Thai Bistro - Calgary
Hey first post here but long time reader.
I just came home from an awesome dinner at Thai Bistro and was compelled to write a review. Normally I wouldn't do this but since the place was empty I felt something had to be done.
Overall the resto was very nice looking and is located in china town on center street (next to U and Me). I can guess that the main downside to this location is lack of good parking and is somewhat hidden in the corner and restos in this location usually don't last very long (the last one resto here was a viet joint that lasted maybe half a year).
In general, the food was very authentic and had a flavouring/spices that were stronger than the other thai restos in calgary. Also, the presentation was very well done and you can tell a lot of effort was put into the dishes. I feel that a problem with the other Thai resteraunts in calgary is that it seems that the food is just slapped on the plate in a pile while thai bistro sorta layered it on. Taste wise, thai bistro is way too good and way too authentic to be this empty! dishes were 10-15 dollars.
the highlight of my meal was the dessert which was a sticky rice with coconut milk and mangos. Although most thai restos have this, I found that this was the best because this is the first time the sticky rice was at a warm temperature (other places are either too cold or piping hot). Also, they had these mung beans (i think they were mung beans lol) that were toasted and sprinkled on.
the only knock on the meal was that we started off with these fish cakes that came with a plum sauce with peanuts and i think had fish sauce in it. the fish cakes were pretty meh as i'd have better. The rest of the meal was awesome however and they gave us a LOT of seafood for one our dishes.
overall, an excellent resteraunt with a poor location but hopefully it can live to see many years!
Okay, finally made it there, for lunch today and it was superb! I got the fish cake appie and the basil chicken w/ rice. I actually disagree w/ marauder in that I found these the best I've had! Lovely texture of the cake with a delicious sweet-spicy sauce with diced zukes in it, and on a bed of tender shredded cabbage, I could have eaten three. LOVED it.
My main was delicious as well- only complaint is I'd simplify plating and just put the rice on bottom, stir-fry on top, because the flavour of the basil chicken was so itense (lotsa salty fish sauce in there) that every mouthful needed the support of the starch and some was hard to eat properly, if you understand what I'm saying. Next time I'll ask for the rice on the bottom and see of they oblige.
And I'm happy to report that the lunchtime biz was good, even on Weds of Stampede. It wasn't packed but was brisk and I hope today bodes well. It's a small room and doesn't take a lot to make it feel busy, which is good.
Also noted in Chinatown: Holy cow, there are two newer restos that are doing great biz in what had looked like cursed locations in City Centre. One is the new Thai Tai, in what had been Timothy's and in which I never saw more than one or two customers, ever; the other is the Taiwanese "Delicious Country" at the front (Centre St side) of the buillding- it was packed when I walked by. I'd never seen a resto in that location that did any real business; Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese hotpot had all failed here, but maybe this is the place to turn it around.
re: John Manzo
I just discovered this place recently after moving into the neighborhood. Since I consider myself fairly experienced with Thai food I can recommend this place to all fellow chowhounders.
Most mains during dinner cost $11-$12.95, fresh ingredients, nice presentation, ample quantity and best of all darn tasty! I suggest you try one of their "salads" bc the owner mentioned if there was a specialty those ere them.
I've had the Larb Kai (My fav Thai dish and executed excellent), Pad Thai, Green Curry and Tum Yum Gai soup. All reminded me of my visit to Thailand. I'm very happy with the food and value here.
I haven't been yet during lunch but they have a different menu with meals starting at $7.75. The owner tells me it's busy during lunch but both times I've been in the evening I've only seen two other couples.
The food at this restaurant is delicious and very nicely presented. The prices are very good and the service is excellent.
The restaurant recently received coverage in the Calgary Herald by John Gilchrist (the article said that the restaurant had been recommended to Gilchrist by an employee of a different Thai restaurant) but the owner told me tonight that it's still been very quiet.
I really hope it can survive - I'm doing all I can to help by introducing friends to it!
Actually this place was most recently a latin american joint... anyway, thanks very much for reviewing this place!
I agree that this is a tricky location but it's always interesting and inspiring to see restaurant in a location that appeared cursed, sometimes with good reason re: accessibility or whatever, and then this new place breaks the pattern. Mirchi is a great example of this despite a lack of dedicated parking and tiny size, and another example is the lovely new Thai Tai in the space that was the always-empty Grabbajabba and then a couple of other very sad coffee shops. All we need is word of mouth here because God knows we can use more good Thai in Calgary!
Next time I'm in Chinatown I'll make a beeline.