Downtown area Thai restaurant roundup

When I’m going out to eat, I love Thai food. I love the spicy stir-fries, red and green curries, and the noodle dishes. When I’m with my vegetarian girlfriend we love all the options without meat. Thai restaurants also tend to notch up the decor and service compared to other restaurants in the same price range. And downtown San Jose is developing a serious concentration of Thai restaurants, with at least three new places opening up downtown and nearby over the last year or two.

Sa-By Thai (346 E. William St.) I decided to do this post after eating at Sa-By for the first time in a year or more. Sa-By is kind of a student hangout, but since I was there last they have cleaned up considerably. They removed a loud and annoying karaoke machine, and brightened up the dining area. The servers now wear Sa-By polo shirts instead of whatever they wore to class that day. The food here is light and spicy, with some interesting choices on the menu. And the prices are still low compared to the other restaurants I’ll include here.

Thepthai (23 N. Market St.) and House of Siam (151 S. Second St.) are probably the two longest-established Thai restaurants in downtown. Once in the last year I tried Thepthai, and it was fine. But, I rarely eat at either of these because they don’t have as many vegetarian choices as other nearby Thai restaurants.

Hanuman Thai Cuisine (1 E. San Fernando St.) is a relative newcomer to downtown, opening maybe a year ago. On my first visit I found the food fresh, spicy, and flavorful. On later visits, the recipes seemed to have changed. I guess they are (or were) still experimenting with the menu. Given the relatively high prices, I haven’t been back in the last few months to see if they’ve settled on flavors I’d really enjoy.

Tee Nee Thai (1423 The Alameda) is also relatively new, and probably the priciest of these restaurants (but still tending to $20 or less per person). The food is excellent, but the highlight for me is their extensive list of Belgian trappist beers, which go amazingly well with spicy Thai dishes. Be prepared to wait for a table if you show up on Friday or Saturday night with no reservation.

Blue Mango (635 Coleman Ave.) I haven’t been yet to this new outlet of a perpetual “Best of” winner from West San Jose. I have been to the Stevens Creek location many times, and its a great lunch place, though the menu is fairly narrow at dinner time. Probably all that “Best of” hype raised expectations a little too high, because Yelp! reviews for the new site are not super enthusiastic.

Did I miss your favorite spot for Thai near downtown? Got an opinion about one of these places? Let us know in the comments!

1 Comment so far

  1. joshuasantos on October 7th, 2009 @ 3:39 pm

    Don’t forget House of Siam ;)

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