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.
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.
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.
For a quick curry, San Francisco's Zaab Thai is a great lunch or dinner spot. No need to miss out on Zaab Thai just because you are avoiding fat or gluten. The restaurant has loads of options that can accommodate your dietary needs. Pair your entree with a glass of wine or draft beer — Zaab Thai has a fully-stocked bar to complement your meal. Gather the whole family for a trip to Zaab Thai — everyone will find something to like (even the pickiest little eater) on the menu here. Free wifi is on hand here as well. Big crowds can spread out in comfort at Zaab Thai, which specializes in hosting large groups and gatherings.
Make a reservation to ensure your table is ready when you are. Relaxed attire is perfectly fine at Zaab Thai, known for its laid-back ambience. If you need to feed a big crowd, Zaab Thai also offers catering services for parties and get-togethers.
Guests take to street parking at Zaab Thai's Clement St spot.
Meals at Zaab Thai are moderately priced — most diners spend about $30 per person.
For a quick curry, San Francisco's Tara Restaurant is a great lunch or dinner spot. Can't eat gluten? Avoiding fatty foods? Vegan? No problem — Tara Restaurant offers plenty of options for you as well. Ready for a drink to unwind? At Tara Restaurant, you can pair your meal with something from their full bar. Go ahead and bring your rug rats with you — Tara Restaurant has kid-friendly food and seating. Big parties won't feel squeezed in at Tara Restaurant, which offers great seating for large groups.
Call ahead for reservations to ensure your table is waiting for you when you arrive. If you're strapped for time, take out food from Tara Restaurant. Can't get enough of Tara Restaurant's tasty dishes? They also offer a catering service for parties and events.
Drivers should plan to park on the street when dining at Tara Restaurant's 2nd St residence.
Tara Restaurant is a mid-priced establishment, with the average meal costing under $30.
A menu with inventive twists on tofu, duck, and pork dishes, many infused with surprising fruit accents, aided Be My Guest Thai Bistro in snagging a nod from Best of Citysearch 2008. Skilled chefs ramp up pan-fried rice and noodles with mango, avocado, and fresh pineapple, and pans crackle happily beneath seafood such as salmon and shrimp. To send mouthwatering dispatches to distant bellies, the eatery’s online ordering database aids delivery service, and a slew of sake cocktails clink together to offer joyous rice blasts without the hassle of sneaking into a king's wedding.