Monster Pho serves up delicious Vietnamese dishes with a family-friendly side of robots and games.
After hearing that Monster Pho moved to a new location and recently restarted seated service, I was excited at the chance to visit. This was our family’s first indoor dining experience in two years because of the pandemic. We’re a little out of practice with restaurants—sitting for long periods of time can be difficult, especially for my kids. I felt good vibes immediately upon walking into the clean, spacious restaurant. This was the perfect restaurant for my busy, curious children because the staff is amazingly friendly and there are lots of details to capture your children’s attention.
Shortly after we were seated, the fun started because a robot brought water to our table. My kids giggled in amazement as the robot moved across the room, stopped next to our table and talked to us. If robots in restaurants are part of the future, I’m not mad about it. Those robots offered a few minutes of seated entertainment for my kids, so my husband and I could look over the menu.
After ordering our meal, I walked through the restaurant with my kids. It was hard not to notice all the fun monster logos featured throughout the restaurant. My girls enjoyed posing for pictures in front of the big monster neon light display and creating their own monster logo search. They also took an interest in the retro arcade games.
A robot brought our meal (cue the oohing and aahing). The portions were generous and the dishes were flavorful. While we were eating, the owner—Tee Tran—stopped by and gave our kids some tokens so they could play the classic claw arcade game after finishing their food. I loved how Tran, a fellow parent, understands that kids occasionally need motivation to finish dinner and has worked it into the restaurant’s environment. My kids eagerly ate their meal, so they could have a chance to win a little toy from the claw game. The claw was more difficult than my kids expected. Tran saw how disappointed they were and helped them get a toy. Let me say it again—this restaurant is so welcoming and kind to families!
The Bottom Line
We’ll be back to Monster Pho for its tasty and generous portions. This is truly a family-friendly restaurant because there’s something for everyone—parents and children alike. I appreciated the fun and welcoming atmosphere. My kids enjoyed the robot entertainment and retro games. This restaurant is well-loved in Oakland and it’s easy to see why.
Plan Your Visit
Hours: 11 am to 8 pm, Wednesday through Sunday (Closed Monday and Tuesday)
Location: 360 40th Street in Oakland, not far from the Temescal and Piedmont Avenue neighborhoods
Cuisine: Vietnamese street food; nut-free and vegetarian friendly choices