Little Hearty Noodle — Moraga
Little indeed, this bare-bones Vietnamese noodle joint is nestled snugly into a teeny former Pasta Stop location, inside the Rheem Valley Shopping Center in Moraga. The Pasta Stop’s Italian theme lingers in the form of patches of fake brick on the wall and daily pasta specials on the menu (available for takeout only). But this little-noodle-shop-that-could’s specialty is Vietnamese pasta. The pho ($6.85–$7.75) is solidly satisfying, with a nice clean broth and ample meat additions—the beef balls are particularly tasty. The vermicelli’s ($6.85–$7.95) tangy fish sauce makes that dish work nicely. Check out the generous pot sticker appetizer special ($5.25).
Feeling Adventurous? Included in the pho dac biet is beef tendon, a white, sinewy substance that is tasty—once you get used to it.
The Crowd: Scores of budget-conscious Saint Mary’s College students help to keep this noodle house hearty.
When in Rome: The Rheem Valley Center offers plenty of shopping opportunities, including—thrifty shoppers take note—discount clothing and housewares store TJ Maxx.
Quick In and Out: Sure. And, although it’s clearly more geared toward takeout, the restaurant has superfriendly service, which makes dining there an option, if there’s space at one of the five tables inside.Little Hearty Noodle, 578 Center St., Moraga, (925) 376-7600. Lunch and dinner Tues.–Sun.