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Favorite Thai in St. Pete and Tampa Bay?

I know everyone has their faves, but I'd like more discussion on why a place is their favorite Thai restaurant. We went to Chaing Mai after reading the positive reviews here and it was one of the worst Thai restaurants I have been to, unfortunately. They were very nice and were happy to know we knew some Thai terms for their food, but the food was bland and more akin to Chinese takeout than even decent, passable Thai.

So far, I have had the best dish (massaman curry) at Ratchada and the yellow curry at #9 is passable, but the potatoes undercooked and they skimp on the veggies. My husband prefers his dish (chicken and basil) at #9. Our complaint about both is even when you ask for "Thai hot", it is barely spicy. Bring on the spices!!!!

So, please reccomend some other options for Thai. We are not averse to driving to the beaches or even to Tampa for a special dinner. But we would really like to know what the superior Thai place is in St. Pete.

THANKS as always. I have gotten some great info from all of you.

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  1. Thailand Restaurant, 5252 S Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa

    Their "thai hot" brings real heat to the table plus great (IMO) flavor.

    1. I don't live in Tampa, but when I visit, we always go to Cafe de Siam (11242 W Hillsborough Ave, Tampa, 33635.) It's a tiny little place, but I've found the food to be really good and really dependable - and I've been going there for almost five or six years. The curries are especially standout, and they don't overdo the coconut milk like some other places. They're willing to actually spice your food too if you ask for it. The massaman is very good and the papaya salad is delicious, although it comes in a small portion. And I LOVE the flaky curry puffs. I had a lemony thai spiced grouper on my last visit that was fantastic, although I think it might have been a special. Anyway, do give Cafe de Siam a try.

      1. I have always been a fan of Jasmine Thai in Carrolwood but lately we have been going to Thai Sweet Basil on Northdale. Wonderful food and service. I highly recommend the Snapper and the Jungle Salad.

        1. How about Siam Garden? They don't skimp on spice. Also, Thai Kitchen.

          The King & I Restaurant is also good downtown (but I have not been for close to a year).

          One of my fav's is The Thai Coconut in Clearwater on Missouri Ave. You gotta try their "spicy noodle" entree.

          Enjoy.

          1. You seem to know your way around a Thai menu, so you might be interested to check out Wat Mongkolratanaram, 5306 Palm River Road, Tampa, off U.S. 41/50th Street, a half-mile south of the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway and State Road 60. This is a Thai Buddhist Temple that beginning on 10:30 on Sundays sells Thai delicacies at outdoor stands, picnic-style, on the temple's grounds on the river. I haven't been, but friends who went recently raved about it. The St Pete Times recently featured it, so you might want to try a search of their website for the article. Ok, it's not a restaurant, but it sounds about as authentic as you're going to get in the Tampa area. Try it out and let us know what you think.

            5 Replies
            1. re: laurie

              I have been wanting to go to that ever since I read the article in the Times. Sounded wonderful.

              1. re: laurie

                I've been several times this year, and the Temple does not disappoint. Too many dishes to name here, all very pleasingh, but i found the soup a bit disappointing. Some offerings change weekly. Just go with a fistful of cash and explore. I worry it will become too popular. Thankfully, it is out of the way. Had a wonderful chicken sausage with chilies and lemongrass. Beef with green beans very good. Ask for the papaya salad Thia style, very hot! The lady will loook at you incredulously, but insist. The giant wok with bananas, taro, and sweet potatoes is great, all glazed and dotted with sesame seeds. Do try the whole shrimp fritters is possible, with entire shrimp, shell and all, bried up in blobs of dough with a sweet sauce. The small cocnut milk ravioli-looking thinsg are a great way to finish, not too sweet, with the green onions probiding a nice touch of savory. Be sure to get there before 1. Most booths start breaking down about 1.30. So that gives a small window: 11-1.30 on sundays. Enjoy! I look forward to hear8ing other peoples' experiences.

                1. re: andy huse

                  So non-Buddhist Caucasians are welcome? ; )

                  1. re: rhnault

                    absolutely--- and so is your money. Very welcoming--- it is a weekly fiundraiser, after all. I'd love to hear ewhat you think about it.

                    best,
                    andy

                2. re: laurie

                  Thanks for posting this - I made note a few years ago when I first saw this. I finally had a free Sunday morning while visiting family. Wish I could have talked someone into going with me - the portions are large enough to share. I ended up having them dish out less than normal and still had some to share with random table-mates.

                  Everything was delicious. I was cautioned (multiple times) about some chili sauce - it was hot and it was excellent. The coconut/scallion custards are going to be one of those things you pine for...

