I love Thai food. The complex combinations of tart, savory, and spice are marvelous and I could eat Thai food every day. Being a Pescatarian – a vegetarian who eats fish occasionally, Thai is an easy place to dine. Most Thai restaurants will make your dishes vegetarian with tofu easily upon request.
Traveling throughout Washington in search of fabulous food, we found several Thai restaurants in Issaquah, Washington. Issaquah – the name meaning either “the sound of birds”, “snake”, or “little stream”, is located at the south end of Lake Sammamish. A short 17 miles out of Seattle and worth it for the variety of food, shopping and the annual Salmon Days festival on the first full weekend of October every year. Salmon Days is cool and a must see when in the area.
Throughout Washington, Thai restaurants are very common. In Issaquah we found three local favorites and tried them out.
Similan Thai Cuisine – 5704 E Lake Sammamish Pkwy SE Ste 100 Issaquah, WA 98029
Located just off the main street, it is little hard to find. But most GPS devices find it easily. The dining room is beautifully decorated, the staff is very friendly, and the booths are intimate and comfortable. Clean bathrooms and perfect temperature control. But the highlight is the food here.
Fresh, unique, and served quickly, the food at Similan Thai is fabulous. I can be a bit picky, but I love the food here. Custom orders are not a problem and the wait staff are easy to answer questions.
The Tom Kha Soup – rich with flavors, not too heavy on the lime. You get a very large portion that is great for sharing or taking home for later.
Pad Thai – Very large portion, gently cooked noodles, and lots of vegetables. If you like your vegetables cooked tender, do ask them to keep them grilled longer as they were almost raw with this dish for me. The Tofu is not fried as it is in many locations. So it absorbs the flavors very well.
Fresh Rolls – filled large with lettuce, carrots, and sprouts, these are a light and crisp appetizer. I love the zesty peanut dipping sauce.
Overall, this is one of my favorite Thai places in the area.
Special Note: I have been here a few times with my Service Dog and they are very kind about making sure she has plenty of room. Even though she goes under the table and is rarely seen, they are good about not giving her any attention. An overly happy dog-loving wait staff can often be a distraction from a good meal.
Coconut Thai – 660 Front St N Issaquah, WA 98027
While dining here with another couple, my husband and I were excited to try something new. They were packed and that is always a pretty decent sign. However this night it also meant that they ran out of things fast, like honey for the drinks. The kitchen seemed very backed up and it took about 45 minutes for our food to come out. However, the food was very flavorful. We ordered sticky rice that didn't come out until we were almost finished with our meal and ready to leave. But we were given a free coconut cupcake for the wait.. okay, the cupcake melted my heart and made the wait worth it.
Tom Kha soup – flavorful and not overly spicy Tom Yum soup- flavorful but not spicy enough
Flute Roll – This is like a spring roll with cream cheese. The flavors kind of run together. Meh
Crispy Garlic Supreme – This is unusual and I like it. They are deep fried vegetables with a garlic chili sauce.
Very good. Rama Shower Noodles – These were good. But a little overcooked and mushy
Best- Coconut cupcakes! I would go back just for the cupcake. It is cream filled and made with fresh coconut. It earned a star all on it's own! So overall, the meal was good. I would probably like to go back for lunch.
Bai Tong Thai Restaurant –1520 Highland Dr NE Ste 120 Issaquah, WA 98029
Located up in the Highlands neighborhood of Issaquah, Bai Tong Thai is a chain. Even though I usually prefer locally owned, trying Bai Tong was suggested as a top pick.
The atmosphere is great. There is plenty of parking and seating. The staff is lovely and the place is huge! However, it is always packed and you either need a reservation or be ready to wait for a table. This adds time to your meal and the service is actually pretty slow so don’t go here if you want to leave within an hour.
The menu is large, but lacks good descriptions. The waitress didn’t know the ingredients of most of the dishes and wasn’t thrilled about asking or substitutions.
Tom Kha soup – watery, but heavily spiced. Even though I asked for it not to be spicy, it was almost inedible. I asked for them to tone it down with coconut milk and it was returned to me cold and still not very good.
Pad Thai – tough noodles, few vegetables, and no real flavor. I wouldn’t order this again.
Pad See Ew noodles – mushy, bland, and not really worth the price.
Last thoughts – Bai Tong was not a hit and certainly not worth the pricey bill at the end.
Special Note: I’ve been to this location a couple of times. Once with my Service Dog and I was actually surprised at the ease and accommodations made for me and my dog. We were given a larger table against the wall to make sure she had enough room and the staff were well aware of staying off her tail – yes, it happens often… her tail is stepped on regularly.