Saigon Flavors opened not almost a year ago and has already won Best Vietnamese in the Critic’s choice in this year’s Orlando Sentinel Foodies Awards. That is quite the accomplishment for the “new kid on the block”, and indeed quite the achievement being located so far from the Mills-50 district area where the majority of Vietnamese restaurants are clustered.
Saigon Flavors is located in Oviedo, Florida right off of Aloma Avenue and SR-417 just east of Tuscawilla Road. Although the restaurant is new, the owner Charlie Tang has a long history in the Vietnamese restaurant business, having previously owned Viet Garden on Colonial Drive near Mills Avenue in the “Viet Town” area. He is very much active in Saigon Flavors, manning the front desk and checking up on guests quite regularly during meals.
I enjoyed Saigon Flavors on quite a few occasions and though the flavors are a bit toned down from what I am accustomed to, I do understand as the clientele is a bit more “American” and have differing tastes. I’ll take what I can get out here I suppose.
My favorite item on the menu are their goi cuon / summer roll appetizers ($3.50) filled with shrimp, pork, vermicelli rice noodles, and herbs wrapped in rice paper and served with a hoisin/peanut butter dipping sauce. The bun thit nuong cha gio (rice vermicelli noodles with grilled pork and egg roll) are also fantastic. I did notice however that the cha gio / fried egg roll had much more vegetable filling than I am accustomed to in a Vietnamese egg roll which I did not like. It was tasty though even without alot of meat. The quintessential Vietnamese dish “Pho”, beef noodle soup, is decent here as well, although it did seem to need a tad bit more flavor. Maybe the soup needed to simmer for a little longer.
The service here is decent, much more accommodating than the usual brusque attention that you would get downtown. The decor here is a bit of a fusion of modern and traditional Vietnamese, with tall wooded pillars, colorful walls, and some murals of temples and Vietnamese markets.
Overall, Saigon Flavors definitely was not a disappointment and is a welcome addition to the growing offerings in the Oviedo area. I hope it will achieve continued success, but also hope that it can continue to stick to the traditional Vietnamese cuisine and keep bringing the “saigon flavors”.
Note: Saigon Flavors is closed Mondays.
I agree that the food is Americanized. My pho came with very few fresh herbs. I should have asked for more! It's not bad if you don't have time to go downtown, but the options downtown are better.