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Entries Tagged as 'Buford Hwy'

Atlanta Pho Tour

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If you ask 50 people where the best phở in Atlanta is, chances are you’ll get 40 different answers. That’s to be expected. Everyone has a preference. But what really constitutes a preference? Or a favorite? For most, going to two places is sufficient. Drawing a conclusion based on those two places is where I have a problem with. More so when they’ve only been to each place once. Classic example, I have this friend who keeps telling me that Restaurant XYZ is his favorite because it’s the best. When I asked him how many times he has been to this place, his answer was, “Once”. When I asked him how many restaurants serving the same type of food he has visited, his answer was, “One”. This is the very reason why I’m leery about believing people when they say a place is the best. Unless someone’s been to at least 10 similar places and visited each one multiple times, then that’s when I’ll trust someone’s judgment.

Call me a food snob. I’m not going to make excuses for it. I am. A huge one. You see, I’m very passionate about food. If you know me personally and as my best friend says, I’m like “a guy who has only one thing on his mind constantly”, except mine is about food. Eating is my biggest hobby. I drive around daily looking for Open Soon or Grand Opening signs. I visit many places multiple times. I eat multiple meals a day just so I can try different things and have different tastes in my mouth. Every meal is like a Chloe Food Festival.

Food makes me happy. I have no shame admitting I eat a lot of it. Bread is my Kryptonite. You’ll always hear me say I’m a breadgetarian. I am. I can down a loaf of freshly-baked Korean whipped cream bread slathered in butter in one sitting. Or four cardamom brioche from General Muir as a single snack. But don’t hate. There’s a trade off — I don’t drink alcohol (haven’t found something that tastes as good as fruit juice or Coca Cola) nor do I eat desserts or sweets. I may take a bite to taste; and to have an opinion, but that’s as far as I will go. I don’t have a sweet tooth. Works well for me.

But I digress. The point I’m making is that I eat a lot because I love food. Food is what I know best. I eat at lots and lots of different places multiple times. This year so far, I have eaten 28 bowls of ramen (down from 65 last year), 87 bowls of assorted Korean soups, and as of today, 42 bowls of pho. That’s a lot of soups combined! And it’s not even November yet. What does that mean to you? Thanks to my eating lifestyle (and eating playbook), I’ve done much of the eating research for you. The 20 places I visit multiple times to eat pho aren’t places I just visited this year. Those plus more are in my regular rotation since I started eating for fun. That will be about middle school I guess.

So without further ado, I present to you Atlanta Pho Tour 2013. By no means is this an exhaustive list. Instead, these are the places I visit multiple times on a regular basis. My visits aren’t for the same purpose all the time. Sometimes, I may go to a place because it’s convenient or I’m already in the area. Time of day or night is also a factor. But often, I go to a place because it’s the best. Ready to go around my food ‘hood? Let’s go!

The Top Five

1. Pho Dai Loi
4061 Jonesboro Rd
Forest Park, GA 30297
(404) 363-2423

4186 Buford Hwy NE
Atlanta, GA 30345
(404) 633-2111

1500 Pleasant Hill Rd
Lawrenceville, GA 30044
(770) 381-1415

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Three locations to serve you the absolute best pho in Atlanta. Hands down. The broth is simply delicious: rich yet light, hearty, balanced, and has a depth of flavor no other place in Atlanta can duplicate. The meats are fork-tender and great quality; the serving, beyond ample; and the garnish, super fresh. You come here for perfection. And with perfection, you don’t need to bother altering the taste by adding unnecessary spices and condiments.

2. What the Pho
2442 Pleasant Hill Rd
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 814-9396

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While the pho here is superb, everything on the menu is also good. Must-try include the combination fried rice, seafood pan-fried noodles, fried Cornish hen, bún (vermicelli noodle salad topped with grilled meats or shrimp), stir-fried chicken with cashews, and assorted rice plates that come with different combination of meats. Open until midnight.

3. Nam Phuong
5495 Jimmy Carter Blvd
Norcross, GA 30093
(770) 409-8686

4051 Buford Hwy NE
Atlanta, GA 30345
(404) 633-2400

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One of the best places for all-around Vietnamese food. Aside from the fantastic pho, you can’t go wrong with anything here. Everything on the menu is good. Everything. Favorites include the Shaking Beef, chicken wings, noodle dishes, beef stew, do-it-yourself fresh summer rolls, and the best congee you’ll ever taste outside of Vietnam.

4. No. 1 Hong Kong Bakery
5494 Jimmy Carter Blvd
Norcross, GA 30093
(770) 837-0270

No. 1 Hong Kong Bakery

This is mainly a bakery. They specialize in breads, pastries, and rice cakes. The menu is very limited and there are maybe just two kinds of pho. But believe me when I tell you the pho is amazing. Inside the Hong Kong Supermarket on the left side of the building (not in the food court).

