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Best Thai in Seattle

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Hello Hounds. I am visiting Seattle for the month and I have a serious craving for thai food. I took the advice of city search and went to the best thai food in Seattle (http://seattle.citysearch.com/bestof/...) and I was left disappointed. The food at Sea-Thai was just above average so I hope it is not the best that Seattle has to offer. I have been to Typhoon is Portland and it was fine but not spectacular and a little on the pricey side for what you got. A friend suggested Thaiku but I wanted to reach out to chowhound for suggestions.

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  1. There is a past discussion if you search for it. My 2 cents are:
    Thai Siam on 15th and 83rd for some of the hottest, good thai in the city.

    Thaiku is pretty good, too.

    Vieng Thong on MLK is probably around the most authentic. It is Thai-Laotian, but is probably more Thai.

    Thai Tom on the ave in the U-district is divey, but doesn's disappoint me. But I like divey places and some people have said that it is heading down hill. I'll have to try it to believe it.

    6 Replies
    1. re: BallardFoodie

      You are very correct about Thai Siam on 83rd! Their food is delicious and fresh.

      1. re: BallardFoodie

        ugh, thaiku. i hope this isn't the best seattle has to offer.

        1. re: BallardFoodie

          Thaiku is closed.

          I really liked their Kow Soi. :(

          1. re: brownox

            I think I heard a rumor they're re-opening in phinney/greenwood?

            1. re: dagoose

              In the Gaspare's space:
              http://ballard.komonews.com/news/busi...

            2. re: brownox

              Brownox, try the Kao Soi at Pestle, around the corner in the old Snoose Junction space. Though when I had it last week, it was a special, so I'm not sure how often they'll have it.

          2. I really like Mays in Wallingford for "upscale" Thai, May Ploy in Ballard for everyday (and delivery!) Thai in Ballard (owned by the same family as the best Thai take out downtown May Phim) and Racha in Queen Anne for variety and soup noodles. I used to like Jai Thai in fremont but it is on the sweet side. Years ago I used to go to Siam on Lake Union and really enjoyed some of their dishes, but it's been years.

            I've never liked Thaiku - way too oily and flavors lacking. Nor do I like Thai Tom much - I've found their food lack-luster. I also dislike Thai Siam - boring food (IMO).

            Caveat - although I lived in Thailand as a teenager for a little while, it's been a long time since then, so who knows if my picks are truely "authentic" or just tasty.

            1. Are you able to get out to Issaquah? Noodle Boat in Issaquah is my personal favorite and has been praised frequently in the past on Chowhound as some of the best Thai in the area.

              25 Replies
              1. re: Chrome_CW

                I second Noodle Boat. I haven't had better Thai in the greater Seattle area, and the menu has some interesting alternatives to the usual.

                1. re: jencke

                  We tried Noodle Boat last night--the "Cookbook Chronicles" blog post finally made me want to drive all the way to Issaquah.
                  http://www.thecookbookchronicles.com/...

                  It was great. We had two of the dishes shown in the blog--the game hen ("volcano gem hen" on the menu) and the Queen of Banana. Those were fantastic. We also had a starter that was like Yum Woo Sen, which I love but isn't easy to find. It was pretty good except we all disliked the fishiness and crunchiness of the little dried shrimp. Our friends had regular stir fry type dishes that you'd find on any thai menu, and while they liked them, they weren't particularly special. Noodle Boat has all those standards you find everywhere, but they have quite a lot of unusual (for Seattle thai restaurants) dishes. I'll go back to try more of these.

                  You can't see this place from the road. Turn into the Denny's on Gilman, then go east through the parking lot. It's at the end next to the nails place.

                  1. re: christy319

                    That's great that you had a good experience there. I have been there now a number of times and have enjoyed it very much. I don't recall seeing the Queen of Banana. What exactly is that?

                    1. re: kgreig

                      Check out the blog post I linked--there's a photo and description.

                    2. re: christy319

                      I went last night, also after reading that post. I got the Queen of Banana and the ground meat dish she recommended, Ka-Pow-Rad-Khow, and they were both outstanding. I've never had bananh blossom that way, and its essence blended with coconut, chile and lime into a dressing that was almost otherworldly. Our friend got Phad Ped Pla and that was also great, as was my wife's dish, Tod Mun Curry & Ka Nom Jean, a curry with fish cake and rice noodles served on the side.

                      1. re: equinoise

                        As one who has been a chronic whiner on this board about the sad state of Thai food in Seattle, I’m eager at long last to check out Noodle Boat. I know it has been praised for awhile now, but my feeble excuse for not going there long ago it that it’s a schlep to drive out to Issaquah and the missus usually objects to a proposed “excursion” just for the sake of a meal, using it an excuse to point out what she regards as my obsessive-compulsive food disorder. What most interested me in christy319’s post was her reference to the “little dried shrimp” in the Yum Woon Sen. Even though Christy didn’t like the dried shrimp, my reaction was, “Wow, could it be that a Seattle-area Thai Restaurant doesn’t dumb down its food for the typical American palate?” I even checked Noodle Boat’s menu description for Som Tam in the hope that it would include, at least as an option, salted freshwater black crabs, and maybe even pla rah (pickled mudfish). It didn’t, though it did include dry shrimp, which is another traditional version of this dish.

                        1. re: Tom Armitage

                          Show your wife these pictures and see if that works:

                          http://www.thecookbookchronicles.com/...

                          Just don't make the trek during their annual closure, when they go to Thailand to research new dishes--I believe it starts sometime in April or May and lasts 4-5 weeks.

                          1. re: christy319

                            Thanks. Good idea. It might work. For the record, I once took my wife on a small "side-trip" after a hike in the Shenandoah Mountains to a small town in Virginia get some country ham and biscuits. She brings it up incessantly and publicly. I don't understand what the big deal was. It was only a four-hour there and back, and both the ham and biscuits were fabulous!

                            1. re: Tom Armitage

                              Mrs. Rowe's? I've done that side trip.

                              1. re: christy319

                                It wasn't Mrs. Rowe's but, alas, I've forgotten the names of the store and the town. It was a small store, with an old screen door and hams hanging everywhere, from the ceiling, on the walls, etc. I had to drive a few blocks to a local bakery for the biscuits. I'll have to do some research to see if I can dredge up the names of the shop and the town.

                            2. re: christy319

                              Tom: I think you would enjoy Noodle Boat, it's in a class of its own in this area. Though I would not expect you'd find it particularly strong on the Issan/Northern side of things; I'm curious if based on your experience you'd find any particular regional predilection there. Maybe you could do some recon on that front and encourage the proprietor to keep going regional, funky and unique. IMO, the items on the "S" or "N" menus are the most interesting. While you are waiting see if you can get an accurate count of the buddha figures in there.

