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This is the kind of modest, family-run spot where $20 can buy dinner for two, and where the owners’ friendly nieces and nephews make up the majority of the staff. But for a humble neighborhood restaurant, Noodles Pho Me is full of surprises. The first is that, despite the prominent placement of pho — the Vietnamese noodle dish — in the name of the business, Noodles Pho Me is actually a Laotian restaurant.  Everything else on the menu besides the pho is Lao, from the other two noodle soups (khao poon and khao soy) to the Lao-style fermented sausages. The pho itself is a distinctly Lao take on the dish — richer, darker, and more intensely spiced than the typical Vietnamese version. The other surprise is that each meal starts with an elegant tasting of each of the restaurant’s three main broths, which was such a customer-friendly touch, it’s a wonder that more restaurateurs haven’t thought to do it.

— Luke Tsai

Hours: Mon.–Tue., Thu.–Sat. noon–8 p.m.; Sun. noon– 6 p.m.

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Price: $-$$

Payment Type: Cash, all major credit cards

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