There is a trio of tiny takeout places on the corner of Alakea and Richards St: Greek, Vietnamese and Korean. They each have long lines at lunch time. Today I was craving pho, so I went to the Vietnamese choice, Cafe Diem.
The long line moved quickly, almost too quick for me to read the menu. They have tons of categories: pho soups, rice noodle dishes, rice dishes, combination plates, and vegetarian plates.
I went for the tofu pho soup ($4.50) and a banana tapioca ($0.30...i thought to myself 'did they write that wrong on the daily specials board?' but it was correct)
The pho was much better than expected. I won't go so far as to say it was phenomenal, since this place is a tiny takeout restaurant, but it definitely satisfied me. I had the tofu pho, so it had strips of fried tofu, rice noodles, and it came with a big bag of bean sprouts, basil, and a lemon wedge. There is a self-serve sauce bar where you can put all the soup sauces you want into those little plastic containers.
The best part of the pho was the broth (although that probably means it had a lot of msg in it...)...not too salty, almost a little sweet, a little sour.
The banana tapioca was yummy too, very rich with coconut milk, mashed up banana chunks, and little round tapioca balls.