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Jul 15, 2008 07:53 PM

Thai recommendations for Albany/Berkeley area

I'm looking for some recommendations for a good local thai restaurant in the area. Nothing too fancy, just somewhere to go when I'm too lazy to make dinner. Would love to find a place that makes a great larb salad.

While I'm at it, how about vietnamese? I'm originally from LA and want to find something similar to my beloved Golden Deli.


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  1. You might try searching the Places database as a starting point which will have linked reports and often menus.

    Here's a search on Albany Thai

    Of the restauants in that list, the following get good reports that I remember

    Ruen Pair (one of the most highly regarded
    )Lao-Thai Kitchen (also has a nice soul food menu thanks to a relative by marriage)
    Sabuy Sabuy II (I like this location ... some of the others get meh reports)
    Zapp Zapp Noodle House

    I don't remember, you can look at linked reports, if any

    Bua Luang Thai
    Krung-Thep Restaurant (also has Vietnamese ... two for one)

    Sea Mi (started promising, but the owners were more into ambiance and karoke. There is new management, but it looks the same)

    One of these days I'll get to this

    The Cape Cod Restaurant
    This average at best seafood restaurant also has a Thai menu. I've tried the seafood ... pass on it ... however, the oddness of the Thai menu always made me want to try it.

    For Vietnamese in Albany there is also Mama Lan's, a place that I believe time has passed by and so should you.

    You might also check out nearby El Cerrito. Sa Wooei is a good Thai restaurant from board reports. Banh Mi Ba Le has the best .. well... Bahn Mi in the area. You might also look at Jac's Bistro in the same strip mall. Good Chinese food. Technically in Richmond, up San Pablo Ave is Huong Tra which is decent enough Vietnamese food.

    Looking the Berkeley Vietnamese selection, it seems there is not much

    Vanessa's Bistro is great. It is contemporary and one of my favorite restaurants. It is casual though be too fancy, but don't miss it.

    Bui - Along the lines of Vanessa. I'm not a fan. They do have good lunch specials.

    Anh Hong recently opened. it has 7 Courses of Beef or Bo 7 Mon menu.. This is the fourth location of Anh Hong in the Bay Area. I don't remember seeing any reports on this place.

    The Berkeley Thai joints in the Places database ... don't know ... maybe someone else can comment :
    Thai Basil Cuisine
    Lucky House
    Siam Cuisine
    Racha Cafe
    Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine
    Berkeley Thai House
    Boran Thai Restaurant
    Thai Delight Cuisine
    Tuk Tuk Thai Cafe

    Did I miss anything Chowhounds?

    Hope you report as you try places. We'll get to know your tastes and make better recommendations and it helps others like yourself by keeping info fresh.

    9 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      Your Place on University definitely qualifies as good local Thai, not too fancy.

      1. re: Leadbelly

        Your Place is owned by the same folks who own Tuk Tuk on Shattuck. Some of the dishes are very good; some just so-so. We had the pumpkin curry the other night and there have been times in the past where the pumpkin's been undercooked and unappealing, but it was done perfectly. And #32, eggplant and basil with whatever meat you like, is not to be missed. Their green curry chicken is good, too. The duck curry is tasty but, like many restaurant versions of duck curry, you often get more fat and skin than duck meat. Try the young coconut drink at Tuk Tuk, too.

        1. re: lacerise


          Your Place Thai Cuisine
          1267 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

          1. re: lacerise

            We've got a Thai employee in our office and she always goes to Your Place. That was the first place I ever had larb salad and it was good enough that it's now just about my favorite Thai dish. I think only chicken is on the menu for larb, but they'll do pork if you ask.

        2. re: rworange

          I think you forgot Thep Naaree in Albany. The crab-pork cake was good but whatever curry I had there was boring. It's a pretty limited menu.

          1. re: Glencora

            link 2

            977 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706

            1. re: Glencora

              Thep-Naaree's food is average but it's relatively nice as neighborhood Thai places go, cute murals of topless Thai water goddesses or something.

            2. re: rworange

              While stopping at Eunice gourmet for coffee the other day, I thought I noticed that Bua Luang Thai was gone - might have only been my imagination. Maybe someone can confirm.

              1. re: samse

                It's still there. The Thai shop two doors down is closing. Last day is tomorrow.

            3. I've had some decent dishes at Ruen Pair. They have a more interesting and diverse menu than the usual.

              Most of the other Thai places around Albany and Berkeley serve the kind of Americanized Thai food where most of the dishes are based on the same handful of curry sauces.

              If you're not feeling lazy, Chai Thai Noodles and Champa Garden in Oakland are worth the schlep.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Having visited Thailand, I concur with your assessment of local Thai restaurants and their "handful of curry sauces". But tell me about your good experience at Champa Garden b/c I wasn't considering returning after my first visit. Nothing I had wowed me. Are there particular dishes you'd recommend?

                1. re: lacerise

                  Yeah, there are definitely some nothing-special dishes there. I keep track of what I'd order again and not in this topic:


              2. Here's a vote for Lao-Thai...very nice and the BBQ also solid...very pleasant folks, also!

                3 Replies
                1. re: Munching Mark

                  Sabuy Sabuy II has become one of my faves in the area. I have never ordered from the menu (but I'm sure much of what I've eaten is on the menu). The owner and/or his son will just ask what you are in the mood for and make food. Last night's din consisted of a variety of starters - chicken wings, a beef salad of sorts, a fried mushroom (with some assorted other veggies) platter. Then, the mains - a steak w/garlic (great - have had it a few times), a chicken curry, and a fried fish. (There were 4 of us).

                  The crispy rice salad/w pork is a definite winner. (Did not have that last night). Soups I've had there have been very good. Some of the dishes are quite creative. The heat level will be just what you ask for - make sure you know what you want, because they will make it from fire to medium to mild, unlike so many places (save Ruen Pair) that when you ask for spicy, really spicy, it comes out barely medium.

                  I like Ruen Pair, but I've come to love Sabuy Sabuy II.

                  1. re: Munching Mark

                    Forgot to reply to the VN request - there isn't much great around here. The best thing going is the Banh Mi shop in El Cerrito (it is very good) but if you want traditional dishes, the closest place I've liked is in Richmond on San Pablo Ave. (I don't recall the name). And I didn't like it enough to remember the name, as you can see.

                    This does not include Vanessa's Bistro, which I don't consider VN food, but is VN based, and I just love this place, my fav on Solano.

                    1. re: lmnopm

                      The place by Wendy's or further north on San Pablo Ave?

                  2. Thanks for all the great recommendations! I can't wait to start trying a few of these places out. We ended up going to Boran that night and enjoyed our dinner. It isn't my fav, but the friendly customer service might make it worth coming back to.

                    I was disappointed that they didn't haven't sticky rice on the menu.