Bright yellow and orange walls, with sparse decorations and the occasional Buddha statuette, enclose guests at Thai Cottage. Here, chefs continue the eatery's tradition—which is more than a decade old—of creating authentic Thai fare in a family-friendly atmosphere. The menu catalogs specialty dishes such as deep-fried spring rolls and Pad Prik King, a mix of long beans, kaffir lime, and rice in coconut milk and red curry. And a full bar allows guests to enjoy a Sam Smith IPA or a Toasted Head chardonnay sourced from an in-state vineyard. These smooth libations can be called upon after patrons try some of Thai Cottage's spiciest fare, which, as The Sacramento Bee's Blair Anthony Robertson wrote in a review of the restaurant, "…was runny nose in July hot, chug-a-lug the water hot, take out a lighter and put the flame to your tongue hot."
Compact and maneuverable, tuk tuks—motorized rickshaws—dart through the narrow streets of Bangkok with ease, helping drivers to flit through traffic jams and around obstacles. Tuk Tuk Restaurant's chefs honor their namesake with nimble knife-work in the kitchen, where zingy spices pervade complicated Thai dishes. Seasonings such as tamarind, lemongrass, ginger, chili, and lime dapple stir-fried and curried meats and vegetables, and twirls of noodles entwine with basil and radishes. Waiters transport steaming plates to the high-ceilinged dining room, where a white-on-white image of a tuk tuk presides over tables.
The executive chef at Sabaidee Thai Grille prepares a deliciously authentic menu of Thai and Laotian dishes that emphasize regional specialties and simple ingredients. Seafood dishes such as seasonal grilled heavenly crab with thai spices ($15.95) or grilled shrimp salad with tomato, cucumber, red onions, and cilantro ($10.95) fulfill cravings for international flavors without inconspicuously licking a customs agent. Bean-curd aficionados may slurp the tofu-laden tom kha soup with coconut milk, ginger, kaffir lime, and cilantro ($5.95). Diners can customize the panang curry ($9.95) or radna ($8.95), a mélange of flat noodles, egg, and broccoli in brown bean sauce, with a choice of chicken, beef, pork, tofu, or shrimp (+$2), allowing folks to stick to their vegetarian, pescetarian, or contrarian diets. Sabaidee's extensive dessert menu tempts sweetness fiends with delectable treats such as thai crepes stuffed with seasonal fruit ($5.95) or house-made pineapple ice cream with lavender sea salt ($4.95).
Chefs at Thai Chef’s House use fresh ingredients and traditional cooking techniques to highlight the five flavors most prevalent in Thai cooking: spicy, sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. In each dish, they endeavor to strike a balance between all five flavors—spicy red and green curries are laced with sweet coconut milk and charbroiled pork comes with a dish of sweet-and-sour dipping sauce. The setting is authentically Thai as well—the dining room is filled with trinkets and oxygen shipped in from Thailand.
Owner Patcharapa Landis serves up traditional Thai recipes amid dark wood paneling and framed Thai artwork. Natural light shines on curry dishes embellished with coconut milk, bamboo shoots, and basil leaves, as well as pan- and stir-fried noodles topped with shrimp and pork. Japanese influences also make their way onto tables in the form of classic sushi rolls wrapped in delicate sheets of seaweed. To choose between desserts such as cheesecake tempura or fried bananas, patrons can quickly post a survey for friends and spiritual mentors via the eatery's free WiFi.
Some Thai restaurants choose to focus on a specific region of the country, but Roseville's Khun Suda Thai Cuisine casts a decidedly wider net. Here, dishes from Southern Thailand find a home alongside dishes from the North.
But that's not the only thing that's diplomatic about Khun Suda's menu. Although many of the restaurant's popular options include chicken or seafood, anything on the menu can be made vegetarian upon request. That means nobody has to be deprived of the delicious massaman curry with coconut milk or the pad thai with mung-bean noodles. Just don't overlook the drink menu, which is headlined by thai iced tea?a chilled black tea with sugar and condensed milk. It's a popular accompaniment to any dish, and a better way to counteract the heat than mixing ice cubes into your curry.