Restaurant Review: GAO

Gao Viet Kitchen & Bar | 313 S San Mateo Dr., San Mateo, CA 94401

This restaurant is not your typical $10 pho Vietnamese kind of place (side note: can you believe how expensive pho is now?). This is a more upscale and modern Vietnamese restaurant.

I came here a few times and enjoyed all my meals here. This place is good for date nights, casual dinners, celebrations, or just any occasion where you want to eat good food. It’s a really popular spot in downtown San Mateo so I suggest you make a reservation. It’s a bit on the pricey side for me (my last meal was 6 dishes at $200), but the ingredients are super fresh and high quality.


  • Location: San Mateo
  • Address: 313 S San Mateo Dr., San Mateo, CA 94401
  • Restaurant Type: Vietnamese
  • Price: $$$
  • Ambience: Casual, Trendy, Classy
  • Attire: Causal


Pho Cuon

This starter was pretty good as a fairly light appetizer. I loved the sauce that it came with and wish I had saved it to eat with the rest of my meal.

Banh Beo

These one biters were kind of fun to eat. The steam rice cakes were really soft and the toppings added a nice flavor and crunchy texture.

Banh Hoi Tom Cong

This was a good starter as it had a good variety of bites. There’s a little something for everyone – sweet (grilled pork sausage), savory (sugarcane shrimp), fried (imperial roll), and healthy (chicken – which we didn’t get), haha. There’s also vermicelli noodles underneath and fresh greens if you want to turn it into an actual meal instead of an appetizer.

Banh Cuon

This was actually pretty light and refreshing. When you mix it together, it’s kind of like a noodle salad and the meats are really tasty as well.

Garlic Noodles

The garlic noodles are so simple, but so good! The noodles are a nice chewy texture with plenty of delicious garlic and butter flavor.

Suon Nuong Xa

I had these ribs twice because they’re so good! The ribs are so tender and so delicious that you can’t help but lick your fingers. I also love the block of coconut rice as it has a crispy texture.

Chim Cyt Chien Xa Ot

This wasn’t my first choice as my sister wanted this, but I actually really liked it. The quail was tender and the salt and pepper seasoning was so good! I also love the bed of veggies underneath and it was like a little salad.

Pho Tron

This was such a refreshing dish as it had a lot of vegetables so it was kind of like a noodle salad. The beef was also really tender and flavorful and it was a nice, not overly heavy dish.

Kho To Dat Biet

Everything in the clay pot was super flavorful and fresh and it had great flavors. The fish was cooked perfectly and it’s the perfect dish to eat with a side of rice.

Mien Xao Cua

I normally don’t care too much about cellophane noodles (another pick by the sister), but I really enjoyed this dish. The noodles were cooked well and the flavors were good. I also like the crab on top, which is probably why my sister wanted this dish in the first place (she loves seafood).

Ca Nuong Cuon Banh Trang

We ended one of our meals with a giant fried catfish! This was more than enough to feed a few people and it was kind of fun to make your own catfish wrap. The give you rice paper, lettuce and herbs, noodles and the fried fish so you can make a wrap (think spring roll). As much as I like things fried, it was too much fried to fish ratio for me. The fish was really good though as it was really fresh and cooked well. I really liked the sauce as well. Despite that I thought it was a little too fired, I really enjoyed this as the fish was really good and the lettuce and herbs were so fresh.


Overall, I would recommend this restaurant if you enjoy Vietnamese flavors and delicious food. It’s a good place to come for any occasion.