Mai Lee

Mai Lee's Pho Ga features juicy chicken and rice noodles in a rich, flavorful broth.

The leaves are changing, the temperatures are dropping – it's officially soup season in St. Louis.

From hearty stews, chowders and chili to crystal-clear broths, the city has no shortage of great soups, but when colder weather sets in, we like to warm up with a piping-hot bowl of pho at the legendary Mai Lee in Brentwood. 

The first Vietnamese restaurant to open in the area more than 30 years ago, Mai Lee serves several versions of pho, ranging from pho tai bo vien with sliced medium-rare beef and beef meatballs to pho ga with juicy chicken to pho tom with shrimp. Each starts with the same broth foundation, though, featuring an aromatic spice blend of Chinese five-spice, ginger, onions, star anise, cloves, allspice, fennel seeds, coriander seeds and cinnamon that's then slow-cooked with beef bones for up to 12 hours.

A trip to Mai Lee isn't complete without an order of the popular salt and pepper calamari (#133), but you can also round out your order with water spinach stir-fried with garlic (#158) or crispy spring rolls (#46).

Mai Lee is offering its menu for takeout and delivery within a limited radius; you can order online here.

Mai Lee, 8396 Musick Memorial Drive, Richmond Heights, Missouri, 314.645.2835,