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Irvine Loses One Vietnamese Restaurant; Gains Another

saigon_basil_closed.jpg
Edwin Goei
The latter half of last year saw three new Vietnamese restaurants opening in Irvine, with Pho So 1, La Pho, and Pho Saigon Pearl vying for the wallets and mouths of the rice noodle-slurping public. It continues this year as The Irvine Company revealed that at least one more Vietnamese restaurant is coming down the pipeline: a restaurant called Ha Long Vietnamese Cuisine is planned for The Crossroads in Irvine, the shopping complex that's also home to California Fish Grill. The restaurant will be located next to Subway, replacing La Salsa which closed late last year.

But the landlord giveth, and the landlord taketh away.

This week the city also lost a Vietnamese restaurant. Saigon Basil, a hybrid Thai/Vietnamese restaurant with roots in Atlanta, Georgia, shuttered at Campus Plaza, also an Irvine Company-owned retail property.  The windows were blacked out and the phone line disconnected. 

Those in the UC Irvine community will remember that it replaced a restaurant called Oriental Kitchen nearly three years ago. Saigon Basil didn't last nearly as long as its predecessor. For what must be the better part of a decade, Oriental Kitchen produced Korean-style lunch boxes with kalbi beef, veggies rice--good alternatives to dorm food and the campus food court for the carless undergrad who couldn't go home or to The Korean District. Saigon Basil fulfiled the same niche but for pho, bun, and rice dishes.

What will go in its place now that Vietnamese and Korean offerings have faltered in that spot? Who knows. But I, for one, am hoping for a Filipino turo turo. Not only will it have a ready supply of customers from the UCI student body, but let's have the first Filipino restaurant in Irvine already!

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