                              Ka-Pow-Rad-Khow, which was the favorite dish in that cookbook chronicles post, is also available at Sea Thai, and there it includes a fried egg. I was eating the NB leftovers today, and thought that on my next visit there I'd make the request to add an egg on top. Quality wise, the dish itself at NB was better than Sea Thai.

                              -----
                              Noodle Boat
                              700 NW Gilman Blvd Ste E104B, Issaquah, WA 98027

                              1. re: equinoise

                                True, they don't have the dishes that I love that are on Lotus of Siam's northern menu section.

                                1. re: christy319

                                  Ah, well, Lotus of Siam. One of my proudest Chowhound accomplishments was being one of the original discoverers of LOS. My original Chowhound post (on the Los Angeles Board) regarding Renu Nakorn, Saipin and Bill Chutima’s predecessor restaurant in Norwalk, California, is on the wall in the entrance of LOS. Saipin Chutima is a semi-finalist, for the second time, for the James Beard Foundation Award for the Best Chef in the Southwest. May Saipin live and cook forever!

                                2. re: equinoise

                                  I finally got around to going to Noodle Boat. What an idiot I am for waiting so long to do this. As I swooned with pleasure at each bite, I kept saying to my wife,
                                  “At last, at last.” The food is from Central Thailand, which has its own culinary tradition separate from Northwestern Thailand (with milder Burmese and Southern Chinese influences), Northeastern Thailand or Issan (which shares the fiery-hot flavors of Laos), and Southern Thailand (with Malaysian influences and a heat level several notches above Central Thailand). (The only restaurant I know of that serves authentic Southern Thai cuisine is Jitlada in Los Angeles.) My wife and I shared three dishes, two of which have been mentioned many times as must-haves: queen of banana and ka-pao-rad-khow. The third dish was the zabb zabb salad with beef – basically the classic Thai beef salad (yam neua) with some minor variations. All three dishes had nicely balanced, complex, and authentic flavors – a welcome relief from the dumbed-down, overly sweet, Americanized Thai dishes at most Seattle restaurants. The flavors at Noodle Boat transported me not just to the authentic Thai restaurants in Los Angeles, many of them located in Thai Town along Hollywood and Sunset Blvds., but all the way over to Thailand. One thing that sets Noodle Boat apart from other Seattle Thai restaurants is its use of authentic ingredients. In the ka-pao-rad-khow (roughly translated, “basil with steamed rice), for example, they used of Thai holy basil (kraphao), the flavor of which made the dish sing. Very few restaurants use Thai holy basil. Most use the more readily available Thai basil, a different herb with a different flavor. By the way, our waitress, the owner’s daughter, asked us without prompting if we wanted an egg of top, to which we answered “yes.” Suffice go say, we’ll be coming back to Noodle Boat very soon and often.

                              2. re: Tom Armitage

                                Hello to anyone out there, I LOVE Pad Thai, but it seems hard to find a truly good one. The best I've had (so far) is at Thai Taste in Seattle, the worst was at Woodinville Thai, truly horrible food. Who makes the best Pad Thai in Seattle?

                                -----
                                Thai Taste
                                601 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

                                1. re: Jeanvieve7

                                  The best pad thai I've ever had has been at a restaurant I recommended farther down on this thread called Royal Orchid in Renton. I'm actually not usually a fan of pad thai (it's usually too sweet, not enough bang for the caloric buck), but this place grilled the meat (pork in this case), which lent a nice smoky flavor to it.

                                  -----
                                  Royal Orchid
                                  104 Rainier Ave S, Renton, WA 98057

                                  1. re: Jeanvieve7

                                    This isn't my favorite dish so I'm not a good judge, but I know people that love the one at May Thai in Wallingford, and it IS discernably different than most I've had.

                                2. re: equinoise

                                  While running errands in Issaquah, we stopped at the Noodle Boat for lunch. A word of warning: the kitchen may or may not agree to make anything from the dinner menu during the lunch hour. We simply asked to see it after we were handed quite an extensive lunch menu, which didn't feature any of the specialties. The wait staff can only ask on your behalf. Fortunately for us, the kitchen was obliging. We ordered Queen of Banana and BBQ Chicken. The Queen of Banana is one of those dishes that has multiple taste sensations and textures. On top of a steamed banana leaf comes chicken and shrimp tossed in a sweet-sour dressing of chile sauce, nuoc mam, lime juice, lemongrass, green onions, toasted coconut, finely shredded lime leaves, cilantro, mint and banana blossoms. The blossoms were really intriguing. We couldn't identify it; we had to ask. Normally, this might be the excellent dish that others say it is, but our sample had overcooked shrimp and a tired appearance, possibly from an overload of dressing that pooled at the bottom. Nevertheless, the flavors were terrific and vibrant. The BBQ chicken was a great combination of perfectly grilled and moist chicken (the dark meat with skin still on and nicely browned), bathed in a curry-coconut sauce, served with an exceptional sweet chile sauce. Overall, the meal was very good. It is true that there are dishes here you won't find anywhere else in the area. We definitely will return and try some other dishes. 

                                  1. re: chazuke

                                    I just ate at noodle boat yesterday. The BBQ chicken was so good, among the best chicken I've ever ordered at a restaurant. I kept losing my place in the conversation when I took a bite. I'd just stop in the middle, zone out, then go "wow that's so delicious." This BBQ chicken in coconut curry with sweet chili sauce was worth the trip alone. The phuket rice was a little disappointing. There were some fabulous bites, but other bites had overwhelming flavors of lemongrass and onions for my tastes. I don't know if this is the way it's supposed to taste, maybe it's an acquired taste. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't as good as some other stuff. Also, I HATE HATE HATE when restaurants have TV's on during dinner service. And it was staff that was watching it. Grr...

                                    But the chicken was just heavenly. Don't forget the thai iced tea, as well, a generous portion of delicious stuff served in a clay pot.

                                    I want to eat here 3 or 4 more times before I decide if it's the best thai place I've been too. They hit a lot of really high notes with their food.