5. Pho Bac
4897 Buford Hwy
Chamblee, GA 30341
(770) 986-4273

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Another place for great Vietnamese food. Stellar soups and noodle salads. Come here for pho and add a side of Bánh mì to complete your hearty meal.

Everywhere Else (in alphabetical order):

1. Co’m Vietnamese Grill
4005 Buford Hwy NE
Atlanta, GA 30345
(404) 320-0405

Known more for their entrees and rice dishes, the grilled grape leaves rolls are a must try.

2. I Luv Pho
4650 Jimmy Carter Blvd.
Norcross, GA 30071
(770) 558-6289

4500 Satellite Blvd NW
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 249-8989

5145 Buford Hwy NE
Doraville, GA 30340
(770) 249-8989

I Luv Pho

Open 24 Hours and with three locations in the metro, there’s bound to be one close to you.

3. Lee’s Bakery
4005 Buford Hwy NE
Atlanta, GA 30345
(404) 728-1008

The only place with pho/bánh mì combination meals on the menu.

4. Quan Ba 9
4285 Buford Hwy NE
Atlanta, GA 30345
(404) 636-2999

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A classic example of southern Vietnamese pho, the broth here is heavily flavored with leafy herbs and spices.

5. Quoc Huong
5150 Buford Hwy NE
Doraville, GA 30340
(770) 936-0605

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First and foremost, you come here for the grilled pork bánh mì. It’s the best bánh mì in Atlanta. And then you eat the bánh mì with a bowl of pho. Perfect combination!

6. Pho 24
4646 Buford Hwy
Atlanta, GA 30341
(770) 710-0178

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Open 24 hours and with an extensive food and traditional Vietnamese beverage menu.

7. Pho Xe Lua
5495 Jimmy Carter Blvd
Norcross, GA 30093
(770) 446-8908

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This is a food court stall inside the Hong Kong Supermarket specializing in pho. Lots of choices and cobinations. Cash only.

8. Saigon Café
3675 Satellite Blvd NW
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 232-5070

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The Duluth location has the best food for this local chain. Enroll in their rewards program for weekly specials. Seven locations all over metro Atlanta.

9. Yany Express
5495 Jimmy Carter Blvd
Norcross, GA 30093
(770) 368-0094

Another place for great Vietnamese food all around. Fantastic soups and kitchen specialties. They have the best Shaking Beef in Atlanta.

Pho, ITP?

While there’s no question that great pho can be found on Buford Highway or OTP, intown residents don’t necessarily have to make the trek to get their fix. Here are some of the places within the city limits.

Dua
53 Broad St NW
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 589-8889

The only place in downtown Atlanta for pho and with a separate location a couple of doors down for carry out and delivery orders.

So Ba
560 Gresham Ave SE
Atlanta, GA 30316
(404) 627-9911

Located in EAV, the restaurant transforms into a late night eatery Octopus Bar after 10pm.

We Suki Suki
479 Flat Shoals Ave.
Atlanta, Ga 30316
404-901-6992

Pho available only from 11AM until they run out.

There you have it folks! We are so fortunate to have a big Vietnamese community in Atlanta. We don’t have to go far to satisfy our ethnic food cravings.


BuHi Eats: Tostones

BuHi Eats: Tostones

I’ve been trying to get to this place for a while now and I finally got my firefighter buddy to go with me. It’s right on the corner of the 285 exit and it’s easy to miss. I’m not even going to attempt to tell you how to get there — I wasn’t lucky enough to be born with the direction gene, sadly. Now, let me tell you a few rules about this place:

1. If the server tells you to get the special, by golly get it! Repeat: GET IT.
2. When you ask the server about a dish and she reluctantly tells you she hasn’t tried it, do not feel adventurous. Trust me. And trust her, she knows.
3. Drink water. My Diet Coke tasted like Pepsi. The refill tasted like Cherry Coke.
4. The Cuban Sandwich is really, really, really fantastic.
5. If you’re hungry at 4AM on a weekend, you know where to go.

BuHi Eats: Tostones

Like I said, get the Cuban sandwich. The roast pork is heavenly– tender, moist, flavorful. There’s some non-overpowering mustard which I liked and a bread that would knock your socks off. You can order a half portion to go with your meal. But really, get the whole. You can thank me later.

BuHi Eats: Tostones

BuHi Eats: Tostones

The Picada. It has everything the kitchen has. Ropa Vieja, chicken, arepa, yucca, empanada (which was so good, by the way), gold potatoes, fries, sausages (delish), and chicharrones. This is a humongous plate and the menu says it’s for 2 people for $23.95. It’s an awesome deal if you can’t decide what to get. Just remember, two people get a plate each. The menu doesn’t say it but you can order half (or one plate) if you like.

There. Now go there and get whatever is special that day AND the Cuban sandwich.

