Thamnak Thai

Tastes of Thailand in Central Texas

Thamnak Thai

200 Buttercup Creek, Cedar Park, 512/331-3810
Monday-Thursday, 11am-3pm, 5-9:30pm; Friday, 11am-3pm, 5-10pm; Saturday, 11am-10pm; Sunday, 4-9pm
www.thamnakthai.com

Conveniently located close to Austin Community College's Cedar Park campus, Thamnak Thai is an unassuming little place in a boring strip mall – the kind of place you might not even see if you didn't already know it was there. The interior is very basic casual-dining American: cushioned vinyl booths with honey-colored wood dividers, colonial-style chairs, and a little greenery here and there. Everything is clean and in good repair, but you would never know you were in a Thai restaurant if it weren't for the appetizing aromas coming from the kitchen.

The staff is welcoming, friendly, competent, and seem genuinely at ease. The menu is purely Thai (no sushi), and there's a good deal of variety in each major category: five soups, 11 noodle dishes, six curries, nine appetizers, and six house specialties, as well as four rice dishes and six salads.

For my appetizer I had the steamed dumplings ($4), and as soon as I saw them I knew this meal was going to be unusually good. The dumplings had been made to order, their outsides soft and tender, and their filling of pork, shrimp, bamboo, onions, mushrooms, and water chestnuts piping hot. But the clincher is the presentation: They're served floating in a light, "sweet" Thai soy sauce with micrograted carrot and plentiful fresh cilantro leaves.

Fresh herbs are integral to Thai cuisine, and my entrée, the superb pad kee mao ($8), has its share as well: Leaves of Thai sacred basil hide among the flat rice noodles and give the dish a heavenly flavor, along with stir-fried onion, broccoli, red pepper, garlic, and thinly shaved beef. The noodles used in the dish are fresh, never dried, and the flavor is outstanding. The pad kee mao isn't just good; it is the best version of this dish I have had to date, the kind of good you end up craving and driving all the way to Cedar Park to have again. This little place really impressed me; if you happen to live in the vicinity of Thamnak Thai, I have to admit I'm a little envious.

READ MORE
More Food Reviews
Review: Coast
Review: Coast
Simple seafood stars in tiny space

Brandon Watson, Sept. 23, 2016

Review: Boiler Nine
Review: Boiler Nine
Three isn't necessarily a charm for La Corsha's latest venture

Brandon Watson, Sept. 16, 2016

More by Kate Thornberry
The Year in Food
Top 10 Austin Food Blogs
The 2014 tastes we just couldn't stop thinking about

Jan. 2, 2015

Season's Eatings
Season's Eatings
Our guide to finally shutting up your in-laws

Dec. 5, 2014

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)