When the temperatures dip below freezing, nothing is more comforting than a piping-hot bowl of your favorite noodle soup. Luckily, there are plenty of terrific options in the Queen City. From classic pho to hot-and-spicy ramen bowls, chances are good there’s a noodle dish near you that will warm you up on bone-chilling winter days.
Eat authentic Vietnamese at Pho Hoa
East Charlotte is definitely one of the best areas in town to find truly authentic ethnic foods. Although Pho Hoa is a nationwide franchise, the ownership is local to Charlotte, and you can still find some of the best pho in the city here. Here you’ll find a menu of exotic phos, including brisket, fatty flank, cilantro, and beef tendon. The dish comes served straight out of the kitchen, with big sprigs of thai basil, fresh jalapenos and bean sprouts. The broth is cooked to a perfect balance of savory and salty, making this an excellent bowl for when the cold months have you feeling under the weather.
Warm up close to work at Pho Plus
Work Uptown and need to satisfy your craving for pho? Head over to Pho Plus in Latta Arcade, arguably one of the most vibrant walking stretches of Center City. Pho Plus delivers a massive bowl of hot rice noodles, no matter what variation you choose (beef, chicken, tofu or seafood). The large bowl is pictured here, but the medium bowl is still a very generous serving. In addition to brisket and meatballs, the sliced beef is served rare, and cooks in the broth. Pair this with one of their many flavors of bubble tea, and your cold weather pho craving will be gone with plenty of time to spare before that afternoon meeting.
Discover under-the-radar eats at Saigon Palace
What separates Saigon Palace from other restaurants on this list is the quality of the ingredients used. Don’t let the obscure strip mall facade fool you, this is an excellent location for all foods Asian, and their pho is no exception. Seafood dish Pho Do Bien includes shrimp, crab and scallops with golden thin egg noodles. The broth has some back-end heat, and the taste definitely gets more complex as the ingredients meld together. When the temperature drops outside, head down South Boulevard to warm up from the inside.
Enjoy homespun hospitality at Lang Van
We can’t write a noodle soup blog without mentioning Lang Van, a true Charlotte institution that everyone reading this needs to try if they haven’t already. The pho here is excellent, as are the accompaniments (try the crispy quail), but what really stands out is the service that treats you like family. Lang Van has a steady flow of customers who the staff is on a first-name basis with, and they’ll treat you with the same warmth, even if it’s your first time. I had the Hu Tieu Dac Biet with shrimp, beef, crab, sizable scallops, and rib meat, but you can’t miss with any dish you order.
Go beyond ramen at Yama Izakaya
Japanese noodle soups aren’t limited to just ramen. Udon, a thick wheat flour noodle soup, is often a lighter alternative to many of the beef and pork heavy broths found in ramen. Head to Yama Izakaya on Central Avenue for one of the city’s best udon dishes. The veggie udon offers a satisfying kelp-based broth that has a bold, beefy flavor, without all the fats and oils to weigh you down. Broccoli, carrots, leeks, cabbage and bamboo shoots make for a warm and fulfilling meal.
Challenge yourself at Futo Buta
Conveniently located across from the Bland Street light rail stop, Futo Buta has been one of the hottest restaurants on the scene since it opened in 2015, and it’s not hard to see why. Their flagship ramen bowl, the Tonkotsu, is about as authentic of a dish as you’ll find outside of Tokyo (and perhaps within). Try the Tonkotsu if you’ve never been, but if you’re looking for a behemoth of a meal, challenge yourself to the Buta Bowl. This monster includes pork belly, duck confit and spicy pulled pork, along with double noodles cooked to perfection. The broth is very spicy (thanks to generous chili and cayenne pepper) and even a little smoky. An empty bowl here is an impressive feat.