OB Noodle House & Sake Bar

Review by: Miranda Cilfone & Kris Masilamani

OB Noodle House, a San Diego favorite, is known for Vietnamese food and a casual, fun atmosphere. The music is always playing and the bar is always packed, even on weekday nights.

Do arrive hungry. The food comes quickly, and you’ll want to enjoy every bit.

Per friends’ suggestions, we ordered two different kinds of fried rice, Spicy Garlic Wings and a big bowl of Ocean-Beach-famous Pho. Wanting a taste of everything, we also tried spring rolls — regular and vegetarian — as well as Teriyaki Shrimp dish and limited-availability Pork Belly Tacos.

The spring rolls and wings are a perfect way to start a meal, offering a balance of crispy, greasy, meaty appetizer alongside bites of vegetable freshness. The wings steal the show with their aroma of fresh garlic and Asian spice slathered on so well that it soaks right into the meat. Wings alone are reason to return, again and again. Not to be discounted, the spring rolls (vegetarian or with shrimp and pork) are tightly packed with refreshing ingredients and come with peanut & soy sauce.

The Tuesday we visited was Pork Belly Taco night. A traditional Vietnamese-style Bao filled with grilled Korean-style pork belly, topped with house-made papaya salad, sirracha aioli and cilantro, these savory masterpieces are available only Tuesday and Thursday. They’re worth any distance in detour.

Saigon Fried Rice and chicken dish also is delicious, but it lack’s something we just can’t place. House Fried Rice, on the other hand, is just right. Shrimp, pork, and steak sautéed into this mile-high delicacy give it an edge you won’t forget. We took some to go and enjoyed the leftovers for days to come.

For anyone who prefers a balance of flavor without an overwhelming amount of ingredients and meal complexity, Shrimp Teriyaki is the perfect go-to. It features a generous helping of plump shrimp smothered in sweet teriyaki sauce atop of bed of simple white rice, accompanied by a cold papaya salad. The sauce is thick, the shrimp are cooked flawlessly, and the rice and papaya salad serve as a wonderful palate refresher between bites.

Now, of course, you cannot go to a noodle house without having noodles. Neither of us are huge fans of Pho, but we felt obligated to give this one a try and see what all the hype is about. The OB Special contains rare and well done steak, brisket, flank, and tripe all immersed in house-made broth. Despite our prejudice, we thought it delicious down to the last drop. Both large and small portions are bigger than you expect; and they are served with a side of customizable toppings to give you the best individual experience. We threw everything into this massive bowl and found each spoonful to be full of salty yet sweet Asian flavors balanced by the fatty meats and tied together with the crisp toppings. This Pho is definitely the best we’ve ever had and we’re highly excited to try the other flavors that are offered.

Finally, no meal is complete without drinks! Don’t miss out on the bar’s unique Peanut Butter Jameson shot, which is unlike anything you will ever try. It tastes so smooth going down that it makes us think of scooping peanut butter right from the jar. It is a great celebratory shot to share with friends, or to sip alongside a delicious Vietnamese meal. The Casa en Fuego is a spicy twist on a classic margarita, and may sound even more frightening than alcohol mixed with peanut butter. Filled to the brim with Ghost Pepper Tequila, Fire Water Bitters, lemon and lime, it is strictly for those who love spice. Each gulp offers a kick of heat followed by smooth tequila and a bite from the Jalapeno Tajin salt caressed around that edge of the glass.

OB Noodle House opened with one mission; “simple, delicious meals, served quickly.” Mission accomplished. The Southeast Asian brothers who opened it over a decade ago truly bring a taste of their homeland to the small surfer town of Ocean Beach, California. Stop by for a bowl of noodles, appetizers, or a plate of rice and stay for a drink that matches the restaurant’s high energy and quirky vibes. We guarantee a memorable experience.

What To Eat

Saigon Fried Rice with chicken

Spring Rolls

Spicy Garlic Wings

OB Special Pho

House Special Fried Rice

Teriyaki Shrimp

Peanut Butter Jameson Shot

Asian Style Pork Belly Tacos


OB Noodle House & Sake Bar Recipes


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