Our Favorite Restaurants

May 17, 2010 at 10:05 pm 38 comments

I was inspired today by Kevin and Annmarie’s list of their top 9 favorite restaurants and I thought it was time for me to bring you a  list of OUR favorite restaurants!

We really love food. And we really love for other people to cook for us…especially after a long day of driving! When we’re coming into a new area and we don’t know where to go, we almost always rely on the Yelp! iPhone app. The reviews are usually quite accurate…love it.

Here is our list of top 10 restaurants around the country  (in no particular order) that we have enjoyed eating at. Most of them are vegetarian, vegan, and/or raw. I have put a * by the restaurants that are not vegetarian. I won’t go into specific details for each one, but each of them use super fresh/local ingredients and are very creative with their dishes.

Kalachandjis – Dallas, TX
Daily Juice – Austin, TX
– Eugene, OR
Red Avocado – Iowa City, IA
Cafe Gratitude – San Francisco, CA
The Grass Root – Tampa, FL
Brasserie Ten Ten* – Boulder, CO
Emerson Grill* – Bozeman, MT
Whole Foods Market Salad Bar – Everywhere USA
The Sprout – Mount Pleasant, SC

And now for our top 10 favorite Thai restaurants! We are Thai food fanatics…I would guess that we’ve been to over 100 Thai restaurants around the country in the past 3 years. These are the places that stand out for us as being amazing at that point in time. 🙂

Titaya’s Thai – Austin, TX
Thai Flavors – Des Moines, IA
Khow Thai – Boulder, CO
Tum Rup Thai -Minneapolis, MN
Joy’s Pattaya Thai – Richfield, MN
Marnee’s Thai – San Francisco, CA
Lotus of Siam – Las Vegas, NV
Malee’s on Main – Scottsdale, AZ
Thai Spice – Omaha, NE
Basil Thai Restaurant – Charleston, SC

What is the name of your favorite restaurant right now (and why)?
Have you been to any of the places we listed?


Entry filed under: Raw Restaurants, Restaurant Review, Thai.

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38 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Denise  |  May 17, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    What dish do you recommend for someone who hasn’t had Thai food before? I can’t live in Omaha, read this, and not check out Thai Spice!

  • 2. livelightly  |  May 17, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Hi Denise…Pad Thai is always a great “universal” dish that most people like. It does NOT have to be made spicy…this is a big misconception with Thai food. My favorite appetizer is the fresh rolls…and I love Tom Ka soup. Green or red curry is also a fave…if you like a little spice. Enjoy!

  • 3. Shelli  |  May 18, 2010 at 3:22 am

    Next time you’re in Tampa, FL you might also like to try Trang Viet Cuisine. They do serve meat & fish dishes, but half of their menu is not only vegetarian, but vegan (3-4 pages worth)! And delicious. I used to eat there at least once a week when I lived in the area. Located at 1524 E Fowler Ave, Tampa Florida 33612.

  • 4. Jen Baker  |  May 18, 2010 at 4:21 am

    I had my all-time most memorable meal at “The Grass Root” a few years ago, so that is one of my favorite restaurants. Another favorite is “Alfalfa” in Lexington, Ky where I was introduced to sprouts & miso dressing as a young college student in 1978! I’m going to Oakland/Berkeley in July & am looking forward to “Cafe Gratitude”, “Encuentro” & many others!

  • 5. Lisa Zahn  |  May 18, 2010 at 7:34 am

    In St. Cloud, MN we have a very good restaurant called Asian House that has great Pad Thai. It’s very close to the Home Depot, in a little strip mall basically in front of HD, if you’re passing through and need to eat!

  • 6. Jodi Anderson  |  May 18, 2010 at 7:46 am

    I’m closest to Madison, Wisconsin. Whole Foods salad bar and buffet is a favorite for our family. I haven’t been to any of the other restaurants listed. A great place to stop in Madison is Monty’s Blue Plate Diner. (http://www.montysblueplatediner.com/) They have lots of vegan dishes, so it’s my go-to place in a pinch. I last had the Heathen Vegan Shoplifter’s Delight.

  • 7. minnesota:madre | Sarah Jane  |  May 18, 2010 at 8:31 am

    I’ve eaten at Tum Rup Thai! Yum! We live within walking distance of another Thai restaurant. Dangerous, I tell you!
    Right now my fave restaurants serve local food. Brasa in St. Paul. They make that best collard greens ever.
    P.S. I’ve been having a smoothie a day (most days) in May and am loving it. As I was making it this morning I thought, “I think I’ll be doing it for the rest of my life.”

