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Thai Food in Calgary?

Greetings fellow Hounds

I'm looking for some recommendations for a good, yet not too pricey Thai restaurant in Calgary to go for dinner on Friday. Location really isn't that important.

I've been to the King & I, which is great, but pretty hefty on the prices.

One place that I have heard a few good reviews about is Ruan Thai on 11th ave, so I'd like to hear some more reviews if anyone here has been there, as well as any other places that come strongly recommended.

Cheers

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  1. I still like Thai Place West in the Quality Inn, but you can check out this thread from last year:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/483421

    7 Replies
    1. re: ybnormal

      I had lunch there yesterday (buffet) for the first time since, oh, last October, and it was VERY good! Buffet had two meat curries (panang pork and a green curry with shrimp and lots of shredded coconut), one tofu stir-fry thing, pad thai noodles and a soup I can't recall- and instead of spring rolls was the odd but tasty addtion of fried fish. Not fish cake, but fried pieces of whole fish.

      I can't turn down a piece of fried fish filet and those were nice and fresh-tasting, boneless and "flat" in shape so maybe tilapia? But the curries- ya Allah- delicious! The shrimp one in particular, rich and sweet and mmm mmm. I commented at how Malaysian-ish it was in flavour and the hostess said it's southern Thai w/ lots of coconut (it looked positively south Indian in fact, something I've never seen at a Thai resto) but I broke my one-plate buffet rule and had seconds of it. Pork was also superb and tender with great depth of flavour, just heaven on jasmine rice. So the buffet is small but good and for $12.99 I'll be back.

      1. re: John Manzo

        Do they have the buffet everyday at lunch?

        1. re: Merry113

          Nope just M-F. It's been close to empty every time I've gone there but is still goin'.

          1. re: John Manzo

            I'll have to try it soon. Close to work for me. We're always looking for new places. I used to love Thai Boat but the portions have gotten smaller and smaller while the prices rise.

        2. re: John Manzo

          Does this place have any relation to Thai Place in the NE (Best Western, 1947 18th Ave NE)? Just wondering if anyone has tried that location, and if that place is any good.

          1. re: Fid

            Not sure if there's any relation to the Thai Place in the NE. However, I have tried the Thai Place in the Best Western in the NE. And I was NOT impressed. First, the decor left a lot to be desired. It had a view of the motel indoor pool (the pool was a kiddie size pool). Then they had both a thai menu and a western menu (hamburger and french fries) for the SAME restaurant. That should have already been a sign when you see diametrically opposite menus for the same restaurant. Either they make fabulous thai food and bad western food... or they make fabulous western food and bad thai food... or neither... you can't be all things to all people and expect to be good at it...

            We ordered satay chicken skewers as an appetizer. It came with garlic toast (made with texas toast bread). I must say that was a VERY strange pairing. I'd never been served garlic bread before alongside my satay at ANY thai restaurant before. I wasn't exactly clear what was the purpose of the garlic toast. Nonetheless, the satay skewers were dry and chewy (i.e. overcooked).

            The rest of the other dishes (curry and beef with basil) were alright. Certainly nothing gourmet or worth going back for.

            1. re: miss.foodie

              Thanks for the review, and for helping me dodge a culinary bullet. ;-P I will definitely try out Thai Place West the next time I'm in the NW and in need of some good food.

      2. I go to Ruan for lunch all the time, once a week usually, and am most happy when they are serving their delectable basil chicken and their also delectable red curry pork. For dinner (have only ever had takeout) I've their yellow curry w/ chicken and potatoes which is very good and if I remember correctly some sort of salad (sorry, it's been a while) that was also very nice- but I can't share much more about dinner. I'd just say it's worth a shot.

        I haven't been to King and I for years because it seemed like a shocking ripoff- and this was decidedly pre-boom.

        Thai Sa On and Thai Boat are reputationally outstanding but I haven't been to either.

        4 Replies
        1. re: John Manzo

          Would agree with John that Ruan Thai is really good. Thai Sa On is also one of my favorites. Hard to choose between the two.

          1. re: ToddCostella

            I agree as well, Ruan Thai is great. Just make sure you avoid the buffet.

            Chili Club (two locations, one at 11th Ave and 5th St SW, the other at 17th Ave and 36th St SW) is also excellent. Be prepared to wait in line if you go.

          2. re: John Manzo

            Agreed. King and I is indeed far too expensive. Only times I've been there was when someone else was footing the bill :P

            1. re: electroleum

              I third (or fourth or whatever) that King and I is good buy rediculously priced. I'm going to add Thai back into my routine with some of your excellent suggestions.

          3. Check out Thai Boat in the NE just off Barlow excellent food

            1. Chili Club gets my vote (I've only been to the one on 11 ave). The green shrimp curry is awesome (but also wickedly hot!). Been there many many times, and am never dissapointed.

              Been to Ruan Thai a couple of times, loved it the first time (surpirisingly they were packed that night with only one waitress who warned us that it was her first night on the job). Not so good the second time, we ordered some of the same dishes but they just weren't as good as our first time there.

              Thai sa On and Thai Boat are ok, I preferred Thai Boat over Thai sa On. Haven't been to King and I.

