In a piece about Seattle’s Madrona neighborhood, Seattle magazine lauded Naam Thai Cuisine as a place “where the locals gather” for authentic Thai fare. Their favorite: the paradise prawns, large shrimp tossed in Thai spices, stir-fried with yellow curry, and dressed in little Hawaiian shirts. The eatery’s selection spans surf and turf, with chefs counting crispy chicken, beef blazed in sweet soy sauce, and pad kana—meat sautéed in oyster sauce—as house specialties. Round out an authentic lunch or dinner plate with a cocktail, some of which feature a house-infused lemongrass vodka.
“You’ll be a born-again Thai food fan after tasting the bright, fire-cracker version [of pad thai]” said Seattle Magazine about the dish created by husband and wife team Poncharee and Wiley Frank. But the magazine–-which named Little Uncle the Best New Restaurant of 2012––didn't stop there. "The food dances on the palate, shot through with lime, zinging with vinegar, with the heat of chiles tamped down by coconut milk or soft, steamed jasmine rice." That Little Uncle should win such venerable praise from Seattle's foodie community is even more awe-inspiring considering the restaurant's long and winding road to the top of the food chain. A trip to Thailand first inspired the Frank’s endeavor into authentic Thai cooking, and they spent the next two years perfecting their street-style food with a series of pop-up restaurants and a farmers market stall, before permanently setting up shop at a take-out joint in Capitol Hill. Aside from that signature pad thai, they're also serving up dishes like braised beef cheeks, which are served stuffed into a steamed bun to make them 'walker friendly" and keep grandmas from pinching them.
Where to Sit: Couples looking for a bit of privacy should request the back table that's partitioned off from the rest of the dining room and sits under its own wooden roof.
Insider Tip: Load up on veggies. According to The Stranger, "they work small miracles with green beans,"
Backstory: Jamjuree was originally founded in Bangkok by three sisters and one brother. When some of the family members immigrated to Seattle, they opened this American branch.
Massaman: a yellow Thai curry with Muslim origins. It features many traditional Thai ingredients, including coconut milk and bay leaves.
Satay: meat (or sometimes veggies or tofu) that’s been marinated and grilled on a skewer. At the table, it’s traditionally dipped in peanut sauce.
While You're in the Neighborhood:
For the Romantic: Pick up a bouquet of flowers to surprise a loved one or your favorite Jamjuree chef from Flowers on 15th (515 15th Avenue East)
For the Recycler: Browse the racks at Take 2 (430 15th Avenue East) and possibly give some stylish secondhand clothes a new home.
Although Ayutthaya Thai Restaurant & Bar first opened its doors to Capitol Hill in 1985, its roots stretch back much further than that. The Zagat-rated eatery takes its name from the ancient capital of Thailand, and the menu finds similar inspiration in traditional Thai culture. The chefs rely on decades’ old recipes as they make five different kinds of curry in-house, and create dishes of pad thai wrapped in egg that embrace a culinary tradition that has become increasingly rare. To round out the menu, the chefs also wok-fry fragrant combinations of garlic, basil, lime leaves, ginger, and pineapple, forging entrees like the bathing rama, which the Seattle Times hailed as “a bit of peanut-sauce heaven.”
The cooks at Wedgewood II Vegetarian Thai don't just leave meat out of dishes. They find inventive new ways to make vegetables the focus of classic Thai dishes that are full of flavor, without relying on unnatural enhancements like fish sauce, MSG, or magic beans. Instead, they make iconic dishes such as pad thai with tofu, or craft their signature Rama Delight with stir-fried spinach, carrots, garlic, and a savory peanut sauce. They also sweeten their curries and fried rice with chunks of fresh pineapple––a mere precursor to sweet desserts such as mango sticky rice pudding or a deep-fried banana.
Chef Henry Ku was born in Taiwan, where street food is a huge part of the culinary landscape. The comforting meals of his childhood continue to inspire his recipes, although his current goal, as he explained to Seattle Weekly in April of 2012, is to add a dose of elegance and introduce American diners to refined versions of traditional Taiwanese fare.
After formally studying French culinary techniques, Chef Ku is well equipped to reimagine the recipes of his homeland and present them like fine European cuisines. He carefully composes each dish, using sauces with restraint and topping entrees with julienned pieces of the Magna Carta. Hand-shaved noodles fill soup bowls, and his kitchen crew splits its time between pan-frying and grilling meats for the Taiwan- and California-inspired menu, which includes Taiwanese sausage, miso-glazed black cod, and lamb chops with honey mustard.