                                    1. re: TheFoodEater

                                      I whole heartily share your aversion to televisions in restaurants but if you have ever spent any prolonged time in Thailand then you already know they are a ubiquitous irritation in most Thai eateries. Worse, if you ask the staff to turn it off you end up insulting them. Unfortunately, it is all part of the mai-bpen-rai attitude of that country. Non-Thais pretty much just have to live with it.
                                      I've spent 3 to 5 months in Thailand every year since 1988 so I am quite familiar with this phenomenon. I know Issaquah is not Thailand but even though we hate them, we can chalk up the TVs to cultural authenticity at the Noodle Boat.
                                      All that aside, I would still rank the Noodle Boat in my top 3 picks of Thai restaurants for authentic Thai food among the hundreds of Thai joints in this area. Here you can find bpoo pad pong garee (crab stir fried in curry powder) which is a gem of Central Thai cookery that is hardly ever found in your run of the mill Thai restaurant in the US. My other two choices would be Vieng Thong off MLK for Thai/Lao/Isaan food and Thai Curry Simple in the International District across from the bus tunnel escalators. I only really recommend Thai Curry Simple on Saturday mornings when they offer up a made for Thai expat's menu. It's only written in Thai on the menu board but the friendly owners/staff will gladly translate it for you or you can check out their facebook page a day or two beforehand when they will post the special menu in English.
                                      A few other Thai places in the greater Seattle area may have one or two items on the menu that are quite good and authentic like Jai Thai in Freemont's penang curry (when made by the owner) or some of the single plate items at the original Mae Phim downtown but for the most part I wouldn't recommend 98% of them. Several times I did eat at Bai Tong near the airport when it was on International Blvd. years ago and found it to be very good too. I haven't been there since they changed locations quite some time ago now so I can't really give a fair assessment of that place anymore.
                                      Why anyone would recommend the dumbed down gruel at Thai Tom, Racha Noodles or May Thai is beyond me.

                                      -----
                                      Noodle Boat
                                      700 NW Gilman Blvd Ste E104B, Issaquah, WA 98027

                            3. re: Chrome_CW

                              I see pretty much unanimous praise for Noodle Boat - but am I the only one here a little underwhelmed by it? I've been there twice, and have failed to taste anything that is really exceptional. What dishes do they excel in?

                              Disclosure - not a big fan of Thai food, but I do like Racha (?) in Queen Anne and some of the stuff at Siam on Lake Union.

                              1. re: HungWeiLo

                                Racha in Queen Anne is one of my favorites. Very flavorful food!

                                1. re: HungWeiLo

                                  Noodle Boat Was really fantastic. Try the #1 (gosh I cant remember the name of it. It has wide rice noodles, really fresh crisp veggies, and a spicy basil/chili sauce. SOOO good.)

                                  Their Pad Thai is...ok. A little red saucy for my taste.

                                  1. re: HungWeiLo

                                    Third time's the charm. I strictly followed some of the dish recommendations here and had a good time. Unfortunately, my wife is not used to some of the sour-ness of the SE Asian dishes so did not enjoy it as much.

                                  2. re: Chrome_CW

                                    Yeah... We love Noodle Boat and their eclectic decor.

                                  3. Didn't think Thaiku was anything special, and actually quite dissapointing. I wouldn't recomend it, or it's sister restaurant across the street 'la carta de oaxaca'... both bland and generally uncharacteristic

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Papa Kip Chee

                                      Aww...I like Carta. I agree with the disappointment with Thaiku.
                                      My suggestions are Tup Tim Thai on lower Queen Anne or Kwanjai Thai over the hill in Fremont. Both are dives, but haven't let me down when I'm in the middle of a massive larb gai craving !

                                      1. re: emcityjill

                                        Tup Tim Thai is a new favorite with a fun staff. Kwanjai Thai was my old neighborhood standby- delicious but on the sweet side. Tried Thaiku a couple weeks ago- It is a great place to eat at- not just get takeout from- more one the spice oily side- but came across as more authentic tasting.

                                        Any of those I mentioned above are great places to eat at or do takeout from.

                                      2. re: Papa Kip Chee

                                        I completely agree about La Carta De Oaxaca. Maybe it was the hype that set my expectations so high?

                                      3. I'm a big Thai food fan and I personally really like Thai One On on Lake City Way in N. Seattle and Tawan Thai in Fremont. Jai Tai in Fremont used to be really good a few years ago but recently the flavors are bland and the dishes are mediocre. Thaiger Room in the UDistrict is pretty good considering the price and location. I got through college eating there at least twice a week.

                                        1. Based on a CH recommendation, we have now been to W. Seattle to Buddha Ruksa twice in 5 days. Fabulous! A quick drive on 99!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: zoogrrrl

                                            I went there this past weekend, and I was not impressed. Maybe because I went to Lotus of Siam about a month ago, but the Crispy Chicken Garlic dish was overrated. The chicken was dry and it tasted burnt. It might have been an off night. My partner did enjoy his Trout Salad. We were both not impressed with the Spring Rolls.

                                          2. I just found out about Appe Thai on "The Ave" in the UDistrict. Their Pad Thai is excellent but make sure you order the original pad thai and NOT the red pad thai.

                                            1. My favorite is Thai Tom on the Ave, and I'm not sure why it's so polarizing. It just tastes like good food to me. The peanut sauce is unbeatable.

                                              My girlf's favorite is Jamjuree on 15th (Capitol Hill).

                                              Go to Rom Mai Thai on the North end of Broadway for Green Papaya Salad (you kinda have to demand the most spicy to get any heat at all) and Mango Sticky Rice, though the main courses are kinda sub par.

                                              12 Replies
                                              1. re: cscsman

                                                My favorite is Noodle Boat--most extensive and interesting menu and high quality generally...if only it weren't out in the burbs.

                                                Runners up: Sea Thai, Bai Tong, Thaiku, Vieng Thong and May.

                                                At Sea Thai you have to order wisely: I reccommend sticking to "renoo's specials" or "specials from the white board". Get something with the southern thai curry paste if hot food is desired-it's no joke.

                                                As others said, Vieng Thong's best attribute is Lao food, but everything I've had was quite good and refreshingly robust, FWIW.

                                                Bai Tong and Thaiku each have several unique items and generally high quality...I don't get the "too oily" comment above re: Thaiku, and least not as a general complaint.

                                                May has beautiful presentation, fresh ingredients and cool digs. It's menu is pretty slim though, and its dinner pricing is borderline unreasonable.

                                                After visiting Sripraphai in Queens, NY recently and enjoying the deep menu and bright flavors, it continues to astound me that in Seattle, with over one hundred thai restaurants, not one of them will come out and serve authentic regional dishes with unabashed spicing and funky ingredients. If so many places are willing to partake in a general Thai restaurant venture with all the typical financial risks, why not approach it from a new angle?

