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Viva Thai (new Thai restaurant in Cary)

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Viva Thai opened recently on Maynard near the intersection with Chatham in Cary, in the same strip shopping center with Little Tokyo.

My wife and I went last night for the first time and liked it a lot. It is a small place (about 30 seats), and on a Saturday night around 7pm, it was doing some business, but not quite full.

It's got a casual feel to it (paper napkin kind of place), but is attractive, with apricot colored walls, red banquettes, blond-toned wood tables.

It's got a sizable menu, with all of the basic Thai offerings that you see everywhere, as well as a few house specialties that looked interesting. They had a whole or boneless Tilapia, steamed or fried, in ginger that looked good when it went by to a different table.

My wife and I started with shrimp spring rolls, which were good. Not as oily as those often are, rolled in tight tubes with good-sized chunks of shrimp. We then had chicken satay, which were excellent. The marinade was sweet, but not overly so, and the peanut dipping sauce was smooth and delicious.

My wife had pad thai with shrimp (about $9), done medium spicy, and I had Thai basil noodles with beef (about $8). Incredible value. The dishes were nicely plated (small gripe here that the pad Thai did not come out with lime wedges). Both were really very good. My wife pronounced it her new favorite spot for pad thai (displacing Wasabi in Cary). The rice noodles were well-sauced, but not overly greasy nor overly dry. The shrimp were decent-sized (but by no means huge) and cooked just right.

My dish was equally good. It came with very wide egg noodles which I had not had before, but really liked. The beef was thinly sliced and cooked well-done (which I don't mind in a dish like this), and the vegetables (green beans, red peppers, onions, etc) were all cooked to be tender but with a little crunch. The basil seasoning was a little mild for my taste, I thought it could have used a little more.

The one off-note of the evening was the service. Our server was covering the entire dining room, and was a little over-matched to her ability. She was very pleasant and seemed to try hard, but we had some long periods of waiting while trying to attract her attention.

We skipped dessert (too full), and they do not (yet?) serve alcohol. The entire bill came to $27 before tip -- a really good bargain, particularly given the quality of the food.

Considering they have only been open a month, I'm hopeful that the few kinks will get ironed out. If you are in the Cary area, and hankering for some Thai food, I would definitely recommend giving it a try.

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  1. I have been to Viva Thai twice and the food was excellent both times. I agree that Viva Thai's pad thai is better than Wasabi.