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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.