                                                1. re: equinoise

                                                  I agree with equinoise’s and christy319’s observations about the general sameness in the dumbed-down Americanized Thai food available in Seattle. I can certainly appreciate cquinoise’s reaction in comparing Sripraphai in Queens, NY to the Seattle Thai restaurants. The same is true for folks like me who have broadly sampled the offerings in the Thai Town district of Los Angeles, where authenticity rules and Thai customers vastly outnumber the non-Thais at most of the restaurants. And then, of course, there’s the gold standard for Thai food in North America, Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas, where Saipin Chutima performs magic in her kitchen. I haven’t tried the Issan dishes at Thai Palms, and I can’t claim to have eaten at all of the 100 or more Thai restaurants in the Seattle area, but I haven’t found anything yet that excites me. Rating the Thai restaurants in Seattle is like performing excavations in a flower pot. What is the best of the mediocre Thai restaurants in Seattle? Is this a question that anyone is seriously interested in?

                                                  1. re: Tom Armitage

                                                    I would die of happiness if something like Lotus of Siam opened here, or if someplace that was even almost as good, but had northern Thai options, opened. (I do still need to check out Vieng Thong, which I understand in mostly Laotion). Luckily I go though Vegas for work a few times a year and so I get to eat at Lotus occasionally. I'm going to NYC next week--maybe I need to put Sripraphai on the itinerary.

                                                    1. re: christy319

                                                      Definitely give Sripraphai a shot. I would be overjoyed if we had a place like that, or like Sticky Rice (N. Thai/Lao, Chicago), or maybe best of all, since we have some Lao available here, something like Jitlada (S. Thai, LA).

                                                      It boggles my mind how SEA can support 100+ Thai restaurants with so very little regional specialization, or even menu variation. Can't some enterprising restauranteur give it a shot? At least give us a Pok Pok outpost.

                                                      1. re: equinoise

                                                        Just emailed my friends in Jackson Heights to see if they're interested. Dang, I was just in Chicago last week and didn't know to look for good thai. I was recently in LA and ate at Renu Nakorn which was started by the LOS owner but it wasn't that great.
                                                        Ditto on your last paragraph!

                                                        1. re: christy319

                                                          Your assessment of the food at Renu Nakorn underscores the skill and finesse of Saipin Chutima. The menu at Renu Nakorn includes many of Saipin’s dishes, but without her touch, the results suffer by comparison. Still, unless the food at Renu Nakorn has taken a huge nosedive since I was last there (which was quite some time ago), I’d be happy to have a Renu Nakorn in Seattle – which speaks volumes about the Thai food available in Seattle. By contrast, the food available in Thai Town in Los Angeles (the papaya salad, prik king moo, or Chinese olives with ground pork at Ruen Pair, the southern Thai cuisine at Jitlada, duck noodle soup at Rodded, the sweets at Bahn Kanom Thai , etc. etc., etc.) is reason enough for a trip to Los Angeles.

                                                          1. re: Tom Armitage

                                                            I ordered some of the same dishes at Renu that I get at LOS and Renu was very average by comparison. I do have a list of other places to try when I'm in the area again so I'm looking forward to that.

                                                            1. re: christy319

                                                              This article is basically my wish list, which sets out some of the better regional Thai offered in S. California. Please. Just. One.... http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-...

                                                              I reviewed the "northern" menu on Lotus of Siam's website and must say that dishes similar to at least a few of these items were available at Thai Palms on Rainier, a Lao-Thai place which I have rated favorably elsewhere. As noted, you must locate the "take-out" menu to get the Lao specialty items. I'd imagine that Vieng Thong could make some of them also. Can't proclaim the quality approaches LOS, as I've never been to Vegas.

                                                              1. re: equinoise

                                                                The quality of Thai Palms or Vieng Thong doesn't approach LOS, however, it is extremely good, and I am so sick of hearing people complain about Thai in Seattle only to hear they haven't trekked to either of these places.

                                                                1. re: equinoise

                                                                  Linda Burnum’s list of L.A. Thai restaurants is Interesting. By focusing on “regional” Thai restaurants, she apparently excluded all restaurants serving Central Thai cuisine, which of course is a distinct regional cuisine on its own. How else could one explain her exclusion of places like Krua Thai, Sapp Coffee Shop, Ruen Pair, Rodded, and the many other excellent and authentic Central Thai restaurants in the greater Los Angeles area?

                                                    2. re: equinoise

                                                      sripraphai was probably one of my favorite eating out experiences. fresh, authentic and delicious. my chowhound buddy took me there and i still dream of that place. yes, so far seattle has left something to be desired in the thai realm. i usually go to araya, because it is close. but i am going to have to check out sea thai next.

                                                      1. re: smellymel

                                                        well. ive been to sea thai a few times now. i took the earlier mentioned advice and got the thai red curry. and yes, i sweat like a pig the whole meal. but in a good way. a Sri it is not, but so far. the best i have had in the fremont/wallingford/ravenna/ballard area.

                                                        Thaiku...ehhh, B-. Same with Thai Siam in my opinion. Sea Thai has them beat in my book. Next i'll have to hit up Vieng Thong.

                                                        I second Carta too. Thats my shiz.

                                                  2. The Seattle Times food writer had a summary of good thai places today :
                                                    http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com...

                                                    Personally, I like:
                                                    Tawon Thai - Fremont
                                                    Kaosamai - Fremont
                                                    Racha - Queen Anne

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: stolenchange

                                                      I second Racha. They have very fresh food, great soups too.

                                                      Plus, they have a full bar (very hard to find in Thai rest.)

                                                    2. I don't know if it's the best thai in seattle but this is our longtime fave, kaosami thai in fremont. http://www.kaosamai.com/
                                                      This is my fave: Gai Yang, Somtom combo for $12.95: ½ Cornish game hen marinated with Thai herbs and spices and barbequed to a golden brown. Served with Somtom salad, sticky rice & a dipping sauce.

                                                      1. Have got to agree with Buddha Ruska (West Seattle) for the best Thai in Seattle. They have daily specials that are interesting and not just the typical. The place is gorgeous, but not spendy, and the take-out (which we get often) is great.

                                                        1. My pick would be Thai Siam on 15th Avenue NW. I just wish it wasn't way the heck the other end of town from where I live.

                                                          We used to be big fans of Teak House in Normandy Park--the Massaman beef was the best I've had. But the ownership changed and the new folks were just so much less friendly and pleasant than the former owners, we drifted away. I have to admit, the food hadn't gone significantly downhill--I just missed the people! We should probably give them another chance nows that they've had time to settle in.

                                                          I never saw what all the fuss was about with Bai Tong. It was okay, nothing special, IMHO. It's main virtue for us was that it was about ten minutes from home--and then they moved.

                                                          The Seattle Times just reviewed Thai Thai in White Center and gave it good marks. I haven't been there in an age, but I remember it being pretty good. Might have to try it again soon.

