For most of us, dinner is something we do before going out – it’s good for having a conversation before the deafening club, getting some food in your system to last until the late-night pizza run, or to get a bottle of wine deep before braving the dance floor. But at the right restaurant, dinner can stand on its own – and Pho Republique is just the place. This South End standby is good for groups and has enough drinks and small plates to keep people entertained all night long.
Location: Pho Republique is located deep in the South End. The neighborhood is home to many of Boston’s hottest new restaurants, but it’s no easy feat to get there from campus. Public transportation is limited, so cab is the best option – but a pricey one. Expect a $20-25 cab ride, so bring your friends to help defray the cost of transportation.
Atmosphere: The restaurant is loungey and dim, and is filled with young, stylish South Enders. Don’t expect authentic Asian design (or food) but the space is attractive and has a fun vibe. The room isn’t huge, but seating is split between small tables for couples and larger ones for groups of 6-10, so it can work for any occasion.
Wait: On a Friday or Saturday night, the wait at Pho Republique can be over an hour long. If you can plan ahead, definitely make a reservation. If you’re not the planning type, call and sweet-talk the hostess into putting your name on the waiting list before you get there. Sometimes it works, sometimes not – so if you’re stuck waiting for a table, be thankful for the
Bar: Luckily, the bar at Pho Republique is perfect for whiling away a long wait. Cocktails like mango margaritas, lychee martinis and Indochine punch satisfy a sweet tooth, while pitchers of beer and several sake choices take care of everyone else. If the wait is truly terrible, scorpion bowls are a last resort.
Service: Young, trendy waitstaff are fun, but service at Pho Republique can often be slow and painful. If you’re in a hurry, it’s probably not your place. On a more positive note, you never feel rushed – so once you’re at your table you can drink and snack for as long as you please.
Food: The specialty of the house is pho, a steamy, comforting bowl of noodles and fragrant beef broth garnished with the protein of your choice. That being said, most tables rarely get past the appetizer menu, which offers a variety of $8-10 items that are great for sharing. Standouts include the grilled candied garlic spare ribs, the crispy tuna spring rolls, won ton soup, and the vegetarian rangoon spring rolls. For the indecisive, the pu pu platter lets you sample a bit of everything. Seasonal offerings take advantage of fresh produce, such as artichokes with chili lime butter in spring and wild mushroom potstickers in fall. If you make it to the entrees, a variety of noodle dishes and grilled meat and fish fill out the menu. If you make it to dessert, well, you have more restraint than your trusty reviewer.
1415 Washington St.