              7 Replies
              1. re: djdragan

                I prefer Thai Nongkahi over Thai Boat, but otherwise i completely agree with djd - Chili Club is good, not a huge fan of Ruan Thai (mostly because of inconsistency), and Thai Sa On is nothing special. I find it a bit expensive too.

                Thai Place in each of the Comfort Inn's/Holiday Inn's are decent too, and I've good meals at Bangkoknoi on Centre.

                1. re: foodosopher

                  I wouldn't hope for consistency at Ruan any time soon- my fave server moved to Nelson :-( but she did teach me to ask who's in the kitchen before I eat there- "dragon lady"= good chow; anybody else (incl the recent male chef hire)= unappetizing and sometimes bizarre flavours, like a curry with tons of CANNED pineapple and way too much sugar in everything else. Also- the beef they use there seems to be utility-grade and I avoid it. at lunch at least.

                  But as I've said a number of times-when the kitchen is on, it's on.

                  1. re: John Manzo

                    So now I know why my two trips to Ruan Thai have been in the "inconsistent" category, John. Really not very good at all. So how can I tell *before* I go that the dragon lady is cooking? I'm not really interested in experiencing servings that "ruin" the Thai.

                    1. re: Bagel Guy

                      Well if you look at the buffet and there is basil chicken, that's a good sign- it if looks like a savoury, spicy, pile o' fun with a delectable oiliness, you're in. Curry also shouldn't just look like a coconut milk based soup but should have a glorious slick of orange coconut oil on top.

                      If the curry has pineapple in it, run away!

                      1. re: John Manzo

                        Thanks, John, now I know. I had the pineapple and had I known how canned it would be I would have headed for the door. Now that I have a way of figuring out who's cooking, I'll sure try them again.

                2. re: djdragan

                  Thai Boat is average at best. The food tastes like it has been sitting in a steam table in the kitchen for a while before being put on a plate for service.

                  1. re: djdragan

                    I also love Chili Club Thai. I would say it is definitely among the best in Calgary. The Crying Tiger spicy beef dish is my favorite but also very spicy.

                    And you cannot go wrong with coconut rice... ever...

                  2. I'll throw my hat in for a new entry to the Thai game in Calgary, Delicious Thai on 10th Street NW between 2nd Ave and 3rd Ave a couple of doors down from The Roasterie. Tiny location with no "air lock" to keep out chilly winds in the winter but great Thai food at decent prices. They're pretty happy to make dishes not on the menu, if they're not slammed, if they have the ingredients and if you know what you are asking for. They don't have Pad Siew on the menu but the night I asked if they could make it up they did a darn fine job of it.

                    If you're coming from a distance away I'd call first only because they were having staffing trouble and some nights were doing take out/delivery only.

                    Kup cuum kup from Kensington!

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: vanderb

                      How are they doing? This location has been the death spiral for something like 5 other restos since I moved to Calgary- maybe more than 5.

                      Also- another newish place is the one in Chinatown, Centre St right south of the bridge- the name escapes me but two lunches there have been OUTSTANDING.

                      1. re: John Manzo

                        Thai Bistro perhaps? Or at least, I think that's the name. Something Bistro anyways.

                        1. re: John Manzo

                          They've been pretty busy each time I'm there and the food is great but that has not stopped previous places from going under in that spot. The Northern Chinese joint about 3 incarnations ago was really different but still fantastic, as was the Tibetan place (mmm.... momo's) that was before Delicious Thai.

                          If Delicious Thai keeps up their current standards they should do well, but first someone will have to beat the hippie/punker scum :-) out of the Roasterie area as I'm sure they've scared off more than a few diners from both Delicious Thai and Indochine Bistro.

                          1. re: John Manzo

                            Yes! Thai Bistro!!!
                            I concur, Very Excellent!
                            It’s nice to be able to have a Tasty Thai lunch downtown for reasonable price again.
                            I was disappointed when House of Thai closed down.

                            not a big fan of the Rose Garden. Last time I went, the vegetables tasted (and looked) like they came out of frozen bag but it might have changed since I was there 6 months ago.

                          2. re: vanderb

                            I know this is an old thread but we finally had takeout from Delicious Thai in Kensington tonight and I really enjoyed it. They have chicken wings stuffed with a pork-filling you'd normally get in spring rolls that were awesome.

                            The roasted duck red curry and "drunken noodles" (with pork) were good. Could have skipped the beef with basil.

                            My favourite is still Chili Club Thai House -- BUT the prices and incredibly friendly service at Delicious Thai are hard to beat.

                            Relatively inexpensive Thai food seems to be unheard of here in Calgary -- compared to Toronto especially -- so Delicious Thai's price point (mostly $10-12 - the duck red curry was one of the more expensive dishes at $14) is welcome.

                            The dining room itself looked very nice, and tranquil. Would def go back to eat there when we have more time, as well as take out again.

                            1. re: vanderb

                              I was hoping someone would give a shout out to Delicious Thai. I highly recommend it!

                              The food is great and the server I usually have is the cutest little Thai guy ever.

                              The food comes out quickly and is definitely "Delicious" Thai.