You don’t get less Diva-like than Pho Lien but let us explain… The Divas were fighting, all divas fight but these Divas can get particularly bitchy. So Thursday rolled around we were still aggravated with each other and not particularly in the mood to go out and eat and drink. Zeus was frightened of our thunderbolts (how ironic), Bellatrix who loves a little conflict was gleaming and Mr. Wonderful remained in his ignorant bliss. Diva #1 decided to go out with P’tit Frère and a friend to a place that Diva #2 would not be too jealous to have missed out on. The Divas weren’t getting along but we knew that we would eventually fix this squabble so we did not want to make matters worse.
P’tit Frère LOVES Pho Lien. He loves it so much that more often than he should, he goes there to eat all alone. In terms of amazing pho, it is really hard to beat and the perfect place for an inexpensive authentic Vietnamese meal in Montreal. So off we went for a less than wild Thursday night… I mean come on, they don’t even have a liquor license and sobriety just isn’t our thing.
Our little group ran into Rambo and her man friend, her lil bunny, at Pho Lien, we always find someone new who knows of Pho Lien and swears by their food. Regardless of their ethnicity or where they live in Montreal, everyone seems to know about this little place on the corner of Côte-Des-Neiges and Côte St-Catherine, it seems that Pho Lien is a popular dive for fab Vietnamese food.
Diva #1 started her meal with the spring roll stuffed with lettuce, noodles, delicious thin strips of beef and shrimp wrapped in rice paper with mint leaves. Refreshing and wonderful, it is served with a side of peanut sauce that is perfect for dipping and adds a kick to the refreshing roll. Other delicious entrées include the deep fried imperial rolls and the green papaya salad with dry beef. The imperial rolls are typical but the papaya salad is very refreshing. Something to have on another visit!
The famous pho soup comes in small, big and extra large options! Everyone asks why is there no medium option, which is one of the universe’s questions. Pho Lien often has a long line but people do not come here to dine all night but enjoy their food quickly and get out. The wondrous pho soup is a Vietnamese delight, made with beef broth, long rice noodles, green onions and in Diva #1’s case, rare beef that is almost uncooked. Tripes, tendons and rare meat may scare off the less adventurous eaters but it makes for a phenomenal meaty soup that is flavourful. There are cooked beef, brisket or chicken options for those looking for a good bowl of pho without the more adventurous meat options. Bean sprouts, mint leaves and limes are used as condiments for this soup. Diva #1 always spends the first few minutes of her meal squeezing in lime juice into her pho to ensure that this soup is at the perfect sourness.
Pho Lien is known for making the best pho in Montreal, the broth is amazing, and let’s be honest, it has to be, why else would the Divas write an article raving about soup? Pho Lien just brings out our less Diva-esque side and sometimes we just want comfort food.
But do not fret; there are other options other than soup. Delicious stir fry meals with chicken, pork or shrimp are an option or tasty grilled meat on top of rice. The grilled beef is a particularly delicious option over a bed of white rice. The menu is pretty extensive and they even offer combos with a small bowl of pho so that you can still have their popular soup along with something else.
If that isn’t enough they have a popular coffee that arrives in a small metal bodum that drips into a cup with condensed milk. This Vietnamese coffee is served either hot or on ice; Diva #1 prefers it cold whereas P’tit Frère prefers it hot, and the coffee itself has chicory in it. It requires no milk or sugar because the condensed milk adds all the flavour and sweetness that one needs. Not a fan of filtered coffee of any kind, Diva #1 loves this cold coffee and always orders it from Pho Lien.
Our favourite dessert is more of a parfait like drink than a typical dessert. It is served in a glass and it is made up of three levels, red and muns beans (what are muns beans?), green tapioca and coconut milk with ice. A dessert with beans does sound very strange but it is a delicious combination. We always eat this dessert with our spoons and then drink up the remaining coconut milk. Many of our friends have looked at us oddly when it arrives at our table but then they all try it and are soon ordering their own.
If this delicious meal was not enough we also ordered the deep fried bananas. As expected they were delicious with their crusty outside and sweet and gooey interior. Served with a sweet syrup and decorated with sesame seeds, these bananas are nothing to be scoffed at and we ended our meal in bliss. Although fighting with Diva #2 makes for sad Thursday nights, our night at Pho Lien was filling and delicious, and for once, didn’t break the bank. In general, the Divas are horrible at not breaking the bank.
Sadly Pho Lien only takes cash but that is part of their hole-in-the-wall charm. It is funny because every time Diva #1 mentions Pho Lien to somebody they exclaim that “of course they know it, it has the best pho.” I guess it isn’t a Montreal secret, well certainly not a well kept one. We dare anyone to tell us where we can get better pho in Montreal because as far as we are concerned nothing beats Pho Lien.
Tagged: 5703 Côte-Des-Neiges, Beef, Brisket, Cash Only, Chemin de la Côte-Des-Neiges, Chicken, Coffee, Condensed Milk, Côte-Des-Neiges, Fried Bananas, Grilled, Imperial Rolls, Montreal, Montreal Restaurant, Papaya Salad, Pho, Pho Lien, Pho Lien Best Pho, Pho Lien Côte-Des-Neiges, Pho Lien Montreal, Pork, Red Beans, Shrimp, Soup, Spring Roll, Stir Fry, Tendons, terrace, Tonkinese, Tripe, Vietnamese