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Jan 30, 2008 08:04 AM

Best Thai in Austin

Suggestions? Not Madam Mams. Thanks!

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  1. Thai Tara near Congress & the Roaring Fork is good and stays open pretty late.
    Also really like Thamnak Thai in Cedar Park- they routinely do buy 2 get 1 free coupons.

    2 Replies
    1. re: amykragan

      Thai Tara is about 6 blocks west of Congress. The restaurant across from Roaring Fork is Thai Passion.

      1. re: sqwertz

        Thanks sqwert, I meant Thai Passion!

    2. The best I've had so far is Titaya. They're not afraid to give you the good stuff. And they don't hold back on the heat!

      1. If you like spicy Thai, Thai Kitchen is very good. For more tame "americanized" Thai, Thai Village in Lincoln Village is very good.

        There is also Little Thailand if that is an option for you. That place rocks.

        13 Replies
        1. re: Homero

          Little Thailand is awesome.

          (Madam Mam's is also pretty darn good -- any reason in particular you're blocking it?)

          1. re: tom in austin

            My opinion - any Thai place that has "Dancing" or "Prancing" anything sort of makes me wonder if flavor has been compromised for accessibility. That only leaves Madam Mam's and Little Thailand. I and everyone love pad thai and Tom Yum, but how about some fermented mustard greens? Pickled radish? Who else has Khao Soi? They have dishes that no one else has.

            I've been to Thai Tara several times. It seems a bit watered down in flavor overall. It's accessible though. Right there of W 6th.

            Thai Passion has been very good at times. Haven't been in a while, but I have fond memories of a beef green curry w/lots of thai basil. I seem to remember a heavy emphasis on curry dishes, which I usually don't do in favor of more unique items.

            Thai Kitchen - some great, some good, some okay dishes. I need to go to the Manchaca location, evidently.

            Titaya's - Take out several times, ate in a few. Above average.

            Satay - you'd think that a Thai phD in food science whould be able to produce more consistent and more flavorful dishes. I have NOT tried their special spring menu owing to the expense. There might be some real good dishes that I'm not aware of.

            Several other places I've only been to once and can't comment (Thamknak Thai, where I was forced to share curry, and a really nice little place on Wells Branch) . I'm interested in Thai Pepper in Del Valle - anybody been there?

            1. re: rudeboy

              The Wells Branch place is Chon Som and I've been wanting to go back there as I've only been once.

              Another worthy Thai contender is Exotic Thai on Braker just W. of Lamar. The portions are slightly small but we've had some good dishes there. The menu is not exotic but the taste is good.

              I'm fascinated there's a Thai Place in Del Valle considering how close Little Thailand in Garfield is. We ate at Little Thailand Thursday night for only my 3rd time ever in 6 years and I was not blown away. I had the papaya salad with beef and it was tasty enough. I also sampled some larb, red curry and some sort other dish. All were good but none amazed me like they had in the past.

              1. re: Carter B.

                Carter - I know what you mean. I was wondering if Little Thailand was holding back on the flavor. Does one have to specify "Thai spicy" there?

              2. re: rudeboy

                Are Madam Mam's and Little Thailand the only places with Khao Soi? We recently returned from Thailand and this was one of our favorite dishes.

                1. re: ebloom

                  I'm not even sure if Little Thailand has it. Coincidentally, I odered to go Kao Soi and some other stuff in the hospital last week (from Madam Mam's) - last night, I used the leftover Kao Soi Juice (with a few noodles) and added it to jasmine rice instead of water. We just had our second helping tonight and it was great!

                  Not to get off topic, but, in in a general response about Austin thai, were you in northern Thailand?

                  What else did you try? The Pud Cha at MM is excellent, but some people don't like it because of the bacalhau effect - dried and salted fish.

                  1. re: rudeboy

                    The only northern Thai city we visited was Chiang Mai. My wife and I are both vegetarians so we weren't all that adventurous. Fish sauce and shrimp paste were inevitable so we gave up on trying to avoid them. I tried the green curry at most every restaurant we visited. My wife ate a variety of stir frys and spring rolls.

                    Some of the more memorable dishes:
                    -pomelo salad with fried coconut bits and chilies. The contrast of the fruit pulp and spice was amazing
                    -basil congee for breakfast. I had never tried this and the fragrant broth was a great thing to wake up to.
                    -favorite snack was definitely the sweet roti from street vendors. They would fry a fresh roti-like tortilla and cover it with condensed milk and a variety of toppings such as Nutella.
                    -fried quail eggs with soy sauce
                    -Khmer-style curry served in a coconut. By the time we reached Cambodia, I had eaten so many green curries that this was a nice break.

                    Overall, Titaya's curry dishes are quite similar to what I remember eating while in Thailand.

                    1. re: ebloom

                      You know, I'm going to have to give TItaya's another try, as people keep raving about them (sometimes "newbies," so I was wary). The dishes that we have tried are "decent for the location and the price - it's good food, but it's not the best thai." - I just asked my wife what she thought about it and I'm posting her response. My take on Titaya's was that, overall, the dishes seemed to lack some sort of depth, and one dish was downright watery. Most of my experieces was from when they first opened.

                      God, that pomelo salad sounds really good. i haven't seen anything like that in Austin.

                      I have a question for you, though. In Austin, who has the best green curry? Do the different ones vary as much as in Thailand? I hardly ever eat curry in thai places because I assume that they are all using Mae Ploy paste (or Maesri), which I have at home. It's incredibly good, inexpensive, and easy. I'm not sure how many restaurants do their own - it would be good to know. I would assume that in Thailand, most are making their own, and there would be more subtle variation.

                      I do love eggplant in green curry, sometimes with tender beef.

                      1. re: rudeboy

                        Prior to our trip, I had only tried a couple green curries. I have eaten just about every curry Titaya's makes and the only one that disappoints me is the Jungle Curry. I love spicy Thai food, but this one was just spicy without the complexity of flavor that I like. Since returning, I am going to go on a hunt for the green curry I like best in town. It would be nice to get some variety like we experienced in Thailand with each restaurant grinding their own curries.

                        By the way, I put up a small gallery of the food related pics we took on our vacation.

                        1. re: ebloom

                          Great pics ebloom! Those bowls of what i assume were curry pastes made me drool.

                          1. re: rollingplate

                            There were definitely times when I wish we could have read Thai or had someone with us to translate. The picture didn't capture the variation in color as well as I had hoped, but it does make me hungry to look at them. Even though there were pastes like this available, it appeared even the street vendors made their own curries from scratch.

                            1. re: ebloom

                              ebloom - those are wonderful pictures. I especially like the Dancing Shrimp pizza.....that looks like a trip I'd love to take.

                              Coincidentally, the water dish with lack of depth that I had at Titaya's was the Jungle Curry. I think that one dish affected my overall opinion of the place.

                              I'll try and help with the green curry hunt. I'll try that dish at either Titaya's or Mam's soon.

                              Coincidentally, after your post from yesterday, I went to MT supermarket and got a Pomelo, thai basil, and a special red mint. I made the Pomelo, coconut, and chile salad you mentioned with lettuce from the yard (your description was all I had to go on), and then I used my leftover easter lamb leg (which had a thai lime etc rub) and made the green curry with Mae Ploy. Also from MT supermarket. Cheers to you for a good evening on my part!

            2. re: Homero

              On Thai Kitchen, I have found the one on William Cannon consistently superior to the one on Guadalupe & 30th

            3. I vote for Thai Tara, the one on W. 6th.

              1. Second for Tatiya. Fantastic Green Curry, which I use as a barometer of Thai cuisine.