The Ultimate Midtown Bánh Mì Taste Test

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And I ate every last bite...just kidding.
5. La Baguette - $3.50
Oh, La Baguette. Your fish sandwich is so good. You're the only place that offers to put some Sriracha on the bun along with the mayo. You never have a line. And now, I think I might know why. The pork is nearly too fatty to chew. It has a nice gingery flavor, and the added pâté is a bonus, but the overly fatty meat put this sandwich in last place for me.

4. Simply Pho - $3.25
There's nothing wrong with Simply Pho's bánh mì. The pork isn't too fatty, and it has a solid grilled flavor. There are carrots and cilantro and a slice each of jalapeño and cucumber. But this sandwich didn't really stick out in my mind like some of the others did. It's good, but boring.

3. Cali Sandwich - 3.25
This chargrilled pork has the best smoky flavor of any of the sandwiches. It tastes almost like beef jerky with a hoisin sauce glaze. The pork is cut into thin strips in a seeming imitation of the shredded carrots also stuffed into the baguette. Aside from the great flavor of the pork, this sandwich is pretty standard as well.

2. Thien An - $4.06
Back from the dead, Thien An has bánh mì enthusiasts all over town excited to get back to the Vietnamese restaurant for pho, bánh xèo and, of course, sandwiches. The sandwich from Thien An is the most expensive I found, but it's also one of the best. There's no pâté on the baguette, but the pork is lean with a good grilled flavor, and the carrots are mixed with pickled daikon for an extra crunch.

1. Les Givral's - $2.98
Well, true to what many people claim, I found Les Givral's bánh mì to be the best in Midtown. It's the biggest and the least expensive, and it's also everything a Vietnamese sandwich should be. The pork is lean and flavorful with a big hit of fish sauce and umami from the grilling. There's a generous smear of pâté on the baguette, and the pickled veggies are more infused with vinegar than in the other sandwiches. This is also the spiciest. Even after taking the huge jalapeño slice out to munch on it separately, I found the sandwich maintained a spicy heat.

And now, if you want to know which sandwiches are pictured in the main photo, left to right they are: Les Givral's, Simply Pho, Cali Sandwiches, La Baguette and Thien An.


Location Info

Cali Sandwich

3030 Travis, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Thien An

2611 San Jacinto St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

La Baguette French Bakery

6108 Wilcrest Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Givral's Sandwich & Cafe

2704 Milam St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Simply Pho

2929 Milam St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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49 comments
Rodney Barnes
Rodney Barnes

NoBi Grill here in Friendswood, corner of 528 and Blackhawk. Tried others, won't go anywhere else.

TonyTX
TonyTX

Obviously you guys didn't try Nguyen Ngo 2 on Bammel. THAT'S the best.

Lâm Tran
Lâm Tran

Les Givral best banh mi in Houston . Just like all banh mi, it's good when its freshly made

Loc Tran
Loc Tran

Homemade banh mi is the best!!! Hands down to mama's cooking every time.

Anh Tu
Anh Tu

It's pretty good there.

Becky Ardell Downs
Becky Ardell Downs

need a city-wide showdown. I nominate Vietnam Poblano on Gessner.

Gotti Obando
Gotti Obando

Not better then the place on bellaire and the beltway

Jim Miner
Jim Miner

Oh yea love em and I'm sitting at my office looking across the parking lot at Thien An

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard topcommenter

And now you need to try the Vietnamese Egg Rolls at Hollywood Vietnamese on Montrose.

Chris Sac
Chris Sac

Next time we go back Elizabeth Ann Santos

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

Givrals would get my vote, though the douche bags come in droves now on the weekends running the line out the door. Thein An was better at their old location but would be my runner up, though I do love the spacious new restaurant.

ESandler
ESandler

Love banh mi! My record in one sitting is 12. 

And was still able to enjoy a light dessert of che dau trang.

BobbyFreshpants
BobbyFreshpants topcommenter

There is also Cafe Helene to now throw into the mix.

nguyenhm16
nguyenhm16

I used to be a big fan of the old Givral's when it was still in Hoa Binh Center (where the Camden apartments are now).


Tried Les Givrals earlier this year. Ordered what to me is the definitive bánh mì, bánh mì thịt nguội (cold pork) with pâté, and found it nearly inedible, mostly because it came with thick massive slices of meat that were tough to eat and flavorless, and what appeared to be an entire quarter of a cucumber sliced lengthwise. The sandwich definitely had an Americanized super-sizing to it that didn't do it any favors.


Your post definitely inspired me to go to Thien An for lunch though.

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@TonyTX  Nooooo...because this was focused on Midtown...

vonReisendorf
vonReisendorf

@ESandler  

uh, well, the Niko Niko Gyros eating contest is at the Greek Festival this weekend with some national talent. But they got nothin on you babe...

chantulian
chantulian

@nguyenhm16  

The old Givral's in Hoa Binh was run by Nga, who now has Cali Sandwich, and for my money still serves the best banh mi in midtown.


All these banh mi look about the same, and may be close to your office, but for some variation look to Thim Hing on Bellaire or Don sandwiches. Thim Hing use a much thinner, longer bread that is wonderful.

TonyTX
TonyTX

@KaitlinS @TonyTX Your loss and yeah MIDTOWN: the cultural epicenter of Houston? May as well make the Washington Strip the spiritual epicenter of Houston while we're at it. (barf)

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@chantulian @nguyenhm16  Oh yeah, Chinatown has some awesome banh mi. But because Midtown is the former "Little Saigon," I wanted to start here. 

e_sandler
e_sandler

@vonReisendorfNo, just someone who thinks it's clever to use a very similar commenting id. I like to pop up here every now and then just to remind people that it isn't me. 

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