Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Home > Restaurants > Sao Mai Vietnamese Cuisine

Sao Mai Vietnamese Cuisine

Critic's Pick Critics' Pick

203 First Ave., New York, NY 10003 40.730368 -73.983608
nr. E. 12th St.  See Map | Subway Directions Hopstop Popup
212-358-8880 Send to Phone

    Order Online

  • Cuisine: Vietnamese
  • Price Range: $$

    Key to Prices and ratings

    • Almost Perfect
    • Exceptional
    • Generally Excellent
    • Very Good
    • Good
    Cheap Eats
    • Best in Category
    • Excellent
    • Delicious
    • Very Good
    • Noteworthy
    • Very Expensive
    • Expensive
    • Moderate
    • Cheap
  • Reader Rating: Write a Review
Photo by Christina von Messling

Share this listing


Daily, 11am-10:10pm

Nearby Subway Stops

L at First Ave.; L at Third Ave.



Payment Methods

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Special Features

  • Delivery
  • Good for Groups
  • Lunch
  • Take-Out
  • Online Ordering
  • Reservations Not Required


  • Beer and Wine Only


Accepted/Not Necessary

Delivery Area

1st St. to 27th St., Ave. C and Broadway


You might not expect much when walking into this no-frills, casual Vietnamese restaurant. The waitstaff is hurried, almost unfriendly, and the décor is a refined kind of kitschy, with taxidermied butterfly murals, bamboo wall-art, and a token coolie hat mingling with bright flowers and vinyl-dressed seats. However, what the restaurant lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in flavor. While many are first seduced by the house pho, a beef-based soup bobbing with slices of fatty brisket and rare tenderloin, it's the spring rolls, papaya salad, and the bánh mì that make this a regular haunt for hung-over NYU students and neighborhood types alike. The beef watercress salad, a dark horse compared to the more obvious rice and noodle choices, is less of a salad and more of an entrée-size ode to everything right about tender beef and glazed sauces. Other standouts, like the shrimp summer rolls and the lemongrass chicken and rice, demonstrate how versatile this menu is.

Recommended Dishes

Shrimp summer roll, $5.50; beef watercress salad, $9; pho Sao Mai, $9.50