Westminster aka ‘Little Saigon’ is the largest community of Vietnamese people living in the United States and it’s undoubtedly the mecca for Vietnamese food. And with the abundance of restaurants in the area, it’s hard to figure out which restaurants really stands out from the rest. Have no fear, we hand picked 15 of the best restaurants that Westminster has to offer.
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The most pivotal aspect that comes under scrutiny when determining whether or not a pho place is up to par is the broth.
The broth is the heart of a bowl of pho. It’s the thing that unites the noodles, the meat, the herbs and the condiments into one harmonious symphony of flavors.
Every pho restaurant to some varying degree uses the same ingredients: beef, tendon, tripe, noodles, basil, jalapeños, bean sprouts, cilantro, but what separates good pho from bad pho is the broth.
The broth at Pho 79 is rich, strong and deep. It soothes the soul with nourishment. You would be doing yourself a disservice if you hose down the broth with Sriracha and Hoisin. It’s one of those broths that you keep sipping and sipping with your soup spoon.
Pho 79’s dedicated to their craft hasn’t gone unnoticed. They were recognized by the Michelin guide for having ‘some of the best and most praiseworthy pho in southern California’ and in 2019 they were awarded the prestigious James Beard Award.
It would not be hard to argue that Pho 79 crafts the best bowl of pho in Orange County and I would even further extend my claim and say that they have the best bowl of pho in America.
9941 Hazard Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92844
Ham ‘n Scram
Ham and Scram is one of the few restaurants on this list that isn’t Vietnamese food. Located in a nondescript strip mall of the 405 fwy, Ham n’ Scram is a breakfast spot that is serving one of the best breakfast burritos in Orange County.
The first thing you’ll notice about their breakfast burritos is that their tortilla is grilled to perfection. The texture is slightly crispy but still soft on the inside. Inside the burrito you will find ham, bacon, eggs, hash browns, bell peppers, onion and gooey cheese. The ratio of the ingredients is perfect. It’s not overbearingly meaty and its not monotonously filled with hash browns. Every bite fills your mouth with a harmonious interlocking of flavor.
If you want to treat yourself to some indulgence, opt for the double meat burrito. Either plan a hike afterward to re-calibrate, or a nap.
5871 Westminster Blvd., Westminster, CA 92683
There was a time when Lees Sandwich was the talk of the town when it came to Banh Mi, but their rapid expansion severly diminished the quality of their offerings. Tan Hoang Huang or THH has stepped in and filled their shoe as the best Banh Mi shop in town.
The baguettes are always fresh and has the right combination of crunch and soft and does not cut up the roof of your mouth.
My favorite is the Dac Biet sandwich aka the special combination, which consists of cold cut ham, pork, chicken pate, mayo, pickled daikon and carrots, cucumber, green chili and cilantro.
The best way to enjoy their banh mi is immediately after they hand it to you. Don’t take it home and save it for dinner. Eat it then and there and thank me later.
6926 Westminster Blvd Westminster, CA 92683
Even though Brodards isn’t technically in Westminster (its in Fountain Valley), I know that if I had left it off the list, I would get a swarm of angry emails blasting me for their exclusion.
I’ve written quite a few best-of articles and Brodards has found its way in at least 3 of those articles.
I have noticed 3 fundamental tenets when it comes to my experience with Brodards:
1. Everything here is excellent and when I say everything, I literally mean everything. I have yet to encounter anything that I dislike.
2. Anyone that I introduce to this restaurant becomes an automatic fan.
3.Vietnamese Grandmas who are picky eaters, even like this place.
Why are you still sitting here reading this? Get up, get in your car and drive to this restaurant. Now!
16105 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Seafood Cove 2
These are some fighting words, but I’ll stand by it: Seafood Cove 2 is arguably the best Dim Sum restaurant in Orange County.
It is a classic dim sum restaurant. It’s not a hipster restaurant that tries to deconstruct har gow or siu mai nor is it a upscale place that puts truffles or caviar on the chicken feet.
Seafood Cove sticks to tradition and does it magnificently so. You order your items off of pushcarts that circulate the room and there are plenty of carts so you are not always waiting for food.