                                                          1. I used to love Mae Phim, a little hole-in-the-wall gem downtown close to Pioneer Square, 94 Columbia street. Although I don't know how it is these days, it's been a while since I've eaten there, but normally people would get things to go because the place was packed. Every dish used to be $5.50, fresh and fast.

                                                            1. In my search for good thai (I've been to most places mentioned here and....eh. They're all the same*) I checked out Phayathai on Lake City Way (~89th) last night. It has great reviews from the daily and weekly papers and is #1 on Yelp. The food was good, not special or spectacular, but the weird/bad thing was the Glade air fresheners plugged into the walls. What could they be thinking?? All you could smell was chemical fragrance.

                                                              *Haven't been to Vieng Thong, Noodle Boat or Buddha Ruska yet, though.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: christy319

                                                                Kwanjai has been my absolute favorite for the 4 years I've been in Seattle. The food is fresh, comes out in literally a few minutes, and the chef noodle dish is addicting. I have out fo town guests who request Kwanjai on each visit.

                                                                I only went once, but I really liked Kritika in Greenlake.

                                                                I don't see the point in paying Racha prices. It's just ok food, and Thai should be cheap. May has tasty food, but I have this hang up about Thai food being inexpensive.

                                                                Tup Tim Thai has gone WAY down hill. I went a few weeks ago and will never go back. The food was borderline gross, and the service was obnoxious. The waiter constantly interrupted our obvious engaged conversation to make juvenile jokes - not even to ask about the food. He also made fun of a friend's food allergy. I am a gregarious jokey person & I coulda killed this guy!

                                                                1. re: burritobelle

                                                                  Why should Thai be cheap? Quality ingredients cost money no matter what kind of cuisine you are serving. Just because something is traditionally cheap, doesn't mean it has to stay that way. Arun's in Chicago has certainly proved you can take Thai food upscale.

                                                                  Please note, I'm not defending Racha, as I've never been there.

                                                              2. What about Thai Kitchen in Bellevue? Their chili pepper fried rice is the stuff dreams are made of. And their traditional Pad Thai is so wonderful. Tangy, not covered in a sweet red sauce, noodles are still firm and springy. hmm, might need to pay a visit today!

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: kgreig

                                                                  I also love Thai Kitchen...They make a great somtum, serve sticky rice, but my all-time favorite dish there are the spicy chicken wings - fried and then coated in a sauce of chili paste, peanut sauce and basil. I haven't seen it on their menu recently, but I think they still serve it on request.

                                                                  1. re: soypower

                                                                    mmm, I will have to ask about the wings, that sounds awesome! As simple as it is, I also enjoy their fried prawn appetizer. It's really nothing more than prawns wrapped in an egg role wrapper, with a vinegary plum sauce. But sometimes simple is better, right?

                                                                    I love their Tom Kah Gai. It's really a great blend of sweet, rich and salty without being cloyingly coconuty. (is that a word? )

                                                                2. I tried Vieng Thong last night. I liked what we had but it wasn't so great I'll make the drive from Phinney again.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: christy319

                                                                    Did you try the dried beef? Amazing stuff that make a trip across the bridge totally worth it for me...

                                                                    1. re: soypower

                                                                      I didn't. I'm not really a beef fan (except for a great steak) but I'll recommend it to my husband if we go there again.

                                                                  2. I'm going to have to go with Thaiku in Ballard or May in Wallingford on this one (both of which have awesome interior/architecture if you're into that) . And just like many others have said in this thread Noodle Boat in Issaquah (which has a kinda tacky interior lol) is spot on for traditional thai food (sometimes you can even ask the chefs to make you dishes not on the menu).

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Noodle Boat
                                                                    700 NW Gilman Blvd Ste E104B, Issaquah, WA 98027

                                                                    1. Lorna Yee (Seattle Mag) has another great blog post (lots of pics) about Noodle Boat. If this doesn't make you want to go, I don't know what will.

                                                                      http://www.thecookbookchronicles.com/...

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: christy319

                                                                        This does re-up my interest to go back to the Boat. Does anyone have tips about ordering off-the-menu dishes there? Sometimes when I try to have these conversations at restaurants, asking about "what Thai people would order", or "what is special here" I get blank stares, followed by pointing at the listings for pad thai or "swimming angel" on the menu.

                                                                        I don't know if its the "best" Thai in SEA, but after one visit, Spice Room has a small menu of surprsingly good dishes. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/683717

                                                                        1. re: equinoise

                                                                          We didn't order off menu, but the stuff they have on their last pages was all pretty unusual (Queen of Banana, Flaming game hen), so we stuck to that (and it was delicious). The first pages are the standard stuff you see everywhere.

                                                                      2. Where can I find a good Yum Woo Sen in Seattle? I hardly ever see it on thai menus here at all. I know Noodle Boat has it but where else?

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Noodle Boat
                                                                        700 NW Gilman Blvd Ste E104B, Issaquah, WA 98027

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: christy319

                                                                          I've never had it, but always see it on the menu at Thai Kitchen in Bellevue and Royal Orchid in Renton. I think it's usually listed as a salad instead of noodles...

                                                                          -----
                                                                          Royal Orchid
                                                                          104 Rainier Ave S, Renton, WA 98057

                                                                          1. re: soypower

                                                                            Yeah, it usually is. Thanks for the tips, though I'm hoping to find some Seattle places...I wonder why it's not commonly found?

                                                                            1. re: christy319

                                                                              Oh sorry, those were just my favorite Thai restaurants at the moment. Racha Thai in Queen Anne has yum woon sen on their menu. Again, listed under salads..

                                                                              http://www.rachaqueenanne.com/Dsalads...

                                                                              I've always thought it to be a dish I've seen quite frequently on menus, but when I'm looking at Thai salads, I always beeline it to the Som Tum, so I'm not sure how prevalent it really is.

                                                                        2. Naam in Madrona is pretty new and very good. Looks upscale, but prices are not high, good cocktails as well. They also have something that I'm not sure is Thai, but I am sure is fantastic: crab fried rice.

                                                                          1. I'll throw in Bai Tong, 'officially' not in Seattle proper. One in South Center and Redmond. I've only been to South Center one. I started going there years ago when they started in Sea Tac. I was told about it from Airlines crews from Asia that always talked and recommended it. LINK ATTACHED for locations http://baitongrestaurant.com/

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Bai Tong Restaurant
                                                                            16876 Southcenter Pkwy, Tukwila, WA 98188

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: beach14

                                                                              Bai Tong was the best Thai I have ever had- I highly recommend it as well. The prices were reasonable, the food was "just right" hot, and everything tasted fresh in that bamboo shoots/coconut/cilantro kind of way that Thai food can do so well. I recall I had a simple massaman curry.

