Decided to start surveying Portland's Vietnamese. I'll try to eat and comment on pho wherever I go just because it's a good benchmark for most people. I'm going to try to spread out the most well-known places. See the link below for the full reviews and more pictures. Following is a summary:
Pho Van: I've been too hard on this place in the past. Their pho is subtle and they only have one version at the bistro, but it's quite good. And their execution and ingredients for other dishes are often fantastic. All I need to do, it seems, is introduce people to their banana blossom salad to get them hooked. Yuppies-be-damned, this place rocks.
Pho Dalat: The closest good Vietnamese to my house (way east Vancouver) and to the airport. When I need a fix, this is where I go. I love Vietnamese salads, sure, but their Dalat salad has become one of my favorite dishes in town. They have a giant menu, though, over 107 items, and everything I've tried has been at least decent. The pho is balanced and bolder than pho van's.
Pho Thien: An under-appreciated pho newbie. People like Amanda, who live near this place, should send some business their way. The menu is relatively small, but the dishes are tasty and fresh. I really like their large salad rolls. For a pho house, it's nice inside with wooden chairs and linen tablecloths, but you don't feel like you need to dress up. The younger servers speak very good English. They also sell espresso and Italian sodas. (Only in the Northwest!)
Again, see link below for more.