Turtle Tower does one thing, and it does it well: Vietnamese PHO.
But. This is probably different than any Pho you’ve ever had.
It’s Northern Vietnamese style.
Which means, the noodles are slightly thicker. You also don’t get any side garnishes or bean sprouts or basil or extra onions. Nada.
Now before you head over to Yelp or stop reading this post…
Lemme just tell yah, I think it’s the BEST pho I’ve ever had <– major realness.
At Turtle Tower, every thing is so fresh that they only use free-range chickens, grab produce from weekly farmers markets, hand slice every piece of beef, and use fresh noodles everyday.
Their “less is more” approach provides a broth that is well-balanced with a meaty flavor that doesn’t dominate the dish. Their bowl of pho is savory, robust, full bodied without being too greasy or heavy. (YUMMM!!!)
Pretty much, it tastes too good to be true.
You would think that a place like this (especially in San Francisco), that uses such quality and fresh ingredients would be some-what expensive. Agree?
Yeah, I couldn’t be more wrong. These two bowls of noodles costs no more than $6.75 small- $8.25 large.
The pic above is #2: Pho Tai (rare beef noodle soup)
The pic below is #3: Pho Tai Chin (rare and well-done beef noodle soup)
* If you prefer your beef to be cooked through, get the #1 (well done beef)
* If you like chicken, get the #9 Pho Ga (this was featured on 7×7’s 100 Things to Eat Before You Die)
* If you are a fat-ass (like myself), I always get the combination #4: Pho Bo Dac Biet ($9.25 large)
Not only do they kill it when it comes to their noodles, they also have other authentic Northern Vietnamese items on their menu.
And while you can get things like pork + rice (and it’s great), but it’s like ordering steak at a sushi restaurant. Why not just go with what they’re known for (a bowl of pho).
These rice plates range from $7.75 to $8.75 (<– killer prices right?)
One of their best plates is the grilled pork (pic above). The pork is fresh and cooked very well. Had a nice BBQ flavor without being too salty. Overall, a decent dish for anyone who isn’t a fan of Pho.
The Banh Mi sandwiches are also different than anything I’ve ever had. While I wasn’t a huge fan of these, I guess I can’t really complain when it’s only $4.75 for this entire order.
Includes: cucumbers, carrots, cilantro, jalapenos, house seasoning and butter.
+ your choice of 3 items : pate, sausages, grilled pork, grilled chicken, fried egg, and ham.
Oh, and aren’t these the LARGEST spring rolls you’ve ever seen for ($5.50)? I’d recommend getting these as an appetizer to start.
Side note: If it weren’t for my majoorrrr foodie friend who said “THIS is the best pho spot in SF,” I don’t think I would have ever come here.
Why? Because this is one of the occasions where you can’t trust Yelp.
Their menu clearly states: Our gourmet dishes are prepared with love and care to preserve the flavors of Northern Vietnam…. Our soups are served WITHOUT bean sprouts, basil, and hoisin sauce, as is the Ha Noi tradition.
So. Can you already guess why they only have 3 stars?
…. and I quote:
Their pho uses flat noodles, also only comes with jalapeño and lemon.” – 1 star
After finding a parking spot, we walked in to discover cash only.” – 2 stars
If you can’t afford to take a credit card then what other shady cost-cutting practices do you employ? Are you sourcing your meat from a veterinary dumpster” – 2 stars
LOL I can’t deal. End rant.
Anyways… to sum it all up, Turtle Tower is honestly the best pho I’ve ever had. Don’t always trust what you read online, except that they’ve been featured on 7×7’s “100 Things to Try Before You Die.”
Try it, and you’ll thank me later.
Oh, and bring cash!
Locations:Tenderloin (4 stars on Yelp) 645 Larkin St
San Francisco, CA 94109 (415) 409-3333 Outer Richmond (3 stars on Yelp) 5716 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94121 (415) 221-9890 SoMa (3 stars on Yelp) 501 6th St
San Francisco, CA 94103 (415) 904-9888