If you come on Saturday or Sunday mornings, be prepared for lines out the door and at least a 45 mins to 1 hour. Get there when it opens at 8:30am and you have a 30 minute window before things start to really pick up.
9211 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683
Bun Bo Hue is pho’s lesser know brother. Although it doesn’t get nearly as much admiration and acclaim that pho gets, it is equally tasty and nourishing. Recently, it has started to penetrate the foodie consciousness, however it still flies under the radar of most non-Vietnamese palate‘s.
Much like pho, the broth is everything in Bun Bo Hue and when done properly, it is rich, deep and an entirely rewarding experience for the taste buds.
Ngu Binh’s bun bo hue is arguably the best in town and is the next best alternative to mom’s or grandma’s bowl. The broth is super flavorful and balances beautifully with the noodles, pork hock, pork blood and the pork patty.
14092 Magnolia St Ste 116 Westminster, CA 92683
Com Tam Tien Hoa
If you are looking for a restaurant that serves the best Vietnamese broken rice plate, look no further than Com Tam Tien Hoa.
Com Tam is basically rice that has been fragmented and broken down during the handling process. It has been consumed by poor rice farmers in the Mekong Delta during poor harvest seasons for ages. This practice eventually found its way into the streets of Saigon and eventually immigrated into America along with the legions of Vietnamese who came after the war.
Com Tam is usally served with a protein (pork or beef) alongside a meatloaf omelette, pickled vegetables and garnished with scallions and served with a side of a sweet fish sauce.
13531 Beach Blvd Westminster, CA 92683
With the exception of Brodards, each restaurant on this list is known for a certain delicacy in the Vietnamese culinary vernacular. Quan Mii is known for their banh xeo or Vietnamese crepes.
While you normally associate crepes with being soft, sweet and filled with jams, fruits, Nutella and similarly sweet fillings, Vietnamese crepes are irresistible crispy, delicate with a golden crust on the outer edges. The insides are filled with delicious pork, shrimp, onions and bean sprouts.
Eating banh xeo is a hands-on affair, where the crepe is broken up, wrapped in veggies and dipped in a flavorful fish sauce.
You ask anyone in Little Saigon where the best banh xeo is and they will undoubtedly point you to Quan Mii.
9541 Bolsa Ave Westminster, CA 92683
When you come to Mai Phung, you come here for the Banh Canh Tom Cua, a noodle soup dish that is comprised of thick udon-like noodles, shrimp, pork, crab meat, topped with fresh cilantro and green onions and served in a fragrant broth that has been labored over for hours. .
Don’t skip on the egg rolls, they are phenomenally crispy and incredibly delicious and pair perfectly with the vegetables and the fish sauce.
The place is a hole in the wall with very limited seating, so unless you get their at an off hour, there will be a wait.
8415 Westminster Blvd Westminster, CA 92683
Bien Hen Restaurant
Bien Hen is the type of restaurant where you get a bunch of friends and family together, order some Vietnamese seafood and drink beers and share stories and laughter. It is very similar to the trendy Oc and Lau, but there’s no wait and the prices are cheaper.
They have a wide variety of seafood items including clams, squid, snails, shrimp and prawns, but the highlight of the menu is the fried catfish. They have sizes from small to xxl and when I went there with 2 other people, we order the large and it was a considerable amount of fish.
The fried catfish is incredibly crispy on the outside and they serve it with rice paper paper, rice noodles, vegetables and a few different dipping sauces. For the uninitiated, you basically make spring rolls with all the ingredients they provide and you dip it in the sauce. Think of it like rolling a mini-burrito.
We thought we wouldn’t be able to finish the whole catfish but it we polished it off with ease, albeit, it put us in a food coma afterwards.
14092 Magnolia St Ste 121 Westminster, CA 92683
Canton is a Cantonese/Vietnamese restaurant and is widely regarded as the best chao ca places in Little Saigon.
It has two dishes which it is specifically known for, fish porridge and dill turmeric fish.
The fish porridge is the perfect meal in the morning or on days when you feel homesick and want something to bring back memories of mom’s cooking.
The technique when ordering the fish porridge is to ask for the fish on the side and raw, so you can dip it in the porridge and the fish will be tender as possible. Also order a side of crullers (Chinese fried dough) for dipping as well.
