A mélange of savory aromas fills Chula Thai Cuisine's dining room, giving diners a preview of the menu's complexly seasoned entrees. In addition to simmering curries with aromatic blends of pumpkin, coconut milk, and basil leaves, the chefs forge platefuls of Thai-style barbecue, which FosterCityPatch called "the restaurant's crown jewel." The entrees trigger taste buds for each of the four basic flavors—bitterness, saltiness, sourness, and sweetness—but the chefs can also add dollops of chili sauce to create spicier, more intense dishes that can be used to refill mace canisters.
Since 1993, sisters Ikun, Cholada, Mimi, and Neena have been proudly sharing the flavors of their homeland with the people of the Bay Area. The sisters even hosted crown Princess Mahachakri Sirindhorn of Thailand Bangkok Bay for a special dinner for the Stanford faculty and staff. Bangkok Bay Thai Cuisine’s menu is packed with authentic Thai dishes including curries, stir-fried noodles, and rice dishes, all made with fresh herbs and spices and without MSG or witchcraft. Along with lunch, dinner, and early-bird dining options, customers can enjoy fruit and vegetable carving classes for deeper glimpses into Thai culture.
The chefs at Buri Tara Thai Cuisine draw culinary inspiration from regions across Thailand when crafting dishes such as panang curry and bangkok duck. They intersperse local and sustainable veggies and meats into their courses whenever possible, melding pan-fried Thai rice noodles with bean sprouts and ground peanuts in the familiar pad thai, and salmon green curry with bamboo shoots and basil. The menu also includes vegetarian options for non-meaters or werewolves trying to change their ways.
Absence makes the heart grow founder, as the saying goes. And for husband and wife, Peter and Laddawan (“Mae”), that couldn’t be truer. The Thailand-born duo decided that after 20 years of working 12-hour days in restaurants in America, including their own, they needed a break. But, nearly a year after selling their restaurant and retiring, Peter and Mae found themselves itching to get back into the business. So they established Chang Puak - White Elephant Restaurant in December 2006.
At White Elephant, Peter, Mae, their children, and a niece work together to serve up the same type of food Mae learned to cook in Thailand and perfected over the years. These traditional dishes range from a yellow curry with chicken to a tom yum prawn soup with a touch of chili. This soup in particular is known for its ability to clear stuffy sinuses faster than snorting pepper.
No matter what dish patrons order, the family endeavors to treat them like royalty—after all, the restaurant was named after the sacred white elephants owned by the royal family of Thailand. Like the restaurant’s guests, these elephants are fed well and are always treated with respect.
The chefs at Karakade Thai Cuisine mix flavorful ingredients such as lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir-lime leaves to craft classic Thai dishes. Tofu, green onions, and ground peanuts sink into a soft bed of noodles in traditional pad thai ($9.95), and more adventurous basil chicken crawls through thickets of thai chilies, peppers, and sweet basil ($8.95). Diners lick their lips between forkfuls of sweet-and-sour pork ($8.95), wipe their brows between bites of spicy green-curry fried rice with a choice of meat ($9.95–$14.95), and punt paper footballs into neighbors' wineglasses between sips. Guests can open their own wine for a corkage fee or sample the bar’s imported thai beers ($3.95).
Just off Highway 1, the petite wooden building with the huge windows, classic neon sign, and flower boxes first resembles a classic beach-town café. But inside, the leafy ferns and potted plants that dominate Pacifica Thai Cuisine's entryway evoke thoughts of Thailand's lush jungles. At the same time, the scents of lemongrass, coconut milk, sweet basil, roasted chilies, and peanut sauce flood diners' senses, giving patrons an overview of the menu before they see a single page or accidentally barge into the kitchen. Curries, pan-fried noodles, seasonal seafood dishes, and barbecued meats fill the menu of faithful renditions of Thailand’s iconic dishes. The restaurant has served a wide customer base for nearly three decades, and Bay Area Vegetarians calls it “probably the most vegetarian- and vegan-friendly restaurant in Pacifica.” Vegetarian dishes reach beyond meat-free preparations of the standards to encompass thoughtful combinations of vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, tofu, and rich sauces.
Siam Orchid weaves fresh organic ingredients into upscale Thai dishes, served in a bright and airy dining room. Rolled lavender napkins and crisp white tablecloths greet patrons as they slide into a high-backed seat and begin perusing a menu of aromatic dishes. Each dish is based on traditional Thai classics, such as the pad thai with river shrimp or complex curries with stewed organic beef, slow-braised New Zealand rack of lamb, or organic sliced chicken breast. Homegrown kaffir lime leaves star in a curried dish of fried prawns, and shrimp, and a crispy taro nest cradles a medley of crispy chicken breast, vegetables, and spicy brown sauce.
The restaurant’s respect for the environment shines in their choice of eco-conscious ingredients, while their décor evokes the natural world with tall arrangements of branches and sprays of flowers painted on violet walls. Gold-striped curtains part over wide picture windows to allow views of the street and of petite tables that sit outside.