 8 Jason // Feb 8, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    well yeah it was a little sketchy, but i never felt like i was in any kind of danger.

  • 9 TJ // Mar 10, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    you know, it looks good in the photo but that doesn’t say much

  • 10 Knightafter // Mar 20, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Finally made it to Vong Gac , the last 5 or 6 times I tried they were closed .
    Service is minimal but the broyh was tasty and The Pho Dac Biet had a lot of meat in it (except tendon which they skipped) , no sprouts but a lot of basil , sawtooth herb and another unknown(to me) herb . Noodles were very nice , not overcooked . The large bowl was large and at $6.50 including tax a good deal .

  • 11 UrbanDiner.ca | Vancouver Restaurant Scene Magazine » Le Faux Bourgeois Coming To East Van // Jun 16, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    […] Jules Bistro) and Andreas Seppelt (Gord Martin’s partner at Go Fish) have taken over the old Vong Gac location at 663 East 15th (Fraser and Kingsway) and are busily setting up a 50 seat, dinner-only […]

  • 12 khanh // Jul 9, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    I have been entertaining the idea of opening the best Vietnamese restaurant in BC. I see there is a need for such.
    The focus is toward non-Vietnamese customers. Majority of the current restaurant are too dependent on Vietnamese customers. The result is that the concepts are similar and inadequate: cheap food and quick service. There are more to the experience that just those two. I think it is because the owners are immigrants, still use to the Vietnamese ways.
    I also think the location has to be downtown or near by to cater to young professionals who are comfortable with multiculturalism.

    I’m thinking of fusion. Mixing and updating the Vietnamese menu with other cultures. Not trying to reinvent, but different. Service, food, atmosphere, personality. I guess kind of like me–born in Vietnam, but raised in Canada.
    My question for all of you is what are some basic characteristics that you like about the current Vietnamese restaurants that you want the next one to retain, and add to make it the best Vietnamese restaurant in BC?

Leave a Comment