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“High quality ingredients make for delicious food”

Ngon Vietnamese Bistro
Ranked #132 of 907 Restaurants in Saint Paul
Price range: US$15 - US$20
Cuisines: Vietnamese
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed 11 January 2013 via mobile

This is the real deal here - no msg, fillers, or other garbage trying to pass for food like at many other Vietnamese restaurants. I have been here a handful of times and tried several appetizers, but have not made it past the pho for my entree because it's so good. They use local grass-fed oxtail for the broth, andyou can taste the difference (and feel it! I don't get achey joints and a headache like i do from chemical-based broths.) The complex flavors and nourishing ingredients are a real treat. I am not joking when i say that Ngon's pho is a wonderful alternative to the flu shot.

I've always had decent service here, and it's a nice atmosphere - perfect for a date or night out with friends, a regular old lunch, or using food as medicine ifyou feel a cold or flu coming on (there is truth to the healing benefits of real bone broth! Just get it to-go if you are sick :)

If you appreciate delicious, high-quality food, do not miss out on Ngon!

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Thank tsr118
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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53 - 57 of 84 reviews

Reviewed 3 January 2013

I ate dinner at Ngon during a (frequent) business trip to St. Paul. The restaurant has an open feel, with a high ceiling, bar along one side, paintings hanging here and there, and tables in various areas of the large room, which has dividers. Part of the kitchen is visible from the dining room, which adds a nice touch. The menu is French/Vietnamese, presumably a throwback to the French colonial era in Vietnam, but choices are distinctly either Vietnamese or classical French (pho vs. steak au poivre, for example). This is not the typical Twin Cities Vietnamese place--cheap, hearty fare in basic surroundings. The menu borders on upscale; entrees start at around $9-10. There's a decent wine selection but mostly by the bottle, and only three or four by-the-glass options (one of them Minnesotan--really?). Meanwhile, the ambiance is a little scene-sterish, with progressive rock gently playing in the background. Not one of the (relatively young) people tending bar, taking orders, filling water glasses, or welcoming people was Vietnamese. However, the service was very prompt and friendly, and the food came out promptly but in cooked-to-order time. I ordered the egg rolls with pork--they were just OK, and I disagree with other reviewers who praised them, unless you like fat, overstuffed egg rolls that can sometimes be greasy; my own bias is for the thin, tightly-wrapped Vietnamese egg rolls with vermicelli that seem to have disappeared from the Twin Cities since I lived here from 1984-99, and which basic places like the original Saigon Cafe on 38th and Nicollet served (how I miss them). I also had the bun (warm vermicelli salad) with pork (it comes with an option of chicken, steak, pork, shrimp, or vegetable). The pork pieces were excellent, with that nice, sweet Asian barbecue flavor, but the dish had too much lettuce at the bottom and not quite enough vermicelli. I ordered two glasses of French wine for $8.50 each, a little overpriced, frankly, for the carefully measured amounts. My meal came to $40 with tip, a little high for Twin Cities Vietnamese, though the wine accounted for a chunk of it. In all, I'd recommend Ngon with the caveat that it doesn't seem to know whether it wants to be a typical Twin Cities Vietnamese place, which it's not (try one of the more downscale options within a few blocks, such as iPho), or a more upscale colonial-era French Vietnamese "bistro," which its menu suggests it is but its ambiance and quality doesn't; or a more hip place that happens to serve fairly good Vietnamese food, which it's not, entirely (hip, that is).

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Thank DoctorCompRhet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 November 2012

This place is well worth a monthly visit! Visit more if your time allows! This is one of the best Vietnamese Restaurants anywhere!

Thank Jim L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 September 2012

Some of the very best egg rolls we've found anywhere in the Twin Cities. If you like noodle salads with various options, you will like the choices available.
Service was good. Inside is pleasant (thought the old floor urgently needs work...it's old and looks quite beaten. But that has no impact on the food.
As others have mentioned, University Avenue is torn up so best way to approach this place as of early Sept 2012 is from Avon, from the north.
They have a very nice patio and a nice interior.

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Thank Seniordad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2012

You wouldn't expect to find a cute little place like Ngon on busy and bustling University Ave in St. Paul, but once inside, you're quickly transported to a fancy little place you'd find in NY or somewhere abroad. It's inviting, service is consistently good, but the food isn't the most authentic you can find in the area. It's not bad per se, but I have had much better, and much more authentic Vietnamese food. It's definitely not my first choice when I am craving pho or spring rolls. However, if you're looking to support a restaurant who prides themselves on using locally sourced ingredients, then they're your spot!

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Thank Minnes0ta_Rice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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