Ginger, saffron, and other aromatic spices mingle in Hot Basil Cafe's kitchen, where chefs create dishes inspired by Indian and Thai cuisines. The kitchen maestros prepare Thai dishes such as cashew-nut chicken and spicy catfish, filling place settings alongside tiger prawns and cream pepper chicken baked in an Indian clay oven. They round out each meal with Thai-style iced coffee and indian fruit lassis, as well as wines and ice creams.
Rated Best Thai Restaurant by the East Bay Express in 2011, Chai Thai Noodle earns its title with a vast menu of authentically prepared dishes imbued with vibrant flavors and spices. Chai Thai Noodle's masterful and lively preparations have earned the chefs enthusiastic accolades and multiple high-fives from local press; their pork leg stew in particular inspired across-the board ardor. The San Francisco Chronicle's Carol Ness credited owners and chefs Sangchai Vatanachai and Amnouy Manyvong for making "'pork leg stew' three of the most exciting words in the language of Thai food." John Birdsall of the East Bay Express mentioned that it had to rate "among the most satisfying meat dishes in all of East Oakland," and SF Weekly’s Meredith Brody cited the stewed leg, accompanied by pickled vegetables and mustard greens, as her primary motive for dining at Chai Thai Noodle.
Chao Thai Cuisine’s modest exterior belies the bevy of delicious and authentic fare produced by its speedy kitchen staff. A three-page menu displays nearly 100 dishes including beef, chicken, seafood, and vegetarian entrees. House favorites, such as pineapple fried rice, pad thai, and green curries, can be enjoyed upon the eatery’s cozy collection of indoor mosaic tabletops or stashed away into a sturdy take-out container or a water-sealed top hat.
The chefs at Siam Bay Authentic Thai craft an extensive menu of Thai specialties, from fried tofu to garlic pork with steamed broccoli. Generous portions, served in classic blue-and-white china bowls can be shared with tablemates or kept to oneself by building a protective fence of chopsticks.
Thai food is a traditionally spicy cuisine, and the chefs at Heng Heng Heng! Thai Noodles want all of their customers to realize that before ordering. On the menu, nine of the nearly two dozen entrees come marked with two or three tiny peppers, denoting that the dish either packs a lot of heat or hates being left out. The boat noodles, for example, stew with beef, flank steak, and spinach inside a housemade spicy chili sauce, and the innocent-sounding chicken with basil teems with extra-hot chili peppers. Diners looking for a subtler flavor have a fair share of options as well, from pad see ew to prawn fried rice.
Travel has long helped rejuvenate the mind. Proving that point, Koh Samui & The Monkey's owner's extensive journeys have served as inspiration for a menu that plays with flavors and spices, along with the ideas of traditional and modern. Mieng kum plates a pillar of traditional Thai cuisine with spinach leaves, which act as a wrap for chicken or tofu. Concerning the aromatic pumpkin curry, the San Francisco Chronicle's restaurant critic Michael Bauer praised it in his review, writing that "the pumpkin curry, crushed scallops and fried bananas are exceptional."
The artistry in each dish extends from the recipe to the presentation. Beautiful, colorful dishes first entice the eye as they're presented on crisp white tablecloths, on which candles cast the flickering shadows that keep the dying art of hand-puppet theater alive. The drink menu shakes and stirs with similar creative flair, mixing hip, top-shelf cocktails such as the pineapple-spiked Monkey in Paris.