Bay Area Bites Guide to 5 Popular Thai Restaurants South of San Francisco

Fresh spring rolls with a sweet and spicy peanut sauce. (Jeff Cianci)

The bold and unique flavors of Thai cuisine make it an adventurous yet thoroughly enjoyable dining option. Dishes can be light and simple such as Pork Larb served in crisp lettuce cups or they can be a carefully balanced marriage of flavors as with a great Pad Thai. That balance of contrasting flavors is what makes Thai food such a delicious cuisine: a fiery curry tamed by the sweetness of creamy coconut milk or brightened up with the zing of a lime and Thai basil. With the Bay Area being home to so many diverse cultures and flavors, of course great Thai restaurants abound. Here are five popular Thai restaurants south of San Francisco. If we missed your favorite please be sure to share it in the comments.

Tee Nee Thai

The Thai-tanic eggplant at Tee Nee Thai Cuisine in San Jose.
The Thai-tanic eggplant at Tee Nee Thai Cuisine in San Jose. (Jeff Cianci)

Tee Nee Thai is regularly selected as the best Thai restaurant in Silicon Valley for its menu of Thai staples served in an elegantly decorated setting. The menu features familiar dishes such as Tom Ka Gai soup, Pad Thai and Pad See Ewe. However, do be sure to try house specials such as the Thai-tanic eggplant with tender chunks of eggplant, sweet pieces of pineapple, and cashews in a coconut chili sauce. Also worth enjoying is the Tamarind Duck with rich pieces of roasted duck that have been deep-fried for perfectly crisp skin and then tossed with pineapple and vegetables in a sweet and tangy tamarind sauce. The restaurant serves an extensive menu of hard-to-find beers which will delight any beer aficionado.

The Tamarind Glazed Duck at Tee Nee Thai Cuisine.
The Tamarind Glazed Duck at Tee Nee Thai Cuisine (Jeff Cianci)
Inside Tee Nee Thai Cuisine in San Jose.
Inside Tee Nee Thai Cuisine in San Jose. (Jeff Cianci)

Tee Nee Thai
1423 The Alameda [map]
San Jose, CA 95126
Ph: (408) 947-7927
Hours: Mon-Thu 11:30am-2:30pm and 5-9:30pm; Fri 11:30am-2:30pm and  5-10pm; Sat 5-10pm; Sun 5-9:30pm
Facebook: Tee Nee Thai 
Price Range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

Bangkok Bay Thai Cuisine

A pumpkin curry with chicken and steamed rice at Bangkok Bay Thai Cuisine.
A pumpkin curry with chicken and steamed rice at Bangkok Bay Thai Cuisine. (Jeff Cianci)

This family-owned restaurant has been a local favorite since 1993, and serves an inexpensive menu of Thai dishes in a comfortable setting. For those who want to enjoy a lighter dish while still experiencing the unique flavors of Thai cuisine, the Mango Salad with grilled prawns, mango, fresh herbs and roasted coconut tossed in spicy lime dressing, is a perfect option. For a heartier dish, the Roasted Pumpkin Curry is a delicious balance of sweet coconut milk and thai chili with tender chunks of red pumpkin, bell peppers and sweet basil.

A mango salad with prawns at Bangkok Bay Thai Cuisine.
A Mango Salad with prawns at Bangkok Bay Thai Cuisine. (Jeff Cianci)
Inside Bangkok Bay Thai Cuisine in Redwood City.
Inside Bangkok Bay Thai Cuisine in Redwood City. (Jeff Cianci)

Bangkok Bay Thai Cuisine
825 El Camino Real [map]
Redwood City, CA 94063
Ph: 650) 365-5369
Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-2:30pm and 5-9pm; Sat-Sun 5-9pm
Facebook: Bangkok Bay Thai Cuisine
Price Range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine

Fresh Spring Rolls with a sweet and spicy peanut sauce.
Fresh Spring Rolls with a sweet and spicy peanut sauce. (Jeff Cianci)

