Review: Restaurant Pho Lien (Vietnamese) on Cote-des-Neiges, Montreal

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5703-B Chemin De la Côte-des-Neiges Montreal, QC H3S 1V7 – (514) 735-6949

It’s near the Côte-des-Neiges Metro Station.

Or you can also take the 165 NORD from Metro Guy-Concordia, and come up almost right in front of it.


I got my Pho fix and I am still digesting it, 6 hours later.

Not bad, not something I’d crave to go back to.

I googled Pho restaurants to try out, and everyone said: this is SO authentic, and the best Pho I’ve had in all of Montreal!

With those reviews, I had to give it a shot.

Times or Hours:

Closed Tuesdays.

Monday, Wednesday-Friday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Sat & Sun: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Atmosphere: Bare & Dirt Cheap. Me likey.

No fancy chairs, tables, napkins or tablecloths… we’re talking bare bones, Asian-style knock’em-down-drag-’em-out CHEAP.

I love it, because the price means I am not paying for their expensive furnishings in the price of my food.

When a restaurant is too pretty, I get suspicious.

Oh and CASH ONLY. (Naturally)

There’s an ATM machine there, but you’re a chump if you pay $2.00 in fees to take out money for a $10 meal.

Waiting Time: Less than 15 minutes for a seat

Less than 15 minutes to get seated.

It was MAYHEM in there! TOTALLY packed.

Looked promising.

I LOVE line-ups because it means the food there is good enough to warrant a line.

Not a single clear seat in sight (about 20 tables or less), and there was a constant line-up at the door.

Once someone left, someone was there to take their place.

Then again, I went at lunch hour, around 12.30. I got out at 1.15 or so.

Serving Time: 30 seconds, then 2 minutes

About 30 seconds for my spring rolls (hmm…) and 2 minutes for my Pho.

I am .. not thrilled about those serving times.

Honestly, if it only takes 30 seconds to get my spring rolls, it means they were sitting there, already cooked, and were thrown into the microwave and plated in that time.

Same with the soup. It was fast, but too fast to be of any care or quality, and it showed.

The Meal in Review

2 Spring Rolls: $3

VietnameseSpringRolls(Not the picture of what I got, but similar. For $3, I expected 4. Not 2.)

The 2 spring rolls I got were $3 and a rip off.


They were about the size of a tiny cigar, and the inside tasted like baby food-style ground up mush.

It wasn’t large enough and it was definitely out of the box.

I’ve made my own Spring Rolls before, so I tend to be a bit harsh when they don’t turn out the way I expected in a supposedly awesome restaurant.

Pho #1: $7


(not the actual Pho I ate, but similar)

The Pho of course. I ordered the Big Kahuna, #1 with EVERYTHING. Rare meat, brisket, tendons, tripe…

Came with a good handful of fresh bean sprouts (maybe 5 cents worth in total), and basil (at least 50 cents).

There was a lot of meat, and maybe one long strip of tripe and a chunk of tendon.

The meat was definitely overcooked and DRY!

(Surprising, considering the amount of fat I ate)

Many pieces of it had been broken off and were leftlying at the bottom of the bowl after I drank the soup.

They just had a huge pot where they scooped everything out, which I understand, but there’s a certain level of meat quality I expect as well.

There weren’t enough noodles for me, which is strange, because in every “small” Pho I’ve ordered, they always lay the noodles on thick.

The broth was light, tasty and flavourful. But it wasn’t as good as other Pho’s I’ve had.

Either I have been eating badly made Pho all my life, or am used to a certain style, that I couldn’t get behind this Pho.

It was too light. I know of a restaurant in Ontario that makes THE BEST Pho I’ve ever had.

I always go back, because the guy knows how to knock out a bowl.

Full of slightly cooked onions, full of meat (not broken apart pieces) and HEAVY on the noodles.

Still, I am not complaining too hard. I ate it all, and I left full.

Health Check: I wouldn’t eat it everyday

I wouldn’t say it’s 100% healthy the way some people think it is.

Yes it’s a soup. And yes there’s actual food in there.

Yes, it’s better than fast food from McDonald’s.

But the bottom line is that it’s not as healthy as munching on some raw carrot sticks and organic peanut butter with some cold water, you dig?

If you don’t drink all of the soup, you’re fine.

But I know from experience that if you leave that soup over night, you’re going to see all the fat float to the top and solidify in the fridge.

All that delicious fat is melted in your soup as you’re eating it, which is why it’s so rich and flavourful, and why you cannot see it, the way you can see butter melting over your lobster tail.

Don’t be fooled by it being so healthy you could eat it daily, 3 times a day and lose weight.

Why do you think they have other “fresh” options of just raw vegetables sliced in a salad, or those Imperial rolls that are made with rice paper and fresh veggies inside?

Total Bill: $10

It was all tax included. I love that.

And for $10, you can’t complain too much.

Final Verdict: Good, but not orgasmic

It was good. But not crave-able.

I wouldn’t take the time to travel all the way back there for another bowl if I didn’t have to.

I would however, travel all the way back to Ontario for bowls and bowls of Pho from that restaurant I was talking about.

I need to find another Pho restaurant in Montreal to test out.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.