At 10Best, we're always on the lookout for Seattle's best restaurants, and while we appreciate places that have a broad culinary range, we can't help but adore restaurants that specialize in a given cuisine. When we're in the mood for Thai food in Seattle, we head to Chinoise Café - a reader favorite - or we count on Bai Tong's solid track record and consistently great dishes. You'll find these places - and any of the restaurants on our list - to be fantastic options for Thai cuisine, and if you're looking to concentrate your efforts, start with the vibrant Capitol Hill area.
Thai for "banana leaf," Bai-Tong offers intrepid palates one of the Seattle area's more top-notch forays into traditional Thai cuisine. This friendly little restaurant has enjoyed a loyal following since opening its doors back in the early 90s, with patrons granting high marks to such sensory delights as marinated chicken wrapped in a herb-enriched toey leaf, stir-fried vegetables served in oyster sauce, and vegetarian-friendly tofu curries whose seasonings are imported annually from Thailand. (206-431-0893, 206-575-3366)
Situation: you're craving sushi, your friends are clamoring for lo mein, moo shu pork, and pad thai. Solution: Chinoise Café. This Pan-Asian restaurant chain (with four locations, all in Seattle) ignored the usual "one-cuisine" rule, and subsequently built up quite a following for itself. With nary a bad choice on the menu, you really can't go wrong, but favorites include sushi and sashimi dinners, tamarind basil seafood, and anything with Thai garlic sauce. Service is efficient and friendly, and there is a good selection of wine and sake. (206-323-0171)
Mae Phim Thai Restaurant
While the appearance of this downtown Thai may not earn high marks with finicky diners, the food certainly does. A favorite with the business crowd, due to the kitchen's quick turnaround and the great prices, Mae Phim has entrees that will please most everyone, from seafood to pork to vegetarian. If the lunch line extends out to the sidewalk, don't despair; the staff tends to get its hungry patrons in and out faster than you can say "peanut sauce." (206-624-2979, 206-624-1711)