Vietnamese PHO at Turtle Tower is UNREAL

  Posted by - February 9, 2015 - $ (0-20), Daytime, NightTime, San Francisco

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.

Turtle Tower- Best Pho in San Francisco

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.

IMG_9480Turtle Tower- Best Pho in San Francisco

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)

Turtle Tower- Best Pho in San Francisco

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).

Turtle Tower- Best Pho in San Francisco

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.

Turtle Tower- Best Pho in San Francisco

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.

Turtle Tower- Best Pho in San Francisco

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!


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
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  • Michelle March 28, 2015 - 1:22 pm Reply

    My boyfriend has been talking about this place for months now. We live in San jose, where there are tons of pho places everywhere, so I was skeptical when he told me it was one of the best in the city. I thought the broth itself was really flavorful while the noodles are soft and fresh. Definitely a top contender in my books!

  • Ernie February 11, 2015 - 9:20 pm Reply

    Oh my god this was amazing! I would have never gone here if it wasn’t for your post. Really makes me wonder what else I am missing as I usually rely on yelp to help me find the best spots..

    • CynEats February 18, 2015 - 6:32 pm Reply

      I know right? That’s why I don’t really trust them when I’m choosing a restaurant. And i’m glad you enjoyed Turtle Tower!

  • Danielle J. February 10, 2015 - 11:59 am Reply

    haha those Yelp reviews made me laugh, Turtle tower is by far the best Pho in the entire city. That’s why I never trust Yelp, too many people go there to complain, and it ruins small businesses who put their heart and soul into their restaurant. And if you don’t pay them, they’ll keep the bad reviews at the top. Thanks for calling them out on this one!

    • CynEats February 10, 2015 - 6:53 pm Reply

      Just keepin it real, lol :)

  • Thomas February 10, 2015 - 8:53 am Reply

    Thanks for the post! I ordered the Pho Tai (rare beef slices) and I’ve never had it come out in chunks like that, and it also didn’t cook all the way through in the hot soup. It was different, but I liked it because you can taste the freshness of the meat!

    • CynEats February 10, 2015 - 6:52 pm Reply

      I felt the same way and I’ve also never had my beef like that. Glad you loved it :)

  • Tracy H. February 9, 2015 - 12:33 pm Reply

    I loooveeeeee pho! If you say its the best SF, i’m going to have to give this place a try next time I’m in town. I’m huge fan your blog!

    • CynEats February 10, 2015 - 6:52 pm Reply

      Thanks hun! Let me know how you like it!

  • Christina February 9, 2015 - 7:55 am Reply

    I’ve never had thick noodles in pho before. Do they also offer the thin ones as well?

    • CynEats February 10, 2015 - 6:51 pm Reply

      They don’t offer thin ones because they are staying true to the Northern Vietnamese tradition of thick noodles. It’s really good and I’ve never had pho noodles as fresh as theirs! Give it a try :)

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