So Much Thai

Thai restaurants are numerous, and among the best dining spots in the Inland Northwest

click to enlarge Phonthip Tungkana, owner of Phonthip's Thai Table. - YOUNG KWAK
Young Kwak
Phonthip Tungkana, owner of Phonthip's Thai Table.

Bangkok Thai

Little things like freshness and consistency makes a Thai spot stand out from the crowd. So it is with Bangkok Thai and its three Spokane locations. Crispy veggies and bright flavors are the rule, whether you're ordering something familiar like Pad Thai or something more adventurous like duck noodle soup. The best way to sample Bangkok's culinary wares is at lunch, when combo plates offer the opportunity to nibble through a nice cross-section of their offerings. You pick two of 10 dishes, and also get jasmine rice and two spring rolls. The gang daeng (red curry) is outstanding — you'll be sopping up every last drop with the rice — and the pad preaw wan (sweet-and-sour chicken, beef or pork) boasts a nicely acidic, sweet blast. 1003 E. Trent Ave., Spokane • 325-8370 | 1325 S. Grand Blvd., Spokane • 838-8424 | 101 N. Argonne Rd. • Spokane Valley • 315-9943

Linnie's Thai Cuisine

Linnie's has been around for more than 25 years, so they must be doing something right at this mom-and-pop staple in downtown Spokane. The menu has all the classics covered, like Pad Thai, tom yum soup, Panang curry, and Thai fried rice, along with some more adventurous options like squid in coconut milk, and opportunities to branch out, like trying their sweet-and-sour deep-fried fish, rather than the standard sweet-and-sour chicken. The massaman curry is heavenly, a sweet and salty delight with coconut milk, potatoes, peanuts and onions. The portions are huge, the service is quick, and the ambience is very low-key. 1301 W. Third Ave., Spokane • 838-0626

Our Thai House

With Our Thai House's panang curry with chicken, the four stars of spiciness is a perfect match for the dish. The inherent coolness of the creamy coconut sauce hits first, then the heat from the spiciness hits a second later. That's what you want in a good sauce; multiple tastes harmonizing together. The broccoli is the downfall of a lot of dishes like these, but this broccoli, swimming in the sauce along with the chicken, is perfectly cooked, teaming up perfectly with the rice, chicken and sauce. The portions are large enough, however, that one bowl of rice simply isn't enough for the entire dish. Go ahead and ask for more, it's free. 1415 N. Hamilton St., Spokane • 487-4237

Phonthip's Thai Table

Located in half of a small building that also houses a hair salon, this diminutive restaurant — 10 or so tables — fill easily for chef Phonthip Tungkana's time-tested dishes. Her Pad Thai is by far one of her menu's top sellers, and customers also love cashew chicken, drunken noodles, pad kee mao and Panang curry. The papaya salad (som tum), perhaps a lesser-known Thai staple, is also quite popular. Unlike many Thai restaurants, Phonthip's menu is concise, consisting of just a few pages of items, all of them made from scratch. And you'll want to save room for the incredible mango sticky rice dessert. 1006 E. Francis Ave., Spokane • 487-3559

Sala Thai

The out-of-the-way lunch and dinner spot in Airway Heights bustles as the hostess tell us she can seat us now, but it will be about a 45-minute wait for food. Sala Thai is often busy, but it's worth the wait. The Panang curry is the most popular curry here; the thick curry in coconut milk with veggies and your choice of pork, chicken, beef or tofu is served with a hearty scoop of white rice on the side. The portion is not quite enough to split between two people, but enough for leftovers. The pad kee mao is another of Sala Thai's most popular dishes. Wide rice noodles, three meats, egg and veggies stir-fried together; it would undoubtedly take more than one person to finish a single portion. 12914 W. Sunset Hwy., Airway Heights, Wash. • 244-4800

Thai Bamboo

With a huge menu offering all sorts of authentically prepared dishes from co-owner Matavee Burgess' homeland of southern Thailand, locals over the years have developed a healthy appetite for the restaurant's Pad Thai noodles (their most popular dish), along with the fresh spring rolls, Mongolian beef and otherworldly fried bananas. It's no wonder Inlander readers have voted Thai Bamboo their favorite Thai restaurant year after year. 2926 E. 29th Ave., Spokane • 232-8428 | 5406 N. Division St., Spokane • 777-8424 | 12722 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley • 444-8424 | 2010 N. 4th Ave., Coeur d'Alene, Idaho • 208-667-5300 n

Also try

Maw Phin, 14819 N. Newport Hwy., Mead

A Taste of Thai, 419 W. Hastings Rd., Spokane

Thai on 1st, 411 W. First Ave., Spokane

Thai Kitchen, 621 S. Pines Rd., Spokane Valley

Sri Prasert Thai Bar & Grille, (formerly Mama's Thaiway Lounge), 5908 E. Broadway Ave., Spokane Valley

Thai Garden, 7 S. Main St., Deer Park

Thai Ginger, 300 S. Grand Ave., Pullman

Phikun's Thai Cuisine, 1020 S. Grand Ave., Pullman

Secret Thai, 218 Cedar St., Sandpoint

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