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Pho Xe Lua (Train)

by - March 22, 2014

If you're looking for authentic Vietnamese cuisine then Train (Xe Lua) isn't the place for it. However, it's an okay place to eat after a late night at the club, show, or the movies. It should be noted that the place can get quite busy post-clubbing on a Friday or Saturday night as it's one of the few restaurants that are open super late in Chinatown.

I have been to Train (Xe Lua) a few times after nights out with friends in the past few years. However, this review is based on a more recent dinner experience (about 2 months ago). The restaurant isn't that hard to miss with its bright red sign with a cartoonish train on it, and it's located on the upper level.

The minimalist decor and non-existent service isn't very appealing to first time customers. However, there are a few positives such as the prices are affordable, menu is rather extensive, and the food usually arrives out pretty quickly. Like I mentioned previously, don't expect to be warmly greeted by the employees here. It's basically a place for a quick bite to eat, hence its fast turnover rate.

The pork chop on rice with steamed egg ($7.50) arrived on a white plate with a good ration of rice and a thin slice of pork chop. The pork chop was sliced so thin, and too sweet for my taste buds. The meat did not taste like Vietnamese cuisine to me, but had a rather distinct Chinese flavor to it. I actually don't recommend this dish at all.

The minced shrimp on sugar cane (2 pieces) [#608] ($5.00) were rather small but tasted decent. 

My second half of the meal was the BBQ chicken, grill meatballs and spring rolls vermicelli [#316] ($8.00). I liked the BBQ chicken as it was grilled well and rather flavorful with a hint of lemongrass and fish sauce. However, I was not a fan of the spring roll. The texture was rather mushy instead of crispy and it came out cold.

The mango and durian milkshakes ($3.50 each) were surprisingly good. I really liked the fact that they made it fresh and the drinks weren't pre-made. My durian shake was full of flavor, and it didn't taste watered down at all. Xe Lua's milkshakes are on the top of my list whenever I'm craving for a cool drink.


Quality of Food: 3/5
Service: 3/5
Overall Dining Experience: 3/5
Price: $
Address: 254 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON, M5T 2C2

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