WHY WE LOVE IT: The past year has brought with it a trend that we can get behind: the profusion of authentic restaurants representing cuisines from well beyond our borders. Warm, yet designed with a modern sensibility, this Vietnamese restaurant consistently delivers memorable versions of classics like pho, spring rolls, vermicelli noodle salads, clay pots and more. The epicurean feats are because of who’s in charge—a family with a long history of critically acclaimed eateries in the Twin Cities who relocated here and opened this spot.

IDEAL MEAL: You can’t leave without trying a gargantuan bowl of pho, preferably topped with rare beef (germaphobes, don’t worry—the paper-thin shavings are cooked through seconds after the steaming soup is placed on your table). The broth, simmered for a full day, is rich and complex, with silken strands of rice noodles—and you can give it an extra kick with a squeeze of fresh lime, basil leaves and a tangle of bean sprouts (it’s shareable and you’re still guaranteed to walk away with leftovers). Another must-have is the signature clay pot stuffed with a savory blend of rice, veggies, sausage crumbles, a special sauce and your pick of protein. Coddled in a scalding-hot receptacle, each spoonful is characterized by an unmistakable caramelized crunch.

VIBE: There’s a coziness to the sizable dining room from comfortable chocolate banquettes and tasteful décor, like sconces resembling petite pagodas. Service has room for improvement, but when the waiters are not trying to do five things at once, they’re affable and helpful with stepping folks through the menu. Perfect for a quick getaway from the office or a night out during a busy workweek, it’s open daily for lunch and dinner (except Tuesdays). 

Viet Village, 16571 S. Tamiami Trail, Fort Myers, 208-8368, vietvillagefl.com ​​


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