Thai One On

Little Thailand
4315 Caldwell, Garfield, 247-3855
Mon-Sat, 11am-2pm, 6-9pm

Little Thailand is a cozy family joint located east of the new airport, where owners Dick Simcoe and his Thai wife, Surin, offer spectacular authentic Thai food in a funky, relaxed setting. Enjoy Dick's killer Thai Bloody Marys in the attached lounge while waiting for cooked-to-order specialties such as Surin's superlative rendition of the Thai national dish, pad Thai ($6.95), and Laht Na ($6.95), lean slices of beef and broccoli stir-fried in a mouth-watering peppery sauce.

Thai Passion
620 Congress, 472-1244
Mon-Thu, 11am-2:30pm, 5-10pm; Fri, 11am-2:30pm,
5-10:30pm; Sat-Sun, 5-10:30pm

A sunlit atrium setting complemented by fresh flowers contributes to the lovely ambience of Thai Passion, creating just the right atmosphere in which to enjoy their light, fresh rendering of the cuisine of Northeastern Thailand. Stellar soup selections include the fiery shrimp Tom-Yum ($3.25) and the milder, creamy Tom-Kha ($3.25) with chicken and mushrooms. Thai Passion's convenient downtown location and classy atmosphere make it a good option for a moderately priced special occasion.

Classic Thai
200 Buttercup Creek, #128, Cedar Park, 331-3810
9616 N. Lamar, #156, 491-8856
Mon, 11am -2:30pm; Tue-Fri, 11am-2:30pm, 5-10pm; Sat-Sun, noon-9pm

Classic Thai became a two-restaurant chain when the owners bought out Poothai in Cedar Park earlier this year. Now it's possible for Thai food lovers to enjoy the exceptionally fresh and delicious lunch buffet in two locations. Meat eaters, fish lovers, and vegetarians alike will marvel at the array of satisfying menu choices here: Pa Nang Nua, a flavorful beef in red curry; the Classic Thai Noodles, a seafood lover's alternative to the traditional pad thai; and Masaman Curry With Tofu, spongy pieces of bean curd with peanuts and tender vegetables in a sweet, aromatic base.

Thai Village
6406 N. I-35, #1550, 452-3888
Mon-Thu, 11am-2:30pm, 5-10pm; Fri, 11am-2:30pm,
5-11pm; Sat, 11am-11pm

The detailed Thai Village menu features many of the same traditional dishes as other local Thai restaurants, but the cloth-covered tables and very artful food presentation create a sophisticated atmosphere in which to enjoy a classy but still affordable meal. Don't miss the Tiger Cry ($14.95), with slices of beef tenderloin and sauteed vegetables in a piquant green chile sauce, or the Red Duck Curry ($10.95) in a molten red-gold sauce of red chile paste and coconut milk.

Thai Noodles House
2602 Guadalupe, 494-1001
Daily, 7:30am-10pm

This cozy campus-area joint is Satay's younger sibling serving Austin's first Asian breakfast plus a satisfying assortment of Thai street foods including Thai noodle soups, dry noodle bowls and stir-fried noodles. Thai Noodles also serves as a convenient outlet for Satay's highly respected line of Thai sauces and condiments, making it a snap for Thai food lovers to whip up tasty renditions of their favorite dishes at home.

Thai Kitchen
South: 801 E. William Cannon, 445-4844 - Mon-Fri, 11:30am-2:30pm, 5-9:45pm
Westlake: 3437 Bee Caves Rd., 328-3538
- Mon-Sat, 11:30am-2:30pm, 5-9:45pm
Central: 3009 Guadalupe, 474-2575
- Daily, 11:30am-2:30pm, 5-9:45pm

Thai Kitchen regulars tell us that the food quality tends to vary depending on where founding chef/owner Toy happens to be cooking at the moment but this family of restaurants remains a perennial favorite among Thai food lovers. We prefer the suburban locations for dinner and find the newer campus-area outlet a great spot for healthy, inexpensive lunches.

Thai Garden
5517 Manchaca, 326-5205
Mon-Thu, 11am-9pm; Fri-Sat, 11am-9:30pm; Sun, noon-9pm

Though the menu here is not particularly large or detailed, it does cover most of the traditional Thai dishes at very affordable prices. Try the Steamed Dumplings ($3) and Meat Spring Rolls ($2.50) for appetizers and look for the exceptional Pa-lard-Prik ($13.95), whole crispy fish in a fiery yet silken red curry sauce, when it's offered as a special. There's no liquor license but you can BYOB and the takeout trade is also brisk in the southwest suburban location.

Bangkok Cuisine
9041 Research, 832-9722
Mon-Fri, 11am-2pm, 5-10pm; Sat-Sun, 5-10:30pm

Opened in 1986, Bangkok Cuisine was one of the city's first Thai restaurants and boasts a longtime clientele loyal to its array of stellar vegetarian dishes. Available with or without meat, Bangkok's pad thai ($6.50) is one of the most memorable versions of the traditional Thai dish to be found in Austin: Thai rice noodles are quickly tossed in a screaming hot wok to develop a pan-seared flavor, then stirred with scrambled egg, spicy tofu, and shrimp and nestled next to a pile of fresh bean sprouts, cilantro, and lime.

Thai Spice Restaurant
701 S. Capital of Texas Hwy, 330-0203
Mon-Thu, 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat, 11am-10pm

Thai Spice Buffet & Restaurant
2501 Parmer, 821-1522
Mon-Sat, 11am-2:30pm, 5-9pm

Thai Menu
2514 Guadalupe, 472-8306
Mon-Fri, 11am-9pm; Sat, noon-9pm

This pleasant family of restaurants is owned and operated by women chefs Vicki Vicha and Orasinee Ratana-Apron. All three eateries have the same basic menus, offering fresh, fast, reliable versions of traditional Thai dishes. The buffet at the north location is popular with the neighborhood's business techies, families are fond of the southwest suburban outlet, and the newest sibling is beginning to develop a clientele on the north end of the Drag.

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