129, ave de Choisy, in the 13th Arrondissement.
01 45 83 61 15. Open every day, 9 a.m.–11 p.m.
It’s not even technically winter yet, but you wouldn’t know it in Paris these days. A cold snap worthy of deepest January settled in last week, and temperatures didn’t rise until Saturday during a snowstorm, melting those pretty flakes into freezing wet drops.
The Vietnamese noodle soup known simply as pho—a beef and charred-onion broth, aromatic with spices (yes, that is cinnamon you smell)—is a perfect cold-weather food, its tropical origins notwithstanding.
Paris has no shortage of pho spots, many clustered in the 13th Arrondissement’s Chinatown. That’s where Pho 14 is. You’ll recognize it by the line that forms out the door. We beat the queue last weekend (go before 12:30 to improve your odds) and settled into a tight table along the wall.
This is a no-frills noodle joint, brightly lit with brisk service. In fact, before we even ordered, the garnishes arrived: sprigs of mint and basil, lemon wedges, hoisin sauce, sprouts, chopped chilies and white onion slices.
There is one pho with chicken; the rest are beef, with raw or cooked meat (the raw actually cooks in the broth), boulettes (little meatballs) or some combination thereof.