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.
Thailand Restaurant, 5252 S Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa
Their "thai hot" brings real heat to the table plus great (IMO) flavor.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.