Gao Viet Kitchen, San Mateo


Gao Viet Kitchen

313 S San Mateo Dr

San Mateo, CA 94401


Gao Viet Kitchen Website

Gao Viet Kitchen, San Mateo

Why did we dine here? – Gao Viet Kitchen is a Vietnamese restaurant in downtown San Mateo. The same folks run several, casual Ben Tre restaurants in San Mateo and Millbrae.
(Which we like for casual fare.)

We dined here a couple years back right after it opened and didn’t find it very compelling. They have improved the menu, added items, and have garnered some Instagram press for there PhoZila $79 noodle dish.

We ate in the summer of 2021 during the pandemic, and were seated in their outdoor Parklet which has good spacing. Inside there isn’t as much spacing. Gao was so good, we have returned.

They do not take reservations, so there are a long wait here. Come earlier or during lunch.

Insider Tip – Line up early

Cuisine – Vietnamese
Location – San Mateo Downtown
Opened – 2018

Service – The service is fair, they are just too busy, so the food takes a long time to arrive. Cocktails arrive in the middle of entrée time. Pandemic excuse bad service time!

Verdict – Gao Viet Kitchen is a step up from your local Pho place and not chi-chi like Tamarine in Palo Alto. Authentic food with quality ingredients. Be prepared to wait.

Is this restaurant worth a 5 minute drive? Yes 30 minute? Yes. 1 Hour? Maybe.

Gao Viet Kitchen Signature Dishes – Giant Prawns, Phozilla, Grilled Lobster, Mr. Bahn Hoi

Gao Viet Kitchen’s Menu is pretty extensive. They outline customer favorites, so order away.

Website Gao Viet Kitchen Menu

Gao Viet Kitchen Food Picks:

Gao Viet Kitchen San Mateo eggplant

Grilled eggplant ($10) was extremely well done with a lot of flavor and perfect cooking. Even non-eggplant fans will rave at this. 9.5/10

Gao Viet Kitchen San Mateo Giant Prawns

Gao signature giant river prawns ($11/each, minimum two) are bathed in a savory butter garlic chili sauce along with some vermicelli noodles. Wow these are just awesome and a mask out. Nice sweet savory flavor that is soft up by the noodles. A must get. 10/10

Gao Viet Kitchen San Mateo Filet Mignon Pho

Filet mignon Pho ($18) filet mignon noodle soup, 24 hour bone marrow beef broth, rice noodles, load of spring onion what is a good version of the classic. Strong robust broth along with tender slices of meat. We would rank this version slightly but no Cupertino’s Pho Hanoi. 8.5/10

Bun Cha ($21) has pork belly slices along with pork balls in fish sauce. Rice noodles and lettuce, mint allow you to put it all together.  Another very good dish. We’d give a slight edge to Pho Hanoi’s due to better meat. 8.5/10

Chef Choice Platter ($22) Chef Choice of 10 mixed pieces of rolls is great for parties of 4+. A nice starter with variety. Nem Nuon Cuon – fresh grilled pork sausage roll is solid. 8/10

Mr. Bánh Hoi ($21) Bánh Hoi Noodle, Grilled Rib Eye, Grilled Pork Sausage (Nem), Imperial Roll, Fresh Vegetable, House Nuoc Mam Sauce is a nice assortment of items for your first visit. You can then fine tune what you like. 8/10

Let’s Pig Out ($21) Com Suon – Rice Platter – Grilled pork chop, sweet sausage, shredded pork, running egg, balance with cucumber, pickle & tomatoes, housemade fish sauce, finished with small bowl of pork broth is also a nice assortment. We prefer the bun cha ourselves. 8/10

Gao Viet Kitchen San Mateo Vegetarian Pho

Vegetarian Pho ($14) is also a decent noodle soup. Tofu, mushrooms, green onions, bean sprouts and a lot more. Also not as good as Pho Hanoi, but pretty decent. 8.5/10

Vegetarian Claypot ($18) has lots of tofu along with some carmelized vegetables like eggplant, pineapple. The Pho is more interesting. 8/10

OK: (Order if you like this dish)

Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)
Ben Tre martini ($12) vodka, passionfruit syrup, lime juice was just too
sweet. We haven’t had a cocktail this week ever. Had to water it down. 6/10

Do you agree with our review? Have you found other similar restaurants that are better?

Restaurant Map:

Gao Viet Kitchen Overall Rating: (Excellent 3)

Come Back?

Food Rating: (Excellent)
Service Rating: (Good)
Atmosphere Rating: (Very Good)
Value Rating: (Very Good)

Guide: 0 = poor, 1 = Below/Average, 2 = Good, 2.5 = Very Good, 3 = Excellent , 4 = Extraordinary

Alcohol:Full Bar

You Might Also Like

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

By using our site you agree to our: Privacy PolicyTerms of Use.

Subscribe to the Free Foodnut Newsletter