I like most people today, love food. I do fall into the stereotype of admiring "hippie-dippie" food since I eat vegan and vegetarian cuisine. As a Clevelander, I know good European food. You can't beat the pirogies from Sacred Heart Ukrainian Church or a bowl a cavatelli from Little Italy. The mid-west and east coast has amazing European food, but the west coast, thanks to it being the prime port of access for Asian immigrants, Seattle hands down has the best Asian food.
Thai food is my favorite Asian cuisine and with each place I visit, I make it a point to try the Pad Thai. Something about the peanuts and broccoli that claims my affections. I gravitate towards the hole-in the wall, pocketbook-friendly Thai places as something about grimy tables tells it all but its authenticity. But no need to fear, there are plenty of modern, chic establishments in town.
Now, there are so many Thai restaurants in Seattle it is impossible, budget-wise, to eat everywhere. But, here are my favorite places in the city and what I think you should order at each place!
Pung Kang Noodle Place - Lower Queen Anne
Once called the Phuket, this hands down is my favorite Thai restaurant in the city. It's delicious. It's afford. And it's close to home. In the back of the restaurant are large traditional tables where you sit on pads, almost similar to what you'd experience in Thailand. You'll find me at the bar stools at least a couple times per month.
What to Eat: Pad Thai, Pad See Ew + Garlic Pepper Broccoli
Racha Noodles - Lower Queen Anne
Racha's noodle dishes are amazing. The meals are more gourmet and has a fancier atmosphere, perfect for a first date! Racha offers a weekday Happy Hour menu so grab those fresh rolls and deep fried tofu and tempura mushrooms for cheap!
What to Eat: Pad Thai - Most Definitely , Any Curry Dish
The Thai Kitchen - Upper Queen Anne
Nestled near the end of downtown Queen Anne, is a gorgeous house turned into a Thai Restaurant. The living room holds space for plenty of tables and during the summer months, guests eat on the patio, surrounded by trees and patio lights. The quaint atmosphere is as peaceful as Buddha himself.
What to Try: Thai Basil Fried Rice, Really anything else!
ZapVerr - Fremont
This modern chic Thai Restaurant serves a more gourmet-style type of cuisine. The ambiance is sleek, enhanced by Buddha Bar playing in the background. I recommend ordering a pot of tea and enjoy whatever your palate craves.
What to Eat: Pad See Ew + Pad Thai
Kwanjai Thai Cuisine - Fremont
This small little house, turned Thai restaurant, is home to one of the best places for Thai food in Seattle. Grandma works hard in the kitchen, making countless fresh rolls while the grandson serves. In the summer, guests eat outside on the tables dotted around the sidewalk enjoying fresh rolls with the most delicious peanut sauce in town.
What to Eat: Everything but Fresh Rolls are the bomb!
Jai Thai - Fremont
âAfter nine years of exploring (the same) Thai cuisine, I finally tried Jai Thai in Fremont. My friend Peter and I sat on top of cushy pillows and enjoyed an array of vegan-friendly cuisine and conversation. Located in the heart of downtown Fremont near the bridge, Jai Thai is affordable and features a homely atmosphere.
What to Eat: Fresh Rolls, Pad See Ew, Pumpkin Curry
Tai 22 - Belltown
Tai 22 is a quaint, modern Thai Restaurant in the heart of Belltown. A small street-side patio welcomes hungry visitors during the summer months to enjoy the fresh Seattle air over a glass of Thai Basil Iced Tea. Hands down - this is the best Pad Thai in town. Go for the house style.
âWhat to Eat - Pad Thai, Pineapple Fried Rice, Thai Basil Iced Tea
Jasmine Thai - Pikes Place Market
Located in Post Alley, inside the Pike's Market is one of my favorite Thai places. Don't let the less than impressive decor hold you back from trying this place. It's affordable and one of the very few places where you can eat a Thai meal for under ten dollars. The owners are very friendly and work hard everyday to bring you a piece of Thai-heaven on your plate.
What to Eat: Yellow Curry w. Tofu, Cashew Tofu w/ Rice
Spice Room - Columbia City
If you're visiting Seattle, Columbia City may not be on your list, but it's a cool South Seattle spot to visit if you live here. Spice Room features modern decor with some tables large enough to welcome 5-6 guests. I ate here once and enjoyed the gourmet style Pad Thai with requests to add Broccoli.
What to Eat: Pad Thai
Ayuthaya - Capitol Hill
This long-standing Cap Hill Thai Restaurants brings back memories. I used to eat here often with my ex and is one of the few "old" businesses left in the neighborhood, thanks to gentrification. Take a window seat and enjoy the spectacle of all the weirdness about Cap Hill walk by day and night. There is no shortage of Thai places in Seattle, but many places are now fancy and stuffy.
What to Eat: Pad Thai, Red Curry
Thai 65 - U District
The U District is a place to enjoy cheap food at college-friendly prices. And Thai 65 fits that budget. The menu is cheap and the best feature is that you can add a side of Pad Thai for a few bucks. So if you're craving rice and noodles, this is the best of both worlds. On top of a large menu, Thai 65 offers a buffet to feed vegheads and meat eaters alike. They offer soup, salads, pad Thai, white + fried rice, two curries and two main dishes all for ten bucks. One dish + curry is veg, the other is meat. It's not the highest quality Thai in terms of gourmet, but hey for ten bucks, variety is the spice of life.
What to Eat: Tofu Delight + Semi-greasy Pad Thai
Araya Thai - U District
Vegans, this place is for you! With several locations around town, I recommend the U District as they offer a lunch buffet, offering the ability to explore various rice, curry and . The quality is "higher" than Thai 65, but don't expect vegan meats, the dishes are either vegetable or tofu base.
What to Try - Everything!
Thai Tom - U District
âThis is one of the most popular places in town. Expect a line out of the door, and expect to get pushed out the door after eating. It's a place to eat quick and move on with your day. Some claim it's the best Thai food in town, where others find no difference but love the hectic atmosphere. The restaurant and the Pad Thai certainly made a name for itself in the U District.
Jai Thai - Capitol Hill
Unrelated to the Fremont location, Jai Thai is a place for good food and some of the best prices in town. It is not my favorite place, but their take out window features unheard of prices like $5.00 to go Pad Thai and Curry dishes. For five dollars in Seattle, I'll eat anything. The other benefit of this feature is that they serve food until 1:00am, which is indicative of the Cap Hill culture.
What's your favorite Thai restaurant in Seattle?
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In October 2018, I'll be walking the Camino from Porto to Santiago. I would love for you to follow my journey. This isn't a typical millennial "omg" Instagram journey, this is about raw emotions and rediscovering one's self and spirituality through pilgrimage. After a tough year, it is time to push the reset button and restrengthening the mind and spirit.
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Elizabeth Rae Kovar is a Fitness Trainer, Author of Finding Om, Presenter, Yogi, Vegan & lover of the World. View her portfolio at www.elizabethkovar.comor health-based blog at mindbodysoul-food.com