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“The pho!”
Review of Sun Cafe

Sun Cafe
Ranked #63 of 288 Restaurants in Iowa City
Restaurant details
Reviewed March 2, 2018

Sun Cafe is really tiny. It's in a little strip mall. Even when you know it's there it's easy to miss. Inside there are not many tables. The menu is small with limited options. The owners are your waiters, take your order and bring your your food.

And the food is AMAZING! The egg rolls and the spring rolls are both fresh, tasty, tons of flavor, great texture. I love the pho but the roast duck and roast pork are also both amazing. So much flavor. Excellent portions. Reasonable prices. This place is da bomb!

I almost hate to rave about it because it is so tiny and there may not be room for me the next time I go, but I really love the food.

Date of visit: February 2018
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank rickleed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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4 - 8 of 23 reviews

Reviewed November 25, 2017 via mobile

Nothing fancy as far as decor, but food is great, portions are generous, and prices are fair. A must-visit whenever I'm in IC.

Date of visit: November 2017
Thank BatGuano30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 19, 2017

I had bought a bowl of pho to go from Mai Pho in Iowa City. My 7 year old daughter discovered the joys of pho and ate most of it. She begged for more. Since I was going to be in Iowa City the next day I thought I would give Sun Cafe a try. Husband was on a soft diet, so I ordered the following: 2 beef pho, 1 chicken pho, and a lemongrass beef vermicelli bowl. I ordered it to go for a 1:30 pick up. Here is my critique:

Atmosphere: Hole in the wall place, but who cares? It reminded me of Vietnam, in a good way. (I was there for vacation 15 years ago and loved it.) It was clean and smelled like pho. Very basic. If you want fancy this isn't it. I go out for good food, and for that, their atmosphere will do very nicely, thank you.

Service: Excellent. I ordered my food to be picked up at 1:30. I got there 15 minutes early and was out the door in at 1:23. The chef was very apologetic about the delay (!) but said she didn't want to cook the lemongrass beef early because it doesn't reheat well. I did not have the heart to tell her I had to drive 90 minutes home. She and her daughter would not let me carry my order out, but took it too my car for me. They were so warm and kind.

Food: Wow. I got the lemongrass beef for my son, but he didn't want it, so I ate it. Wow. It was so, so, good. It isn't on the menu, they only have the pork vermicelli on the menu, but they made it for me. IT HAD FRIED SHALLOTS! If you like Vietnamese food, you know how rare it is to find a restaurant that goes to the trouble to fry shallots. The Mekong in IC used to, 20 years ago. SHallots are tedious to fry because the little buggers burn so quickly, they are expensive, and it is a garnish. So most restaurants don't bother. But, oh, they add so much to a dish! I was ecstatic. The pho: My husband loved his chicken pho. I loved the beef pho. My daughter ate hers for 2 consecutive meals because she loved it so much. She did say the meat from Mai Pho in Cedar Rapids was sweeter. They use a different cut. I thought the meat was tender and flavorful, but I am not a 7 year old pho fiend. The broth was redolent with spices, and not at all watery.

I am happy, happy, happy this place exists and I will be back.

Date of visit: October 2017
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Kimshiro B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 17, 2017

I enjoy the wait while the owner chef prepares my meal. The soups are always fresh, tasty and filling. I ask for advice for ordering. For a few dishes, consider using your hands to assist your cutlery. It is culturally acceptable. This is a small venue with food prepared after you order. It is worth the wait. The mother and 2 daughters who work there are special people, personable and very service-oriented. Enjoy your dinner.

Date of visit: December 2016
    • Value
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    • Food
1  Thank mediatingmensan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 5, 2017 via mobile

I don't know if it's the best, but it is delicious and I will return.

Pros: Owned and run by friendly couple, delicious broth in pho and fuller bodied broth than a competing local pho joint, meats are generously added, huge portions, served exceedingly hot just as it should be with rare beef cooking in the broth

Cons: very small (there are certain advantages to this also I'm sure), delays in service with only 2 people working, one size pho only may be way too much for some, more expensive than local competition, very limited menu.

Date of visit: January 2017
Thank Bigemail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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