Restaurant: Pho Maple Noodle House
Address: 468 29th St, Suite 11, Courtenay, BC V9N 7S7
Summary: One of the few Vietnamese (and Chinese) restaurants in Courtenay, Pho Maple Noodle House serves average-tasting pho catered to a Canadian palate, with little noodle customization available. Although cheap with big portions, I would not eat here again unless I lived here.
Who goes for pho when they’re visiting Vancouver Island? Apparently me. And it’s all because someone really wanted soup for lunch as we were checking out of Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa over the weekend (check out The Breakwater Restaurant @ Kingfisher).
Urbanspoon Zomato app on my phone to search for Restaurants Nearby, Pho Maple Noodle House popped up with a strong rating of 88% (Note: As I write this post, I realize now that there are only 7 reviews and maybe we could have checked out Saigon Noodle House instead) and was a 10min drive away.
A little hole-in-the-wall, Pho Maple Noodle House is located within a plaza right next to a salon. The restaurant looks plain and outdated not only on the outside, but the inside as well. Upon entering, it is a fairly small and simple place with just 6-8 tables.
Although a Vietnamese and Chinese restaurant, it was bit funny that we were the only Asians there, not including the owner. We went around noon, and the restaurant was semi-busy with most tables taken.
Here’s what we got to eat:
A big dish with vibrant colours from the bell peppers. The curry powder and thinly sliced chili peppers gave this dish a spicy kick, offset by the savoury cha siu pork.
Would order again
A bit disappointing. The broth was very salty, not because of too much MSG, but because of too much salt. It didn’t taste like typical, authentic bun bo hue, but its flavours tweaked to be Westernized. We added sriracha to make it taste better.
Would not order again
We also got Salad Rolls that I forgot to take pictures of because we were hungry and devoured them too quickly. The salad rolls were average-tasting and the bean sprouts didn’t look super fresh but good enough as I’m not picky.
The service was good from the one and only server in the restaurant, but unfortunately Pho Maple Noodle House offers little customization for noodle choice, compared to other Vietnamese pho restaurants in Vancouver and San Francisco. We had asked for half egg noodles, half vermicelli for the Bun Bo Hue but was told that they only had vermicelli. Boo.
All in all, the meal was decent and we paid a total of $25 including taxes and tip between the two of us, and we took the leftover Singapore Fried Noodles to-go.
Pho Maple Noodle House
- Quality: Average-tasting with flavours catered to a Canadian palate. Ingredients were not the freshest but just good enough.
- Singapore Fried Noodles – Good. Spicy kick from the curry powder and chili peppers.
- Bun Bo Hue – Average. Very salty broth and not authentic tasting.
- Quantity: Big portions offering good value for the prices, with leftovers to go.
- Ambience: Small hole-in-the-wall in a plaza next to a salon. Interior is as plain and outdated as the exterior, with 6-8 tables and a casual, quiet atmosphere.
- Pricing: Cheap (approx. $10 per person)
- Service: Good. The one and only server in the place was friendly and quick to take our order.
Eat Here Again? No. Pho Maple Noodle House serves average-tasting, Westernized pho, most likely to suit the taste of locals who frequent here. The portions are big and the prices cheap, so I would probably come here for cheap Vietnamese/Chinese food if I lived in Courtenay, but I would probably not visit again if I was on the Island, just because I am spoiled by good authentic Vietnamese food in Vancouver.
Over the next few days, I’ll update with more of our food adventures from Vancouver Island, so stay tuned!