Sao Mai

203 1st Ave.
New York, NY 10003
Critics' Pick
Best Of


  • Daily 11am-10:30pm
  • $$
  • Takeout, Vegetarian Friendly
  • Dinner, Lunch
  • Beer/Wine
  • Street Parking
  • Reservations Accepted
Sao Mai ("Morning Star"), far from Chinatown in the East Village, offers a Vietnamese menu that doesn’t stray into Cantonese territory, nor does it offer a useless variety of redundant dishes. The pho is probably the best in town, with a light broth barely scented with spices. The house signature variety features brisket, eye of round, and beef balls. The papaya salad is also superb, a crunchy heap of green fruit tendrils flavored with fish vinegar and Vietnamese mint, an herb rarely scene in Gotham. There are a couple of unique items on the menu, too, including an interesting sandwich that uses the banh mi format to showcase pho fixin’s. With its semi-private tables, this is a great place for a date.

Related Stories (5)

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    Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 2 p.m. by Fork in the Road

    Last week, we did a lot of reporting on restaurants operating in the dark, doing whatever they could to provide light and food to those who needed it. We checked in on our review restaurants, both of which happened to be in blackout...

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  • Is Sao Mai Our Best Vietnamese Restaurant?
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 4 a.m. by Robert Sietsema

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