Oh, before I forget… Another tip: the speed limit on this part of BuHi is a slow 35mph. Doraville PD is ruthless and will stop you for going 5 miles over that limit. Just like what happened to @takethoufood a couple of years ago. Right, SB? :p

Tostones Latin Cafe
5499 Buford Highway
Atlanta, GA 30340
(770) 936-3000

Tostones Latin Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Korea Garden (Buford Highway)

Korea Garden (BuHi)

Just a quick post about this new addition to our Korean dining scene. This one opened a few months ago right before winter and sits next door to Cafe Mozart. It used to be First China restaurant. The menu is extensive and includes almost all mainstream Korean dishes.

Korea Garden (BuHi)

I’ve been here a few times. Banchan is good: tasty, fresh, good selection. Dumplings are your regular frozen then fried variety. But at $4.95 per order of five huge ones, it’s a great deal. The soy-sesame dipping sauce is wonderful, however.

Korea Garden (BuHi)

Soups are okay. They’re a little on the thin side but will do in a pinch. They do come in bigger-than-usual and bigger-than-everywhere bowls. The bbq meats are pretty solid. Rice dishes are decent.

I’m grateful we have another place to add to our pool of Korean restaurants to choose from. Prices are on the cheaper side, too, so you can hit it several times a week.

Korea Garden
5295 Buford Hwy NE
Doraville, GA 30340
(770) 558-2282

Korea Garden on Urbanspoon

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BHFM Food Court

At last, the long-awaited food court finally opened earlier this year. I had high hopes, thinking it would be as awesome as the one in Your Dekalb Farmers Market or Great Wall in Duluth or Assi Plaza in both Duluth and Suwannee or even Super H. But, alas, such is not the case here.

Food Court at BHFM

Food Court at BHFM

Food Court at BHFM

The food court is in its early stages. I see considerable space for expansion where other stalls can be rented out. For now, there are only three spots to eat from. The main one is the cafeteria-style food stall. They have Eastern European dishes as well as Korean, Southern, Indian, and Hispanic. The food is ok. They’re not as delicious as YDFM where every single item is amazing. It’s just passable here.

One of the stalls is the Delimanjoo joint. It’s those yummy creme-filled tiny doughnuts baked in the premises. It was a mainstay from the snack bar that was around since the market opened. These has been my favorite for many, many years. (Sorry, no photo.)

Food Court at BHFM

Food Court at BHFM

Food Court at BHFM

Food Court at BHFM

The other stall is a Creperie. They’re exactly like the ones on the streets in Europe. They have both sweet and savory flavors.

Food Court at BHFM

Everything here is take-out only. There’s a huge eating area right outside the cashier stand if you want to eat before you leave. The cafeteria food is sold by weight. The other stalls sell per item. Be careful with the amount of your selection. My tiny lunch, crepe, and a bottle of soda came to close to $20. That’s highway robbery! You could go to a nice sit-down meal at a nice restaurant for less than that. Consider yourselves warned.

Food Court at Buford Highway Farmers Market (BHFM)
5600 Buford Highway NE
Doraville, GA 30340
(770) 455-0770

Food Court at BHFM on Urbanspoon

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Sweet Hut Bakery

Sweet Hut Bakery (BuHi)

Sweet Hut Bakery (BuHi)

There’s this new bakery in Asian Square that opened this past Saturday. Funny that it’s a Malaysian bakery catering to Korean people with Korean baked goods and Taiwanese snacks. The inside is really, really cute with purple chairs and tables. And you can hang around until 2AM on weekends! Like all new hip bakeries everywhere in Asia, this one is made to look the same — including self-serve style display cases. Grab a tray, line it with paper, pick up a pair of tongs, and choose away.


Sweet Hut Bakery (BuHi)

Sweet Hut Bakery (BuHi)

I am not that impressed with their French style bread and pastries. The croissants are crunchy and absent of flaky, buttery layers. Instead, they are dense and chewy. Other breads are merely passable. There’s a mocha bread that tasted more like brown sugar. If you want really, really good Asian bread/pastries, you’re better off going to Mozart across the street or HongKong Bakery next door. Bubble teas aren’t impressive either. Go to Quickly at the plaza next door for stellar boba. Other drinks are okay but nothing to write home about. Still, this is a hang out place where you can literally spend hours whiling time away but you won’t spend an arm and a leg for the goodies. Most baked goods start at around $1.

Sweet Hut Bakery (BuHi)

Sweet Hut Bakery (BuHi)

But wait. There is only ONE thing you MUST get here. The BLACK PIG. The label says squid ink, bacon, garlic.

Sweet Hut Bakery (BuHi)

But when I opened it… SPAM SURPRISE!!! O. M. G. This is the BEST bread in the world. You can hardly taste the squid ink in the bread but the garlicky slice of spam sandwiched inside is pure heaven. This bread IS heaven.

Run, don’t walk, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Get that awesome Black Pig. You can thank me later.

Sweet Hut Bakery & Cafe
5150 Buford Hwy
Ste A-100
Doraville, GA 30341
404-996-1993

Sweet Hut Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon

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