Bites Nearby: Savoring Saigonese Restaurant
A vegetarian diner reviews the Vietnamese offerings at Saigonese Restaurant.
Saigonese Restaurant is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to eat in Wheaton. Serving up great vegetarian and omnivorous Vietnamese cuisine, Saigonese is tucked away on Grandview Ave in Wheaton Triangle.
Admittedly, there’s not much enticing about the exterior of Saigonese Restaurant. The storefront, like the interior layout, has a simple and symmetrical design. The dining space is a large, open, rectangular room. Tables are arranged in three aisles facing the east entrance.
What I liked about the set-up is that tables are spaced far enough apart that the dining experience feels private. Both times I’ve visited have been weeknights, and it’s been quiet and not too crowded. I imagine it gets more lively on weekends because the setting and seating are especially well suited to large groups.
I hope you won’t think I’m a cynic when I say good service is hard to find. To be honest, I would give Saigonese a B-. The atmosphere is informal: guests seat themselves and the one-person wait staff occasionally checks in. It takes a while to get the ball rolling, but once the orders are finally placed, the waiter soon returns to the table with wonderfully fragrant, steaming hot food in hand.
Saigonese offers up a number of appetizers or side order portions, including fried rolls, spring rolls, and grilled meats served with vermicelli or rice ($3.50-$7.50). For diners seeking a hearty, meaty dish, Saigonese offers several soups and nine entreé options all priced around $10. If you’re looking to eat light, try the Saigonese Special Salad.
But what really impressed me is that there are also nine delicious meat-free dishes (also priced around $10 each). Please double-check with the wait staff, but I believe the majority of the vegetarian dishes are dairy-free.
I can personally recommend the Hue Spicy Tofu Soup and the Tofu Sautee with curry sauce. Generally speaking, I don’t like tofu or any other meat substitute food product, but the way the chefs at Saigonese prepare the tofu is excellent. I don’t know if it’s boiled, scrambled, or deep fried, but it was flavorful and had a great texture. Also notable is the inclusion of one gluten-free, vegetarian dish.
For those diners seeking the best value, I suggest ordering Banh Mi, a sub-like sandwich priced at only $3 and served with fresh-cut vegetables. There are nine varieties and one is vegetarian.
I say go. I think you’ll enjoy yourself, the place, and the excellent food.
Have you eaten at Saigonese Restaurant? Rate your experience and leave a review on the restaurant's Patch listing.