  • 8. kaydee  |  May 18, 2010 at 9:11 am

    My fave Thai joint of all time is called Yummy Yummy Tasty Thai in Denver (may technically be Broomfield, CO) With a name like that how could you not try it?! They have loads of orchids in the place and listen to the Thai news channel ALL the time, The atmosphere is great. Last time we were there this little old Thai lady was sitting there singing and prepping basil at a table, Awesome!

  • 9. Christine  |  May 18, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Yum! Glad to see that Kalachandjis made the list here in Dallas! Great stuff, and a great atmosphere. A few more I’d recommend here in Dallas are The Garden Cafe, and Fadi’s. Fadi’s is a chain but has great, fresh Mediterranean food including lots of fresh salads.

  • 10. Tyrah  |  May 18, 2010 at 9:43 am

    My favorite restaurant is D’lish (veg) in Sedona, AZ, I higly highly recommend it. The only one’s I’ve been to on your lists are the WF bars 😉 (New Frontiers have great food bars too when you’re in the SW)
    We lived in Vegas for 2 years and I’m sad to see that we missed out on Lotus of Siam! I don’t know if we could be drug away from Pin Kaow though 😉 They made me vegan pad thai and it’s where I fell in love with Thai food.

  • 11. livelightly  |  May 18, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Tyrah…we ate at Pin Kaow many times as well. It was very tasty…however, I didn’t find their service to be very good, at least at the southside location we went to.

  • 12. Andrea  |  May 18, 2010 at 11:28 am

    girl–you ain’t done NYC restaurants! we will have to go to some when you come!

  • 13. livelightly  |  May 18, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Andrea…no doubt! 🙂 Let’s do it.

  • 14. Dawn  |  May 18, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Yay for Thai Spice in Omaha! I’m new to Thai food, and that’s where I first tried it!!!

    My favorite restaurant…hmmm…I might have to think about that one for awhile! 🙂

  • 15. Tara  |  May 19, 2010 at 5:26 am

    Been to Kalichandiji’s! I also highly recommend Toy’s in Dallas. It’s near Lemmon and the Tollway. It’s my favorite Thai restaurant ever. They don’t have a website, or delivery, it’s a local best kept secret. They have great vegetarian options.

  • 16. Laura  |  May 19, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I’m suprised that there were no L.A. thai restaurants on your list! Truly: A Vegan Restaurant, Vegan Glory, etc are all (pretty similar, but..) very good. They all offer the best pad thai I’ve ever had…it is especially good with ‘fried chicken’ on top. Their ‘chicken’ tacos are to die for. And they make the best faux fish. I live in right by Omaha (Council Bluffs to be exact) and they just got their first totally vegan restaurant called Daily Grub. We need way more than one all-vegan restaurant though, especially one that is thai…I’ll have to at least check out Thai Spice.

  • 17. livelightly  |  May 19, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Laura…we really didn’t eat out much in L.A. Mostly stayed in Malibu and Santa Monica, and at that point we were almost 100% raw, so we went to several yummy raw restaurants. I’ll have to check out Daily Grub…I’ve been to McFoster’s. yum yum!

  • 18. whitney @ leavesofmytree  |  May 20, 2010 at 2:28 am

    oh, awesome!! now i have some new restaurants to visit when i go to austin. 🙂 i live in san antonio and a favorite restaurant of ours is the cove. they have all organic, trans fat-free, local food, and have plenty of vegetarian/vegan dishes to choose from. it is delicious! i’ve never had anything there i didn’t like.

  • 19. Jess  |  May 20, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Yum, I love Thai food too! My MIL is Thai and she makes wonderful food. I know I am lucky. 🙂

    If you ever make your way to a tiny little place in southwestern VA, Blacksburg (home of Virginia Tech) you’ve got to eat at Gillie’s. It is a delicious vegetarian restaurant that has been going strong there for a few decades. It is informal, you seat yourself and a waiter eventually makes it over to you. I’ve actually seen strangers sit together on busy Sat/Sun mornings because a chair or two was free at a larger table. Definitely the one restaurant of my childhood that I always make a point to eat at when I return home to visit.

  • 20. To Think Is To Create  |  May 20, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    We don’t eat out that often because it seems easier to just fix what we want at home (now that we’ve been going more and more raw). I’ve been wanting to try the Sprout (I live in Mt Pleasant!), so glad to hear you love it. 🙂


  • 21. pastorleanne  |  May 22, 2010 at 3:46 am

    Also in the Twin Cities area – Taste of Thailand. I believe their downtown Minneapolis location has closed, but there is another location in Fridley.