                  Anyone hesitant about language/cultural issues, there is no problem at all. I brought a shirt to cover my tank top in case the dress style was more conservative, but it was not needed. They also had a nice selection of fresh SE Asian vegetables and food producing plants for sale at terrific prices. I purchased an HUGE hot pepper plant for $6 for my chili-head brother-in-law!

                  I wish this had existed when I used to live in the area! I took lots of photos. My SO is a member of a Buddhist Temple and they have an amazing potluck for members each Sunday. I'm hoping the photos and the newspaper article may convince them to start something like this! They recently opened a tea room, so this concept could fit in nicely.

                3. Thai Wok on 4th St. in the Winn-Dixie shopping center by the entrance to 275N is terrific--their food has great flavor as well as heat when you request "thai hot". Good lunch specials, too.

                  1. Also, do you like Vietnamese?

                    I have really been enjoying Pho Saigon on 4th street. They have some great noodle dishes - the Sate Bo is real spicy. Also the Hap Chao Don (Pan fried rice noodle) is addictive.

                    Their bun and pho is great too.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Little T.

                      Thank you all! We have been meaning to hit the Temple for a couple of months so maybe Sunday will be the day. Our fave Thai dish is the following:

                      Khao Soi Kai
                      Chiang Mai style mild curry noodle soup with house-pressed fresh coconut milk and chicken, served with pickled mustard greens, shallots, fried yellow noodles, lime and a spicy chili paste.

                      Anything like that there or anywhere? Pok Pok in Portland, Oregon served it. I highly reccomend Pok Pok to ANYONE travelling to Portland, BTW!

                    2. We have really been enjoying Nitally's ThaiCoffeeHouse in Saint Petersburg. A very small place (mostly takeout, but 4-5 close tables) on 4th street near downtown.

                      They call themselves Thai-Mex and have some Thai/Mexican fusion dishes, burrito's, taco etc.

                      Very good Pad Thai and probably the best Tom Kha soup I have had.

                      http://thaifoodtogo.net/

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Little T.

                        I had some of their fusion cuisine at the St Pete Morning Market, and will never order from them there again. Myburrito was greasy beyond belief with a "beef with basil" filling that was unpalatable at best. My husband's dish - I think tacos - were also barely edible. I would be willing to give the Thai a try, but the Thai-Mex is never again for me.

                      2. I'll throw out Thai Pan Alley on Sand Key. The food is always fresh, fast, and mighty tasty. The spice options are plentiful, but the tame might want to keep it under two stars -- anything else and you'll be begging for water.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: RBTampa

                          Isn't TPA on Indian Rocks Beach instead of Sand Key?

                          1. re: RibDog

                            It is on IRB. I like to get a Thai iced tea or coffee and watch the sunset.

                        2. Talay Thai on Gulf Blvd. in North Redington Beach. Good prices, nice atmosphere, awesome food (especially the crab soup!).

                          1. Thai Bay in Clearwater/Largo (on East Bay Drive at near Starkey)
                            Ban Thai in Tampa (Near Gunn and Andersen(?)
                            Lana Thai in St. Pete (near Lighthouse Point)
                            all very good. and will adjust heat to your request.

                            1. I'll have to try the few places on here that I haven't been to already. My wife is from Laos, and I work with quite a few Thai people. So I'm a little spoiled when it comes to eating authentic, good food at home, friends homes, and relatives. My one good friend at work opened Thai Kitchen on 62nd avenue (with his brother-in-law), but later sold it to open a Thai restaurant on Central Avenue that later closed due to disagreements with his new partner. It's a shame...Thai Kitchen (or is it Thai Family Kitchen) was great then. I haven't tried it with the new owners (they owned it for quite a few years now).

                              As far as Vietnamese retaurants: Taste of Saigon on Park Blvd. has the best Pho I've had in Pinellas County, and we go to Ben Thahn (now on 62nd avenue since they opened up again.....used to be near 30th ave. on 34th street years ago) for beef fondue and Ban Xeo. There's nothing like some good spring rolls (used to be that Pho Queyen on Park Blvd had the best, but I haven't been there in a while), an order of Ban Xeo to share, a steaming bowl of Pho, and some iced coffee with condensed milk to wash it down.

                              1. Golden Orchid on S. Dale Mabry in Tampa is our favorite. It's run by a mother/daughter team, and all the food is fresh and tastes homemade and authentic. It's south of Gandy, next door to a (possibly defunct, I can never tell) Westshore Pizza.