When anybody talks about the best Vietnamese restaurants in Atlanta, Nam Phuong is one of the names you’re going to hear. I think this place is consistently excellent and always a pleasant surprise. Either by myself or with Marie or with friends, we’ve been to both of their Atlanta-area stores a few times and enjoyed some terrific meals.
Last month, we picked Nam Phuong as a place we wanted to revisit for our Buford Highway Week. We brought the boychild and met up with our friends Helen and Vincent, who brought along a pal named Michele. Since Nam Phuong has the best spring rolls in the city, we had some of those. Helen prefers the summer rolls, but the spring rolls are so good that they’re not to be missed. Since I very rarely order an appetizer, you know I must think that these are terrific.
Marie had lemongrass chicken over vermicelli, as she often has. Vincent and Michele each ordered pho, which is very popular here, and Helen had a rare beef salad and some terrific chicken wings.
We wondered what we might order for our son, and noticed that they have a meatball soup. He absolutely adores meatballs, so we figured we’d try that. Unfortunately, he’s still a bit clumsy and didn’t quite understand that soup is typically served a lot warmer than he was expecting. He let his soup spoon slip into the bowl, and, because four year-olds have no table manners whatever, reached right into the hot bowl to retrieve it. He cried and cried, poor thing, and Marie put all his meatballs on a plate and cut them in half for him. Then she ordered a new glass of water, since we then stuck his poor fingers in that to cool his hand down!
My favorite dishes at Nam Phuong have the broken rice, com, along with a protein. This time, I ordered something new to me, com suon bò, which is grilled beef short ribs with the rice and a small salad. This was excellent. All the adults agreed that this might have been the highlight of the table. Hooray for choosing well! The beef is very flavorful and not at all mild.
Another reason I really like this restaurant: the service is fantastic. Helen has a playful beef with bloggers, pretending that she’s upset that we get the word out and places that previously bring in exclusively native speakers gradually pick up an English-speaking audience. That’s certainly the case here: at least a third of the diners on any given Saturday night are English speakers, and so the restaurant staffs accordingly, with servers who can help curious new guests navigate the big twelve-page menu. Incidentally, unless there is another site that I don’t know, the online menu is for their original store in Norcross, and that isn’t quite the same as the one on Buford Highway, so don’t try to plan ahead. Go with friends, order a lot of food, ask for recommendations, and have a great time at one of the city’s best Vietnamese restaurants.
Other blog posts about Nam Phuong on Buford Highway:
Blissful Glutton (June 8 2011)
The Cynical Cook (Aug. 24 2011)
Spatialdrift (Aug. 4 2012)
Eat it, Atlanta (June 27 2013)
Cat the Critic (June 9 2014)
Burgers, Barbecue and Everything Else (Jan. 24 2015)
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