                                                                            2. I mentioned this place in a Chinatown topic and figured I'd add it to this one: Thai Curry Simple on 5th & Jackson. The Monday-Friday lunch menu is fairly straightforward, but they also have a coffee/tea bar, serve roti on weekdays and offer a whole bunch of lunch specials on Saturday (unless you read Thai, you will have to ask).

                                                                              What I've had:
                                                                              -Very spicy fish curry (no coconut milk, and I think the fish were anchovies)
                                                                              -Green chicken curry over noodles with fresh bamboo shoots and Thai eggplant
                                                                              -Red pork belly (!) curry with watercress and lotus root.
                                                                              -Yellow fish ball curry

                                                                              The menu isn't huge, but it definitely meets the criteria of not being the same as every other Thai restaurant in Seattle.

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: lavaca

                                                                                I went here today for lunch and loved it. Loved the space (I was expecting a dive but it's a nicely tended, coffee-shop looking kind of place) , loved the guy behind the counter, loved the price. I did think the Pad Kee Mao was a bit bland at first, but it was great with the hot sauce, and I appreciated how non-greasy it was. But this is the thing I am posting about: I picked up a packet each of their green curry and red curry--they sell these in a cooler for only $2. I made the green tonight and it was fantastic. What a great thing to get for a fast and cheap dinner--just add coconut milk and whatever meat/tofu/veggies you want. I will definitely be back for more of those, and more of their food.

                                                                                1. re: christy319

                                                                                  How much coconut milk did you use? I tried the massaman a while back and it seemed like the amount of coconut milk suggested by the recipe on the back (3 cups!) was far too much relative to the amount of curry paste provided.

                                                                                  1. re: lavaca

                                                                                    I only had one can (14 oz) so I used homemade chicken broth for the rest of the 3 cups. The curry-to-liquid ratio was perfect IMO. I did wonder if 3 cups of just coconut milk would be a bit rich--maybe I'll stick with my formula. But I made the green--maybe the massaman needs less.

                                                                                2. re: lavaca

                                                                                  I had another very positive experience at Thai Curry Simple last weekend with green curry dish with vermicelli, sour bamboo, and fish-ball stuffed with preserved egg. They were very friendly to my toddler daughter (who happened to like the sticky rice with coconut milk and mango slices).

                                                                                  Their standard curry/pad thai menu is OK, but I wish they would serve the funky Saturday stuff every day, and more of it! Just do it, man!

                                                                                3. Bai Pai in Ravenna. Surprised it hasn't been mentioned.

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Bai Pai Restaurant
                                                                                  2316 NE 65th St, Seattle, WA 98115

                                                                                  1. Tried May Thai in Wallingford. Bleh. We've always wanted to try because of the impressive-looking exterior of the restaurant (yes, I can be superficial). The food just did not measure up favorably amongst the other Wallingford restaurants in quality - in terms of Seattle Thai it was definitely below average (and that's not saying much, as you all know). It was MSG and saltiness over any discernible flavor or freshness.

                                                                                    Two observations: 1.) It was 5pm on a weekend and they told me they had run out of wide rice noodles. 2.) Tried to ask a waitress (not ours - there were 2 of them) for our check and we were given the backhanded response that we need to redirect our requests to our own waitress only - even though she was just setting up some napkins at the time.

                                                                                    Finally, the prices are out of this world for the food and the portions they were serving. For example - $15 for a curry that was barely 1 cup full, with 3 small pieces of chicken in it, plus $6 for brown rice. $21 curry + tax + tips, anyone? We ended up with 3 entrees and were disappointed with all of them. We had a coupon and the check still felt very stiff. Thai food is typically pretty overpriced as it is in most places - this one takes the crown.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: HungWeiLo

                                                                                      Although I have ordered mostly from the Lao menu at Savatdee on Roosevelt the Thai offerings that I have tried have been as carefully prepared as the Lao by a real chef with careful attention to detail. There is nothing formulaic about this place. The owners which include the chef are a Lao family and are eager for feedback . As for the Lao food I think it compares very favorably to Viengthong and Thai Palms.

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Thai Palms
                                                                                      6715 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Seattle, WA

                                                                                      Viengthong
                                                                                      2820 Martin Luther King Jr Way S, Seattle, WA 98144

                                                                                      1. re: forkit

                                                                                        I finally got to Savatdee after years of meaning to. I agree very much that its Lao stuff compares very favorably with the other Lao joints. I had Lab Mou Sai Keungnai and Nhem Mou. Both of these dishes or something very close to them are also served at Vieng Thong, but I thought Savatdee's versions were brighter and fresher tasting without sacrificing a good dose of the robust fish and offal intended for them.

                                                                                    2. yes i also like Thai Tom on the ave in the U-district, i like
                                                                                      the truck in lower Queen Anne near he Fremont bridge and gas station.
                                                                                      also Thai Siam on 15th & 83rd. Racha in Queen Anne is a yummy favorite, they really work hard to make it special. and i really like Orrapin Thai on top of Queen Anne a little pricey
                                                                                      but you get what you pay for. maybe my top thai place..Buddha Ruksa in West Seattle, SW Genesee St right after you go over the West Seattle bridge. can you say crispy garlic chicken???

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Thai Tom
                                                                                      4543 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105

                                                                                      Queen Anne Cafe
                                                                                      2121 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

                                                                                      Thai Siam Restaurant
                                                                                      8305 15th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98117

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: mikeeatsalot

                                                                                        i'm also a fan of thai siam and buddha ruksa.

                                                                                      2. Little Uncle f/k/a Shophouse has opened a small take-out stall with a few tables at 1509 E. Madison. My family and I stopped by today, and enjoyed everything we tried: steamed buns with beef cheek; kao soi; and (the special) dungeness crab sauteed with yellow curry powder, chinese celery, ginger egg and crab viscera. This last dish made for the best lunch I've had this year, IIRC. Sure, it's not "Thai hot," (though you can add chili as you wish), but it's full of seasonal items and good flavor, and, along with Thai Curry Simple's weekend menus, it's probably Seattle's best right now (FWIW).

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: equinoise

                                                                                          Thanks for the tip! LOVE the seasonal-ness of the offerings, and thanks for sharing. Will check this out!

                                                                                          Is this a temporary 'pop-up", or permanent?

                                                                                        2. Will the Thai joints in Seattle deliver massive heat to their non-Asian customers? In my experience Thai (and Chinese) restaurants often won't even if you ask.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: aynrandgirl

                                                                                            Thanks for the tip, equinoise. I wasn’t aware of this place and it sounds wonderful.

