Big news for aficionados of beef, noodles, and soup: well-loved Côte-des-Neiges pho restaurant Pho Lien just opened a new location downtown.
Christened Pho Lien Express, it’s serving up Vietnamese soups on Bishop Street between de Maisonneuve and Ste-Catherine, in a space that was formerly coffee shop Kafein.
The “express” moniker appears to derive from the fact that the menu is a little smaller than the Côte-des-Neiges Road original, but it’s still more than substantial — all 16 pho varieties are available (including the various combinations of rare beef, brisket, tripe, and meatballs), although the soups are available in just one size, priced at an eminently affordable $11.50.
The “specialties” section of the menu has been slightly pared back, but still features options like imperial rolls and grilled beef, pork, or chicken with vermicelli; there’s also a smattering of lunch deals on the menu.
To drink, there are multiple varieties of Vietnamese coffee, plus a house lemonade.
Despite Pho Lien being in business since the ‘90s (and having built up a major following in that time), it’s the first expansion for the Le family, who own the neighbourhood favourite.
There’s perhaps a slight risk in the fact that the restaurant opened up on a roadwork-plagued section of Bishop that has generally slowed down business for other restaurants in the area, causing multiple businesses (including previous tenant Kafein) to close down. But with a well-established reputation, and one of the best bowls in the city (alongside Pho Tay Ho in Petite-Patrie), they’ll probably be fine.
STATUS — Pho Lien Express is open at 1429a Bishop Street from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday; closed Sunday.
- Pho Lien Express [Facebook]