A sure sign of summer is the number of new restaurants that are popping up all over Toronto! One such restaurant, Dear Saigon Vietnamese Noodle Bar, has opened on College Street just across from the University of Toronto campus. I was invited to sample the menu at Dear Saigon and I couldn’t wait for two reasons: 1) I love Vietnamese food; and 2) I enjoy revisiting the U of T area (my alma mater) any chance I can get!
We arrived at 12 noon on a Friday and chose a lovely table in the front window to watch busy students scurrying by on College Street. There were three other tables occupied. Within five minutes, the restaurant was full and turning away customers, which, of course, is always a fortuitous sign of the food to come!
We started our meal with an order of spring rolls. This popular Asian appetizer arrived hot and crispy and the rolls, which were quite large, were stuffed with veggies! They were served with a dipping sauce (fish sauce, chili garlic sauce and rice wine vinegar).
Our next appetizer was the Grilled Chicken Rolls, which consisted of two decent-sized rice paper wraps with grilled chicken pieces on one side and stuffed with Jasmine rice. The rolls are accompanied by a delicious peanut sauce. This appetizer could easily be shared by two people.
The restaurant itself is bright and cheerful with tables along each side and some in the middle. A profusion of artificial roses covers the front ceiling.
We both chose the Satay Pho with Shrimp for our main. This is a big, hearty bowl of soup with at least four large perfectly cooked shrimp and noodles and topped with fresh cilantro! It is served with a bowl of fresh bean sprouts and fresh mint, which I added to the soup to add a lovely, sweet aroma. The creamy (addictive!) broth is made with a peanut base. As delicious as the noodles were, I couldn’t finish them as I was getting full!
It’s obvious by the dedication to detail and authentic ingredients in the dishes that the owner cherishes the cuisine and culture of Saigon. And I see why local U of T patrons are packing the place!
Dear Saigon is open Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon to 9 p.m.
Those living in the east end will be excited to learn that Dear Saigon will open another location in Scarborough in summer 2023.
Dear Saigon Vietnamese Noodle Bar, 185 College Street, Toronto, 647-368-7551, Instagram: @dearsaigon.official
You may be interested in reading “Irene Restaurant Opens on Corus Quay“.