The dill turmeric fish is served on a sizzling platter and is crispy and full of wonderful flavors. It comes with fresh greens for wrapping up the fish and a nuoc mam dipping sauce.
8550 Westminster Blvd Westminster, CA 92683
Quan Bun Co Giao Thao
Quan Bun Co Giao Thao is a noodle shop that specializes in Bun Rieu, Bun Bo Hue and Canh Bun.
Their Bun Rieu is the highlight of the menu. It’s a noodle soup dish that is flavored with pork based broth and filled with tomatoes, onions, dried shrimp, and a crab paste. Unusual as it sound, it is ridiculously tasty and something that I’d always look forward eating while growing up.
Quan Bun does bun rieu magnificently. The broth is full of intricate flavors that flows harmoniously with all the other ingredients.
If you are looking to expand your Vietnamese food repertoire, the bun rieu at Quan Bun Co Giao Thao is a solid accompaniment.
10212 Westminster Ave Ste 112-113 Garden Grove, CA 92843
In a town where there is a pho place on every corner and where the taste buds of the consumer is finely tuned from having being raised on mom and grandma’s cooking, its quite an achievement when you can distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack and receive the praises of having one of the best pho in town.
The first thing you should do when you get your bowl of pho from PhoHolic is to taste the broth, which has been labored over for hours and hours. It’s deeply aromatic and rich in flavor and maybe one of the best broths you will ever taste and is a strong contender with Pho 79’s.
The noodles, the beef, the tendon, the tripe and the herbs compliment that broth beautiful and makes it such a treat for the taste buds.
The price of a bowl of pho is about $12 and there usually is a wait during peak hours (lunch time and weekends).
14932 Bushard St, Westminster, CA 92683
Luc Dinh Ky
While they served a lot of different items, the Cơm Nướng Cá Salmon is the star of the menu.
Cơm Nướng Cá Salmon consists of crispy rice and crispy salmon. The salmon always tastes fresh and the crispy rice has a nice texture of crispy on the outside and soft on the inside!
They fish sauce that it comes with for dipping is very tasty and compliments the fish and rice beautifully.
If you are in the mood for salmon, the shaken beef and the wonton egg noodle soup are great alternatives.
Plus, every order comes with an iced artichoke tea, which is super refreshing on a hot summers day.
9600 Bolsa Ave Westminster, CA 92683
Banh Cuon Luu Luyen
Sandwiched between an auto repair shop and an insurance office in a non de-script strip mall, Banh Cuon Luu Luyen is serving up the best banh cuon in Westminster and you can ask any Vietnamese person who lives in the area and they will backup that statement.
Banh Cuon, alternatively known as ‘steamed rice rolls’ is a dish that originated from Northern Vietnam and consists of thin sheets of steamed rice batter that is filled with ground pork and minced mushrooms and served alongside scallion oil, fried shallots and Vietnamese sausage.
The prices are fair and the portions are filling, but doesn’t leave you in a food coma or anything. You can eat here and walk away feeling full and content.
14351 Euclid St Ste 1J Garden Grove, CA 92843
Here’s another another non-Vietnamese restaurant that made the list.
Kabab Grill is a restaurant that showcases all the things Mediterranean cuisine can be. Fans will find every classic they’ve come to love including kebabs, gyros, babaganoush, falafels, lentil soup and baklava.
The kebabs and the shawerma are the highlight of the menus. The kebabs come in chicken, kefta, lamb or beef and are cooked to perfection and is tender as can be.
The portions are generous and the prices are very affordable.
18010 Newhope St Suite D, Fountain Valley, CA 92708
The Low-Key Poke Joint
Low-Key Poke has been in business since 2015 and has quickly established itself as the best poke joint in the Westminster area and that can be directly attributed to the quality of their ingredients, their portion sizes and the value given.
Low-Key is like most of the other poke places where you choose your rice, protein, toppings and sauce.
They also have a sushi burrito that they call the “sushirrito”, which consists of rice, salmon, tuna, crab and vegetables rolled into seaweed and dusted with crumbled Hot Cheetos, no less.
It’s located in the strip mall that has a fair share of foodie favorites including Garlic and Chives, 85 Degrees and Oc and Lau.
9904 Westminster Ave Garden Grove, CA 92843