Best Of

Best Vietnamese Restaurant


Tiny, super-casual (note the sriracha and soy sauce on the table, the crummy napkins, the plastic cups), and — above all — cheap, V-Nam Cafe may not look like a “best,” but, as with a book, one shouldn’t judge an establishment by its cover. The most expensive item on the menu is $8.50, and a classic pork banh mi is a mere $6, but take a bite and it becomes immediately apparent how far a dollar can go if you know where to spend it: You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better rendition in the city, especially for this price. Same goes for the spring rolls, made with a little extra mint to stand out. And meanwhile the pho, at its best with chicken, is always perfectly seasoned. Maybe you can have a better “dining experience” elsewhere, but it’s tough to find fast, cheap eats that you wouldn’t mind paying a little extra for, and V-Nam Cafe delivers just that without sacrificing authenticity. 20 First Avenue, Manhattan 10003, 212-780-6020,

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 13, 2015

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