                                                                                            To aynrandgirl: In my experience, it’s a process that takes some time, and goes something like this:

                                                                                            First visit to a Thai restaurant: Me: “I’d like my [name of dish] spicy.” Waitperson: “How spicy?” “Well, one a scale of one to five, about a four, but Thai spicy, not American spicy” Dish arrives. Waitperson: “Is that spicy enough?” Me: “It’s very tasty, but next time you can make it spicier.”

                                                                                            This process continues through a sufficient number of visits until they get to know you and arrive at the desired level of heat. It takes some time and experience for them to be confident that you can really handle the heat level, and that they won’t disappoint you by making the dish unpalatably hot. Not every restaurant follows this model, and some might give you all the heat you want on your first visit, but in the main, most are afraid of making the dish unpleasantly hot, and so proceed cautiously. But if you’re patient, you’ll get there eventually.

                                                                                            I personally like a lot of heat in some dishes, particularly Isaan dishes, but other dishes, like those from Northern/Northwestern Thailand where the influences are more Burmese and Chinese, rather than Laotian, are often mild and not at all spicy hot. In any event, I draw the line at so much heat that it is numbing and I can’t appreciate the flavors of a dish.

                                                                                            1. re: aynrandgirl

                                                                                              This has been discusesd many times on Chowhound--here's one of the latest very long threads:

                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/826545

                                                                                              My own experience is that you become a regular at a place you like, and you'll get it your way.

                                                                                            2. I know that this thread began 4 years ago, but I just wanted to thank all the folks who pitched Noodle Boat in Issaquah, I was in Issaquah today, remembered the recommendations, and dined there tonight with my spouse. We had the best Thai food we've had in the Puget Sound region.

                                                                                              We are already planning to return next Friday evening to further investigate NB's huge menu. Delicious ... my only problem will be trying to tolerate the food in any other Seattle-area Thai Restaurant after having eaten at Noodle Boat.

                                                                                              Chowhound is a wonderful thing....

                                                                                              1. Has anyone checked out Pestle Rock, the new Isan Thai place in Ballard? Sounds promising--check out the menu. Not the usual and predictable stuff.
                                                                                                http://www.pestlerock.com/

                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: christy319

                                                                                                  Interesting. Seems like they took the concept of Pok Pok in PDX and ran with it. Definintely worth a shot.

                                                                                                  1. re: equinoise

                                                                                                    I had a nice lunch there; it was just me and I only had a bowl of soup/noodles, but it was very tasty and the waitress was very attentive. I'll be back to try more items, since there were so many that sounded interesting.

                                                                                                  2. re: christy319

                                                                                                    We went tonight and will return. It is definitely outside the norm of most Thai in the area. We really like the chicken wings, the larb was amazing, and everything had very good flavors. One of the most interesting things were the fresh peppercorns our seafood entree (Talay Phad Cha); chewy with amazing pepper taste and lingering subtle heat.

                                                                                                    1. re: christy319

                                                                                                      Went to Pestle Rock today for lunch. As far as I'm concerned, this place is the only serious competition to Thai Curry Simple in town - yes, granted, it's Issan as opposed to TCS' more curry-driven southern style. I think the only curry Pestle Rock does is Khao Soi, whick I look forward to trying next time.

                                                                                                      Ba-mee-hang (egg noodles) dry style with braised pork shoulder and choy sum had a great mix of textures (cruncy peanuts and roasted dried chilies, bouncy but not sticky or goopy egg noodles) and a great balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors.

                                                                                                      Guey Tiew Tom Yum (ground pork noodle soup) had a different flavor profile but similarly great balance and was well executed - clearly made to order.

                                                                                                      I look forward to going back. Fortunately, unlike TCS, they're open for dinner.

                                                                                                      1. re: terrier

                                                                                                        I've gone 6 or 7 times now; it's my go-to Thai place. We've tried quite a few things now and I've only had one dud (the crispy fish pieces in the Tum Sen were so hard they were almost un-chewable). Everything else is great, and the staff is so nice. AND it's not been discovered yet so unlike every other good place in Ballard on say, a Saturday night, you can be assured of getting a table.

                                                                                                        Terrier, I've had the Khao Soi and really liked it.

                                                                                                        1. re: christy319

                                                                                                          I finally made it to Pestle Rock for lunch. I asked the server what the favorite of the spicy salad dishes was, and he suggested the ground pork Isan laab, which I ate with sticky rice. It was very brightly flavored and fresh, albeit a bit sweeter and less hot than the versions of this dish available at Savatdee and ViengThong. Still, there is alot of interest in returning to PR for other items.

                                                                                                    2. After another botched takeout attempt at the well-done, slightly-charred pad see ew that is pretty common on the East Coast, I just had to post here.

                                                                                                      I've tried, in no order, Tim Tup Thai, Bahn Thai, Mae Phim, Thai Tropics and many others to no avail.

                                                                                                      The wide egg noodle is worlds better with a little bit of that wok char and its what has made me crave this dish ever since I first had it in the East Village.

                                                                                                      I know not all of the above places are the best Thai spots, but someone's gotta do it here, right?!

                                                                                                      My husband says Thai Toms might be my best shot, but it's not the most convenient. Til then I guess...

                                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: mcmullek

                                                                                                        Since pad see ew is meant to be made with wide rice noodles, finding it with egg noodles probably presents a double challenge.

                                                                                                        1. re: christy319

                                                                                                          You got me! Was eating egg and it clearly took over my brain. Yes, wide rice noodles.

                                                                                                        2. re: mcmullek

                                                                                                          I've only see it with wide rice noodles too.

                                                                                                          Thai Tom is the Wild Ginger of sub-$10 eateries of Seattle, except it was never good even 15 years ago.

                                                                                                          1. re: mcmullek

                                                                                                            I know from experience that at least 3 of the places you mentioned: Tup Tim Thai, Bahn Thai and Mae Phim will all make Pad Siew with wide rice noodles if you simply ask them to do so. In fact, when I've ordered it at those places it has always come that way without having to ask. Wide rice noodles is how the dish is normally made in Thailand too and if it isn't slightly browned from the high heat of the wok that means they haven't got the oil hot enough which is probably a result of making a ton of orders one after the other and 80% of them being Pad Thai which is usually not stir fried as long as Pad Siew due to it having less meat in it. All I can figure is that you've got really bad luck or are somehow ordering wrong. I'm in Thailand as I write this and the stuff I get here isn't a whole lot different from what I get in Seattle except for the portion size and price of course. That the Pad Siew on the East Coast is somehow intentionally made different than on the West Coast seems a bit of a stretch to me. I would think it would be more of a restaurant to restaurant difference rather than a US regional difference since Thai restaurant owners overall come from more or less the same diverse backgrounds in Thailand.

