Second Helpings: Thai, Part I

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

Madam Mam's

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. Fans and regulars of Madam Mam's are nearly always borderline obsessed with the restaurant, but who can blame them? The food is divine and very affordable. All the authentic Thai homestyle dishes served in this very popular campus-area spot are Mam's family recipes. Try the restorative Tom Kha, coconut soup with chicken, the definitive Thai Beef Salad, and the fiery, sinus-clearing Pad Cha Catfish, and you'll be hooked.

Thai Kitchen

801 E. William Cannon, 445-4844 Daily, 11:30am-2:30pm & 5-9:45pm
3437 Bee Caves Rd., 328-3538 Monday-Friday, 11:30am-2:30pm & 5-9:45pm
3009 Guadalupe, 474-2575 Sunday, noon-12mid; Monday-Thursday, 11am-12mid; Friday,11am-2am; Satuday, noon-2am

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.

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, and they do a brisk takeout business.

Thai Spice Cafe

1310 RR 620 S., 263-2221 Monday-Thursday, 11am-2:30pm & 5-9:30pm; Friday, 11am-2:30pm & 5-10pm; Saturday, 5-10pm; Sunday, 5-9pm
Thai Spice Cafe owner Vicki Vicha and her staff took over the former Lemongrass Asian Bistro location in July 2002, adding a third restaurant to its family. The menu offers fresh, fast, reliable versions of traditional Thai dishes.

Thai Passion

620 Congress, 472-1244 Sunday-Thursday, 11am-2pm & 5-10pm;
Friday-Saturday, 11am-2pm & 5-10:30pm

The sun-lit atrium of Thai Passion is a familiar midday getaway for the downtown lunch-hour crowd, who take advantage of the perfect setting in which to enjoy the light, fresh rendering of the cuisine of Northeastern Thailand. Thai Passion's wall art and sculptures create a charming atmosphere excellent for moderately priced special occasions, and its convenient location on Congress Avenue is within walking distance of all the downtown hotels and the entertainment district.

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