Review time! I love trying new restaurants and blogging about the food but my lack of eating-out funds makes the opportunities pretty sparse. Luckily, this week my mom decided to treat me to lunch at Anh Hong, right on the corner of Mills and Colonial.

After living in this neighborhood for a year and a half (and in Orlando for 20+ years), I can’t believe I have never eaten here or even noticed this restaurant. My only theory (besides occasionally being completely oblivious to my surroundings) is that my eyes must have skimmed over the building every time I went by because the name is not in English.

I think it’s a pretty good excuse for not noticing…even though this window probably should have caught my eye.

This one…not so much.

The inside of the restaurant was smaller than I expected but still looked comfortable and clean for dining in. We chose to get take-out this time so we could sit and eat at home (a necessity for Mom and her MCS).

The first items we tried were the Summer Rolls ($2.50 for two rolls or add a third for just .50 more).

The only thing I disliked was the peanut dipping sauce. It was overly sweetened and tasted like pure hoison sauce and the only trace of peanut flavor was from the few crushed peanuts sprinkled on top.

The rolls, however, were generously filled with shrimp, pork, noodles, lettuce, and herbs (and yes, I changed plates between photos). They were also extremely fresh and you could tell they had been rolled to order.

Next up was #87 – Rice vermicelli noodles with crispy spring rolls and vegetables ($5.95). The noodles and spring rolls were in one compartment of the carry-out box.

The other compartments were jam packed with loads of bright green mint, basil, and cilantro, along with sliced cucumber, carrots, lettuce, and sprouts.

There was no sauce in this dish so I added a little of the fish sauce they included along with some of the peanut sauce from the summer rolls. While it was still a little mellow on taste, it allowed me to focus on the flavor of the spring rolls – which I loved. They didn’t skimp on the filling and they were also better seasoned and had a deeper flavor than what I’ve tried at Little Saigon just a few shops down the street.

This is how the Pho Ga ($5.50) is packaged to-go. Broth in one container and all the fixings in another box. Once again, plentiful portions of chicken, noodles, herbs and add-ins such as lemon, hot sauce, and jalapeno’s.

Here it is once you add it all together. One GIANT bowl of pho that’s more than enough for two people. And Anh Hong’s much lauded about broth did not disappoint. I don’t think I’ve tasted a broth so flavorful and complex in my entire life. I loved that you could smell the star anise undertones wafting off the steamy soup. This is the dish I will go back for again and again.

And here is the whole spread. Not bad for under $18!

– Fresh ingredients
– Generous portions
– Large menu
– Really great prices
– Friendly service (the woman who took my order even helped me to pronounce one of the dishes in Vietnamese)

– below average peanut sauce
– …nothing else?

I think I can safely say this is my new favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Orlando. I strongly reccommend visiting for a meal if you’re in town. If you think you know of a better place and want to give a girl a free lunch, hit me up and I’ll review! 😉

Ánh Hông on Urbanspoon