Kim's Vietnamese Restaurant

748 Johnson Street tel: 385-0455 Mon-Thu 11am-2:30pm, 5pm-8pm; Fri-Sat 11am-2:30pm, 5pm-8:30pm; Sun 5pm-8pm 


Eating at Kim's is like taking a one hour holiday to Vietnam. While, the rustic decor and sketchy washrooms may not appeal to every diner, if you've ever visited South-East Asia, this ambiance will bring back memories of those itsy-bitsy, family-run restaurants, where service, food and value dominant and style is very personal. 

Having arrived after the lunch rush, it took a little while to be seated as all the staff had retreated to the kitchen. When the server did poke his head out the door, he directed us promptly to a table with a cheery smile. We were served tea immediately and Patty ordered a Sing Tao beer ($4.95).

The menu  is fairly easy to navigate, with plenty of selection, but not so much that you get lost reading it. Our orders were taken swiftly and the food arrived within a few minutes - Kim's is clearly used to dealing with time-sensitive lunch diners.

Patty ordered the lunch combo #1 ($9.75), based on my recommendation that the prawn cake is a must-see item. Indeed he was impressed with the dish - a prawn mousse, wrapped around a sugar and then deep-fried. Also, on the combo, highly seasoned, skewered pork meatballs, rice vermicelli, green salad, spring rolls, Vietnamese vinaigrette and peanut sauce.  It sounds like a lot of food, but it was portioned surprisingly well so as to get a taste of everything, without leaving you in digestive distress.

I had the classic Pho Tai ($6.95), rice noodles in beef broth with sliced rare beef, with a side of fresh bean sprouts, cilantro and lime. A great simple dish, it was served steaming hot and the beef was truly rare. As is traditional, the best part about this dish is being able to add the garnishes yourself retaining the fresh flavours and textures. The portion was meal sized and good for lunch. This is a favourite dish of mine when I'm looking for a satisfying meal, that is relatively light, calorie-wise.

The beverage list is limited, but they do have a selection of import and local beers. The service is friendly and efficient and since the menu rarely changes, you're safe to ask questions if you aren't familiar with the cuisine. Kim's is a favourite place to go for its comfortable atmosphere, nostalgic ambiance and good, healthy food at value prices.  

Reviewed June 5, 2006