Garden Vietnamese, Harrisburg, is one of those odd kind of restaurants that I love to recommend. Painted mint green and positioned just on the edge of Midtown, the Garden looks just as unassuming as its Harrisburg reputation is omnipresent. When we moved to Harrisburg five years ago, the Garden was one of the first restaurants that we were recommended, and it remains one of the only restaurants that I legitimately miss from Pittsburgh. It’s also one of the only restaurants at which I like my favorite dishes so much that I barely ever want to order anything different.
Skip the soups with the chicken or shrimp (which is often too tough or rubbery) and go for authentic.
Begin with spring rolls — shrimp, vermicelli noodles, fresh basil, and mint tightly bound in rice paper and served with peanut sauce.
Next, order a pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) or the sweet, slightly charred slide pork with a fried egg roll, vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, ground peanuts, and a tangy sauce.
On Fridays and Saturdays, go for the specials. Above is the beef soup: a sweet, savory, yet slightly-spicy broth of ginger and green and white onions, dunked with chunks of beef, carrots, and your choice of egg, rice, and vermicelli noodles.
Finish with a cup of Vietnamese coffee pressed into sweetened condensed milk.
And then you tell me what intrigues you here — the hearty portions, the noodles that slurp, or the blend of fresh and flavor that evokes both home and places far away.
304 Reily Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102