Second Helpings

Thai One On Downtown

The weekly Chronicle feature "Second Helpings" offers readers the opportunity to sample tasty, bite-sized restaurant listings compiled from new and previous reviews, guides, and poll results. This week's entries were updated by Chronicle Food Editor Virginia B. Wood. When you need quick, reliable information about Austin eateries, check here.

Thai Passion

620 Congress, 472-1244

Monday-Thursday, 11am-2:30pm, 5-10pm; Friday, 11am-2:30pm, 5-10:30pm

Saturday-Sunday, 5-10pm

A sun-lit 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. Thai Passion's classy atmosphere makes it a good option for a moderately priced special occasion, and its convenient Congress Avenue location puts it within walking distance of all the major downtown hotels and the entertainment district.

Thai Noodles, Etc., House

2602 Guadalupe, 494-1011

Daily, 11am-10pm

This cozy campus-area joint is a popular spot with the financially challenged college crowd looking for a healthy, filling meal on a student budget. The fare here is a good selection of Thai street foods including Thai noodle soups, dry noodle bowls, and stir-fry noodles. They do a brisk takeout business and also provide delivery service to a good portion of the central city, I-35 to MoPac, Fourth to 45th streets.

Thai Kitchen

South: 801 E. Wm. Cannon, 445-4844

Monday-Friday, 11:30am-2:30pm, 5-9:30pm

West Lake: 3437 Bee Caves Rd., 328-3538

Monday-Saturday, 11:30am-2:30pm, 5-9:30pm

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, or if, 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 either of the suburban locations for dinner and find the outlet just north of UT on Guadalupe to be a great spot for healthy, inexpensive lunches, where we're joined by hordes of hungry students.

Ped's Lemongrass Asian Bistro

1310 S. RR 620, 263-2221

Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11am-2:30pm

Dinner: Sunday-Thursday, 5-9pm;

Friday-Saturday, 5-9:30pm

601 W. Sixth, 457-1233

Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11am-5pm;

Sundays, 12-2:30pm

Dinner: Sunday, 5-9pm; Monday-Thursday, 5-10pm; Friday-Saturday, 5-11pm

This sassy newcomer has been generating lots of buzz at both the original Lakeway outlet and the newer downtown location as well. Thailand-born chef Ped Phommavong considers himself a pan-Asian chef, taking the best dishes from various Southeast Asian cuisines and making them his own. His renditions of classic Thai dishes are first-rate and he's a man who loves a challenge. If there's an Asian dish you're craving, give him 24 hours' notice and he'll be glad to take a shot at it. Both restaurants offer a full bar.

Madame Mam's
Madame Mam's (Photo By John Anderson)

Madam Mam's Noodles & More

2514 Guadalupe, 472-8306

Daily, 11am-9:30pm

Longtime Austinite "Sap" Apisaksiri married his Bangkok high school sweetheart, a food and restaurant columnist and acknowledged master chef, and brought her back to Austin to open a restaurant in 2001, providing Austin Thai food lovers with a world-class dining experience. All the authentic Thai homestyle dishes served in this very popular campus-area spot are "Mam"'s family recipes. The food is divine and very affordable. Try the restorative Tom Khah, coconut soup with chicken, the definitive Thai Beef Salad and the fiery, sinus-clearing Pad Cha Catfish and you'll be hooked.

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