Our Story

Alysha and Thomas have been married for 26 years. Coincidentally, before they met, both started cooking from an early age in Vietnam.

As a toddler, Alysha loved pretending to cook and making air sandwiches on banana leaves. She spent a lot of time in the kitchen learning how to cook from her grandma. At 14, Alysha was cooking daily for her younger siblings while her parents worked. Although it was a chore, she loved to do it because cooking brought people together.

In Thomas’s family, his mother was the sole provider after the Vietnam war. By selling pho, she was able to raise 8 kids by herself. Thomas and his siblings also helped cook and serve food at the restaurant. Locals raved about his mom’s savory pho broth, which carried on as a family recipe to Pho Lantern Cafe.

Because of their common passion for delicious food, Alysha and Thomas opened their first restaurant together in Nevada in 2007. They opened Pho Lantern Cafe in Costa Mesa in 2013.

Their hope is that through this restaurant, they can share the healthy benefits of Vietnamese cuisine to the public through flavorful family recipes and bring family and friends together.

  • My beau got the large pho tai (#33) and I ordered their hu tieu dac biet, or house special rice noodle soup. Both did not disappoint our bellies or our palates. He ordered a large bowl, and it had a lot of meat! I was pleasantly surprised…especially after slurping up the tasty broth…Flavorful without being too salty and full of body. I was very satisfied with this bowl and now know where I can get my soup fix!. The service was excellent for a Vietnamese restaurant, something we aren’t accustomed to at Vietnamese establishments.

    -Joanna H.

    Santa Ana, CA

  • I made the one hour drive from the south bay, and was hoping to eat a good bowl of pho once I got here. I was definitely satisfied…they had our pho ready in no time. It was a good meal, and I had an iced coffee to go. The coffee was very strong, which is just the way I like it. The condensed milk added a night touch of flavor.
    I would recommend this place, I enjoyed my meal here.

    -William G.

    Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA

  • Service is good, always friendly and with a smile….And its always packed during dinner or people constantly picking up to-go orders (me!). Pho, rice dishes, and vermicelli are all good and tasty.

    -Candace L.

    Costa Mesa, CA

  • After a rough night hitting the Newport bars, we headed here. The restaurant is super clean, our pho came out quickly even though they had just opened, and it was affordable. The broth is a good balance of flavorful but not oily or overpowering. Thank you for reviving me, Lantern Cafe.

    -Delaynie K.

    Mountain View, CA

See more reviews on our Yelp page