You never know what sort of gem you might find just a few streets down from your hood. Like a local Vietnamese restaurant that plays funny pet videos on an overhead television while playing Kenny G over and over and over and over and over while you enjoy your delicious food. What’s there not to love?
This was pretty much our experience during our very first visit to Saigon Noodle & Grill restaurant. Located in the ever-growing Milk District, we’ve been passing by this place for years and have always wanted to stop in so that’s exactly what we finally did.
Saigon Noodle & Grill®, a family-owned business, offers authentic Vietnamese cuisine in Orlando’s Milk District.
Specialties include Pho (Vietnamese Beef noodle soup), “Shaking Beef” rice platters, Pan-fried noodle dishes, and special family style entrees. – via the Saigon Noodle & Grill website
Once you step foot through the front door, you’ll notice the dining area is essentially one large room. Now, the set-up here is already COVID cognizant, being that around the exterior of the dining room are booths separated by high backs. So if you’re hyper-sensitive about maintaining appropriate distances from other guests this is a pretty good place to consider. In addition to the booths there are several large tables in the center of the room.
Now, let’s get to what we really came here for: The food. We love Vietnamese food and there’s unarguably a plethora of options to choose from in the Central Florida area.
For a couple of appetizer options we opted for:
The bean sprout salad is actually a complementary item that comes with many of the meals. So it was delivered before any of the main courses, and was there for the entire table to enjoy. Not a whole ton of flavoring to this dish but…it’s a sprout salad! Just sprinkle a little bit of lime juice (from the lime that comes along with it) and voila – you’ve got a little kick of flava! And similarly the summer rolls don’t inherently have a ton of flavor either, but there’s is a dish of peanut sauce that comes along as an option for dipping or spreading on top. We’re not typically fans of these traditional summer rolls as the texture is a bit odd (if you’ve ever had one and our texture-sensitive eaters like we are then you totally know where we’re coming from).
After sprouting and rolling our way through the apps, we moved on to the main course and everyone in the party devoured their dish. Let’s take a look at what arrived at the table:
This fried rice platter–one of many similar options found on Saigon’s menu–is a combination of Shrimp, Beef, Roasted Pork and Chicken. Upon the server’s recommendation we even had a little sausage thrown in for good measure. And while it’s probably attractive to some patrons we have to say the sausage was not, not, not a good choice; it had a very particular seasoning that just didn’t appeal to our taste. It might have actually been some sort of marinade that actually likely sat on their for days. Regardless, that can be overlooked and the rest of the dish was really very enjoyable.
The other members of our culinary clan ordered some traditional items as well. The Phở Tái, Chin, Bò Viên dish is unarguably a classic in noodle houses. In fact, for many it’s the very reason they patron a place like Saigon Noodle & Grill, right? Now we didn’t actually taste this particular dish but according to the one who ordered it–who, by the way, has spent time in Vietnam and had this truly, truly authentic food–it was very tasty, contained the perfect flavor, and reminded them of said time spent in southeastern Asian country. (Side note: It’s already at the top of our list of things to try on our next visit.)
Next up on the table is the special rice platter with Shrimp and Chicken combo stir fried in garlic & butter sauce. Pretty simple and to the point, but according to the recipient of this colorful dish the flavors of the meat were plentiful…and the veggies were the perfect complement. This is definitely another one on the list of things to try.
FUN FACT: Our group was actually served by the owner of the restaurant, so that certainly added to the family-feel, small business aspect we so often love supporting.
One thing in particular to take note of about this place–and we should have inquired–is there appears to be a sectioned off area of the main dining area (see second image above) where special events can be hosted. We’re not sure if this area is like this permanently, all the time, or if it was just set like this during this particular evening. Something to consider if you’re looking for something different to do for a future gathering with family or friends.
Saigon Noodle & Grill
101 North Bumby Avenue
Orlando, FL 32803
Have you ever dined or gotten take-out at Saigon Noodle & Grill?