You have your pick from any great number of phở restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley, but it's always worth the drive to Phở Filet, located in a nice strip mall in South El Monte. There, lunchtime crowds as thick as the ones outside Golden Deli will attest to the fact that the gingery phở bac here is about as restorative on a cold day as a bowl of cold noodles is on a hot one. Given the restaurant's popularity, then, it makes sense that the restaurant would open a second location not too far away. And thus: Phở Filet #2 opened a few weeks ago in Rosemead, taking over the big space formerly occupied by Phong Dinh.
Like its first location, Phở Filet #2 has a parking lot, though we'd recommend parking on the street if you're coming for lunch. That would be because trying to get in and out of that lot around noon is a lot like trying to park at Trader Joe's on a weekend: Not impossible, but not particularly pleasant. Especially if you're hungry.
Inside, the dining room is bigger than that at its first location, which you may appreciate if you know how busy the first location can be during peak hours. And if you've found out the hard way that Phở Filet #1 is closed on Tuesdays, you'll also very much welcome the fact that Phở Filet #2 is open every day of the week, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Other than the size of the space and the operating hours, the second location is similar to the first. On the menu here, as there, you'll find a long list of phở, including that terrific phở bac made with fresh thick noodles and green onions. Most feature filet mignon as the primary protein. Bowls are available in two sizes: small and extra-large. (As with many things in life, there is nothing in between. Unless you're absolutely ravenous, then, the small size should suffice.)
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If you're not craving phở, you have a lot of other options: fried rice, say, or quite a few rice vermicelli (bún) plates. Vegetarians will be happy here, too: There are meatless spring and egg rolls, plus a handful of noodle dishes with sautéed vegetables.
After you put in your order and wait the very short wait that it takes for your order to arrive, you may happen to gaze around the room and see not one but two televisions. On a chilly weekday afternoon recently, the TV on our left was tuned to the local news on KTLA, and the one on our right was flipped to an Asian news program. Surely you'll find something to keep you occupied.
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