    I live in Kenosha, WI now and my husband’s and my favorite Thai place is Thai Gourmet.

  • 22. Lauren Pepin  |  May 26, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    I recently moved to Charleston, SC and am going to go to The Sprout tomorrow! What do you recommend? My husband (and I) love Thai food so I’ll keep Basil Thai in mind.

    Charleston is full of great food, I think! 🙂

  • 23. flo  |  May 27, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Joy’s Pattaya Thai is also our favorite. My oldest thinks they make the best pad thai. Have you tried True Thai in Minneapolis?

  • 24. amy  |  May 29, 2010 at 2:34 am

    any good raw (ish) food places in detroit or a tad outside of detroit- like ann arbor??

  • 25. channynn  |  June 5, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    We’ve had the best Thai in Hawaii, there’s a small chain on Oahu, Phuket Thai, and we dream of their Pad Kee Mao.

  • 26. Allyn  |  June 6, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Oh, I love Kalachandjis! Such sweet people and yummy food, and the temple right across is beautiful! I try to visit my TX friends as much as possible, and we always go there at least once while I’m down! 🙂

    If you’re ever in LR, Arkansas, Star of India is great! Yummy lassis!

  • 27. Lisa  |  June 7, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Have you ever been to Green, in Tempe, AZ?


    I haven’t been there, but my Vegan friends LOVE it.

  • 28. Allie  |  June 11, 2010 at 10:31 am

    If you are ever in the Philly area, Horizons (right off of South St) is my favorite restaurant ever.
    I’ll go with you 🙂

  • 29. Kristin  |  June 22, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Hi, I have to say, I’m from the Twin Cities and True Thai is SO much better than Tum Rup…It is in the Seward neighborhood on Franklin.

    Also when in Minneapolis you may want to try the Seward Cafe if you haven’t already. It is vegan and everyone in there has dreadlocks and pink hair and I love it!

  • 30. michellemusesraw  |  June 29, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Random question – but what was the Thai restaurant in New Braunfels that you recommended? I’ll be amazed if you remember the name, since, well, uh, you’ve slept since then! But, if you do, I”d love to know.


  • 31. Lindsay  |  July 1, 2010 at 9:40 am

    I don’t know if anyone said it already, so my apologies: but I live in Boulder and was so happy to see Khow Thai make the list… (not know thai) 😀

  • 32. livelightly  |  July 1, 2010 at 9:49 am

    michellemusesraw: Sarika’s Thai…very tasty, but not my favorite. It’s pretty hit or miss with their dishes. I liked Thai Spice much better, it’s in Selma, TX, just 20 minutes south of New Braunfels.

    Lindsay: thanks!! changed it…

  • 33. Atheist mama  |  July 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    So far, Govinda’s has to be my *least* favorite veggie restaurant in Eugene! Sooooo bland…

    Eugene has some awesome places though…you oughta come back and taste some of the truly fantastic places (PRI, Laughing Planet, Chao Priya, Evergreen, Lotus Garden…etc, etc)

  • 34. livelightly  |  July 2, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Atheist mama: Really? I have to disagree! 😉 The food there is so fresh and delicious. I thought Laughing Planet was kind of “eh”. What is your favorite there? We went in Portland. I guess that’s why we all get to eat whatever we want. Different tastebuds. 🙂

    Chao Priya was good. Lotus Garden serves too much soy for me. We don’t usually like Chinese, even if it’s vegan! Evergreen might be great, but Matt doesn’t dig traditional Indian and it usually doesn’t sit well with me either.

    I’d love to see more raw restaurants there…is Shining Sun still around? Someone told me to check that out.

  • 35. Quinn  |  September 16, 2010 at 8:46 am

    If you are in the Twin Cities area again, check out True Thai! It is my absolute favorite for Thai food- I crave their pineapple curry on a regular basis.

  • 36. guerillartmoma  |  November 6, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    I am east coast, so I thought I should represent. We LOVE Maxies Supper club in Ithaca, and Thai Cuisine, Simeons Pub also Ithaca, NY. Seems like all of our favorite dates to remember have happened in Ithaca! ha

  • 37. Kimberly  |  February 12, 2011 at 12:40 am

    Oh my goodness, I love Marnee Thai! I used to live right around the corner. That was a great neighborhood… I had a grocery store, hardware, laundromat, my credit union, and awesome Thai, Chinese & Middle Eastern restaurants all within walking distance. Makes me miss San Francisco!

  • 38. boatbaby  |  February 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Sombat’s Thai food in Hilo, Hawaii is the most amazing I’ve ever had. She grows most of her ingredients in her garden and it shows.


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