Vi-Ann Restaurant


For all the years I walked by it in Osborne Village, I never once visited Vi-Ann restaurant. I’m not sure why, although Spicy Noodle House has always been my Osborne Village stand-by. Then all of a sudden, in a controversial decision, Vi-Ann was gone. Eventually it re-opened on Notre Dame. However, it was only recently that I noticed the new location. This time I decided I had to make sure I tried it. So, in the last couple of weeks that’s what I did.

Vi-Ann Restaurant menu
The Menu from Vi-Ann restaurant

The feeling when I walked in was that the space had at one time been home to some sort of chain restaurant. It turns out that it was a CIBC branch. While not a restaurant I think the fact that it was a small bank gives it something of a generic feel. As a restaurant, Vi-Anns decor is simple and straightforward. The most notable thing is a large screen TV on the one wall that plays CBC news on an endless loop. However, based on several Vietnamese restaurants that I’ve visited, I know it’s the food and not the decor that is usually the selling point. Vi-Ann is no different.

Late Supper at Vi-Ann

My first visit to Vi-Ann was on a day when it was getting later in the evening and as I wandered down Notre Dame there weren’t a lot of places still open. Vi-Ann was open until 10 pm so I knew I wouldn’t be in a rush to finish my meal. Went I when in I was told to take a seat at any table, and so I ended up right in the middle of the restaurant. While not busy there will still several tables in use.

Despite knowing that I would want to try the Phô at some point, I wasn’t in the mood for it that evening. So I decided to go with the Curry Chicken Sizzler plate. I also added the Pork and Shrimp salad rolls as a starter. Despite the number of people in the restaurant, the order came quite quickly. The salad rolls were fresh and plump, and the peanut sauce was a little thinner than some of the others I tried. I quite liked this, as it was less overwhelming than some of them are. The sizzler plate was huge, with a curry sauce that was reasonably spicy, and like the peanut sauce just a little bit thinner than some, so that it wasn’t as gelatinous at the end. The portion was large enough that with the salad rolls it was all I could manage to finish it (I’m not one for doggy bags).

Vi-Ann salad rolls
Well-filled salad rolls from Vi-Ann restaurant

 

I went again last night. With the rain coming down, I figured I’d take a bus home from St. Philip’s, and the 19 Notre Dame took me close enough to go the last couple of blocks without worrying about getting too wet.

Vi-Ann's
A good portion of curried chicken.

This time, the Phô was definitely my choice. I wanted to try a couple of other items, so I only ordered a large. Along with the Phô I ordered Spring Rolls, a Siopao (meat filled bun), and a Vietnamese Coffee. Of everything I ordered over two visits the Spring Rolls were the one disappointing item. Although not burnt, they pastry seemed a little overcooked and the filling wasn’t particularly appealing. I did enjoy the Siopao, although I prefer the one from Phô Mama.

Vi-Ann rice serving.
There was plenty of rice to go along with the Curried Chicken

The Phô however, I really enjoyed. It started with a thick, dark and rich broth. I ordered the Deluxe Beef. There was a good quantity of meat, and the sliced beef was very tender. The Beef Balls were also tender. What I really liked about this Phô was that the noodles were chewy, adding a sense of substance to the dish.

While I think Phô Mama will still be my first choice in the Notre Dame-McPhilips area, Vi-Ann makes a nice alternative, and is a little bit more direct from my apartment. I certainly expect to come here again over the coming months.
Vi-Ann Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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