This hidden gem tucked away in a residential shopping center along the edge of the San Francisco Bay in Foster City, is regularly recognized by the Michelin Guide and Zagat for its delicious menu of Thai specialties. The dark wood tables, colorful light fixtures and artfully plated dishes contribute to the modern decor at Bangkok Bay Thai Cuisine. Even the appetizers are given a creative touch, such as the Fresh Spring Rolls are presented atop a sweet and slightly spicy peanut sauce garnished with a colorful lily flower. Seafood lovers will enjoy the Foster City Sea Curry which features a medley of seafood and fried eggplant in a beautifully fragrant coconut curry sauce seasoned with kaffir lime leaves.

The Foster City Sea Curry at Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine.
The Foster City Sea Curry at Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine. (Jeff Cianci)
Inside Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine in Foster City.
Inside Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine in Foster City (Jeff Cianci)

Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine
1473 Beach Park Blvd. [map]
Foster City, CA 94404
Ph: (650) 212-5788
Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-2pm and 5-9pm; Sat-Sun 5-9pm
Facebook: Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine
Price Range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

Shana Thai Restaurant

Pineapple fried rice served in a pineapple at Shana Thai.
Pineapple fried rice served in a pineapple at Shana Thai. (Jeff Cianci)

This popular Thai restaurant, a stone's throw away from the bustling dining scene of downtown Mountain View, serves a menu of crowd-pleasing Thai dishes in a romantic setting. While you look over the menu, try one of the restaurant’s tropical soju cocktails or a sweet Thai iced tea. Enjoyable as both a side dish or main entree, the Pineapple Fried Rice is presented in a hollowed out pineapple half and features savory fried rice studded with juicy bites of pineapple and sweet raisins. Those who avoid spicy foods will enjoy Shana Thai’s Pad Thai with tender chunks of chicken and flat noodles in a delightful sweet and tangy sauce, garnished with crunchy peanuts for a pop of flavor and texture.

The Pad Thai at Shana Thai in Mountain View.
The Pad Thai at Shana Thai in Mountain View. (Jeff Cianci)
Inside Shana Thai in Mountain View.
Inside Shana Thai in Mountain View. (Jeff Cianci)

Shana Thai Restaurant
311 Moffett Blvd. [map]
Mountain View, CA 94043
Ph: (650) 940-9990
Hours: Mon-Sun 11am-3pm and 5-10pm
Facebook: Shana Thai Restaurant 
Price Range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

Dusita Thai Cuisine

Dusita’s Kao Soy featuring eggs noodles and chicken in a red and yellow curry sauce.
Dusita’s Kao Soy featuring eggs noodles and chicken in a red and yellow curry sauce. (Jeff Cianci)

Like many popular restaurants in this neighborhood, Dusita Thai Cuisine is nestled among other restaurants serving various ethnic cuisines in small shopping mall along El Camino Real. The restaurant’s authentic Thai dishes are big on flavor but also spice, so be warned if you are new to Thai cuisine or sensitive to heat. Those who do enjoy spicy food should try Dusita’s Angry Pork featuring stir-fried pork with bell peppers and basil in a red curry. Green peppercorns, ginger and lime provide a tangy bite to the fiery dish while coconut milk adds to touch of sweetness. On the less spicy side of things, the popular Kao Soy Chicken features tender bites of chicken and fresh egg noodles simmered in a silky smooth red & yellow curry sauce, sweetened with coconut milk. A cold, crisp Chang beer or a sweet and smoky Thai iced tea are a delicious way to tame the heat if things get too intense.

A fiery dish of Dusita’s Angry Pork.
A fiery dish of Dusita’s Angry Pork. (Jeff Cianci)
Inside Dusita Thai Cuisine in Santa Clara.
Inside Dusita Thai Cuisine in Santa Clara. (Jeff Cianci)

Dusita Thai Cuisine
2325 El Camino Real [map]
Santa Clara, CA 95050
Ph: (408) 247-5199
Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-3pm and 5-10pm
Facebook: Dusita Thai Cuisine
Price Range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

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