                                                                                                            1. re: Magellan

                                                                                                              Demographics. Most Thai communities are on the west coast. I'm not aware of any major Thai communities on the east coast - at least east of Chicago.

                                                                                                              So most likely the "Thai" restaurants owned on the east coast are owned by non-Thai. But then again, it's quite common to hear Vietnamese or Cantonese coming out of the kitchens of "Thai" restaurants in Seattle too - but usually the bad ones.

                                                                                                              1. re: HungWeiLo

                                                                                                                1.) Miami has a very large Thai community, but yes, for the most part I agree that there are not nearly as many Thai communities in most eastern cities as there are on the West Coast but how would that effect the quality of the food? If a Thai restaurant owner is from Thailand what difference would it make in his/her food if it were made in New York or Seattle? The owner-operators of Thai Curry simple in the ID are Thai-Americans from New York. Their food is good but nothing particularly different than many others except on Saturday mornings when they have their Thai expat menu yet being from New York has nothing to do with that.

                                                                                                                2.)"....it's quite common to hear Vietnamese or Cantonese coming out of the kitchens of "Thai" restaurants in Seattle too..." Really? Most Thai Chinese speak Teochew but they're still Thai. I have been to one hell of a lot of Thai restaurants in the Seattle area and have never heard Vietnamese or Cantonese coming out of the kitchen. The closest thing I've seen to non-Thais running a Thai restaurant in Seattle is Viengtong on MLK but it's run by a Lao/Isaan lady which in my book qualifies as Thai. The Tropics in the ID is Chinese owned but has a Thai cook and it doesn't really bill itself as a Thai restaurant either. Rather they consider themselves sort of a fusion type of place. By the way, I speak, read and write Thai so I know if the language coming from the staff is Thai or not. I'm not saying that there aren't any places in the Seattle area that bill themselves as Thai restaurants and are not run by Thais but I have never been to one or ever heard of one. There is one in Port Angeles that is run by Filipinos but I don't consider P.A. Seattle.

                                                                                                                1. re: Magellan

                                                                                                                  There is always a critical mass that must be achieved in terms of population of a diaspora before high quality cuisine can operate in the marketplace. You won't find an authentic dimsum restaurant in, say, Cedar Rapids because no one will know/want to eat what they're serving. Any ethnic restaurant will have to Americanize their food sufficiently to attract local clientele. Many Americans who claim to love Thai food would vomit and throw in the towel if they get anywhere near the sour, pungent fish sauce-laced Thai food - the kind that has not been sweetened and had the fish sauce largely removed that most are accustomed to. In order to accommodate their majority clientele, the quality must therefore suffer. And conversely, having a large ethnic enclave ensures that anyone operating a substandard enterprise would quickly shut their doors by the inevitable competition.

                                                                                                                  1. re: HungWeiLo

                                                                                                                    Agreed HungWeiLo (great forum name by-the-way). Even in larger cities I think some Americanization of most ethnic foods is inevitable in order to stay in business for the reasons you gave. Seattle may be a bit of an exception though as per capita there must be more Thai restaurants here than just about anywhere outside Thailand. I particularly like this thread because I do believe with as many Thai joints as we have here in Seattle there should be a at least a few more that are truer to what the original cuisine should be and I like learning of other people's opinions on where they are.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Magellan

                                                                                                                      Let us hope that, with the spectacular national success of Pok Pok, and with the handful Seattle newcomers that are going regional/authentic and gaining renown (TCS, Little Uncle, Pestle Rock) the tide is turning against predictiable Americanized Thai food and we will see yet more noteworthy entrants.

                                                                                                                      1. re: equinoise

                                                                                                                        I hope so too, Equinoise. Though I did see a couple of women come in to Pestle Rock, get a table, look at the menu, then get up and walk out. I think there are a lot of people that want the predicable old stuff; let's hope there are enough of us that want a change.

                                                                                                                        1. re: equinoise

                                                                                                                          Just wanted to chime in, I had a fantastic meal at Pestle Rock last week. Braised pork shoulder and egg noodles that had the perfect combination of spicy, sweet, salty and sour that I remember from visiting Nongkhai. My dinner companions enjoyed their meals to the extent that I couldn't manage even a taste.

                                                                                                                2. re: Magellan

                                                                                                                  Thanks Magellan - I wasn't proposing that it's intentionally cooked different here, just hoping to find out if anyone else has had the same, less-char experience.

                                                                                                                  Also, in case my reply wasn't clear enough, I meant wide rice noodles in the my original post, NOT egg, so yes, that's what is usually served (and what I would expect).

                                                                                                                  1. re: mcmullek

                                                                                                                    Sorry mcmullek, after re-reading your original post and the later follow up I now understand what you where saying. My fault for the confusion.

                                                                                                              2. Did we talk about the new Thaiku yet? It's right by my house so I've been. It's quite different than the old Thaiku on Ballard Ave. The menu is smaller and doesn't have all the usual suspects. We had a poached whole fish, laab, and Yum Woon Sen. It was fine but nothing knocked my socks off, so I'll keep going to Pestle Rock. I actually thought the menu was a bit challenging for a neighborhood Thai place--there is lots of dried shrimp, and few of the usual dishes that you see everywhere. But they seem to be doing well.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: christy319

                                                                                                                  We went to Mai Thaiku last week. Three of us shared:
                                                                                                                  Mieng Kahm, which was good but I thought the bai cha plu was bitter.
                                                                                                                  Green mango salad with prawns, also good but the mango was more ripe than green
                                                                                                                  Khao soi, our favorite dish by far. The curry had a nice, building spice.
                                                                                                                  Pork Belly in thai five spice. This was our least favorite dish. It tasted bland so it might have been better if we had eaten it before the khoa soi.

                                                                                                                  Pestle Rock is next on my list.

                                                                                                                2. The best Thai food in Seattle is in Issaquah at The Noodle Boat.

                                                                                                                  1. Not the best in Seattle maybe, but probably the best in downtown: Little Uncle on Yesler between 1st and Western. What a godsend for the area. It's always killed me that the Thai downtown is so mediocre, that I have to walk to the ID to Thai Curry Simple for something decent. The menu at Little Uncle is interesting, it's fast enough for us office workers, there's seating (it's a large basement space), and I've liked what I've had, with the exception of the mussel crepe (I had a couple really funky fishy bites, which some might like but I didn't).

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: christy319

                                                                                                                      Agreed. I'm addicted to the fish fritters already

                                                                                                                      1. re: Brunhilde

                                                                                                                        I love the fritters too. And the sour cherry and rhubarb shaved ice...so so good.